§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
Hon. Members will have noticed that by some oversight the Amendments to the Sub-section do not appear in the White Paper to-day. Therefore, it will be necessary to make use of the Blue Paper, which hon. Members can obtain in the Vote Office. I do not think they will be put to any serious inconvenience, for I propose to select as the first Amendment the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Rosslyn Mitchell), which proposes to leave out Sub-section (2). I expect the Debate on this Amendment will take some time, and that we shrill not get to the other Amendments on the Order Paper until a little later on.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
There is some confusion as to the effect of the Vote last night. Do I understand that both Sub-sections were passed last night; that is, Sub-section (1) and Sub-section (2)?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Under the Resolution which was passed by the House allotting time for the Committee stage of this Bill, it was necessary to get Sub-section (1) of Clause 3 down to the beginning of Sub-section (2) last night Now we shall begin the discussion on Sub-section (2).
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It is quite true that the Amendment on the Order Paper did propose to leave out to line 36, 1866 but it will have been noticed that the Question put from the Chair, was "That the words 'It is hereby declared' stand part of the Clause." That saved the latter part of the Sub-section, and, therefore, we shall be able to begin the discussion of Sub-section (2) this afternoon.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Is it not the case that the only part of the Clause which has been passed by the Committee are the words you have just read, "It is hereby declared," and, therefore, both Sub-section (1) and Sub-section (2) are still before the Committee and open for discussion?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
That is not so. Under the Resolution which the House passed allotting time to this Bill, the amount allotted to yesterday was down to the beginning of Sub-section (2), and that being so, it was not necessary to put from the Chair that Sub-section (1) stand part of the Clause. It automatically stands part of the Clause under the Resolution of the House.
§ Mr. TINKER
Do I take it that you will allow a full discussion on Sub-section (2) on the Clause as a whole?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I was going to suggest that a full discussion should take place on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Paisley to leave out Sub-section (2).
§ Mr. MAXTON
Without wishing to inquire into the question as to how the mistake arose as to the non-printing of the business for to-day on the White Paper, or casting any reflection on any person who may not be responsible, may I ask if it is in order for the Committee to discuss business which is not down on the White Paper, which is the arrangement of business for to-day, and for the Committee to work on the Blue Paper, which is an entirely unofficial Paper?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I am afraid I cannot say how the mistake arose, or whose fault it may have been, but, as a matter of fact, the Blue Paper is the official Paper. The White Paper is printed for the convenience of hon. Members, but it is not the official Paper on which the House really works. I understand that some revised copies of the White Paper are now available in the Vote Office, with all the Amendments appearing.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
Some of us have never seen the Guillotine Resolution work before, and we are a little confused. Do I understand that as the Question was put last night we took a decision on the words of Sub-section (1) without further Question being put?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It is the usual custom to put the Question in the way it was put last night, in order to safeguard subsequent Amendments. The Chairman has no means of ascertaining how far the Committee may get in the course of the day's Debate, and he has to save subsequent Amendments on the Order Paper.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
If Sub-section (1) became part of the Bill by the operation of the Guillotine Resolution, why should it have been necessary for the Government last night to adopt the course of moving to report Progress, which has not been done previously under the Guillotine Resolution?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
That was because the Debate came to an end at 20 minutes to 11, and it, therefore, was necessary to report Progress.
§ Mr. CHARLETON
I beg to move, in page 3 line 24, to leave out Sub-section (2).
In moving the Amendment, I desire to say that we regard this Sub-section as the most subtle and insidious part of the whole Bill. It deals with matters which are at the moment entirely covered by the existing law. Personal injury, violence, or damage to persons or property, is already provided for. During the miners' lock-out last year this was proved up to the hilt. Hundreds of people were arrested and incarcerated for merely laughing, some of them for saying a few words, perhaps in a jocular way; and as far as there is any real need to protect people during a strike against personal injury or violence or damage, it is entirely covered now. The wordsreasonable apprehension of injury … and the expression injury' includes injury other than physical or material injuryare the dangerous thing about this Subsection. To me that is a matter which it is impossible to define in any Bill, in any Clause, or anywhere else. How can you define what is a reasonable apprehension? While a well-built, strong man, a blackleg, going to work will feel no 1868 apprehension from an under-sized striker, it may be that a smaller man might feel some apprehension from a well-built striker. How are you going to decide it? Are you going to have an appendix to the Bill laying it down that a man standing 5 feet 10 inches and weighing 12 stone must not speak to a man standing 5 feet 9 inches and weighing 11 stone? You will have to arrive at some understanding as to how you will work this provision; whether the small man shall bully the big man, or whether the big man shall bully the small man. In my opinion, it is a, most unsatisfactory provision. Then the man can plead "reasonable apprehension" and have nothing to show for it. It may be that two or three strikers are working in their gardens, and as a blackleg goes to work, one man man smile at him, and another may pass a jocular remark to his friend in the other garden. Nothing else is done; but the blackleg may plead "reasonable apprehension," and there is no way of meeting it. The man on strike is hedged around by all sorts of restrictions by this Bill, so that it is impossible for him to do the right thing. What can he do? Can he call witnesses to prove something that they cannot see? It is like a will-o'-the-wisp.
And what about the provocative blackleg? We know these people. They deliberately provoke our people to anger when they are going along the road-simply defy them as they are going to work. We say that this is provocation, but the Bill does not provide for it. As long as the blackleg says that it was his way of defending himself, the striker is in the wrong, and we are quite sure that the type of man who will take up the role of Judas may be relied upon to do all the dirty work I am suggesting. The very fact that they are going to work while the rest of their comrades are doing their best to resist tyranny and get nearer to a living wage, shows the type of men they are. What of the wives of the blacklegs, who, perhaps, adorned in a new bonnet and coat, sneer at the wives of the men who are loyal to their class? What about that sort of provocation? There is nothing in the Bill to deal with it. We, on this side, consider that this is a most dangerous Sub-section, and that is why we move its deletion.
§ Mr. MORRIS
As I said yesterday, I think that Sub-section (1) of this Clause is a perfectly justifiable Sub-section, but the Sub-section we are now discussing is very different, because it changes the law substantially. The really offending part of Sub-section (2) has already been deleted by an Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman himself, but the point I wish to raise with regard to this Sub-section is that the Government ought to go a step further and delete from the word "injury" in line 29——
§ Notice taken that 40 members were not present; Committee counted, and 40 Members being present—
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order. Have you, Captain FitzRoy, power to retain hon. Members when they return to this Committee?
§ Mr. MORRIS
I was making an appeal to the Government with regard to. Subsection (2) that, instead of amending it by deleting the word to "injury" in line 29, it should be deleted from the words at the end of line 27 and the Sub-section would thus read:(2) In this Section the expression 'to intimidate' means to cause in the mind of a person a reasonable apprehension of physical injury.The word "physical" being inserted there,to him or to any member of his family or of violence or damage to any person or property.As this Sub-section stands, it means that you will have to launch a prosecution against a man upon the charge of having affected somebody's mind. Assuming that the Government's case is justifiable, the difficulty will be in getting evidence. In nine cases out of ten, it will be impossible to obtain evidence on which you could hope to convince a jury and obtain a verdict. Why then put into the Clause, which I think, is otherwise a good Clause, declaring the law, something which alone depends upon a man's imagination? The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) has put down an Amendment dealing with the employers, and he has introduced the phrase "social ostracism," which, I think, 1870 is quite as reasonable as this. But you cannot prosecute a man because he socially ostracises another man, and actually the Government in this Sub-section is getting dangerously near to a definition of that Amendment. The object of this Clause is to declare the law as it stands, to let it be known that in certain circumstances people will be engaged in committing a criminal offence.
§ Mr. TINKER
I beg to support this Amendment. If this Clause be carried, it conveys to my mind that picketing goes altogether. I cannot see how picketing can take place without at once going into the question of intimidation whichincludes an apprehension of boycott, or loss of any kind, or of exposure to hatred, ridicule, or contempt.Whatever else we may think about a blackleg, we cannot keep from our minds the question of contempt, and, once you give expression to that, you come at once under this Clause. Yesterday the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary said:We think that it is very highly desirable that the law as explained in the Circular of December, 1925 … should be embodied in this Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd May, 1927; col. 1697, Vol. 206.]If that is all that the Bill means, then this question of intimidation should be left out. That Circular, which was issued by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary in December, 1925, goes as far, I think, as anybody would require. The Circular says:Neither does the Trade Disputes Act authorise pickets to interview a workman in private (that is apart from his comrades or from the escort which may have to accompany him in cases where violence is feared) unless the workman himself desires it. The Act does not interfere in any way with the liberty of the workman, who may stop to speak to the picket or not as he pleases, and may speak to the picket alone or in the company of his comrades or escort as he pleases. The pickets are given the right peacefully to persuade any workman who is willing to listen to them, but they are not entitled to compel the workman to listen to them by stopping him or obstructing his passage, or by any other means.In that Circular, there is sufficient protection for anyone, and nothing else is required. I want to assure the other side of the Committee that, where any workman desires to work, there is no intention on our part to prevent him, outside peaceful picketing. But this Subsection says that if we stop a man to 1871 convey to him that there is contempt felt for him, he will have the right to say that he has reasonable apprehension of boycott, ridicule, and contempt. Under the Bill, strikes are nearly knocked out altogether, but, if we do have a legitimate strike, you propose here to stop picketing.
There is another question I want to ask. You have been very strict upon the workman; what attempt have you made to deal with the employer? During the last lock-out, I brought to the notice of the Home Secretary a case where colliery officials had gone round to the workmen, accompanied by police officers. I am pleased to say that the right hon. Gentleman took the matter in hand and put a stop to that, but the sequel, according to the information I have received, is that not one of the men who was interviewed on that occasion has been allowed to start at this colliery. Would you call that intimidation? You can stop the police officers going round, but the employer says, when the lock-out is over, that there is no employment for the men. We in Lancashire have made an agreement with the colliery owners that those persons who took part in the lock-out shall be reinstated, when there is work for them, before anyone else is taken on. We find, however, that certain colliery owners are taking no notice of that agreement. They are taking on men who did not work at the colliery before, and depriving other men of employment because they took an active part during the lockout.
Is that intimidation on the part of the employers? There is no fair-play to both sides. You may have it in your minds that you will deal with the employers, but you cannot deal with them in this way. If the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary only wants to make known what the law was in 1926, he can delete this Sub-section. We are asking that, if any stoppage of work takes place, we shall have an opportunity of putting our case before the men, but, if this Subsection becomes law, we shall not be able even to attend the meetings to put our case before the men. If we attend the meetings, we shall be bound to convey feelings of ridicule and contempt for anyone who has broken away from his union. If this Sub-section be carried, it is goodbye to picketing of any kind.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir William Joynson-Hicks)
It seems to me that there is a very great difference of opinion in regard to this Clause, and I will try to put it straight. Under the present law of intimidation, no man can be convicted unless he intimidates some person and causes reasonable apprehension of personal violence. That is the law to-day, under the Act of 1875 and the decisions of the Law Courts, the principal case being Gibson v. Lawson, to which reference has been made. Under that law, reasonable picketing has gone on, but, as I said perfectly frankly yesterday, while Sub-section (1) of this Clause is a declaration of the existing law, Sub-section (2) is an alteration of the law. The alteration consists of this, that we are adding to the definition of intimidation, which is to-day" reasonable apprehension of personal violence," words which express reasonable apprehension of some other kind of injury than personal violence. Yesterday, I dealt with other forms of intimidation which have become more frequent and are more unpleasant than the Mere threat to punch a man's head, or break his neck, or anything of that kind. If I may put it so, that is the old-fashioned form of intimidation.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I am not quite sure about the worst. To the credit of the development, of education and good feeling in the land, that type of intimidation is less frequent than it was 30 or 40 years ago; but there is undoubtedly a more subtle form of intimidation. If you go to a man and tell him that you will punch his head if he does not come out, then he can go to the magistrate and he has to prove to-day a reasonable apprehension. If a man you know says, "Look here, Bill, you deserve a good punch on the head if you do not come out," you would not get any magistrate to convict, and you would not be such a coward as to go and swear that you had a reasonable apprehension of personal violence. You would say, "I know old Bill; he does not mean anything." The thing I am putting is much more subtle and unpleasant than a threat of personal violence. Suppose a man comes and says, "Look here, you are one of those black-legs"—I use that expression, putting in 1873 the mouth of somebody else—"you will not come out; you are sticking in and ruining the solidarity of the trade union movement. I know how I can get at you. I am not going to threaten personal violence to you, that is old-fashioned, but I know very well that you have a son working here and a daughter working there. I will go round and see if I can get them sacked." That is a form of intimidation.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
That is not prosecutable under the present law. We have to amend the law in this Sub-section to bring that in. I think the Sub-section as it was put down with the words "exposure to hatred, ridicule or contempt" went too far——
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
Would the right hon. Gentleman, when he is explaining this Sub-section, suggest a case in which the term "other than material injury" would apply? We can understand "physical injury," but perhaps he will give us an instance of the other.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I agree that that is material injury to a man, his wife, or a member of his family. All hon. Members will agree that the law ought to be amended in regard to intimidation.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
The right hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) asked for a definition of apprehension of injury neither physical nor material. There you have a very much more debatable line of argument. That is perhaps the most subtle case of any. I have in my own mind some doubt as to how far a man would be able to swear—because he has to swear and adduce evidence—that he is in reasonable apprehen 1874 sion of injury of this particular kind. Take the case of picketing. A picket, or a member of the trade union, may say to a man who is working, "We are going to be very careful and not threaten you with violence or with any material injury; but we are going to send you to Coventry and to see that no one speaks to you. We are going to see that no one will sit in the same public house with you; knowing you to be a scab all other decent men would get up and go out. We are going to see that no decent shopkeeper in the village serves you or your wife, and you will have to walk five miles"——
§ Sir BASIL PETO
If the right hon. Gentleman said that the threat was to cease to allow a man to be a member of a co-operative society where all his fellows trade, it would still leave him open to trade elsewhere.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I am very much obliged to my hon. Friend. The threat might be, "When this strike is over we will not work by your side at all; you are outside the pale of civilisation." All these may be cumulative threats, but intimidation much more serious, subtle and unpleasant than the mere threat of having your neck broken.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I quite agree. I know, from the efforts of lawmakers for so many years, that most Acts of Parliament have to be interpreted sooner or later. It is our duty to make them as clear as possible. We have in this Clause used the words "other than material injury" in order to provide for this particular form of subtle intimidation. A man has to prove to a Court that he is in reasonable apprehension of intimidation. [An HON. MEMBER: "How can you use the word 'ridicule' in this Bill? There is ridicule daily in this House."] Nobody suffers from that more 1875 than I do. Ridicule is fortunately generally accompanied by good humour. Ordinarily speaking, the ridicule which might take place there would not be intimidation. The word "ridicule" will be taken out by the Amendment which I am moving later. Speaking as a Minister in charge of this part of the Clause, with the Attorney-General, I do not think that "ridicule," which is a form of good-humoured banter, is intimidation within the meaning of any expression in the Bill. The hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) says that this prohibits picketing altogether. I think not, and I will try to explain why not. To-day, picketing is perfectly legal, and peaceful persuasion is perfectly legal, although there is to-day just as much power on the part of the picket to use intimidation of personal violence as there would be to-morrow for him to use intimidation of other than personal violence.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Peaceful persuasion, as long as it is not accompanied by any form of intimidation, always has been legal and always will be legal. You can go to a man at his work and say, "You and I are friends"——
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I tremble when the hon. Member comes, but it must be a reasonable apprehension in the man's mind. From the mere fact of seeing the hon. Member come along as a picket, and say, "Now, Bill, come out with the rest." how could any man swear that he has reasonable apprehension, either of violence or of any form of 1876 intimidation, if the thing were put to him like that? If, however, the picket went to him as at present, and said, "You are doing us all harm, you are doing the cause down, you will get your head broken if you do not come out," that, to-day, is a "reasonable apprehension," and a man has to prove that he is reasonably frightened by the threat, as he well might be. Supposing, in the future, however, when the Bill is passed, instead of saying that, the picket comes and says, "I shall try to get your wife or your son out of their jobs," then, again, the man who is picketed has got to swear that he reasonably apprehends that the people will be able to do that.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Hon. Members who suggest that men would swear hard are rather reflecting on our common humanity. I do not think that men so easily tell lies——[An HON. MEMBER: "The fact that he is a blackleg is sufficient !"] I hope we can debate without using these approbrious adjectives. We want to find the truth and to frame a law which will prevent this particular, form of intimidation. I have replied perfectly frankly to the hon. Member for Leigh, who put a perfectly fair argument to me. I may not have convinced the hon. Member, but I think I have shown that this Sub-section is not altogether so unfair as he may have thought. We dealt yesterday with reasonable apprehension, that is the law to-day. The only alteration is that reasonable apprehension, instead of being of personal violence, must be of some other form of intimidation. The law in regard to reasonable apprehension is exactly the same and, that being so, I am afraid that I shall have to ask the Committee to pass this Sub-section, because it is one which is directed at a very particular form of intimidation which is growing more common, just as the course of progress and education and the development of the people is causing the old, violent form of intimidation to recede into the background.
§ Miss BONDFIELD
I think the Home Secretary's speech is the most 1877 devastating one that has been made in this House against this particular Bill. It is an attempt to do the impossible, and I want to direct the attention of the Committee to what took place in 1906, when the Bill was under discussion then. After the Taff Vale judgment had been given, the late Sir Charles Dilke asked Mr. Asquith for a legal opinion as to the effect of the Clause. Mr. Asquith replied, "How to conduct a strike legally now, I do not know." We shall have to say precisely the same, if this Bill goes on the Statute Book, "How to conduct a strike legally now, we do not know," but, undoubtedly, strikes will happen. The illuminating fact which occurred during that debate was in the Committee stage, when it was pointed out that there were possibilities of three points of attack under the new words, namely, that there would be liability for informations to be laid in respect of "molestation" under the word "reasonable" and under the law of nuisance. When that was stated in Committee, a very large number of Members—almost half the Committee—were in favour of the proposed Amendment to delete a word like "reasonable," and all the undefinable words that were in the Clause, in order that these three dangers might be safeguarded against. They only failed to carry an Amendment against the Government through the dictum of the then Attorney-General that the law of Nuisance could not be invoked to stop picketing. That law has since been invoked against the pickets of the Hotel, Club and Restaurant Workers' Union. Just as in 1906 the Attorney-General of that day assured the House of Commons that certain things could not happen under the Measure of that time, so we have had assurances from the Attorney-General and the Home Secretary that certain things will not happen under this Bill. But we have too much experience of these matters in connection with trade unions to place the slightest faith in protestations of that nature. We have had the experience of the years during which the Taff Vale decision was upheld, and before we got the law revoked, and we know what occurred.
I want now to turn to some remarks made yesterday by the hon. and gallant Member for South Leicester (Captain Waterhouse). His speech, I think, was 1878 very fair, and he put his case clearly and without exaggeration, but he used forms of words in a way which showed plainly how the same words may be used on different sides of the Committee in discussing this matter, with entirely different meanings according to our different experiences and environments. The hon. and gallant Member spoke about a pre-War employé who had had the misfortune to be ill for 18 months. Hon. Members will see the details which he described in the OFFICIAL, REPORT to-day, and I need not repeat them, but it seems that the 80 men in the shop struck work because the employer refused to reinstate this man when they were busy. He said he would reinstate him when they were slack, but he could not do so when they were busy. There was a dispute, and union men were brought into the district, but they refused to take the places of the strikers as soon as the pickets had told them the cause of the dispute. The hon. and gallant Member used that illustration to show the iniquitous action of the pickets in relation to that dispute, and he called it intimidation. But there was no intimidation of the men, who understood what these 80 men were trying to do. I ask the Committee to remember what the House of Commons has done in the matter of Government Departments and the King's Roll. They have made it a condition that a certain proportion of men who were in the Army and who were wounded in the War, must be employed as a condition of firms getting contracts from Government Departments. You can call it intimidation if you like, but the principle behind the King's Roll is the principle of sympathy with the men who were hurt in the War and in defence of their country, while in the case of this workshop it was the sympathy of the workmen for one who had been hurt in the industrial army.
The gulf between us on this question is illustrated by the fact that the hon. and gallant Member, who must have the deepest sympathy with the ex-service men, could not even see the point about that dispute in Leicester, namely, that it was the result of comradeship in the workshop. That man had worked for years with that firm. There was no question as to his competency as a workman; but when his fellow-workmen rally round 1879 him, that is described as an instance of what this Bill is intended to prevent. There is to be no picketing in a case like that. Let us take this matter a little further because it is important that we should at least try to understand the different points of view on the question. There was no trouble in this case as long as they were dealing with trade union men, but then non-union men were brought in and the non-union man was the man who did not listen to the pickets, who would not understand the case, and who was only anxious to get the job. Now I want hon. Members to understand how we feel about that type, and I am going back 100 years to give you a quotation, because this is not a feeling of modern growth. It is the result of 100 years of struggle in this country to raise the status of the workers, and the sense of self-respect, of loyalty and of comradeship which is so deeply ingrained to-day is expressed in some letters that were written in 1802 by the representatives of the bootmakers at the time when they were on strike. Those letters are an expression of our feelings to-day. Somebody, probably the local Tory representative, had asked for a definition and wanted to know what all the trouble was about, and why these people would not allow non-union men to work with them. This is what those bootmakers replied more than 100 years ago:What is a scab? He is to his trade what the traitor is to his country. They both may he useful to one party in troublesome times but when peace returns they are detested alike by all. When help is wanted he is the last to contribute assistance and the first to grasp a benefit which he was never able himself to procure. He cares but for himself and he sees not beyond the extent of the day and, for a momentary and worthless approbation, would betray friends and family and country. In short, he is a traitor on a small scale. He first sells the Journeyman, and is, himself, always sold in his turn by the masters until at last he is despised by both and deserted by all. He is an enemy to himself, to the present age and to posterity.In connection with that I should like to point out that conduct even such as that described by the hon. and gallant Member for South Leicester is in fact covered by the existing law when it reaches to physical or material damage. But the speech of the Home Secretary in endeavouring to justify the additional words which are proposed—and which 1880 would change not only this Clause but the preceding Clause—shows that these words are, as I have said, attempting the impossible. He is trying to do by legislation what cannot be done by legislation. This is a question of the moral and mental growth of the people. It is a question of the action of the mind, and I am convinced that the addition of these proposed words to the Clause is going far beyond the desire expressed by the dome Secretary, namely, to protect people who are willing to work during a trade dispute. I would remind the Committee of certain incidents in this connection, some of which I am old enough to remember. In my home town there were two lace mills. At that time they had the Jacquard looms and the town was on the edge of a great agricultural belt, and when the lace mills were busy the employers would go to the head of a family and say, "You have a son 10 or 11 years of age just leaving school and he will have to come into the mill, or else the lot of you, father, mother, and the elder boys and girls, will be sacked. You will have to bring your boy into the mill as a condition of retaining your own employment." It did not matter whether that son was a lad of promise or not. It did not matter if the mother's heart was set on putting him into some other occupation. The parents had no choice. That child was the bond-slave of the employer if he wanted the labour, but there was no obligation on the employer to retain the labour when the mills were slack. They ruined the child's life and diverted the child's capacity, and that was the end of their responsibility.
We do not suggest that that kind of thing can be met by legislation. We suggest it can only be met by the growth of education and of a sense of social and moral responsibility, and we say that the trade union movement has been a primary factor in lifting workpeople out of that morass of slavery and bringing them to a point where the employers at least have had to negotiate and to recognise the status and dignity of the workers of this country. In the old days before the rise of the competitive industrial system there were "commoners" in England. Then they came to be known as "the working classes" and as "the poor" or, as Hannah More said. "the lower orders." It seems to me there are some Members on the other side whose minds are still in that period and who still 1881 regard the people as the "lower orders." We may think in that way or not, but we cannot prevent the people of to-day from taking the same view of a scab as that which was taken one hundred years ago. The hon. and gallant Member for South Leicester said he supported the Clause because he wanted to protect women and children. I have had a long experience of industrial work among women and children and I warn this Committee that of all sections in industry the working women are the least likely to take the slightest notice of a provision of this kind. I remember during the War when the Defence of the Realm Act was in force and when it was an offence to leave one's work, if engaged on War work, a strike occurred on the Tyne of 8,000 women. The Managing Director of the firm said to them, "Do you not know you are acting illegally and that you can be sent to prison?" and they said, quite cheerfully, "All right," and kept on knitting socks for soldiers until at last the wrong of which they complained was put right, and as soon as it was put right the strike ceased.
I remember very vividly two other occasions—one when the women, in spite of pickets surrounded the office of a company and a member of the firm concerned came out and those women took him and, before they could be stopped, ducked him in a pond. They were told that that was illegal, that they could be imprisoned for it, that they were liable for inflicting bodily injury, but all that had no influence whatever. Women, when their tempers are aroused, will do these things, and what is the good of putting provisions like this upon the Statute Book when you know that if tempers are aroused the same things will happen again? I remember another illustration. I received a frantic telephone message from the director of a factory at Hayes saying, "For God's sake come up quick. There are women swarming round this office like howling Dervishes, and I cannot get out." I went there, found out what was the matter and put it right, and the women became peaceable and resumed work. But you might have told them until you were black in the face that their action was illegal, and it would not have made the slightest difference to them. Therefore, the matter comes back to this, that no 1882 responsible trade union leader would ask men to undertake picket duty without at the same time informing them of what the duty is under the law, and it is the regular practice of the unions so to do. In spite of that, you will find feelings aroused and tempers getting high, and then the people who indulge in certain action will have to be subject to the law of the land.
We are quite prepared to support the law of the land in that respect, but I beg of the Committee to understand the kind of people they are dealing with when they are dealing with those who are aroused by a sense of injustice. Instead of trying to bind them down by laws which will not work, why do you not try to get at the genesis of the trouble and remove the grounds of their grievances, and put right the wrongs from which they suffer? With regard to the words which the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary proposes to add, the most objectionable feature of those additional words is that they will do the contrary of what the. Home Secretary desires. They will merely strengthen the informer and the spy, and make stronger the appeal to that baser side of the people in industry. When the Home Secretary asks us not to use words derogatory of the self-respect of the working classes and not to use epithets which suggest that we have not a fine sense of the honour and decency of the working classes, I would have him remember that this is not peculiar to the working classes. Every section of society has its scabs, its weak-kneed people, its cowards, and its traitors, and we do not pretend that the working classes are perfect, but we do say that it is too late in the day for legislation to shape itself for the encouragement of that type of person. The wrongs done by those engaged in industrial disputes are done in hot temper, but the wrongs that these men do are acts of cold-blooded, calculated treachery.
§ Miss BONDFIELD
We are speaking of the law of picketing, which has relation specifically to a trade dispute, and, therefore, we are not discussing the question of whether a man is a member 1883 of a trade union, but the action of a man in a trade dispute, and it is of that alone that I am talking. The final point I would like to make is that, in connection with the growth and development of the trade union movement in this country, there has been a singular growth and development of order, of discipline, and of self-control among the workers. That is the greatest tribute that can be paid to the trade union movement, and it is because this Bill attempts to interfere with the legitimate work of the trade unions, and with that indirect consequence of trade union action, the building up of a spirit of loyalty and comradeship—raising the status of the workers altogether, which is the greatest contribution we could make to the well-being of the community as a whole—it is because the Bill is interfering so mischievously with the ordered progress which we have assured in the last hundred years that I, personally, oppose in the strongest possible way this Clause of the Bill.
§ Mr. SHORT
When the Attorney-General introduced this Bill, he made it clear that Sub-section (1) of Clause 3 was merely, if it stood alone, declaratory of the present law, and in the course of his speech he foreshadowed that Subsection (2) would mean, as has been admitted by the Home Secretary, an alteration in the existing law. The Attorney-General used these words:It is desirable … to make it clear, in the most definite language which we can employ, that the right of peaceful picketing is a right of peaceful persuasion only, and that peaceful persuasion does not include legal or moral intimidation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd May, 1927; col. 1328, Vol. 205.]That was what he intended to do when he and his colleagues drafted Sub-section (2) of this Clause. We have heard the speech of the Home Secretary, whose presence is always refreshing and who always makes, I must admit, genial contributions to our Debates, and we now know how difficult it is to find words which will clearly define what the Attorney-General had in his mind. The right hon. Gentleman had no difficulty in telling us what he considered to be material and physical intimidation, but when he came to spiritual, moral, or mental intimidation, he found himself in 1884 a complete morass, and he had the greatest possible difficulty in telling us what was meant by this Sub-section. It is clear that this Sub-section increases the dangers of picketing. It makes more perilous picketing of the peaceful persuasion type. It brings the person concerned more quickly within the possible reach of the law. In effect, it says that the legal meaning attached to intimidation since 1875 no longer holds. When this Clause has been passed, it will be possible for a man to intimidate with violence and to be penalised, but, on the other hand, he may give some reasonable apprehension of fear, mental, moral, or spiritual, which will likewise bring him within the clutches of the law. It gives a wider legal meaning to the word "intimidation," and, as I say, it makes the position of the picket more perilous. I think it would have been more honest and more commendable on the part of the Government to have taken their courage in their hands, to have said: "We do not believe in picketing at all, whether innocent picketing or peaceful persuasion," and to have actually removed the existing legal right from the statute law of the land.
The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General said that this Sub-section meant an alteration in the law, and I should like to ask from whom this demand for an alteration has come. As far as I am aware, the Trade Union Congress represents well over 4,000,000 trade unionists, and I have not heard of a single trade union passing a resolution asking for this change in the law, nor do I know of any branch of a union which has sent a resolution to its executive asking for it. I know of no great public meeting organised, outside that of the Conservative party which has expressed a demand for this change in the law of picketing. Is this demand from the Federation of British Industries? Is it from the National Union of Manufacturers? Is it from the Chambers of Commerce? For whom are we legislating? Are we legislating for the public, because the public demand it? As far as I am aware, there is no evidence of it. I listened to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Sir W. Greaves-Lord), who advanced no evidence which would justify this serious alteration in the law. It is assumed that the altera- 1885 tion is justified because of some incidents arising out of the recent general strike, but I would remind the Home Secretary of what he said in connection with the good behaviour of the people during that strike. Speaking on 2nd June, he said:I should like at once to join in the testimony which the Leader of the Opposition has paid to the conduct of the people of this country during the recent crisis.A little later, in the same speech, he said:I think I am entitled to say to the House that, while the good temper of the mass of the population, including the mass of the strikers, was splendid, and worthy of the name of Englishmen … worthy of the name of Britons in every possible degree, at the same time I am unrepentant in saying that there were a few who did not maintain the same spirit which is usually attributed to England."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd June, 1926; col. 747, Vol. 196.]Therefore, if we go back to find justification for this alteration in the law arising out of picketing and cases of intimidation, we find that the Home Secretary says there were a few, and up to that date or up to the end of the general strike there were indeed very few, who overstepped the border-line of the law and were prosecuted, either under the Emergency Powers Regulations or under the Statute law of the land. It would appear from the evidence accumulated up to then that there is no real justification for making such a drastic alteration in the law as is now proposed in Sub-section (2) of this Clause. Later on the same date, 2nd June, the right hon. Gentleman told us how many cases had been dealt with. He said:The total number of cases in which proceedings were taken for incitement by speech or by printed documents was 150, and for violence and disorder 1,389. The House will realise that the whole of that number, 1,389, were not sent to prison; many of them were merely fined and some of them got off altogether. Roughly speaking, the number fined was about the same as the number sent to prison."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd June, 1926; col. 824, Vol. 196.]We had at that time over 3,500,000 on strike, and if we multiply them by three in a family, we find that we have close on 10,000,000 people directly or indirectly affected by the general strike, and we had a million miners, not on strike, but locked out. 1886 Feelings ran high, but only 1,389 cases were brought within the realm of the law, and some of them escaped. Therefore, there appears to be a lack of justification, because, although we passed through what was supposed to be the greatest crisis in our industrial history, few indeed, to use the right hon. Gentleman's own words, were the people who violated the law.
§ Sir B. PETO
Does the hon. Member maintain that the numbers of cases he has mentioned were the only cases of violence and intimidation that took place during those disturbances? Does he maintain that the police are so marvellously efficient that they can detect every case?
§ Mr. SHORT
We must base our criticism on the evidence that is submitted to us, and we cannot propose to change the law upon some imaginary figures put forward by the hon. Member who interrupts. But I am going further than that. During the whole seven months of the lock-out, when the Government used the power of the Constitution and of Parliament to alter the basic conditions of the employment of the miners, which in itself might reasonably have led to some rioting or revolutionary act—I rejoice that it did not do so—we are told by the Attorney-General that there were only about 7,000 or 8,000 cases of people who violated the law. I can understand why the right hon. Gentleman is on the Treasury Bench to-day in charge of this Clause. I am informed, though I do not know whether it is reliable, that there was consternation in the Cabinet when this Bill was introduced. The right hon. Gentleman expressed his amazement that there should be any tampering with this section of the law. I want to know why he has changed his opinions, because within a few days of the closing down of the general strike and with a knowledge of the cases that had arisen the right hon. Gentleman expressed his satisfaction with the law. He indicated that the law was adequate to deal with the situation. He set out the law during the Debate, showing the House what could be done and what could not be done. These are his words:I would like to say a few words on the subject of peaceful picketing, because I 1887 have felt for a very long time that peaceful picketing has been very largely misunderstood, particularly by hon. Members opposite, and that the scope of peaceful picketing is not nearly as large as it is assumed to be.Later, he went on to say:Under the Act of 1875—and I hope the House will forgive me being a little dry and lengthy over this part of the case, because it is very important, as peaceful picketing is a right in the hands of the workpeople, but that right is very strictly guarded by the provisions of an Act of Parliament and I think it is only fair to anyone who is proposing to indulge in peaceful picketing that they should know my views and views of the Government to-day on the subject.Then the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to set out Section 7 of the Act of 1875, with which we are all familiar, and continued:Then, under the Act of 1906, the enactment was made about peaceful picketing, and this is what the enactment is—it is not my view; it is the law.After that, he quoted Section 2 of the Act of 1906; and these were his final conclusions:Any person, even to-day, who attempts to prevent any person from working by using violence or by intimidation either of him or his wife or children, or who injures his property, is guilty of an offence, and so is anybody, in spite of the Act of 1906, who persistently follows a workman from place to place or follows him with two or more other persons in a disorderly manner. Those are still offences under the Act of 1875, and they are in no way excepted by the Act of 1906. I hope that hon. Members will realise the seriousness of what I am saying. The law is that you cannot compel a man to listen. If a workman does not choose to listen you have no right to stop him. You have no right to compel a man to listen. That is continued under the Act of 1906. If he likes to listen you may impart information, or try to persuade him to strike or not to work, but if he say, I do not want to speak to you or to listen to you,' and you continue to do it, it is an offence under the Act of 1875."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd June, 1926; cols. 817–9, Vol. 196.]Why is it necessary to go beyond the law and to increase the dangers, when, as I understand it, the law covers the cases submitted by the Attorney-General, and, as was proved during the general strike and the miners' lock-out, is quite capable of dealing adequately with all attempts at breaking the law?
1888 Next, I would like to say a word about "reasonable apprehension of injury," and of "injury other than physical or material." This is a very grave matter, because the Clause introduces a very grave danger into the conduct of disputes in this country. While the Bill presumes to deal with both workers and employers, there can be no equality of treatment in this matter of intimidation. There are many ways in which employers can exercise intimidation, as has been well pointed out by the hon. Member for Wallsend (Miss Bond-field). A case was brought to my notice a little while ago. An employer told me that he had lost a contract and felt very much concerned about it. He said he had in his employ the son of the chairman of the board of directors, who had the placing of that contract. This son, having finished his work, went for a ride on a bike, fell off and broke his leg. His father tried to bring pressure to induce the employer to pay compensation. Naturally he refused to do so, as there was no legal liability on him; and the employer of the boy traced the loss of the contract, in his own judgment, to the fact that he would not respond to the coercion and intimidation of the father of the boy. Intimidation and coercion seem to be a part—and a very reasonable part on occasions—of our existence. I submit with all due respect that the right hon. Gentleman has found it extremely difficult to justify his action, and has been unable to give us typical or reasonable cases in support of his contention, and from his own experience during the general strike and lock-out, and having regard to the few cases that arose, and to the fact that the law is adequate to deal with such cases, I hope he will be satisfied with a mere declaration of the law, rather than increase the dangers to innocent-minded men and women.
§ Mr. HURST
The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Short) has given utterance to a good many arguments which, I venture to say, are fallacious, as he himself will recognise when he reads his own speech in to-morrow's OFFICIAL REPORT. He laid great stress on the fact that there had been no demand for this portion of the Bill from the Trade Union Congress, or from any trade unions which belong to that body. He might just as well point out that we get 1889 no petitions for capital punishment from convicted murderers. Of course, those persons who are interested in preserving intimidation, who believe in it as a legitimate method of industrial warfare, are the last people in the world to petition in favour of this particular Clause. The demand for this Clause and the mandate which the Government have to deal with this great national grievance do not emanate from the people who have been guilty of intimidation, but from those who have suffered from it. Those of us who are supporting this Clause today are not supporting it on behalf of any caucus like the Trade Union Congress.
§ Mr. HURST
Many of us represent great working-class constituencies where the hardship of intimidation has been most practically felt. My own constituency is a purely working-class constituency, where the prevalence of intimidation, the real danger of material and moral injury being suffered by anybody who goes to work at a time when there is an industrial dispute, is so great that people living there are asking to have liberty to be employed where they think fit, and to undertake work which they want to do at the wages which suit them without being intimidated by any outside organisations. Therefore, I cannot see any force in the suggestion that this Clause must be regarded as being taboo because no member of the Trade Union Congress is in favour of it. The fact that the Trade Union Congress does not support the Clause seems to me a very strong argument in favour of upholding it here.
What is it that Labour wants to support when it supports picketing? The only two objects of picketing are, first, the exercise of the power and right to persuade, and, secondly, the exercise of the power and the right to give information and to receive information. Is it essential in order to persuade, or to give or receive information, that the persuasion or the information must necessarily be accompanied by any form of intimidation? The hon. Member for Wednesbury has endeavoured to persuade the Committee and has given hon. Members on this side of the Committee information from his experience and from 1890 his reading, but he has endeavoured to persuade us and has given us that information without any attempt to exercise duress or coercion upon our wills. Nobody complains of any picket in the country exercising his lawful pursuit of picketing in the sense of seeking to persuade people and to give them information. It is only when the exercise of those persuasive powers and the giving of information are accompanied by coercive methods that the law regards picketing as an offence, and wishes to place picketing within due limits. The hon. Member also said that intimidation was a part of the reasonable life and ordinary existence of this country. Is that really so? When we read of some of the atrocious cases of intimidation that went on during the last great industrial dispute, I cannot conceive how anybody, however sympathetic he may have been towards the strike, or, if you like, the lock-out, can believe in such a negation of liberty as intimidation involves. Take what occurred in the St. Helen's coalfield, where, according to the report in a local paper, persons working at the Ashton Green pits were attacked by a mob of nearly 3,000 persons, including many women, and where every window in the house of James Scott, a colliery engineman, was broken by stones thrown by the mob. But however much you may believe in objecting to working people earning their living in the way they think fit at a time of industrial trouble, nobody will justify the collection of mole of 3,000 people indulging in a riot and window-breaking. In this ease the windows were broken, and that, is a clear case of intimidation and an act of coercion against which this Clause is aimed. [HON. MEMBERS: "No !"] Take the case of a check-weighman at a colliery in Kirby-in-Ash-field. This man was the chairman at a miners' mass meeting, and he said in August last:We are going to have a meeting tomorrow to try and keep men away from the pits by intimidation, no matter what the weapon, police or no police.That man was fined £25 for making a speech likely to cause disaffection for the reason that there is a distinction drawn between peaceful picketing and intimidation. The hon. Member for Wednesbury 1891 said that intimidation is simply part of the ordinary normal life of the industrial world in England.
§ Mr. SHORT
I am sure the hon. and learned Member does not wish to do me an injustice. I certainly did not imply that intimidation and coercion, in the sense in which he has been speaking, were associated with our industrial life. What I meant was that within our social life there was always a certain measure of coercion and intimidation from which we all suffer. In a sense a Member of Parliament is coerced when he goes into the Division Lobby, and I had that type of coercion in mind when I made that statement.
§ Mr. HURST
I think the hon. Member will recognise that there is a great deal of difference between his being coerced to go into the Socialist Lobby, and a man having the windows of his house broken and his family set upon by a mob. I will now turn to the only extension of the existing law referred to in this Clause, that is the extension from physical injury and the protection of life and property to moral injury. Let me give an example of what moral injury, that is the apprehension of moral injury, means as distinguished from a threat of personal violence. In this connection may I quote from the speech of Mr. Cook-a gentleman well known on the Socialist Benches—who made a speech on the 22nd August last at Mansfield, in which he said:The men and women present must take every opportunity to canvass every house where where miners who have signed on reside and persuade them not to go to work. We have the names and addresses of the blacklegs, and in future these men will never get a job in any other coalfield outside their own. We will see to that.There is nothing in those words which comes under personal violence or injury to property, but it is nevertheless a threat of a moral kind far more coercive than throwing stones or, as the Home Secretary put it, threatening to punch a man's head. This is far more potent and coercive, because it strikes at the man's chance of obtaining his livelihood in the future, and affects the very existence of his home and the maintenance of his family. Let me give another illustration. It is a quotation from the "Workers' Weekly" of 2nd August, 1926, describing 1892 the action of the men who went to work against the wishes of the mob during the miners' stoppage. It reads as follows:The scabs are escorted to and from the pit by armed police, from their doorsteps, followed by a huge crowd, hissing, booing and spitting vehemence at them. The four or five foremen and officials left have been obliged to live on the colliery premises as it has become too dangerous for them to venture out.It may be that "hissing, booing and spitting vehemence," or, perhaps, it should be said, "vehemently," are acts which do not threaten injury to a man's life or property, but they are evidence of the intention of the mob to intimidate by what is called moral suasion, but it is every bit as much intimidation as throwing stones, breaking windows or threatening to strike a man. Those are cases to which this Clause will apply, and I submit that the act of boycotting or moral persecution of a man and his family, even unaccompanied by any threats of personal intimidation, may be just as great an infringement of those principles of individual liberty which all parties profess to have at heart as the kind of intimidation which is already illegal. The right of picketing in order to give information may be sacred, but the right of a man to his own personal liberty is surely more sacred than picketing. It has never been the creed of any party, not even the Socialist party, to advocate the negation of liberty in such a way as to prevent a man working where he pleases, and doing all he wishes to do within the law. The present policy of the Socialist party is merely a negation of liberty as it prevents a man from working. This Clause, which aims at liberating a man from persecution, whether physical or moral is quite in harmony with those ideas of freedom which, at all events, have animated the Conservative party for generations, and which used to animate the Liberal party. I hope the time is far distant when a Committee of this House, by rejecting a proposal of this sort, will signify its belief in physical and moral violence as against the principles of liberty.
§ Mr. HARNEY
After listening to the speech of the hon. and learned Member who has just sat down, I have no hesitation in saying that there is nobody who 1893 opposes this Clause who would not be prepared to agree with every instance the hon. and learned Member has given in regard to his views on picketing. We all strongly object to the breaking of windows, spitting and booing, but our view is that the law is quite ample to deal with all those cases. That being so, what is gained by adding to this Bill a Clause which forbids all those things? Intimidation is dealt with in Section 7 of the Act of 1875, and the offences which the hon. and learned Member has put before us have been known for over 50 years. The real effect of this Clause is that it sets up a form of intimidation which the Court has already stated is beyond what is practical to deal with. There has always been a difficulty about drawing the line between that form of intimidation with which it is practical to deal and that which it is impossible for the hand of the law to reach. The line has been so drawn that the law for a century has been that you must behave yourselves one towards another, and not use such language as would be calculated to make a man commit a breach of the peace.
That is the extent to which the law can be pushed, and five judges have solemnly said that to intimidate means to do that which is likely to create a breach of the peace. In this Bill we are asked to do something very different, and I want to call attention to a specific case. This Bill says that it is not enough that your conduct or your language should bring you within the purview of the law to-day, and it is contended that we want a class of conduct to be made criminal which the Judges have always refused to make criminal, and that is language and demeanour. It is language and demeanour which create apprehension of a possible boycott, and it must be remembered that the administration of this new law is not in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman opposite but in the hands of the magistrates and the prosecuting counsel is there to win his case and he will press the magistrate to the last letter of the Act of Parliament. Let me give a case. We are not now dealing with illegal strikes, and that is quite clear, because they are dealt with under an earlier Clause, and those who commit any offences laid down in the earlier Clauses are already to be punished as criminals. 1894 We are now dealing with a totally different matter. We are not dealing to-day with innocent strikes, but with strikes of such a very innocuous and harmless character that they evade the mesh that is drawn by this Bill, and they are strikes which are so meritorious that they get the blessing of the Government. Those who take part in strikes of the kind which are now permitted will be considered to be men who are acting meritoriously and worthily, and in a strike of that character it will be perfectly legal for the unions to reprive a man of his benefit. In a strike of that character the striker can obtain the protection of Clause 2.
There are, however, very serious consequences if a striker breaks away from the union and the stoppage. Under Clause 3, if a non-striker goes up to a man and says, "Look here, are you aware of what you are doing? Do you know that if you continue this course of conduct you will be deprived of your benefit? Do you know you will have no claim for reinstatement and that henceforth you may have very great difficulty in getting a job? "That is the legal effect, but supposing the man were to say, "Very good, I will go to the magistrate," and he does so. What does the magistrate say? He has to find the incriminatory factor, not in the mind of the man who stands in the dock, but in the mind of the man who is prosecuting. That is the skull that he has to look into; and how is he to know what is in that skull except by what the man says? And what does the man say? He says, "I would not be here if I did not come to tell you I was frightened." And if he says he was frightened, how can a magistrate say otherwise? Therefore, we are in this extraordinary position, that henceforth it will be unsafe for well-meaning strikers to go up to a non-striker and remind him of the legal consequences of his action, because how can you measure the susceptibility of his temper? It strikes me as ludicrous. You might go up to John Jones and say to him, "Look here, do you know what you are doing?"—and he might say, "Oh, you be d—" You might go up to Peter Robinson and say the same thing, and the effect upon Peter Robinson might be, in the common phrase, to give him cold feet. It is really an extraordinary position. I know that the Home Secretary will 1895 pardon a personal allusion, but he is a most fair-minded and just man, and I know that he himself, in a case like this, would see that there was not a conviction; but he cannot sit on every bench, and what we have to be particular about, in framing an Act of Parliament like this, is that we do not throw out to all the tribunals—some biased, some stupid—throughout the Kingdom, an opportunity of inflicting punishment upon men who morally are really doing nothing wrong whatsoever.
Let no mistake be brought into this discussion by the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Moss Side (Mr. Hurst). He put it, and I am sure it is being put throughout the country, that this pious and good Government are simply bringing in an Act of Parliament to prevent cruel intimidation, and that this wicked Opposition, including the Liberals, are out for the continuance of intimidation. I am opposing this Clause, but am I out for the continuance of intimidation? To put it in that way to the country, as the hon. and gallant Member has put it to this Committee, is really not cricket—it is not fair to men who take up the position that I do. We are here to condemn this Clause because it puts a power in the hands of small and ill-informed tribunals to punish men for only manifesting towards others who have created resentment the same feelings that each one of us manifests every day of the year towards Persons who create resentment in us. As long as you get men to restrain their fists, and to restrain the violence of their tongues, it is perfectly impossible to go further, and say, "You shall restrain the look in your face; you shall restrain everything; and the test whether you restrain yourself enough is not subjectively, but objectively in the other man. "For these reasons I express once more by strong protest against this Clause. It is wholly and absolutely unnecessary. The right hon. Gentleman told us yesterday that in the first Subsection we are doing no more than declaring the law, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) rather supported him in that. I confess that I am a very ordinary man, and I cannot see to this hour why even Sub-section (1), standing as it is now, is not a direct 1896 material alteration of the law. Suppose that the existing law to-day were "Thou shalt not go out on a wet day," and then you bring in a new law which says:
§ "Clause 1.—Thou shall not go out on a wet day.
§ Clause 2.—But for the purposes of this Act 'fine' shall be deemed wet."
§ Is not that what it comes to? I would urge the Home Secretary at all events to show bona fide, and, now that the thrashing out of this Debate has made it so abundantly clear that intimidation in the real sense of the word is forbidden to-day, to drop this Clause altogether, and not make this provocative attempt, really, as it seems to me, for stunt purposes.
§ Sir B. PETO
I want to call the attention of the Committee to the real implication of the speech to which we have just listened from the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) It bears a close resemblance to the speech with which the Debate was opened yesterday by the ex-Solicitor-General. He attempted, as lawyers can with great success, to spin very fine, and draw pictures of some almost imaginary, or quite imaginary, results that may follow if the two Sub-sections of this Clause are passed into law. The hon. Member for South Shields was anxious to explain why some Members of the Liberal party are quite free to oppose this Clause, while being as strongly opposed to any form of intimidation as Members who sit on the Government Benches, and his method of doing so seemed to me to be the best example of straining at the gnat and swallowing the camel that I have ever heard. He explained that, because it was possible in some extraordinary case, under these words or otherwise, that someone doing a perfectly innocent thing might be convicted by an extraordinarily and exceptionally stupid bench of magistrates, therefore he was going to oppose the whole Clause, which in Sub-section (1) sets out the existing law, which Sub-section (2), as admitted by the Home Secretary, extends the law to cover a particularly cruel form of intimidation which carefully avoids personal violence or the threat of material damage.
Personally, I prefer, not being a lawyer and not being a Liberal, to take a simpler view of the matter, and to recognise that it is extraordinarily useful, in view of the. 1897 events of last year, to enunciate this year in the clearest possible terms—and I think the terms are extremely clear—what the law actually is; and so to go a very long way towards preventing, in the case of legitimate strikes—not, as I agree with the hon. and reamed Member, in the case of strikes which are dealt with in Clause 1—to go as far as we possibly can to prevent people from breaking the existing law under a total misapprehension of what that law is. I do not want to labour the point, which has already been put before the Committee, that a vast number of trade unionists who act as pickets are under the impression to-day that, once there is a trade dispute, there is practically no limit to what they can do. The reason why that impression has arisen in the minds of people is clear. Take the case of last year. It is not the picture that the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Short) drew, of a very few cases that actually came before the magistrates, when, as he said 3,000,000 were out in the general strike. The fact was, as we all know, that even in those few short days of the general strike, taking the case of omnibuses only, there were probably hundreds of cases in which omnibuses were stopped, broken down, the windows smashed, and the passengers intimidated, and it was perfectly impossible for the police to get level with a tithe, or even a hundredth part, of the cases of intimidation that were occurring even in the streets of the Metropolis. There is no question, however, that many people who performed those acts, and many who assembled in enormous crowds to try to prevent people from carrying on the essential services of the country, were under the impression that, once a strike was declared, they could do almost anything, and could picket and intimidate everyone at will.
Therefore, I think the Government are very well advised to lay down the law as it is, and, above all, to do something to prevent that particularly cruel form of intimidation—the intimidation of the workman through threats of what is going to happen to his home and to his wife and family, and, secondly, what will happen to him who escapes actual personal violence or even of material damage, but which is far more potent in many cases if the man is threatened with ostracisation from his fellow men, while at the same time it may be easy to show 1898 that he has not actually suffered a threat of personal violence or material damage. I thank God that in these matters some of us, at any rate, and all the supporters of the Government, can take a plain commonsense, simple view of these things. We are not concerned with fine-drawn phrases and with trying to prove that this Clause is going to do something or other which we all, and particularly the learned Gentlemen who have made these speeches, know perfectly well will not happen at all, or, if it happens at all, will not happen in one case in a thousand. I prefer to reject altogether this class of argument which tries to justify an opposition which some speakers know cannot really be justified at all, and to support this Clause, which I am convinced will not only be of immense utility, but which is affording, although it is not now fully known, enormous satisfaction, not to Tories or employers, but to the vast majority of the employed people in this country, who want some share of freedom and some return to the clays when they could exercise their own will to a certain extent without fear of trade union tyranny.
§ Mr. WELLOCK
I desire to support the rejection of this Sub-section. I was astonished at the conclusion to which the Home Secretary came, after the speech that he made. I admired the right hon. Gentleman for his remark in regard to the conduct of the events of last year by the trade unions. I believe he was perfectly sincere in those remarks, but it seems to me that the logic of what he said in that regard points to the fact that the workers generally who were out on strike ought, instead of being attacked by a tightening of the law, to have even a larger measure of freedom. I remember from the days of my boyhood how I have been amongst strikers and have met them at very close quarters. I remember that 20 or 30 years ago, in a local strike, at one particular factory in one particular town, after the third day we had a minor riot, on the fourth day we had the volunteers called in, and on the fifth day we probably had some blank cartridge. There has been a vast improvement since those days, and the trade unions themselves have taken up this question of discipline to such a remarkable degree that I think we may well leave it to the workers themselves and to the trade 1899 union organisations to carry out the law as it stands at present. I maintain that, if you put such loose phrasing as there is in Sub-section (2) into the hands of most benches to-day, like the phrase "a reasonable apprehension," or "injury other than physical or material injury," and everything that was included in the words which the Government have taken out already, referring to ridicule and so on, all this will actually be included in the operation of the law.
I would like to point out to the Government that there is still a tremendous amount of prejudice, even on the part of hon. Members opposite, in regard to trade unions. I know that they do not like to confess it, but nevertheless it is there. I think I can prove it from things which have happened since I came into the House, and I am one of the latest entrants to it. Time after time reference has been made to the stoppage of last year. Time after time hon. Members opposite have refused to call that stoppage a lock-out. Was it a lock-out or was it not? If it was not, there never was and there never will be a lock-out. The miners were asked to accept lower wages, longer hours and district agreements, otherwise they were not to go into the mines. That was a lock-out. If hon. Members opposite will not accept that simple fact, and if they say it is not a strike, we can understand that throughout the country as a whole there will be a tremendous amount of prejudice still in regard to operating any kind of law which deals with strikes. There are a considerable number of constituencies where the trade union movement has not got the hold it has in others. You may take areas where there is a staple industry, like mining or cotton, where everyone is used to the operation of trade unions. There there is no trouble. But coming to areas where you have small industries and the trade unions are weak, the position is altogether different, and you have benches of magistrates who simply cannot carry out in the spirit of the Home Secretary the law that is placed in their hands. I know constituencies where there are 50,000 electors and not more than six Labour people on the various magistrates' benches. In those constituencies there are many small employers on the benches who are chock-full 1900 of prejudice against trade unions and the workers in regard to all industrial disputes.
The key people in strikes and lockouts are the pickets and blacklegs. It is worth while to concentrate for a moment upon that fact. The whole issue in the settlement of a strike or lock-out rests upon the conduct of these people. To be quite frank, I have been very much concerned to know why there should be such a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for this Bill on the part of hon. Members opposite. I cannot forget what I witnessed when the Second Reading Division took place. I saw such an assembly in the House as I have not seen on any other occasion. I naturally asked why had these people come from the four corners of the land for this Bill when they cannot come for any other. I was told they had come to defend the liberties of a very small minority. It is worth while to inquire into the nature of the liberties of that small minority. Who are the people with whom we are concerned in the carrying on of a strike or lock-out? You have three types of workers. You have, in the first place, a very small section of workers who are conscious of their trade union history and of the struggles of their fathers. These are the real leaders. You have behind these a big body of men and women who are vaguely conscious of these things. They have a sufficiently strong instinct to know that it is their duty to stand by these leaders, and to stand on behalf of the strike. You have another small class that is chiefly composed of people who have never done any thinking at all, people who are nearly always at the fag-end, as far as their material resources are concerned, and they are not concerned about what happens as long as they have something to eat and drink, people who will say in almost any circumstances, "Half a loaf is better than none." It is these people whom hon. Members opposite are coming out to defend.
The situation comes to this. Here you have a large body of people who are out on strike, or concerned in a stoppage. The matter is one of longer or shorter hours or of wages, and these people are prepared to work either for longer hours or for lower wages than the rest of their fellows. Here you come to the issue in 1901 regard to intimidation. The crisis comes when people generally are getting to-wards breaking-point. At that time you have the Press coming in. They send into the district special men who send reports and work up the national feeling if it happens to be a national strike. You have requests for more policemen and you have the importation of a large number of police, as occurred in the stoppage of last year, and when it comes to the point when there is a likelihood of breaking down the strike, then comes the critical time, and when you have your extra police and your pressmen and so on, the feeling is so high at this point that you take the key-men in the dispute to Court. Sitting on the bench are men who are little employers and so on, and in those conditions you cannot possibly have the law carried out in the spirit suggested by the Home Secretary.
For these reasons, I feel that we are putting into the hands of local magistrates a weapon that they ought not to have, and it will simply mean that when you come into this situation everything that was in the mind of the Government when they brought in the phrase about hatred, contempt and ridicule—all those conditions will actually have been brought into operation, and no kind of picketing will be allowed whatever. On the other side, you simply cannot hit at the employers in the same way that you can hit at the men. A fortnight ago I was in my own constituency, and a man I know well, a most respected man in his village, asked me if I knew he had got the sack. I said, "No, what is the matter? "He said, "A few days after the election one of the bosses came to me and said, 'They tell me you were canvassing for Wellock.' I said, 'Yes, I was. Have I not a right to?' 'Oh, well, I suppose so,' and nothing more was said." About ten days later that man was stopped. He had no proof that he had been stopped for that reason, but he knew very well in his own mind. It is all very well for members of the legal profession to say we have the law in our hands, but how can this man go into Court, even from a financial point of view, and even if the union took it up, what would be the result even if he won the case? There is not an employer either in that area or in any part of the country, if he knew it, who would employ that man. The result must be to 1902 throw the man on his beam ends. I strongly support the deletion of the Subsection.
§ Sir ELLIS HUME-WILLIAMS
I should not have intervened but, for some observations of the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney). He painted a picture, beautifully sketched and coloured but totally inaccurate in its details. He said, "Supposing a striker attends at the private house of a non-striker and, in the most agreeable and affable way, beginning a conversation, I suppose over a cup of tea or something of that kind, the striker, in well-chosen, temperate language, points out to the non-striker that the consequences for him will be disastrous if he does not join the strikers. After a pleasant conversation, and, one hopes, the consumption of an appropriate amount of refreshment, the non-striker suddenly says, "I am frightened" and goes off to the Police Court and takes out a summons. Thereupon, says the hon. and learned Gentleman, the man who is summoned will certainly be convicted under this Bill, and the words on which he relies to justify the statement arein such manner as to be calculated to intimidate any person.There is not a police magistrate in the country who would convict a man in those circumstances. It is a purely imaginary picture from beginning to end. The magistrate would have to determine whether what the striker had done was calculated to frighten him, and no magistrate would come to any such ridiculous, insensate conclusion that what the striker had done was calculated to frighten this tame rabbit. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument may be discarded altogether. Nothing is more easy to follow, and very often more effective, than a good illustration, but the worst kind of argument is a bad illustration which is not founded upon fact.
May I say a general word about the Clause. I yield to no one in my longstanding support of trade unions. Ever since I have been in political life at all, now more years than I care to remember, I have always pointed out, in every public speech I have made on the subject, that trade unions are not only necessary but useful organisations, which place tremendous power and responsibility in 1903 the hands of their leaders. The time will come, it has come in the history of all great countries, when an organisation started for one object—in this case industrial; in other countries it has often been religious—has become powerful politically, and become a danger to the community. Is there any hon. Member on those benches who in his conscience can deny that trade unions have recently been aspirants for political power?
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
I am sorry, but so many of the speakers have been travelling beyond the Amendments that I thought, perhaps, I was justified in doing the same. Let me return to what is more apposite, at any rate. Having this admiration for the trades unions, I cannot understand the opposition to this particular Clause. I can understand a great deal that has been said, and a great deal of the opposition to the Bill as a whole. Just think what really happens when there is a strike. There are angry men, very often justifiably angry. There are hot-headed but irresponsible speakers who inflame. It is a very easy thing when a man feels he has been wronged and is suffering, to capture his sympathy with the eloquence that is undoubtedly possessed by some of these hot-headed people. I do not mean the recognised responsible leaders of the trade union. In my experience they do not do that, but there is a mass of these hot-headed firebrands who go about the country. I am speaking of my own experiences, because I have had them in large numbers in the constituency which I have the honour to represent. As a result, the men, quite naturally, are apt to get out of control. They assemble, as we know from experience, in large numbers, and they do, at present, intimidate the non-strikers. Some of the words read to the Committee this afternoon by leaders have practically invited the very kind of intimidation which this Bill is to be passed to stop. They do not say it in words. But the quoted speeches show that these inflammatory addresses are made, and that the finger points very clearly to the remedy and the action that is suggested, and it is followed, 1904 undoubtedly, by just the sort of intimidation that hon. Members opposite must, and do, condemn.
I do not suppose that there is a single Member sitting opposite who, if he saw that going on, if he was on the spot, would not do his best to stop it in the interests of the strikers and of the dignity and reputation of the trade unions to which they belonged. Unfortunately, experience has shown us that they cannot always be there. The attempts that they make to stop this are ineffective, and it is the local agitation, the local anger, and the local inflammatory speeches that lead to the lamentable results to which this Clause is designed to put an end. I venture to suggest to hon. Members opposite—I am venturing, perhaps, all too boldly to appeal to them primarily—that if you consider this Clause, if you look into your own experience and think of the general stoppage that occurred some time ago, and think of the cases that must be within the knowledge of individual Members, we all of us know dozens of cases in which men have really been frightened, ill-treated and intimidated, not as a result of any orders given by the trade union, but on account of the inflammatory speeches made to them when their temper was such that they would listen to bad advice. This Clause is designed to protect innocent men and give them the liberty to which they are entitled, either to give their work or to refuse their work without, at any rate, being subjected to insults and intimidation. If this Clause does that, if it is properly framed—and I do not think anyone has suggested any improvement of it—surely, it commends itself to the common sense and loyalty of members, first of trade unions, and secondly, of this Committee.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
The hon. and learned Member who has just addressed the House assured us that this Bill was directed mainly at firebrands, and, therefore, should have the support of every law-abiding citizen. I wonder whether he has any acquaintance at all with the history of the firebrands of his own side of the House? I wonder whether he studied closely the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman who is now in charge of the Bill. I am quite sure, if he has studied the Home Secretary's speeches and is satisfied that they are not outrageous and in intimidatory language, 1905 nothing the mild leaders of trade unionism in this country will do is likely to offend him. I wonder, also, if he has ever read certain well-known speeches delivered by another Member of the present Government, the Secretary of State for India. I have in my hand a quotation from one of his speeches that runs like this:To your tents, O Israel ! From this moment we shall stand side by side refusing to recognise any law, and prepared to risk the collapse of the whole body politic to prevent this monstrous crime.The monstrous crime was the passing of the Home Rule Bill, which is now regarded as a very moderate proposal compared with the legislation to deal with the same problem that has since been placed on the Statute Book.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This also, as in the case of the last speaker, goes somewhat beyond a definition of intimidation.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
I was only reminding the hen. and learned Gentleman of the intimidation that had been practised on a previous Government in this country without arousing any serious indignation. The hon. and learned Member told us, also, that this was not a Measure that should appeal to lawyers. Well, if the particular Clause that we are now discussing is not the darling of the lawyers, I cannot for a moment think of what that darling is. I listened to the speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and he tried to give an explanation, when I questioned him as to how he would define injury that was neither material nor physical. He boggled over the answer for about five minutes, and then said, "Oh ! the Judge will decide." The right hon. Gentleman who has a share of the responsibility for drafting the Bill, and for defending it in this Committee cannot for the life of him explain the words in this Sub-section, but he says, in effect, "Do not let us trouble about the meaning of these words: leave the decision to the Judge." I am sure that before the Judge decides, he will require all the learned assistance that can be obtained from the right hon. Gentleman's profession. The Sub-section does not, as was suggested by the Member who has just spoken, talk about a threat "being reasonably calculated to frighten a person." It talks about causing in his mind "reasonable apprehen 1906 sion." If a man goes into Court and swears that something, even the most vague thing—because there is no definition afforded in the Bill—has caused in his mind "reasonable apprehension" that he is to suffer in some way for performing a legal act, how can he be disproved? When a complainant has sworn physical or material damage or a threat of damage, one might produce rebutting evidence against the statement that had been made. When it is a matter of how a thing affects a man's mind, the man alone is capable of knowing how it affects his mind, and if he swears that it creates "reasonable apprehension" in his mind, can the hon. and learned Gentleman, or the Home. Secretary, explain to us, how it is possible for anyone else to prove that that does not create in his mind "reasonable apprehension"?
We are told, also, that this provision is to protect the minority in a trade dispute, and very eloquent and touching appeals are made to us, and very harrowing tales are told to us of how minorities suffer in a trade dispute. I submit that it is the majority that requires protection in a trade dispute, and not the minority. I submit, in all seriousness to the hon. and learned Gentleman, that it is always the minority that defeats the majority. If the minority succeeds in breaking a strike, they compel the majority, against their will, to accept the terms of the employers. The majority regard these terms as inadequate and unjust. They are prepared to suffer in their resistance to these terms. The employers, in many cases, are powerless to defeat them, but the minority, whose assistance is obtained by hook or by crook, can be brought in to do blackleg labour, and it is they who defeat the majority. That majority is reasonably entitled to adequate protection against the action of such a minority. It is because the community has always taken the reasonable view that the majority could be protected against the renegade minority, that a considerable amount of latitude has been given in picketing and in the carrying on of a trade dispute. I hope that this Amendment will be reconsidered by the Government. The vagueness of it alone is sufficient to justify its withdrawal, but whether it be approved by the Committee or not. I am satisfied that public opinion will declare that the majority of trade 1907 unionists in carrying on a trade dispute and seeking a reasonable settlement of their claims, are entitled to more latitude than is contemplated under this Sub-section.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. GROTRIAN
I had not intended to intervene in this discussion, and I do not wish to do so now as a lawyer, because I cannot help feeling that most of the lawyers who have intervened have not increased their reputation as lawyers. Of course, I distinctly exclude the learned Attorney-General and the Home Secretary, but some others have not increased their reputations. I want to say, that I intervened in this Debate as a strong supporter—as I always have been—of trade unions. I have been connected with various industries during my lifetime, and I have always resisted any attempt to turn a union office into a nonunion office. In one of the enterprises with which I and my family have been connected for many years we had not had a strike for 100 years until last May. I am sure that we on this side are all as glad as hon. Members opposite to see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) once more in his place, and we all trust his health has been restored to him. As I was saying, one of the industries I am connected with never had a strike for 100 years until last May, and even then, although the men did come out, they apologised to us for so doing and said they were bound to obey orders, as they would lose the benefits for which they had subscribed if they did not come out. Although I have always been a strong supporter of trade unionism, I cannot but feel a horror at some of the methods of some trade unionists. The methods by which some trade unionists terrorise in the most cruel manner, not the men themselves but their wives and children, are much to be deprecated. If this Clause be passed, it will do a great deal to remedy that, and therefore it has my support.
It has been said more than once from the other side, "We do not object so much to the Clause, but look at the magistrates who have to deal with it ! Look how biased they are. How are they going to interpret these words?" I have occasionally heard in this House 1908 criticisms of magistrates, but whatever criticism one may make of them, it is not true to say that as a rule they are biased. I admit that their law is bad very often—I was going to say "rotten" but I will amend that, and say often very bad—but I have always found on all the benches I have sat on—and I am a magistrate in three counties—that they lean strongly toward the accused. They are most merciful in their actions, and always give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, I for one, at any rate, have no fear that the men who will be brought before most benches of magistrates will suffer from that. For these, and for other reasons, I support this Clause.
§ Mr. J. BAKER
We have been asked why we on this side are opposed to this Clause. I listened carefully to the speech of the Home Secretary earlier to-day, and he may be interested to know the effect of that speech on me. I was watching his face when he was listening to the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) and I believe he was sincere when he said he had carefully listened to it. In his reply he two or three times repeated an expression like this: "That was under the old system." The effect of those words on my mind was that the Cabinet, or whoever is promoting this Bill, had realised perfectly clearly that the old system had failed, and therefore there bad to be something new which would be more oppressive on trade unionism than was the old system.
The hon. Member who moved the deletion of this Sub-section asked, "How will it work?" I have had occasion to see the old system in operation. I have been a picket but I managed to escape the clutches of the law. Probably I was a bit cautious; others were not so lucky. We had a strike in a town that went on for 13 weeks. There were two young men in the club-room who decided in my hearing, after chatting, to go to the theatre quite near. They left the club-room and just as they were passing out of the door, two blacklegs were passing the door. Going in the same direction they passed a police station and a policeman on duty and those two young men went to the theatre. When they were summoned later on, the Court was assured that they had not spoken to those blacklegs and had not threatened or interfered with them in any shape or form, but they 1909 were fined two guineas each for watching and besetting. That was the old system, and that system is to be tightened up because it has failed to prevent picketing. I do not think the new system will be any more effective than the old. When those young men were in Court, the first thing that happened was that a gentleman on the Bench rose and said he was a shareholder in the works where the strike occurred and if there was any objection to his acting he would not act. There were other directors on that Bench who said they were there but were not acting as magistrates though they were magistrates. There was no person there with a trade unionist view of that particular situation.
The hon. Member who spoke last said he had never found magistrates biased. Why? Because they have all agreed with him. That is perfectly obvious. They have been all of his type of mind and type of thought. The bench of magistrates who tried those two young men believed that that strike was a public nuisance and if they had had the power they would have suppressed the whole thing. They could not help it. The Home Secretary is promoting this Measure, and he believes it is going to be a public service. I think that the Measure is a public danger, and will create rather than allay industrial unrest.
If I had been speaking on an earlier Clause I should have liked to have told the Committee of the effect of this Measure on my own organisation. I am not going to do it because I am afraid I should be out of order. I had another similar experience of how this thing works. There was a dispute at a firm and in the past the managing director of that firm had been a sort of father to the whole district. He had built up the district and had built up the works, and like other fathers, he thought he was entitled not merely to respect from his children, but obedience. When he imposed conditions on his workmen to which they objected, they went on strike. The road to those works was a public highway. There was a plot of vacant land 15 or 20 feet from that public highway. A group of strikers assembled on that spot of land to see who was going to work. That was their object. They neither spoke to nor threatened, nor in 1910 terfered with those workmen going to work, but a trade union organiser who happened to be in the group was selected and charged with molesting a man who went to work. That trade union organiser declared to me he had never spoken to that man in his life.
The case went to Court. Certain workmen who were in that group were summoned as witnesses, but owing to some technical defect the case could not be ended in that first Court, and it was adjourned. Then those workmen who had gone as witnesses for the trade union organiser wrote to me complaining that they had been told by their foreman that they would not be permitted to have time off to attend the Court on future occasions. Both the managing director of those works and his son were magistrates. Both of them were in Court and on the bench when the case was tried on the second occasion. Yet we are told that those men are men who are not biased. A man who has interfered with the operation of the law, and prevented a citizen going to give evidence, is not biased ! Well, trade unions have their ways, and I am not going to give the game away by telling what we did, but that trade union organiser was not sent to gaol; he preferred to come to this House. A long time after that, that trade union organiser was told by a policeman at the works, which was supposed to be the plaintiff in that case, that it was a put-up job. That is the administration of the law as we get it.
During the recent great strike I was not well, and could not take that part in it I would have liked to, but I read the Press, and I observed this most astounding thing, that Labour magistrates were actually prevented from acting in cases where trade unionists were sued for watching, or besetting, or intimidating, or something else, which the Government are trying to make a greater crime under the Bill. That is our difficulty. That is how the law is administered. So long as an Act of Parliament has said fairly clearly—though they are rather difficult to under-stand—what we could do, or what we could not do, we have been able to argue the case in Court, but this is not going to be a matter of law. It is going to be a matter of opinion, not merely an opinion on the part of a man who is 1911 genuinely afraid, but a matter of opinion on the part of the man who sits on the bench. We have had an hon. Member in this House making the statement that he thought all sympathetic strikes ought to be made illegal, and that gentleman was a magistrate. He might have to try me one of these days for doing something which he thinks, if it is not illegal, ought to be illegal, and if he gets half a chance of sending me to gaol—well, I will probably glory in it. That is why we are objecting to this—not that we want to be brutal or to intimidate, or to cause fear or make these people suffer. Our view is not spite; it is sorrow that they are so silly as to be traitors to their own class and support their enemies. We are sorry for them. We do not want to punish them; but we realise clearly, more clearly than the Home Secretary appears to do, that the workman who has gone to work when the majority of his fellow-workmen think he ought not, and who seeks police protection, is already afraid before he has been spoken to. I have talked to a man going down the street, with a policeman on either side, and the policemen not interfering, so long as the man was willing to talk to me, and I have persuaded the man to leave the two policemen and come away with me, and the police have not interfered. On the other hand, I have been told where I could go to when I have spoken to a blackleg. I had to suffer that, under the law, and I had no redress, for fear of greater consequences.
That is one side of it. We have another side. We feel that the whole position to-day is brutally unfair and that this Bill will make it worse. I have seen a blackleg parading the main street of a town, carrying a loaded revolver, in company with one of the foremen out of the works, and to prevent a riot I have had to go to the police headquarters and ask the police superintendent if he had any men about and, if so, would he get them into the High Street at once. The police superintendent wished me and my strike in the other spot, and I sympathised with him. He turned his men out, and he had to clear the main street. Anything might have happened. A trade unionist with three pints of beer would have defied that revolver and there would have been a 1912 riot, and all the police in the town would not have saved that blackleg.
That is how the law is administered. The representative of a firm can come out, like an Irishman, and say, "Who will tread on the tail of my coat?" and there may be some idiot on our side who would be as keen for a fight as that man. But who would be sent to gaol? Not the man who incited, not the instigator of the fight, but the man who would be condemned by the whole public, although he would be suffering, for doing a legal act in trying to improve his social conditions. These are a few of the reasons why I think this Sub-section ought to be withdrawn. If this Government were keen about improving the social conditions of the workers of this country, they could achieve their object much more quickly than by introducing repressive legislation.
§ Mr. DUNCAN
I have listened very attentively to the Debate this afternoon, and what strikes me more than anything else is that we have had a considerable number of speeches from those who are supposed to be learned in the law, and the strange thing is that while they are supposed to be shedding wonderful light upon the Debate, not two of them agree in their opinion as to the legislation we are now discussing. The logical deduction from that is, that if those who are supposed to be learned in the law cannot understand this legislation in this House, where the law is being made, how much more difficult will it be for those who may be involved, even in a lawful dispute, to understand this legislation? Those hon. Members who have addressed us from the legal point of view must see that, despite all their efforts and their knowledge and experience, which is very long, the form of words adopted in this Clause is such that it is creating a new misdemeanour under the law.
In considering these matters we must have a sense of proportion. On one occasion, when I was in America, I visited St. Louis. There was a strike on at the time, and in the first week three men were shot dead. I took the trouble, in visiting many cities in America, to look around the shops and to find out how many were selling pistols, and it was rather an astonishing thing to me to realise what a wonderful difference there was between this old country 1913 and the new country, the land of liberty, in regard to these matters. I have moved a good deal about the Continent of Europe, as well as America, and I have come to the conclusion, and I am sure the Home Secretary agrees with me, that there has been a very great change and improvement in this country. I make bold to say, and I do not think anyone in this House will dispute it, that the people of this country are the most law-abiding people in the world. Let us recall what happened last year. We had, perhaps, the greatest stoppage of labour the world has even seen. The Home Secretary was in charge then with the Emergency Powers Act. We had millions of men out, with their wives and children, involved in this tremendous struggle arid stoppage of labour, and out of the whole business I understand there were, roughly, about 2,800 prosecutions. There were, probably, 1½ or 2 prosecutions per thousand of the people involved. If we multiply the number of people involved by the number of days which the dispute lasted, we find that it was the most wonderful demonstration that the world has ever seen of the peaceful nature of the people of this country, who were involved in a tremendous dispute, where there were probably greater issues than have ever been raised in any dispute in this country before.
Despite the fact that in the first instance there were a million miners involved, and that 3,000,000 and more were also involved in the general stoppage, call it the tragic stoppage of labour if you like, was it not wonderful that the whole event passed off with such slight disturbance? It has been rather astonishing to me to note the attitude displayed in this House towards what took place last year. It has been magnified out of all proportion from some points of view. I was in the thick of it from start to finish. I have never been up for picketing; I have never been in gaol, and I dare say I have handled as many strikes as any man in this country. I would remind hon. Members that when the War broke out, every strike or dispute in which my union was involved was stopped that very day, and that was true of every trade union in the country. Hon. Members opposite seem to have forgotten these things. If it had not been for the trade unionists of this 1914 country, this Bill would have been introduced in this House, not in English, but in German. If it had not been for the trade unionists, this country would never have survived that war. Not only those who joined the ranks and fought, but the millions who remained at home to produce the munitions of war, enabled the country to pull through.
This Sub-section suddenly widens out the whole character of the misdemeanours of which trade unionists are liable to be guilty in the future. The injury in the past has been material or physical injury, but under this Bill the injury can be other than physical and material. I have been a good many years in this House, and I can remember the Debates on the question of Home Rule. What has been the position in Ireland? There has been no picketing in Ireland, but what has been called coercion and boycott. I am confident that what will arise out of this business is that which troubled Ireland in the serious trouble of the past 30 years. You will find boycott. There is no law that this House can pass that will stop boycotting. If you once get to that, I am confident that what you complain of then will he infinitely worse than anything that happens to-day.
Some hon. Members opposite have very crude ideas of trade unions. When I came into this House 21 years ago, a Labour Member seemed to be looked upon as almost like a mad dog. We have travelled a good distance since then. I am not afraid to put my head against that of any any man; I am not afraid to stand my corner and state my case against anyone, but when I know that the law is going to be twisted, the net is going to be widened, the trap-door is to be set a little wider in order to bring people within the law and make those people criminals, I protest. Those people are just as good as anyone sitting in this House, just as loyal as anyone in this House, just as good citizens as anyone in this House, and it is possible that many of those men against whom this legislation is aimed will sit in this House as the years go by, and the Labour party sit opposite. I do not mind this legislation; get on with it. We shall see what comes of it. If the idea of the Government is to prevent the development of trade union organisation in this country, to put a difficulty in the way of the development of the people of this 1915 country, they never made a greater mistake. This legislation will react on the party responsible for the introduction of it. Just as the Taff Vale judgment brought the Labour party into this House, this Act will probably bring a Labour Government.
§ Mr. COMPTON
I urge the Government to withdraw this Clause. If there is one Clause more than another which is outstanding in its one-sidedness, it is this Clause in its endeavour to deal only with one particular section. As far as I can see, if we pass this Clause as it stands, there is only one possible method of picketing, and that is that the individual who returns to work may receive a letter from those who wish to interview him, stating that they are prepared to call at his house at a reasonable hour and that a police escort may be necessary to accompany the individuals concerned. That is something which is absolutely impossible in connection with trade union or industrial work.
So far as picketing is concerned, we have heard very little with regard to the so-called cases of intimidation to which Ministers have been referring constantly up and down the country. I remember one instance, and it is only one of many which occurred during the period of the general strike. Three men had returned to work and were being escorted to their homes by quite a large number of policemen. As they passed some people in the street one of the blacklegs turned round and spoke to the policeman, who quietly informed him to walk on in front as he was there as his escort and did not want to be associated with him in any way or talk to him during such a humiliating proceeding. But there is a form of intimidation which is being practised, as far as the workmen are concerned, which this Bill will not touch. There is the intimidation on the part of the employer. The right hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) quoted a large number of cases of intimidation on the part of the employers during trade disputes. But this is a proceeding that goes on all the time week after week, day in and day out, and if there is any industrial unrest in the country to-day this is a very fruitful source of that unrest.
1916 Let me give a case in point. The members of my own organisation are concerned in the manufacture of vehicles. There are certain types of shops, and one type is known as a contract shop for the building, of railway carriages. A contract may last for four or six months. Then the men are "stood off." They receive their insurance cards and cannot obtain employment again until a new contract comes along, probably in five or six weeks' time. A few miles away is a railway company which builds its own carriages. It requires workmen; and the instance to which I desire to refer now is one in which the men were "stood off" by the contract, firm and were sent by the officials of the Employment Exchange to the railway company. They went and obtained employment. They took their tools to the shops, but when they got to the shops of the railway company they were told that although men were being started from all parts of the country they were not suitable for the employment, and, therefore, they could not be started. I inquired from the officials of the Employment Exchange haw this came about, but I was unable to get any information. I did not interfere with the shop from which the men were discharged, but I went to the representatives of the railway company which first of all employed them and then refused to allow them to start.
I will refer to these two companies under the names A and B, but if their names are required I am prepared to give them, and if I do so it will not reflect very much on the credit of a right hon. Gentleman opposite, to whom I have already given notice that I intend to raise this question. The right hon. Gentleman opposite is a director of both these companies. In the shop A the men were turned out of their employment because there was no more work for them. They were forced to seek unemployment relief. The Employment Exchange officials put them into employment, and the same director, in the capacity of a director of the other company, gave instructions to the general manager that they were not to be employed. I do not think a worse type of intimidation can be brought before this House, than a case in which men are forced to remain unemployed simply through the action of a politician, who 1917 understands very little about the industrial conditions of this country and who has received certain directorships mainly because of his political activities. This more than anything else has been responsible for the unrest in industry since the Armistice in 1918. The matter is deplorable and nothing short of a social scandal.
I would not have raised this question but for the fact that, after receiving certain advice, my executive council took steps whereby we shall be able in future to defend the members of our organisation against this kind of intimidation. I will give the names of these firms. The name of the firm from which the men were discharged is the Gloucester Carriage and Wagon Company, and they obtained employment at the Great Western Railway Company in their works at Swindon. The gentleman who is a director of these two companies, and to whom I have given a written notice that I intended to raise this question, is the right hon. Member for the Hillhead Division of Glasgow (Sir Robert Horne). Trade unionists are very often charged with introducing politics into the industrial world. The very reverse is the case. The industrial world has been upset because politicians knowing nothing about industry have entered into it.
§ Mr. COMPTON
I understood you were prepared to allow anything concerning intimidation to be discussed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The definition of "intimidation" is for the purposes of Sub-section (1) in Sub-section (2). Yesterday's Debate was on the whole Clause. I did not interfere with the hon. Member because I thought he was bringing in any new definition of intimidation, but because he is referring to the activities of politicians, which is really beyond the scope of the Sub-section.
§ Mr. COMPTON
I understood we should be allowed to raise the question of intimidation by the employers on Sub-section (2).
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have allowed the hon. Member to put his case, but now I think he is going into the rather general 1918 ground as to the activities of politicians, and that seems to be rather beyond the scope of the Sub-section.
§ Mr. COMPTON
I should like to ask the Solicitor-General, who is in charge of the Bill at the moment, if this is going to be applied to all types of trade unionists. Will the Law Society be included in this kind of intimidation One can even intimidate a trade union. We have had very little to do with the law, but my own society had an action in the Law Courts not a long while ago and we found ourselves up against a kind of intimidation that was not at all creditable to a trade union. After a two days' hearing of the case the gentleman who had marked his brief at a certain amount gave us the intimation that before he rose to put our case he would require an extra 50 guineas because he found that counsel on the other side was receiving more than he had marked on his own brief. Is that the kind of intimidation that will come within this Clause? If the Solicitor-General wants to reply at once I will certainly give way——
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)
The hon. Member need not have paid, because he would have found many hundreds of competent people in the profession who would have done the work very well for a smaller fee.
§ Mr. COMPTON
We instructed our solicitor to engage the best man be could get, and we got one of the highest in his profession. After the case had gone on for two days we got this bombshell thrown at us.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not know whether this is in order or not. Was the action of this learned counsel "such as to cause in the mind of a person a reasonable apprehension of injury"?
§ Mr. COMPTON
It certainly caused an amount of reasonable apprehension and fear to us, not only in mind but in pocket. And what is more, we had no recourse but to pay. Intimidation can be carried under this Clause to a very considerable extent indeed, and I hope that those in charge of the Bill will see their way to withdraw it. Not that it will be of any great benefit to the Bill as a whole, but there is apprehension in the minds of trade unionists that this Bill is 1919 intended not for their especial benefit but for quite a different object. It may as well be said now that, so far as intimidation is concerned, whether under this Bill or under the older Act of Parliament, trade unions will not be intimidated from carrying on the work they have done so successfully for the past 100 years. This particular Clause, or any other Clause, will be met in the same manner in which they have met other attempts which had been put forward to interfere with their activities. It has been said that the Government owes its existence to a Red letter; the trade unions of this country are determined to make this Bill a dead letter when it becomes an Act.
§ Mr. NEVILLE
I have listened to a large portion of this Debate and I think hon. Members opposite have dealt quite fairly with a very difficult subject, and one which is much older than the questions dealt with by this Bill. Hon. Members opposite talk about the employers and the employed as though the employers were the enemies of the employed. That is a very great pity. I do not think we should look upon this matter from the point of view of two armed camps. This country is the one country that cannot afford to have the continual disturbances in the industrial world which we have had for the past 20 years or more. No country depends so much upon its export trade as this country, and when you look at it from that point of view it is very pitiful that we should deal with these matters as from two armed camps. We should look at it from the point of view of what is reasonable. Objection is taken to the use of the word "intimidate," but no one has suggested any other word to express what is intended. The right hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) said that nobody can tell what is meant by intimidation. It is certainly not an easy word to define, but it is a word which is ordinarily used, and although it is a word which has no definite meaning, in the sense of having a meaning which everybody can tell, I think there is no other word which expresses better what is meant by compulsion upon independence and will.
All that we have to be certain of is that it is applied to men of ordinary con- 1920 stancy and independence of character. If you have a weakling, or a nervous person, who is easily frightened, as many people are, you have to deal with him from the point of view of a man with a reasonably independent will and of reasonable constancy. This question is not a new one to the law. It is one which occurs constantly, and Judges have to deal with it. There is a large line of cases in which this matter has been discussed, quite apart from any criminal question. Some people are sensitive to noises. There are some people who cannot bear a piano, or church bells. There are some who cannot stand the noise of roundabouts or the whistling for cabs. But when it comes to a question as to whether the personal comfort of the individual has been interfered with all the Court does is to ask: "Is this man an ordinary man of a reasonable type of mind, or is he one of those miserable nervous people who are continually looking out when their comfort is being interfered with," and provided the man who is affected by the nuisance is an ordinary man and not too susceptible to noises the Court says it is an infringement of his comfort. It is a common question which comes up daily in the Courts, and is not one of any special matter. There are, of course, people who are interested personally in these matters, who sit upon these Benches, but I think that is a great pity and I hope steps will be taken against it, and I hope every Labour man brought before such a Bench will challenge the right of any person to sit on the Bench who is personally interested. He has the right to challenge, and I take it that, in any Court, a Judge would uphold him.
But what the Court would have to decide is this: Are the acts such as to affect a man of independent stamp of mind and ordinary constancy? When I say independent, it seems to me that that is the thing we in England think more about than anything else. We have thought a good deal of the liberty of being independent, and when an hon. Member on the other side talked about the minority coercing the majority, I suppose it was a sort of joke. He thought that all the minority ought immediately to be pushed into gaol. But all that any Court would have to say is: Are the acts acts which would interfere with the reasonable in- 1921 dependence of a man of ordinary constancy? That is the question which every Judge would put to any jury. Even if you think a magistrate may in some cases be interested personally, or have some sinister bias, you must remember that, when you get before the jury, you get a chance of having some of those people who do understand the trade union position. This question of intimidation is a very old one, on which there are decisions going back quite 100 years. When we have cut out certain words from other Acts of Parliament, such as "molestation" and "obstruct," and get purely down to intimidation, all you want to see is that reasonable justice is done between the parties. I do not think there is any possibility of finding any other word. An hon. Member on the other side talked about blacklisting by employers. That is a very reprehensible practice, and one which I should like to see stopped. If we can stop unlawful picketing on the one side, and blacklisting on the other, we might get together and try to make the best of industry, because on that best depends the food and livelihood of every person in this Kingdom.
§ Mr. HARDIE
The last speaker said this was the one country that could not stand continuous disturbances. I agree, but I wonder how much was behind that thought. It seems to me that the whole reason for this Bill and especially the Clause we are now discussing, is the absolute lack of understanding, on the part of those who have drawn it up, of the conditions which they seek to regulate. There is no one connected with the drafting of this Bill who has ever been through the industrial fight, no one who has been on strike in order to raise his standard of living, no one who has been a blackleg to know what it means, and no one who has ever sought to intimidate. The whole reason for the Bill is based upon that lack of knowledge. I speak from personal experience, as coming from a family that was blacklisted for six months at a time. Anyone of the name of Hardie in Lanark-shire or Ayrshire could not possibly get employment, but we refused to change our name. We have heard the statement of the Home Secretary in regard to what was meant by intimidation, but he cannot visualise the position of a trade unionist, who is a man who is conscious 1922 that, by combining with his fellows, he can raise his standard of living. The trade unionist does not want to go back to a, lower level, and the only way they can be got back on to a lower level is when the employers are mean enough to employ someone on lower wages in the hope that they can reduce the standard of living. You must visualise what is in the minds of those with whom this Bill seeks to deal.
The words "reasonable apprehension" mean that the Government are so clever that they are going to say that any man who is a blackleg is going to develop the powers of a thought reader and be able to read the thoughts of a man on strike. According to this smart Government, the blackleg will develop straight away all the psychic powers which will enable him to interpret the mind of the man who is looking the other way. Is there anything more stupid than to say that one man should be allowed to assess what is apprehension in the mind of another. Under this Bill a man owning a works may close that works down. He puts up a notice that he is quite willing to open at reduced wages. The men who do not go back are said to be on strike under this Bill. Yet the men who are going back, are going back to reduce the standard of living. When a case of infectious disease breaks out, we compel the removal of that case unless it is in a house where it can he properly isolated. We compel that in the interests of health, but the Government seeks to reverse that when we want to apply the same thing to retaining the standard of living and preventing the spread of the disease of poverty by lowering the standard The Home Secretary to-day referred to the old law, but he forgot to give us the new law that is now obtaining. There is a statement in the Press to-day to the effect that we cannot take all the cauliflowers that are grown in this country because of the intimidation of those who buy and sell them. Yet, although we cannot use all the cauliflowers that are grown, we have to pay 6d. and 8d. for them. That form of intimidation, if it is to apply to the working class, ought to apply also to all those things that affect the standard of living of the working class.
In a great many areas to-day, especially in the minefields, we have houses of 1923 the miners on the owners' ground. When some dispute takes place, these men are told right away that, unless they obey the conditions named by the employer, they have to get out of their houses, and if they do not get out they are thrown out. Is this form of intimidation to be absolutely outside the scope of this Bill? To think that this Bill is ever going to work, shows absolute ignorance of working-class conditions. I have been through many strikes and have done picketing, and I can tell you that you will never operate this Section. You do not know the psychology of the people you are trying to legislate against. The Home Secretary said that when an employer put up a notice and sent for the men to come, it would be an act of kindness. Is it an act of kindness to invite men back to conditions where they will get less? The Home Secretary fails to visualise what it means always to be within a week of actual need. Wait till this Bill is on the Statute Book and you try to put it into action. You only had a little demonstration in May of the actual power of organised labour. When you try to put this insult to the working man's intelligence on the Statute Book, you will not get these little intimations of things. You are asking for realities, and you are going to get them.
§ 8.0 p.m.
I cannot help feeling that, if you scratch a Tartar, you sometimes get near the truth. The concluding sentences we have just been listening to seem to suggest a, threat, which, I am afraid, is only too often to be found underlying the arguments of hon. Members opposite. I did not rise, however, to follow his arguments, which, indeed, I think is unfollowable. I rose to say that, in my opinion, there is a good deal in this Section which I should like to relate with something which will possibly put me out of order, and that is Sub-section (1). It does seem a pity that, as we are going to have what has been described as a "charter for pickets," it cannot be made as concise as possible, and compressed within the limits of the smallest possible section as to what a picket may or may not do. I suggest that, instead of having Sub-section (3) at all, the material words of that Sub-section might 1924 be put into after the word "Section" in Sub-section (2), so as to make the expression "to intimidate" relate to the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, and this Bill, all under the same Subsection. For the same reason I suggest that, when the Report stage is reached, the Solicitor-General might consider whether the latter portion of Sub-section (1) should not also be omitted, and instead of having cross references to the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, the actual penalties which follow, as defined by that Act, should be put into their proper place in this Clause. These are not quite such merely technical alterations as they might at first sight seem. It has been rightly said from the benches opposite that there is a very great respect for the law, and certainly, in my limited experience, it is surprising how these pickets do endeavour to carry out their duties within the ambit of the law. I have higher authority even than that, because Lord Halsbury, who had the duty of prosecuting a great many persons for breaches of the 1906 Act in South Wales, in a very able letter to the "Times," said that in the course of many of those oases he found to his astonishment that the men who were carrying out picketing duties had a very full acquaintance with the Act of 1906 and they endeavoured to make their actions conform to that Act, but none of them had ever heard of the Act of 1875, and they were, therefore, unaware that a lot of the things that they were doing were in fact crimes. If that kind of misapprehension could be prevented by a little care in the wording, I think it is only fair to the pickets that that should be attempted. I think that might be done, as I have said, by compressing your penalties and all the consequences that follow, into the actual wording of this Clause, and cutting out all the cross references which we have at present. I trust that, sometime before the Report stage is reached, something of that kind may be done.
In conclusion I would like to say that it does appear to me that the whole atmosphere of this Debate this afternoon is of the most artificial character. When things like intimidation are dragged into the light and are considered by reasonable men, they really cannot be justified. Hon. Members opposite, every time, they get up, only show that in their heart of 1925 hearts that they recognise that. The argument of hon. Members opposite seems really to be that there is intimidation also on the part of employers, and if the logic of that is followed up this Clause should be made a little more stringent and applied to employers as well. No proper argument can be used against this Clause attempting, as it does, to put down one kind of intimidation. I very much doubt whether peaceful picketing can take place without intimidation.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has referred several times to picketing. He is a lawyer, but I can find no reference to picketing as such in this Bill or in any existing trade union law. Should the word "picketing" be introduced into this Bill?
I am not quite clear whether "picketing" is not in the existing law already. I thought it was introduced into the Act of 1875, but possibly I am wrong. I accept what the hon. Gentleman says, but I think there is no doubt that the definitionattending at or near any house or place where a person happens to beis the accepted definition of picketing which was first introduced, I think, into the Act of 1859. But I will not use a controversial word, and I will say that the whole of this Debate has been applied to the question of picketing. There can be no need for such a thing as really peaceful picketing nowadays for anybody who has a reasonable knowledge of human nature. It was certainly a right and proper thing in the days before cheap newspapers came into existence, and be-for the trade unions, with their wonderful organisation, were able to convey accurate information as to the issues in dispute to their members, but it is really an absolute anachronism at present. Every member involved in a dispute fully knows all the issues at stake and is able to make up his own mind without having two people standing at the door to tell him how he is to make it up. But, in so far as it exists there cannot be any objection to seeing that it is carried on with a minimum of the type of intimidation that comes under this Sub-section.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
My principal reason for asking for the withdrawal of this Sub-section is precisely the reason stated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the 1926 Member for Luton (Captain O'Connor). He says that if the Clause did not apply to employers it ought to be extended. It is precisely because this Clause will not cover the known intimidation and victimisation persistently and regularly carried out by the employers that we are endeavouring to be consistent and are trying to get the Sub-section withdrawn. There seems to be some doubt in the mind of the hon. and gallant Member as to the truth of the statements that are made here regarding victimisation by employers. I have a unique experience in industry, and I am going to speak from first-hand knowledge in regard to this regularly practised victimization employers upon men. I am going to deal with it in three different ways. The first way was that taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) on 3rd May, when he took part in the Second Reading Debate. He gave information to this House that seemed to come as a surprise to many hon. Members, but he was only relating the facts which are well known to all of us who have taken part all our lives in the engineering and shipbuilding industry. He spoke of the victimisation of men who had left a certain firm on the South Coast of England, and who were looking for work and who otherwise could have obtained work upon the East Coast or upon the Clyde in Scotland. He told the House of letters that passed between the secretary of the firm and two other secretaries. He read out the letters to the House and they are in the OFFICIAL REPORT, and they show what a clear and precise understanding there is, when there is a large-scale dispute, between employers, no matter whether they are federated or not. The letters themselves indicate that a cordon was drawn round the whole country, forming a prohibited area where those men were not allowed to get work, although there was work for them. One extract only from those letters I will read to the Committee. It is the reply of the secretary of the firm to the secretaries of the Employers' Federation. He wrote:On behalf of the employers I wish to express appreciation of this action of your Committee, and their assurance that if at any time in future they are able to reciprocate your action, they will be only too willing to do so."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd May, 1927; col. 1493, Vol. 205.]1927 Hon. Members on the other side of the House—I have listened to them day after day—have stated that they are the champions of the man who wants to work. I am going to deal with things of which I have personal experience. I have been head of my department in one of the largest shipyards in this country, and I am going to deal with the pernicious and vicious system of the individual blacklisting of men, quite apart from the mass listing which was spoken of by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley. Black-listing was introduced shortly before the 1906 Act was passed.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I am glad to hear the hon. Member admit that blacklisting was known quite 70 or 80 years ago. My experience does not go quite that far, perhaps, but that is no contradiction of what I am going to speak about. Black-listing, as it is now practised, came into operation shortly before the 1906 Trade Disputes Act was passed by this House. The system that preceded it was called the "character note" system. That was abolished by a Government order and black-listing was insufficiently long before the 1906 Act was passed to be discussed in this House in a Debate upon that particular Bill. Before I go on with what is actually taking place in the way of victimisation, and which is not included in this Sub-section I want to describe the "character note" system which preceded the present blacklisting of individuals. The "character note" system, which was abolished by Government order, was really not a character note system at all, in so far as, if a man's character was satisfactory, if he was a good workman and a good timekeeper, there was nothing upon his note to show that. All that he had upon his note—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Strictly speaking, the question of what the hon. Member calls "black-listing" would not be in order upon this particular Clause, unless he proposes that something should he introduced into this Clause which would make that particular crime, if he calls it so, illegal.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
I understood that the hon. Member was speaking to a later Amendment of his own which he has on the Paper?
§ Miss LAWRENCE
Are we not dealing with intimidation arid without any very great stretch of imagination cannot blacklisting be considered as causing in the mind of a person "a reasonable apprehension of injury?"
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think that the relevant words in this Clause are those at the beginning of Sub-section (1), which read:It is hereby declared that it is unlawful for one or more persons … to attend at or near a house or place where a person happens to be, for the purpose of obtaining or communicating information or of persuading or inducing any person to work or to abstain from working. …I am not objecting to the hon. Member's speech if he makes it with the view of explaining that something which is omitted from the law should be put in.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I intended to convey that impression. It was for that purpose that I was making my remarks in reply to the hon. arid gallant Member for Luton, who had stated precisely my reason for objecting to the Clause because it was not all-inclusive of victimisation. I think that puts the matter in order. My objection to this provision is that it is not sufficiently inclusive. It should include cases of victimisation by blacklisting.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I think I left off when I was describing the character note system which preceded the introduction of individual blacklisting—as distinguished from mass blacklisting, the latter occurring when there is a dispute of any magnitude. I desire to give the Committee an instance of the extremes to which men could be driven under the character note system. The character note was not really a character note at all. If a man was a satisfactory workman nothing to that effect was shown upon his note. It simply stated that he had left of his own accord or had been paid off owing to slackness of work. On 1929 the other hand, if he had any traits or characteristics regarded as objectionable by the foremen or the firm or the federation, the matter was fully set out on the character note, and the consequence was that if he started such a man was liable to be stopped and flung out of employment again. Hard cases have been stated here on behalf of the men who are blacklegs, and I shall give an instance of the extremes to which men were pushed under the character note system. It was at the yard where I was working before I became foreman. The man concerned had been a shop steward. He was a very good workman, but nature has not endowed him with the faculties and qualities which make a successful shop steward. He made one or two bad blunders and was discharged, and the reason, of course, was not given. Three weeks later he started at a new job, but was stopped on the following day. A fortnight later he started at a second new job, with the same result. A few days afterwards, he had an opportunity of starting for a third time, and on this occasion he went to his old yard, and met the official responsible for issuing the character notes, and this is what he said: "I have been dismissed from your firm. I admit you had some cause for dismissing me, but I have to get a living. I have started twice since being discharged from here, and on both occasions I have been stopped. I have a wife and three children. I am not a full financial member of my society, and therefore I am only entitled to 6s. a week in place of 10s. I am going to start to-morrow at a new shop. If on this occasion I am stopped I am coming back here to see you. My wife and children are starving, and if I have to come up here"—drawing a small revolver from his pocket—"I will scatter your brains over the street." He started, and, needless to say, was allowed to continue.
When I speak of the extremes to which men were driven under that old system, I will say that it had this advantage over the new system that at least the man knew why he was being stopped. He knew it was his character note. Under this vicious and insidious system of blacklisting the man does not know and wanders about from place to place looking for work and failing to get it. What is more, he is nowadays deprived 1930 of unemployment benefit on the ground that he is not genuinely looking for work. I myself was only once victimised as a workman. A firm of shipbuilders advertised for full sets of men, and I brought my full set down to the yard which was six miles away from our homes. I was the spokesman for my squad, and I received an evasive answer from the foreman, telling me that we could not be started. I asked him why, but he evaded the question, and I came away with my mates, greatly disappointed. I could not understand until some years later why we were turned away from that yard. When I became head of my department in a large shipyard I became acquainted with the reason. I am sorry there are not more hon. Members on the benches opposite to hear this first-hand description of how men are victimised. These blacklists are put into the hands of the heads of departments every Saturday morning. The list is a plain bald list of names without any heading, and there is nothing in the list itself to incriminate anyone. Usually the Saturday list is a short one, of from 7 to 10 names—never exceeding 30 except when there is a dispute on a large scale.
The first class of man blacklisted is the man who leaves his job without working out his legal notice. Such a man suffers by forfeiting his "lying time," and he is blacklisted as well. The second class is that of the man who actually works out his legal notice but for some reason has not completed his job, our's being a piece-working trade. He may have gone to the yard for some days or a fortnight or three weeks but for want of material or some other cause, has had no chance of completing his job, and has finally left the employment in disgust. The third type is the man who is put down as an agitator, and who willingly or unwillingly may get himself embroiled in some of the little petty disputes which occur in shipyards all over the Kingdom every day. He falls foul of the foreman or the manager, and all that they have to do is to report him, and he is blacklisted. The next kind of man is the man who falls foul of the foreman for any reason whatever. He is blacklisted and then must travel the district and other districts, and his name is on the office table of every head foreman in every shipyard.
1931 That is the position. I remember quite well the first time I set one of these men who was a blacklister on to work. I remember the interview that I had with the management of the firm, and I came away under no misapprehension as to what was required of me. I was plainly given to understand that if I disregarded the wishes of the firm, someone would take my place who would regard them. I have seen these men coming into the yard where I was head of my department, and, despite that first interview, I have started the men and employed them, because I wanted them, because I knew they were good workmen, because I knew they were good timekeepers, and because I felt that they were being victimised unjustly and intimidated in this subtle, vicious, pernicious, abominable way that goes on, not in times of crisis, but day by day and week by week. It is some years since I left the yard, but the instances given by the right hon. Member for Burnley are recent instances, and I am constrained to believe that that pernicious system of victimisation is going on from day to day.
This Clause and the Bill in general safeguard and protect the man who goes into his work when his comrades have taken a decision that, as far as the weaker members are concerned, at any rate, their conditions are intolerable. He goes into his work, either because he is a favourite and has a better kind of job than his mates, or because he hopes by going in that he will get such a job. That is the man who is protected under this Bill and whom we have heard hon. Members opposite exalt. I would, through you, Mr. Chairman, ask the hon. and gallant Member for Luton (Captain O'Connor), who has had a distinguished service in His Majesty's Army, what kind of man he would prefer to lead into battle if it came to a crisis and this country were in real danger—the man who is protected in the Bill or the man whom I am describing? I know which kind he would prefer. I know upon what class of man this country would depend if it were in danger. It would not be the man who is protected in this Bill, but the man who ought to be protected in the Sub-section with which we are now dealing. We have heard the blackleg—because we can give him no other name 1932 and can think of him in no other way—exalted and called a loyalist and a patriot, but I am standing up for the other class of man, who is loyal to the only thing that is worth being loyal to, namely, to his own conscience. The man who is a traitor to that is a traitor indeed, and, in my judgment, he is the only kind of traitor.
I want to draw the attention of the Attorney-General to the broadcast message of the Prime Minister. "Cannot you trust me to give you a square deal?" said the Prime Minister to the workers of Great Britain. If there was any sincerity or honesty in that message, if the supporters of the Government really do believe that which we do not believe, that the Government are trying to hold the scales evenly, is there anything to prevent the Attorney-General putting something into the Bill such as the Amendment that has been put down on the Paper, but which will not be reached to-night, to protect the class of man about whom I am speaking. Is there any decent-minded man on that side, or on this side, who could not support such an Amendment if the right hon. Gentleman were to include it in the Bill? I am speaking for the withdrawal altogether of Sub-section (2) of Clause 3, because it is not all inclusive and does not give a square deal. It proves, as far as things have gone up to the present, that the Prime Minister's promise to the country was void, insincere, and dishonest.
§ Mr. WHITELEY
It is not yet clear to my mind what real interpretation the Attorney-General is going to put upon this Sub-section (2) of Clause 3. I listened very carefully to his speech last night to hear what was his definition of the part with which we were then dealing, and he reminded Members on this side that if they would look carefully at line 8, they would see that the Clause referred just as much to people acting on behalf of an individual employer or firm as to people acting on behalf of themselves or trade unionists. I do not see how that particular definition is going to operate when this Bill becomes law, because I have sufficient information, as a result of the last dispute in this country, to make me believe that it will be practically impossible to have any equality on the question of intimidation. 1933 I have here information from various parts of the constituency which I represent, pointing out the intimidation of employers in that area, which has not yet been dealt with and which cannot possibly be dealt with, so far as I can see, under this particular Sub-section or Clause.
After the fast dispute there were scores and hundreds—I should even say thousands—of men who were not able to secure work at their particular collieries, but when things began to settle down we found that there was very definite intimidation on behalf of the employers in those areas. They selected men who had taken a very active part in that particular stoppage, men who had not done anything wrong, but who were loyal to their trade union and refused to go back to work and blackleg their fellows. These men have now been intimidated by the employers and have been made to suffer to a very considerable extent. I have a list of men here who have worked continuously for 40 years at a colliery, whose character is beyond reproach, men who have lived in colliery houses for over 25 years at the particular colliery at which they have been employed, and these men have been selected very deliberately and definitely by their employer and set on one side while he has brought strangers from other parts and employed them to do the work of these men, and in some cases he has evicted the men from their houses and has put their furniture on to the street. That is a kind of intimidation an employer can use which we are powerless to use, and words ought to be introduced into this Sub-section to deal with employers who intimidate our people and cause apprehension in their minds that they are going to do injury to them or to their family or to their property, as has been done all over my county. I have here a list of the names of men who have a record of 18 to 20 years' service in the mines, men who fought in the late War, some of whom gained the Military Medal and others the Military Cross, and other decorations, they were men who did no wrong during the last dispute, except to stand by their fellows, but they have received treatment such as we are complaining of; and there are others, similarly circumstanced, who are living under the apprehension that because they 1934 showed their loyalty to their workmates they will have to suffer the same treatment as these men have received.
The hon. Member for East Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. Connolly) asked for the insertion in this Clause of words to stop blacklisting. Blacklisting is going on to-day to a far greater extent than in the past. Men have left our county and secured work in mines in other parts of the country, and after they have been at work for some time the manager of the mine has asked them for a reference from their own employer. They have applied to their late employers, who have refused to give them a reference, and although there is nothing wrong with the men, except that they are very good workers and anxious to work—if it can be called a crime to be a good worker and anxious to work—they have been turned adrift from the pits and are now on the road and unable to get work. I can see no need for this Bill if it is only to be a declaration of the existing law, but if there is to be any fairness under it I should like the Attorney-General to examine some of the cases to which I have referred, and of which I will give him full particulars, in order that he may introduce into this Bill Amendments to secure equal justice and fair-play to both sides, so that intimidation will not be rife amongst employers while the workers are subject to these provisions of the law.
Mr. W. M. ADAMSON
I should not have taken part in this Debate but for the difficulty I feel over this question of definitions which arises out of the many years' experience I have had as a trade union official, and my experience in disputes, both as a participant in them and as an official in charge of disputes affecting the lowest section of unskilled workers. To the credit of trade union officials, they have always tried to impress upon the men engaged in a dispute that they ought to try to understand something of trade union law and of the difficulties that may arise from overstepping the law in the matter of picketing; and the majority of trade unionists, to their credit also, have carried out those instructions without attempting either to intimidate, to coerce or to do anything unjust, contenting themselves with peacefully persuading those who were refusing to take part in the particular dispute. I could give many instances to show what has been regarded as quite permissible 1935 by the authorities under the existing trade union law. One instance comes to my mind where the employés of a firm came out on strike in a dispute, and after some 10 days the question arose of asking employés of the same firm working at a branch three or four miles away to join in. It was decided to have a peaceful procession to meet the employés at the other branch and discuss with them the matters in dispute, which in the main affected their own conditions of work and wages. So far as I could see, there was no intimidation, or what might be regarded as intimidation, so far as the use of threats or the possibility of violence were concerned. We persuaded the men at the other branch to come out in support of the first section of the workers. It was done by peaceful persuasion—by holding meetings of the men who were involved in the dispute and those whom we were asking to come out in support of us. Could that be regarded as intimidation—merely to persuade people in that way in what was regarded as their own interests?
A more serious point arises over the question of defining injuries other than material injuries. I can quite sympathise with the hon. and learned Member for Luton (Captain O'Connor), who cannot possibly follow the words of this Sub-section. We know what is meant by the first portion of it, where there is a reference to:apprehension of injury to him or to any member of his family or of violence or of damage to any person or property.That can be quite understood; but assuming that there is a conversation between a picket and a man who has refused to come out on strike, or who has returned in work in the course of the dispute, how are we to know what is included in the term:injury other than physical or material injury.I know the point has been laboured as to whether a gesture or an invitation might be construed as something that would be detrimental to the particular individual who was being asked not to go back to Work or to come out on strike. What action could be taken? Was the person responsible for picketing to be taken before a bench of magistrates and have inflicted upon him the penalties laid down in the latter part of this Clause? 1936 In many of these cases the decision rests upon the word of the two men themselves who are concerned. I have had some experience amongst women workers as well, and perhaps they are not so tender about the feelings of their sisters in this respect when expressing their view about those who have become disloyal during a dispute. I could give one or two cases in which very harsh things have been said. They have been called traitors. Things like that might bring upon a person's mind an apprehension of mental injury apart from physical or bodily injury, and something that would be an injury not connected with their wages or conditions of labour, but something that would torment them, or act upon their minds in such a way that they would fear illness or something that would affect their nervous disposition.
I only wish we could get some clearer interpretation in regard to this matter, so that we might he sure in case a dispute arises as to how we stand. In the trade union movement in the past we have always tried to follow ordinary methods and adopt conciliation on questions of hours of labour and conditions. We have adopted natural methods where they can be brought into operation when dealing with unskilled labour or female labour. Owing to social changes, wages are becoming more on a level, and disputes will arise as to points of demarcation, and questions affecting the introduction of a more scientific method of production. These things will call for even more delicate negotiations than have hitherto existed, and they are more likely to cause unrest in the future than they have done in the past. Therefore, in the case of a legal dispute on these questions we must have something more clear and definite as to what is meant by the apprehension of an injury, quite apart from physical or bodily injury.
§ Mr. J. HUDSON
We have had several speeches from the Labour Benches urging the claim that this particular Clause should be much more precise as to what is meant when dealing with the employer and what are supposed to be his defaults under this Bill. When one hon. Member was speaking about intimidation of this kind on a wholesale scale, the Attorney-General seemed to look upon that matter as something quite apart from the pur 1937 pose of this Bill, and, as far as I could observe by his demeanour, he showed very little interest in the matter. If there is any honesty about this particular Clause, the Attorney-General should be as definite in his statement regarding employers and the prevention of employers practising things like those which have been put forward on this side of the Committee as he has been in regard to proposals affecting the workers. Unfortunately, during the Debate hon. Members opposite seem to have concerned themselves almost entirely with the wrong doings, or what are said to be the wrong doings, of the workers.
I am glad to observe that the hon. and learned Member for Moss Side (Mr. Hurst) is present, because in his speech he made a statement that the people of Moss Side have been placed in a state of terror by the intimidation which trade unionists have been practising there. I know Moss Side pretty well, and it was news to me that such a state of feeling existed in that Division. It is a rather curious thing that when the hon. and learned Member for Moss Side was looking for instances in support of his statement about the state of things in the Moss Side Division, he was not able to find a single instance in his own constituency, and he had to go all the way to St. Helens, Sutton-in-Ashfield and Mansfield for examples, because in the place he knows best he could not find a single instance in support of his argument. If hon. Members would be frank about these issues, I am sure they would agree with the hon. Member for Stourbridge (Mr. Wellock) that during the progress of many years trade unionists have developed a disciplined movement in which intimidation has given place more and more to ordered and reasonable processes by which trade unionists in the long run have put their cases forward.
Under the old law as it exists now, a reasonable apprehension of personal violence on the part of anyone should be sufficient to convict the person who causes that apprehension of an offence against the law. I ask the Attorney-General whether it is not true that under the old law it is only the trade unionists who have been proceeded against in this respect. I could advance many cases where, under the old law, workers have had a reasonable apprehension of per 1938 sonal violence from their employers, or those who served their employers, and rarely has any action been taken in those cases against the employers. I raised a case about 12 months ago in the House when the Home Secretary was present. It was the case of a worker in a mill at Kirkheaton, a village near my own constituency. I wish the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spear Valley (Sir J. Simon) were here to give us his opinion on this matter, because that village is in his constituency, which borders on my own. In that mill at Kirkheaton there took place, some 12 months ago, a strike which arose out of the intimidation of a secretary by the employer at the mill, a secretary who had been concerned in a previous dispute, which I might describe as a large national dispute in the woollen trade, which was finally settled by arbitration. The dispute at this mill was caused by the victimisation of the secretary, who had led his fellows in the previous trouble. The workers in the mill who came out to support him were, I suppose, at any rate under the terms of this Clause, guilty of intimidation, for they gathered in groups around the mill gates, and they told the workers, as they came out at dinner-time and tea-time, what they thought of them for remaining in the mill. They expressed their opinions in a way that workers have learned—in an orderly way, but in a vigorous way, and in a way that the blacklegs in that mill fully realised; and with what result? With the result that the blacklegs who took the employer's part—and let it be noted that in this case the employer himself was a blackleg, for he refused to fall in with the decision which the other employers in the trade had accepted—the blacklegs in the mill were drilled into platoons, were given orders by someone acting for the employer who took the part of a sergeant-major, were armed with sticks, and on more than one occasion marched in mass formation out of the mill gates, and belaboured those who were picketing outside in the road.
I raised this issue in the House, but no action was taken against the people who were responsible for that sort of thing. Neither was any action taken against the local police, the West Biding Police, who on that occasion, if I may borrow the words of this Clause, attended at the houses of some of the women 1939 workers, sometimes late at night, to threaten them with dire consequences, with consequences of unemployment, unless they were willing to return to the mill and help the employer to carry on his struggle against those who were out. If there be any value in this Clause, and if policemen do that sort of thing in future, I suppose the Attorney-General will be able to tell us that the policemen too will come under this Clause, and will have to be haled before the Court and treated as criminals under this Bill.
I submit that what has been proved up to the present is that the old law, which had in mind intimidation that might lead to personal violence, has been applied, but only against one class, the workers; and I think we can take it for granted that, when this new Clause is put in, there will be no alteration in that feature. It is our greatest complaint with regard to trade union legislation that, right back to the days of the Combination Acts, although there may have been inserted in various Clauses of the Bills words that were supposed to apply equally to employers and employed, in practice it is always the employés' backs across which the flail of the magistrate has been placed. I want to suggest, as I believe the Attorney-General himself would admit, and did, indeed, admit, when he said that to put the employers in this Bill on the same terms as the employés would be both futile and inept——
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Douglas Hogg)
I am sure the hon. Gentleman does not want to be unfair. I was dealing with Clause 1 of the Bill when I used that phrase. I certainly did not use it with regard to Clause 3. I have pointed out more than once that employers come under Clause 3.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. HUDSON
I must correct myself; I do not want to be unfair to the right hon. Gentleman. I would still argue on the admission he has made, and agree that in this Clause the employers are included, but, when it comes to the administration of the Act, exactly the same truth applies—it will be discovered to be a futile and inept reference. I noticed that the right hon. Gentleman the other day went down to my native town of Manchester, and 1940 delivered himself to what was supposed to have been a great multitude in the Free Trade Hall. He started his speech with a reference to a handbill which had been distributed by certain of my friends, in which it was stated that by this Bill it would be more and more difficult for an ordinary industrial dispute to be conducted. I say again in the right hon. Gentleman's presence exactly what was said in that handbill that, through the intimidation which the Government are now, through this Clause, successfully practising against all trade unionists, through the fear that it is desired to put into their hearts that, if they carry on their work of persuading their fellows and strengthening their weaker brethren against the common enemy, they will be found under this Clause to be offending against the law of the land, the Attorney-General, I believe, intends, and the Government intend, by putting in this Clause, not only to make the large strike or the sympathetic strike impossible, but they have put in this Clause to make an industrial dispute practically impossible. Although I have less desire to say hard words against the Attorney-General than against most of his colleagues on the Front Government Bench, because I admit that he generally treats us with courtesy, I can only conclude by saying that, when in the Free Trade Hall he described our statement, and my statement now repeated, as to what is the fact, as a lie, I fling back his own language in his teeth. This Bill and this Clause in the Bill are intended right through to make it difficult for the workers to stand for their rights.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I want to spend two or three minutes in touching on the subject of the peculiar position of women under this Bill—not women trade unionists, but ordinary citizens, ordinary-wives and mothers of the working class. I say, in the first place, that it is a very serious business for an Act of Parliament to create new crimes; and I say, secondly, that it is a shocking thing to pass a law which is against the common sense of the community and which cannot be enforced. know of no greater crime on the part of the Legislature than to do that, because, if you pass such a law, you sap the reverence for law which ought to be in the mind of every person in the community, and you bring the law itself into contempt. This provision does 1941 two things. It creates, in the first place, a whole new class of potential criminals. Under the old law, women were almost wholly reserved from the crime of intimidation. There are very few women who can put an ordinary strong working man in fear of bodily harm, but, under the new definition, if I am 80 years of age and holding the baby, I can intimidate a whole crowd of men. To create in the mind of a person an apprehension of injury—not material injury—has been the especially feminine weapon through all the ages. It is the means by which we maintain what is called a moral tone in society, by infusing into the minds of persons who sin against the proper standards, not merely the apprehension, but the certainty, of very serious material injury. Those are the weapons of Mrs. Grundy, those are the weapons of the perfect lady, those are the weapons which women have always used, and women, who have hitherto been almost altogether outside the arena of intimidation, will And that the crime which is being invented by Parliament is one of which they are perfectly capable.
Then I come to the other point, that it is an absurdity to pass a law which you cannot enforce, and which is repugnant to the common sense of the community. How does Parliament think it can prevent that crime of intimidating to a person whom you have reason to despise that you despise him and will despise him all your life? You may not do it by words. A gesture, an inflection, silence, above all, will do it perfectly well. If this passes, impulsive women will find themselves had up before the magistrates for saying rude words, and many women will go to prison or he fined sums they cannot possibly afford to pay. But the women who know their business, the women with a little restraint and experience of life, will continue to inflict that apprehension of contempt, that fear of an injury which is not material, and they will do it over a long course of years. If anyone thinks the wives of trade unionists are more placable or gentle than men, they were not in very many mining villages during the recent dispute. I was there a little, assisting in the relief of women and children. Angry as the men were, their anger was but a light thing compared with that of the wives and mothers who saw their breadwinners and their sons 1942 injured. One of my friends saw women coming in from all the villages round, middle-aged women, taking a two-mile walk, and asked them why they were doing that. There was a blackleg, and they said, "We come every day to see him go down the pit." Do you think he was under any misapprehension as to the way he was regarded by the women of his village? No 50 Acts of Parliament will prevent that penalty, which is the heaviest of all, being inflicted upon those who outrage the conscience of their class. Therefore, what is the use of passing this Bill? What is the use of putting in these words? You will make a certain number of victims, you will make a certain number of people suffer hardship, but that sort of punishment, the sense that you are despised by your neighbours, is something which not all the laws and all the Governments in the world can take away.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
We have had a very interesting Debate, which has elicited some interesting statements from the Government Benches. Possibly the most interesting of all was the statement by the Home Secretary at an early stage that intimidation by violence was an extremely old-fashioned weapon. He is quite right. That weapon is as old fashioned as the Tory party, which was the last party that successfully employed it in this country. They employed it to coerce a weak-kneed Liberal Government by violent intimidation. They now discover it, perhaps, to be old-fashioned and out-of-date, because they sadly anticipate that the next Government that invades their privileges to a rather greater extent may not be so weak-kneed and not so susceptible to that weapon of intimidation as was the Government against which it was successfully used. But it was a happy occasion when we heard that paragon of propriety who spoke for the Government to-day admit that it was an old-fashioned observation when he invited the Forces of the Crown to fire and be damned. We live and we learn.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
With one notable exception who sits below the Gangway. The hon. Member for Streatham (Sir W, Lane Mitchell), alas, has, apparently, never learned to address this Assembly. Long 1943 have his constituents waited anxiously for the great day, but they have had to be content with those subterranean gurglings which punctuate our discussions. There have been some other interesting arguments used from the benches opposite. The hon. and learned Member for Moss Side (Mr. Hurst) gave us a most illuminating disquisition, but, unfortunately, every instance he took in support of this Clause was already subject to the existing law. He was supported by the hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), who solemnly stated that the reason for introducing this Clause lay in the fact that during the general strike a crowd seized and wrecked a motor omnibus. He proceeded to say that in doing that they did not know they were doing anything illegal, and it was necessary to introduce a Clause like that to inform the working class that it was illegal to wreck a motor omnibus. The hon. Baronet said he took a very simple view of life, but the working class is not quite so simple as he imagines, even when they vote Tory. Cases such as that, ludicrous cases, which clearly come under the existing law, and such cases alone have been quoted by speakers opposite in support of the Clause.
Then the hon. Member, in the course of a rather noble appeal to our sentiments, said, "Why cannot persuasion be free from any element of intimidation?" That seemed to me to reveal a complete ignorance, or ignoring, of the very nature of argument. Of what does persuasion consist? When the hon. and learned Gentleman, with all his forensic ability, addresses an argument to his fellows, he in reality employs one of two methods. He either persuades them that by taking the course he advocates they will secure for themselves an advantage, or he seeks to instil into their minds a belief that by taking a contrary course they will bring down upon themselves a disadvantage, and that under the meaning of the Clause is intimidation. If a picket says to a workman, "If you do not assist us you will incur for yourself a certain disadvantage," he is intimidating. But all argument and all persuasion consist either in pointing out an advantage or a disadvantage, and it is impossible to persuade men to take a certain course unless you can point out to them that 1944 disadvantage will ensue if they do not take that course. That is the very nature of argument and persuasion. There has been addressed to the Government Benches one notable case which has received no adequate reply. The late Solicitor-General put this point. He said, "Supposing a picket said to a blackleg, 'If you do not assist us in the fight against this lock-out your wages are certain to be reduced."' The right hon. Gentleman asked whether or not that was liable to cause, in the mind of the blackleg, an apprehension of material injury. I do not know what the reply to that case will be, but, clearly, it could be held by a bench of magistrates to come within the ambit of this Clause. It is a clear attempt to effect, in the mind of the blackleg, an apprehension that he will suffer material injury if he does not assist his fellows in a strike in which they are involved. But I quite admit that it is possible for the Government to define what constitutes physical or material injury.
It is when we come to these mysterious words "other than physical or material injury" that our more serious difficulties begin. For my part, I attach absolutely no importance to the fact that the Government, by subsequent Amendment, propose to leave out those preposterous words "hatred, ridicule, or contempt." The words "other than physical or material injury" can cover the whole of that sentence in the mind of any magistrate or of any judge who by some curious coincidence of his earlier upbringing takes the same view as the right hon. Gentleman. I gather from the speech of the Home Secretary that, really, whether or not a picket came within the ambit of this new law depended upon the charm and the sweetness of his manners. I gather that if he always addresses the blackleg as "old man," words which the Home Secretary has so continually employed, the mind of the Judge might favourably be influenced, but if the picket, in his desire still further to conform with the spirit of this legislation, gives a blackleg a kiss, I understand then that he would in fact be committing an assault. [Interruption.] Well, I think it was further decided that it depended upon the picket. We shall have to mix our sexes a little. It is quite clear that no man on picket duty can tell when be oversteps the 1945 boundaries of the law. Everyone of them must be an expert in the law. Every picket must consider every word of persuasion or advice he addresses to the blackleg—is it or is it not within this Clause of the Trade Union Bill? It requires every trade unionist to be a highly skilled lawyer, and even if he were a highly skilled lawyer, he would have to join on the benches opposite the other K.Cs. who, over and over again, have risen in their places stating that they could not interpret a Measure which is designed to make clear the position of every worker in the land.
Finally, we come down to this, that, in the opinion of the Home Secretary, to send a man to Coventry is clearly a serious offence under this Bill. Not to speak to a man is an offence. In cases which have been known when hon. Members have crossed from those benches to these, has there ever been a suggestion that their late colleagues would not speak to them or would not associate with them? What happens to the upper-class blackleg? On the occasion of the Smethwick election was there no suggestion of holding anybody up to hatred, no suggestion that his past actions have made him at all unpopular with his class or with his fellows, or that no form of boycott would be instituted to stop others following his course and advancing the disintegration of that once great party? Happily, I have not had to seek the protection of Parliament to save me from the boycott, or from the ridicule, hatred or contempt. The people in at least a section of England have performed that salvation for me without my having to seek the protection of Parliament. What is more, I must confess that my opportunities for intellectual conversation have not been seriously impaired by the decision to impose upon me those penaltiies which are, under this Clause, illegal for the working class.
Can there really be greater depths of hypocrisy than for the party opposite to introduce and to apply to the working class such a Clause and such a Measure as this? They are the greatest experts in the world in the use of the boycott. For centuries their class have made its members conform to their rules and play their game by the weapons they denounce for the working class. For centuries 1946 they have held power by threats and the employment of these weapons, and vigorously, and with utter ruthlessness, they use them against recalcitrant members. But, at any rate, those members who have been recalcitrant, when the clash came, met their party and fought them in the open. But what is the position of the blackleg within a trade union. He stops within the union. He derives all of its advantages and all of its privileges. He remains inside for the purpose of breaking it. That is dishonourable conduct. That is an action which may legitimately evoke hatred, ridicule and contempt in the minds of his fellows, and yet those people opposite, who have employed these weapons and maintained power by employing them now, wish to restrict their legitimate use by the working classes. If we cast back our minds over the whole history of the last decade, we find that party using these weapons to carry every Measure to which it had set itself in the country. In the War, when they were the Government of the country, did they do much to save from hatred, ridicule or contempt the conscientious objector? I took a different view from that of the conscientious objector, but, at any rate, they had this position—[Interruption]. I did not catch the observation of the hon. Member.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
He was made a conscientious objector by Act of Parliament. Was that not coercion or intimidation?
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I hope that at a later stage, by Act of Parliament, we shall confer some privileges on the hon. Member. But before it was an Act of Parliament was the baiting of men who did not join up at the beginning of the War, the men who did not join in the quarrel of their nation stopped by the intervention of the State? Thousands of men were driven into the Army by the pressure put upon them by their fellows. Women handed them white feathers in the streets, and all the rest of it—all the weapons which are condemned if the working class use them during their struggle for life amongst their own class.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
Quite true. I concede that point to the hon. Member. But if it were right then, why is it wrong now? If it were right to coerce men then to take part in a conflict in which their interests were engaged, why is it wrong to use the same weapons of moral pressure and persuasion to make them take part in another conflict in which their interests are engaged? What is the difference? The only difference is, that no man can help where he is born. No man can determine the place and position of his birth, and the men who were born Englishmen and who were made to fight in the late War did not choose the position which led them into that obligation. But a man who joins the trade union does so of his own free-will. It is a voluntary act. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] It is a voluntary act to secure him certain definite advantages. He benefits enormously by taking that step, and then, when the struggle comes, when the clash comes to save the position from which he derives so much advantage he, in order to benefit from the struggle of his fellows, has to suffer none of their hardships. Further, if a blackleg betrays his trade union, it is open to the blackleg to sue the trade union for damages; and now, in this Clause, in addition to all these facts, if a picket does not take off his hat to a blackleg when he meets him in the street, that man is liable to go to gaol.
This Measure is brought forward by a Government and a party which for centuries had used the weapon of moral intimidation more than any other party or force in this State or in the world. This hypocrisy can and will be exposed as no genuine attempt to protect British freedom, but as an attempt to wreck and make impossible the conduct of any dispute in which the working class is fighting for the right of existence.
Sir W. MITCHELL
In reviewing the discussion to-day one can but remark upon the lowering of the temperature. They are extinct volcanoes on the other side to-day compared with what they were at the opening of the discussion. The last speaker spoke about moral intimidation. That does not come from this side of the Committee; the moral attitude is taken up by Members on the 1948 other side who talk all the time as if they-had the Ark of the Covenant, as if what they say and do is right, and as if God Almighty were on their side and on no one else's, and if anyone on this side attempts to say anything he is looked upon as being beneath contempt. I regret that the previous speaker has not been able to get into his old stride of vitriolic intimidation, because I can only say he exemplifies what is the case with every proselyte, namely, he is more bigoted and intolerant than anyone brought up in the faith. I have watched the hon. Gentleman move from one side to the other, and I cannot but regret that he, at any rate, does not speak a little better of the old associations he used to have and the old people he used to meet. I am honestly convinced that if I went to the other side and became a Socialist, I should speak differently. The hon. Gentleman does not apply the same rules that I should, and the less we say about him the better.
I come to the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. J. Hudson). He did not give us Judas Iscariot to-night. He was very strong about him the other night. As to moral intimidation, it is a pity we get all this talk from the other side. The hon. Member for Huddersfield said, "If there were any honesty on the other side !" I wonder if he really believes in a statement of that kind. Does he believe that the only honest men are on that side? [An HON. MEMBER: "Baldwin is the only one !"] That is not a new remark. The right hon. Gentleman is an honest man, and I would like to hear someone say the same thing about you. [An HON. MEMBER: "Blacklegs !"] I am a blackleg. I have heard all about 1909, and that I was a blackleg. There is no place for the blackleg in heaven or on earth.
Sir W. MITCHELL
It was only the moral intimidation which brought me to my feet. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side have forgotten what happened last May. If the incidents of last May had never occurred we should never have needed this Bill.
Sir W. MITCHELL
If there had been no general strike, there would have been no need for this Bill now.
Sir W. MITCHELL
Was it a coal strike or a lock-out? I have heard one hon. Member arguing about that. What was it? [HON. MEMBERS: "A lockout !"] You got £20,000,000 for carrying on for nine months. Those millions were exhausted.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The subject of the present discussion is intimidation. I hope hon. Members will remember that.
Sir W. MITCHELL
I quite agree. The only difficulty seems to be that one man may steal a horse, and another man may not look over a hedge. It was the moral indignation I felt which brought me to my feet. Moral indignation is not the right of one side or the other. Every man has the same right to feel moral indignation as much as another
§ Mr. MARCH
During the whole of the discussion on this Bill Members on the other side have been trying to make us believe that it is all in the interest of the workers, and those of us who have been through the mill of being workmen, trade unionists and leaders, are very dissatisfied with the way in which the attempt has been made to explain it to us. I was very much concerned this afternoon with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary in explaining this moral intimidation he has in mind, and I was wondering what is going to happen with the transport workers if this statement be correct. If I remember his own words aright, he said, "Take, for instance, the blackleg, as you call him, going into a public house, and a number of pickets or trade unionists go into the same house and they turn their back on him. That would be moral intimidation." I would like to have heard exactly what the Home Secretary would like the picket or the trade unionist to do if they went into the same house where the blackleg happened to be. I suppose to act honourably to him, as he had been doing them injury by going to work where there was a dispute, they ought to say, "Well, Bill, what are you going to have? Have a quart?" They might not say a quart of what I was also reminded when he was 1950 speaking of one or two disputes I have been in where trade unionists have seen blacklegs going into a public house and have stopped out. What would happen in connection with a case of that kind? It was not very long when those trade unionists stopped out of the house before the house was shut up. I suppose that would be the next thing, as the blackleg has no opportunity of showing he apprehends that we are going to give him something in his drink. They stopped out of that house, and for weeks that house was closed, simply because the trade unionist said, "That is no place for me." I can also call to mind that coffee houses have had to do the same thing. It is a most peculiar thing with transport workers who travel up and down the roads that they have their particular friendly houses where they call. If they find something going on which is a little out of the ordinary, and someone is going there whom they do not care about and they leave the house alone and go to another one, what is to happen under this Bill? Perhaps the Home Secretary or the Attorney-General will be able to give us some explanation of what will happen if these blacklegs go into a house where the vehicle workers have been in the habit of calling. Can we have any explanation of what these persons may apprehend?
This Clause is one of the trickiest Clauses in the Bill. We are told from the Government side that they do not profess to disallow strikes, that they do not intend to interfere with men belonging to trade unions and that they do not put obstacles in the way of a trade union making progress. They also say that they do not desire to stop peaceful persuasion. If we are not to go into the company of a blackleg, what shall we do about the non-unionist? I have always termed the non-unionist a blackleg to the trade union movement; just as much a blackleg as the man who goes to work when there is a dispute on. We have carried the non-unionists on our backs for all these years, and they have reaped the fruit and the benefit of our labours over and over again. The trade union movement has done all the sacrifice for the uplifting of the workers, not only for their own members but for men who have never belonged to any trade union, and who do not intend to belong to a trade union so long as they can reap the benefit 1951 secured by those who belong to the trade union.
Suppose we are in a dispute, and some men connected with the vehicle trade are passing along a road. Owing to the rapid progress of traffic to-day we have some difficulty in being able to pass a quiet word with the man who is driving a motor lorry. We have to get hold of him when he has stopped. Is he to be under an apprehension that we are not going to allow him to go on again, if we speak to him when he has stopped? Is it going to be intimidation if we ask him to realise what he is doing? We heard something from the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), when he spoke about omnibuses. It reminded me of what happened at Canning Town during the strike. Barbed wire was fixed round the front of the omnibus to safeguard the driver, and when one omnibus stopped some genius wrote on the board that had been placed on the omnibus to prevent stones from breaking the windows, "These are not the rats. The rat is in front in a cage." I suppose it would have been regarded as great intimidation to call the man in front a "rat," because he was caged in with barbed wire. Probably it was not one of the strikers who wrote that. I presume that the strikers would not have genius enough to think of such a thing. Probably it was done by a person who had nothing to do with the dispute. Under this Clause, if the driver had got off the omnibus and had seen chalked on the side of the omnibus that notice, he would have been under the apprehension that something was going to happen to him, because he was being classed not as a blackleg but as a rat, who happened to be in a cage with barbed wire around him.
This Sub-section has been drafted purposely to prevent anyone in the trade union movement from carrying on what they understand to be legitimate persuasion towards a man with whom they have been working, and pointing out to him that he may be jeopardising their lives and the lives of all the men in the dispute and the lives of their wives and families. This is an abominable Clause. It does not carry out what we have been told by the Home Secretary and the Attorney-General is the object Of the Government. It can be broadened to pre 1952 vent any kind of picketing or any kind of communication. Supposing I, as secretary of an organisation, was asked to send a letter to a blackleg, and I sent a letter calling attention to the fact that what he was doing would harm his fellowmen. Would that man be under an apprehension that if he did not take notice of what I had written he would be in danger? Should I be wrong in communicating to him the views of his fellow-workmen? This Clause is broad enough to incriminate any secretary or any other person for communicating with a blackleg.
Why do not the Government and their supporters be straight and honest, if they can be, with the country at large, and say that they do not intend to allow picketing of any description? Then we should know what they mean. Why do they not tell us that they will have no trade unionism at all; that they will have no strikes We were told by the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams) that the Tory party have always endeavoured and have always been in favour of trade unionism, and that he has always supported trade unionism and done his best to support trade unionism.
§ Mr. MARCH
I do not wish to digress from your ruling. I was only using that as an illustration of the views of the party opposite in regard to trade unions, and how they are trying to help us. They may believe in trade unionism, but they do not believe in it making any progress. They believe in trade unionism so long as it supports them. When they get trade unionism that is not progressive, it is all right. The leaders of trade unionism are all right if they truckle to the Tory party and agree with their views. A good many of us disagree with the views of the Tory party. I disagree with the Tory party entirely.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The point before the Committee is what is the definition of intimidation. It has nothing to do with the Tory party, or the Labour party or the Liberal party.
§ Mr. MARCH
The point is that the Tory party who are bringing forward this legislation cannot define intimidation. Is there a possibility of the Attorney-General being able to define what is intimidation, what is picketing, what is not picketing and what we can or cannot do and say? Can he say whether he can do or say anything to a blackleg who goes to work against the wishes of his fellow workmen who are in a dispute? Are we to be allowed to look at the blacklegs? Are we to be allowed to say anything to them? If we see a blackleg, are we to pass on the other side of the road? Will it be intimidation if we see a blackleg coming on the same side of the road and we walk across the road to the other side. That I suppose would be slighting them? If we happened to meet them face to face and did not look at them quite so nicely as they would like, that would not be right. Nothing will be right under this Clause, if a man likes to say that he apprehends we intend to do him some injury.
§ Mr. AUSTIN HOPKINSON
I should like to say at the outset that I feel somewhat doubtful myself as to the wisdom of the wording of this Clause, but I should like hon. Members opposite, when they consider this matter, to think whether a bench of magistrates and those who will have to adjudicate on these matters may not he able to, arid in fact will, do away with all those apprehensions to which they have given vent There is already, and I speak as a member of a county bench, a great deal in the law of this land which throws a rather heavy burden on magistrates, and it has been my experience, and no doubt is the experience of others who have had to sit on the bench, that magistrates are particularly careful when they have to deal with cases which come within the ambit of a Clause like the one we are discussing. A bench of magistrates will certainly not convict unless the case is particularly clear, and I think we may say that any bench of magistrates and any stipendiary will, if possible, weigh the 1954 verdict in favour of the accused person in cases such as this. That being the case, although, as I say, I do not like this Clause and the wording of it because, as the hon. Member has said, they are very indefinite, I do not think the apprehensions of hon. Members will be realised in actual practice.
I want to call attention to one feature of the speeches of the last two hon. Members who have addressed the House, and that is their whole-hearted condemnation of those men whom they call blacklegs. I should like to ask them what exactly is their feeling towards the majority of the miners of Great Britain during the period from the end of October to the end of November last year. We then had a state of affairs in which between 300,000 and 400,000 miners of Great Britain were blacklegs, according to their definition. Are all those 300,000 or 400,000 miners Judas Iscariots, betrayers of their class, and men with whom no decent person would speak?
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
Undoubtedly they were blacklegs. They had been told that they were not to go back; their organisation said they were not to go back on the terms, but they did and, therefore, they are blacklegs within the meaning of the definition of hon. Members opposite. I want to know whether those 300,000 or 400,000 miners are to be termed Judas Iscariots and betrayers of their class, men with whom no honest man would have any dealings, such as the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Mosley)——
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I never said that those miners were blacklegs. Those men, after an heroic fight, were driven back by the starvation of their women and children, a starvation organised by the hon. Member who is now speaking.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
The hon. Member did not mention those persons, because if he had he would not have made the speech he did. It is not a matter of surprise to me that he is rather annoyed with me because I have reminded him of the circumstances. But to carry my argument further; let us take the end of November. The Miners' Federation had laid it down positively that if district agreements were made they were all to 1955 be submitted to the Miners' Federation of Great Britain to be endorsed, and apart from that the men should not go back to work. How many of these agreements were endorsed by the Miners' Federation? According to the definition of hon. Members opposite, every miner at work in Great Britain is. a blackleg, and ipso facto they are men to whom no decent person would dream of speaking; they are Judas Iscariots, betrayers of their class. I have brought that fact to the memory of hon. Gentlemen opposite so that possibly in the continuation of this Debate we shall hear no more about this humbug of blacklegs and Judas Iscariots.
I only rise in order to apply the last sentence of the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson). I hope we shall not hear any more of this humbug. That is very applicable to the speech the hon. Member has just made. We are discussing a Clause that deals specifically with intimidation. The hon. Member knows perfectly well that whatever else may be said of the incidents of September, October and November, whatever his views of the lock-out may be, that those men, whatever else may be said against them, were driven back because of the position of their wives and children. But the hon. Member also knows perfectly well that there has not been a, word said on this side of the House with reference to it. I can tell him in a sentence the kind of people we are dealing with and the kind of people he is defending. There were 100,000 railwaymen getting 18s. a week, or less, less than 12 years ago, and when the strike took place for 2s. a week the people we are dealing with are not only those who did not strike but those who were the first to draw the advance when the strike was over. If it is conscience you are talking about, they have no conscience if they reap where they have not sown.
§ Mr. RADFORD
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question? Did not the 100,000 men he has referred to include a large number of porters who were drawing in gratuities from passengers almost as much as they were receiving in wages?
The 100,000 men not only included porters, but goods workers, 1956 platelayers, and many other grades of railwaymen, and whether they were in receipt of these gratuities or not the hon. Member's measure of what a worker's remuneration should be is 18s. a week, dependent on tips. I hope he will tell his constituents his views of a worker's wages.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
Would the right hon. Gentleman define his own position on Black Friday, 1921, and during the general strike of last year, as being a blackleg, when he betrayed the miners?
I am quite content to leave my conduct to the judgment of my own union and to the judgment of every fair-minded man.
yes, including the miners. I am quite content to allow the miners to judge as between my contribution towards their efforts and the contribution of the hon. Member. I have been asked a simple question. The hon. Member who has just spoken himself admitted that this is not only an ambiguous Clause but that it will have to be defined by someone else. That is the substance of his statement. In other words, it is a bad and dangerous Clause, but there are magistrates who will put it right. I ask those Members who will vote against our Amendment to remember that they will be voting on something which is admittedly ambiguous, and that they are pointing to this, at least, that if the House of Commons cannot interpret it the magistrates of this country will do so.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
I will promise not to keep the Committee many minutes in what I have to say, but I want to repeat to the Attorney-General the question which I put when I was privileged to take part in the general survey of this Bill. It has to do with an incident which occurred in connection with myself some years ago. Before coming directly to that question, I should like to suggest this. If as some of the speakers from the opposite side of the Committee have indicated, this Clause only aims at preventing mass attacks on the homes, etc., of the wives and children of workers who are blacklegging their fellows, they would get a great deal more sympathy in the 1957 country. I suggest that such happenings are very few and far between, and I cannot help resenting, as a, servant of trade unionism, the suggestions that all striking trade unionists must necessarily and naturally be a lot of howling Dervishes or hooligans. I say, without desiring to be offensive and without any appearance of being offensive, that I have this very week sitting in this City a conference of my own union, with delegates from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, dealing with very great problems. I, sitting in front of them and looking at them, would say that they have quite as good an appearance of intelligence as right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen opposite, and that they are as full of human understanding and natural kindness as any body of men can be. Ordinarily, trade unionists would not desire any such brutality as has been suggested, or anything of that sort.
Undoubtedly this Bill as a whole is designed, not to prevent national or general strikes or mass attacks on blacklegs during a strike; it is designed absolutely to smash into ineffectiveness trade unions of every description. This very Sub-section ends with the words:apprehension of injury' includes an apprehension of boycott, or loss of any kind, or of exposure to hatred, ridicule, or contempt.A previous part of the Bill deals with the assembly or the visiting at or near a house of one or two persons. The case which I put was that of my own when an organiser of my union, not at the end of the strike as the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson) indicated, when men were suffering from the pangs of hunger and were very likely under very great mental stress, but on the very first day of the strike. An engine-driver had been prevailed upon by his locomotive superintendent to work a certain mail train that night. I was asked to go and see him, and I went to his house quite peaceably. I put the, question to him, and his sympathy with his fellows overcame his promise to his superintendent, and he stood with his fellows. I want to put this to the Attorney-General. If this Bill becomes law, as I suppose it inevitably will owing to the numbers—not to the arguments—on the Government Benches, would it be possible, not only for a permanent officer or an organiser peacefully to visit a man's 1958 10.0 p.m.
house, but for a local officer among his friends to visit him at the request of his fellows, and in a courteous and friendly manner to ask him if he would stand with his fellows or not? Would it not be possible under that wide distinction in regard to picketing and intimidation for that individual to say that he was held up to what, in his mind, made him have an apprehension of injury in the manner described in this Sub-section? Would not that render his fellow-workmen liable to the penalties laid down—a £20 fine, or three months' imprisonment? That is what I understand this Sub-section inflicts. If that be so, I put it to the right hon. Gentleman and to all Members on the opposite side of the Committee, that that is not substituting freedom for tyranny but tyranny for freedom, and is making a, peaceful approach to a man who is working, even on the first day of a strike, absolutely suppressible by law.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Following the speech of the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson), I would say that during the dispute of last year a matter came before the magistrates in my constituency, which is a mining constituency. The bench of magistrates consisted of a coalowner, a mine manager and an ex-colliery official, in order to deal with a matter arising out of the dispute. The hon. Member for Mossley will well understand how the evidence was weighed on that occasion. The magistrates might have been quite just, but, obviously, the tribunal was suspect, and if the hon. Member had to go before a bench of magistrates which consisted of his political opponents, although he might be given justice, he would be very dissatisfied.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
Is there any record of any of these cases during the strike having been followed by an appeal?
§ Mr. OLIVER
How can a miner who has been out of work for 16, 18, or 20 weeks pursue an appeal from a Court of magistrates? Who is going to find him the cash?
§ Mr. OLIVER
Hon. Members object to money from Russia. If we had had a little more we might have been able to prosecute these appeals to a higher tribunal. I am quite sure every hon. Member on this side would be very satisfied if it were just a question of defining the law of intimidation. I do not think anyone on this side would object, but the Home Secretary, yesterday, made it quite clear that it was more than a definition; it was an extension. When we challenged him, he explained what the extension of the term "intimidation" meant. Every time the right hon. Gentleman made an effort to distinguish the difference between physical and material and moral intimidation, he got back to the existing law, and he could not possibly give a definition at all. If we who are making the law cannot define the law which we are making, how in Heaven's name do we expect the Courts to do so? Although certain words have been deleted from the Clause, by implication the same interpretation will be placed upon the Clause by the Courts, and, in consequence, it will make it almost impossible to approach men who are blacklegging without serious risk of being brought before a magistrate on a criminal prosecution. When this Bill becomes an Act, it will not necessitate a general strike to test this Clause, which applies to the ordinary strike, so that we may have an early opportunity of seeing how it works out.
If I remember aright, there were two Acts relating to trade unions passed in 1871. There was what was called the Trade Union Charter of that year, and I think there was also passed at the same time an Act in regard to criminal conspiracy. By an interpretation of the Court, I believe, peaceful picketing was almost made impossible, and, in consequence of the agitation which arose as a result of the 1871 Act, it was left to a Conservative Government to pass the Act of 1875, conceding to the trade 1960 unionists the right to peaceful picketing as we understand it now. Now, this Bill will make that peaceful picketing impossible, unless we approach a man with the very endearing terms used by the Home Secretary—"Dear Bill, would you mind stopping away from work, because you are likely to injure us if you do not"—or words to that effect. But I would not complain so much about that, if some corresponding embargo were placed upon the employer. The employer may lock out the men. The workmen may not approach, within the narrowest limits of the law, such men as happen to be at work, but, on the other hand, an employer may approach men by a hundred and one different ways, such as sending round foremen or managers to threaten them if they do not return to work; but there will be no embargo placed upon them. From the discussions that have taken place to-day, after the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary and hon. Members on that side of the Committee have made all their efforts to define the Clause and to show the distinction between it and the existing law, we always come back to the definition that the existing law will apply. Whatever you do, you cannot get behind the mind of the blackleg, and whatever may be the interpretation of the words used in the Bill, whatever approaches are made to the picket, what is in the mind of the man who is picketed will be the evidence upon which the Court or bench of magistrates will be called upon to decide.
§ Mr. DENNISON
As a trade union official it has been my unfortunate experience to have been charged with intimidating in the circumstances which are laid down in this Clause, and, if this Bill had been in operation at that time, I believe I would have been sentenced not to three months imprisonment, but, probably sentenced to death. I am the last type of individual to do anything in the nature of intimidation, and even if I did, I can safely say that there is sufficient legislation on the Statute Book to deal with those who take aggressive action during strikes. When I was charged with intimidation, there were on the bench of magistrates at least four gentleman belonging to the company with whom the dispute was taking place. It was not a strike on behalf of the work 1961 people, but a lock-out on the part of the employer. The chairman of the bench, who was subsequently a Member of this House, was a very honest gentleman. He intimated to my solicitor that he was a director of the firm, and that he was prepared to leave the bench if my solicitor took any objection to his presence. My solicitor, being full of tact, thought it would be in the best interests of his client to say to the chairman that he was the most honest man on the bench; and I believe it was subsequently proved that he was the most honest man, because the others did not disclose their identity. I happened to escape very lightly indeed.
I was very much impressed by the speech of the hon. Member who spoke last when he asked what was to be the position of the employers. I worked for many years in the North of England, and my photograph, along with the photographs of many others, was freely distributed amongst the employers of labour, and I was put on the black list. Whether you changed your name or not, the photograph was always there, and if you happened to get a job by accident, you found that you were "sacked" the next morning. What steps are the Government taking to prevent intimidation on the part of employers against workpeople with whose opinions they do not happen to agree? I consider the Clause as it now stands is anything but fair. I have tried to explain to many people in the country during the last fortnight what is meant by the last two lines of Sub-section (2) where it refers to "apprehension," not of physical injury alone but of boycotting, ridicule, hatred or contempt. What does that mean? Does it apply, for instance, to a striker's wife who is going down a street and sees a blackleg on the other side and gives him the "glad-eye"? The blackleg may misunderstand her and there is nothing in that case to prevent the blackleg from feeling a measure of apprehension that the striker himself has serious designs against him and the chances are that the matter may be brought before the Courts. The whole thing is ridiculous and I suggest that the Committee ought to vote against a proposal which will be regarded as anything but common sense and will hold the House of Commons up to ridicule.
§ Mr. RITSON
I have sat here for days listening to the lawyers trying to elucidate this Bill, and I have come to the conclusion that when this Measure comes to be operated, and not until then, shall we come to know its real effect. By that time industry will have been upset and there will have been a great deal more trouble than was anticipated by those who promoted this Measure. The hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson) has taken varied parts in this Debate. He is an expert in designing beauty, but my best wish for the future of the country is that he may remain celibate. I can assure the House that the intimidation is not all on one side. We are suffering to-day and have been suffering for years in Durham and other mining areas from the intimidation of employers. No Act of Parliament has provided against it. The Attorney-General, because of public opinion and the fear of his own followers, has had to insert in this Bill something regarding lock-outs, but there is not a word about intimidation by employers. Many of us who have had long experience in the trade union world could give instances of it. My own father and the whole family were thrown across from village to village because my father was a marked man, and there are scores of men on this side who could give family histories of that kind. In my own township or a short distance from it, we have men dismissed to-day, not because they took any part in the strike, but because they sold the "Labour Leader," "Forward," and other Labour papers. They are told that while they might not have taken any active part in the strike they were circulating these papers. That sort of intimidation ought to be broken down.
What are we going to do with regard to finding out when a man is really in fear of a picket? I have done a good deal of picketing in my time, and it is very dangerous work. You have to do it very tactfully apart altogether from the law. If you have any sense at all you are not going to black a man's eye first and ask him to come out of work afterwards. A picket always reasons with a man because there is no use in driving men into the hands of the opposition. Over and over again, we have had to do that, and while I do not deny that there may have been some cases of violation of the law, we cannot be responsible for mistakes that must 1963 occasionally happen. I hold in this country after the conduct of the great stoppage of last year there is no one who ought not to be proud of the calibre of the men who were engaged in it. The Conservative party have got it into their minds that this is a popular thing, but I want to assure them that, so far as this Clause is concerned, there are women who take part in this, as they always have done, in their own interests as well as in those of their husbands, and when you ask us to accept a thing like this, you will get more trouble with the police than ever you have had before. Why cannot you leave us as we are?
An hon. Member just now was talking about facial expression being enough to get a man convicted. If I were to meet the hon. Member for Mossley, and if expression had anything to do with it, believe me, I would get three months' imprisonment. To say that to make eyes at anybody, or to give a facial expression, may be construed into something that might give a man "time" is getting very far away from the English law. I feel that the question of intimidation has been carried much too far by the Government, and I can assure them that over and over again, instead of bullying people whom we wanted to strike, we have, as in the case of the 1921 strike, actually spent £300 of our political fund to give them parcels of groceries. I defy any hon. Member to point out a single case in Durham where there would be such a state of affairs as is suggested by this Bill.
I am concerned about this Bill not only for the trade unionists' sake, but for the sake of the country as a, whole. I feel sure that the Bill is not welcomed by the coalowners of this country as a whole, and I am assured of this, and have been over and over again, by managers and agents of collieries that, they would rather have all their men in tht union, because if there is anybody who gives trouble, it is the would-be blackleg, who can make more complaints in a week than a trade unionist will in 12 months. The owners and managers and agents know very well that if they can get an organised deputation to the colliery office, they are receiving direct the appeals of the men. I feel that this Bill, popular as you may think it is, has a very strong rising tide against it, and my fear is 1964 that, when we get back away from the lawyers and have to put the thing into practice, then is the time when the fun will begin. My last word is this: I would like to appeal, if there is any hope in an appeal—[An HON. MEMBER: "There is not"]—Well then, I will give this as a warning. You may think that strikes, small and large, "general," as you call them, or big federation strikes and stoppages, such as we have had, are past, but I can assure you that you have not killed the spirit of the people by an Act of Parliament. The time will come, and will come often again, when we shall have huge trouble in the coalfield, not of our own seeking. We warned you against it, but you have followed your own way, and to-day the coal trade stands in a position in which it never was before, with people standing on tip-toe with anxiety and fear—people who love their country as much as ever you do, who were prepared in 1914 to sacrifice their lives for it, and who will sacrifice their lives for their liberty rather than allow you by Act of Parliament to take from them that which their fathers fought for so hard.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
The time at my disposal is short, but I make no complaint, because I think a very few minutes will be sufficient to answer any arguments which have been raised. [Interruption.] I am sorry hon. Members opposite are a little touchy about it, if I may say so, but to-night we have had a Debate covering very much the same ground as was covered last night, and I do not think I am saying anything disparaging to the ingenuity of hon. Members or the freshness of their arguments when I say that the arguments which have been used are not so new as they were yesterday morning. One or two statements which have been made show that there is still misapprehension as to this Clause. The hon. Member for King's Norton (Mr. Dennison) said a moment ago that if the Bill had been an Act of Parliament when he was a younger man he would have suffered death for disregarding its provisions. I shall be very curious to know in which Section of the Bill he finds that provision.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
I do not think the hon. Member looks like it. 1965 Then the hon. Member for Barrow (Mr. Bromley) asked a question which showed another misapprehension. He asked whether, if a trade union official attended the house of a member of his union and asked him to refrain from working, that would be an offence against the Bill. I give the hon. Member credit for thinking that if he had noticed the terms of Sub-section (1) he would have seen that it is only an offence if persons attend in such numbers or otherwise in such manner as to intimidate the person in the house. [HON. MEMBERS: "One !"] Or one person; but I am not supposing that in general when trade union officials attend individually at the house of a member they attend in such a manner as to intimidate that member.
The only other Sub-section is that which provides against watching or besetting a house, and inasmuch as watching or besetting means interference with the ordinary comfort and the ordinary enjoyment of the house beset, it would be impossible for a trade union official to offend against the provisions of Sub-section (4) of this particular Clause. I hope that answers the hon. Member's question. [Interruption.] He asked it of my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General, and although I gather that one of his neighbours does not agree With
§ my answer, after all, we were the persons who were asked to answer the question, and not the hon. Member on the Back Bench. The only other point was the objection as to the absence of a provision against intimidation by employers. If hon. Members opposite have reason to condemn the action of employers using methods of intimidation or victimisation, I suppose that is no reason for protesting against the action of the Government in preventing intimidation and victimisation from another quarter. It may be a reason why hon. Members should say they will supplement our efforts when they come into power by improving upon the Bill—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why do not you do it?"]—but it is hardly a reason for saying that they will repeal our Bill. I am afraid my time is exhausted. [Interruption.] That is no fault of mine. I could have said something about the blackleg and the brotherly way in which hon. Members opposite think and speak of him, but I am afraid I shall have to reserve those observations for a better occasion.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'injury' in line 6, stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 272; Noes, 137.1969
|Division No. 148.]||AYES.||[10. 30 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Cooper, A. Duff|
|Agg-Gardner. Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Brown-Lindsay, Major H.||Cope, Major William|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'i'd., Hexham)||Couper, J. B.|
|Albery, Irving James||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Buckingham, Sir H.||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Bullock, Captain M.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Burman, J. B.||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Butt, Sir Alfred||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Caine, Gordon Hall||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Campbell, E. T.||Davies, Dr. Vernon|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Carver, Major W. H.||Davison Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Cassels, J. D.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Drewe, C.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Cayzer, Maj Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Duckworth, John|
|Berry, Sir George||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Bethel, A.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)|
|Birehall, Major J. Dearman||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Eillot, Major Walter E.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Ellis, R. G.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Chapman. Sir S.||Elveden, Viscount|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||England, Colonel A,|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)|
|Bralthwaite, Major A. N.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Finburgh, S.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Forrest, W.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rye, F. G.|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Lamb, J. O.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Lougher, Lewis||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Savery, S. S.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Gauit, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Lumley, L. R.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Goff, Sir Park||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Grace, John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. Of W.)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)|
|Graham, Fergus(Cumberland, N.)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Skelton, A. N.|
|Grant, Sir J. A.||Macintyre, Ian||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||McLean, Major A.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Macmillan, Captain H.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Grotrlan, H. Brent||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Stanley. Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N)||Macquisten, F. A.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Maitland, sir Arthur D. Steel.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Malone, Major P. B.||Stuart, Crichton-,Lord C.|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Manningham-Bulier, Sir Mervyn||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Margesson, Captain D.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Marriott, Sir J. A. R,||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Meller, R. J.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Harland, A.||Merriman, F. B.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Harmswortn, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Tinne, J. A.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Waddington, R.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Neville, R. J.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hartford, Watford)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Watson sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Herbert, S. (York. N. R., Scar. & Wn'Dy)||Nicholson. Col. Rt. Hon. W. G. (Ptrsfl'id.)||watts, Dr. T.|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Oakley, T.||Wells, 'S. R.|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple.|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Hope, Capt A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Pennefather, Sir John||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Hope, Sir Harry(Forfar)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Perring, sir William George||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Pilcher, G.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Price, Major C. W. M.||Withers, John James|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.||Radford, E. A.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Ralne, W.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Ramsden, E.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Wood, Sir S. Hill. (High Peak)|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Rentoul, G. S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Captain Lord Stanley and Mr. Penny.|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Rice, sir Frederick|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Clowes, S.||Greenall, T.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Cluse, W. S.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Compton, Joseph||Groves, T.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Connolly, M.||Grundy, T. W.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Cove, W. G.||Hall, F. (York. W. R., Normanton)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Dalton, Hugh||Hall. G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Batey, Joseph||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hardle, George D.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Day, Colonel Harry||Hayes, John Henry|
|Briant, Frank||Dennison, R.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Broad, F, A.||Duncan, C.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)|
|Bromfield, William||Dunnico, H.||Hirst, G. H.|
|Bromley, J.||Fenby, T. D.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gardner, J. P.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Buchanan, G.||Gillett, George M.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Gosling, Harry||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)|
|Charieton, H. C.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. w.>|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Riley, Ben||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Ritson, J.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Thurtie, Ernest|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Robinson. W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Eiland)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Kelly, W. T.||Rose, Frank H.||varley, Frank B.|
|Kennedy, T.||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Vlant, S. P.|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Scrymgeour, E.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Lansbury, George||Scurr, John||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Sexton, James||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Lawson, John James||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Lee, F.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Lindley, F. W.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Lowth, T.||Sitch, Charles H.||Westwood, J.|
|Lunn, William||Smillie, Robert||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Mackinder, W.||Smith. Ben (Bermondsey. Rotherhithe)||whiteley, W.|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Kelghley)||Wiggins, William Martin|
|March, S.||Smith, Rennie (Ponistone)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Maxton, James||Snell, Harry||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Mosley, Oswald||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Murnin, H.||Stephen, Campbell||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Atterclflo)|
|Oliver, George Harold||Strauss, E. A.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Palin, John Henry||Sullivan, Joseph||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Taylor, R. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ponsonby, Arthur||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. A.|
|Potts John S.||Thomas Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Barnes.|
§ It being after half-past Ten of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded pursuant to the Order of the House of the 16th May, successively, to put forthwith the Question on an Amendment moved by the Government of which notice had been given, and the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-past Ten of the Clock at this day's sitting.1970
§ Amendment made: In page 3, line 29, leave out from the word "injury" to the end of line 32.—[The Attorney-General.]
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 278; Noes, 134.1973
|Division No. 149.]||AYES.||[10. 41p. m.|
|acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Caine, Gordon Hall||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Campbell, E. T.||Elliot, Major Walter E.|
|Albery, Irving James||Carver, Major W. H.||Ellis, R. G.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cassels, J. D.||Elveden, Viscount|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||England, Colonel A.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Erskine, James Malcolm Montelth|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent. Dover)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Fairtax, Captain J. G.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Balniel, Lord||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Fenby, T. D.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Chapman, Sir S.||Fielden, E. B.|
|Barclay-Harvey. C. M.||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Finburgh, S.|
|Barnett, Major sir Richard||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Forrest, W.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Berry, Sir George||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.|
|Bethel, A.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cooper, A. Duff||Frece, Sir Walter de|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cope, Major William||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Couper, J. B.||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Braitnwaite, Major A. N.||Crawfurd, H. E.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey. Gainsbro)||Goff, Sir Park|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. J.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Grace, John|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Graham, Fergus(Cumberland, N.)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Grant, sir J. A.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Nwb'y)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovii)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Buckingham, Sir H,||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Burman, J. B.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Drewe, C.||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Duckworth John||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Eden, Captain Anthony||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Macintyre, Ian||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||McLean, Major A.||Savery, S. S.|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F.(Dulwich)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James. I.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Harland, A.||Macquisten, F. A.||Simms. Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)|
|Harrison. G. J. C.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Malone, Major P. B.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine. C.)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Margesson, Captain D.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Henderson. Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd. Henley)||Meller, R. J.||Stanley. Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Merriman, F. B.||Steel, Major Samuel strang|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Meyer, Sir Frank||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Herbert, S. (York,N.R.,Scar. & Wn'by)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Stuart, Crichton-,Lord C.|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hohler Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Nail, colonel Sir Joseph||Thorn, Lt. -Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Nelson, Sir Frank||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Neville. R. J.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell.|
|Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Nicholson, Col. Rt.Hn.W.G.(Ptrsrid.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.||Oakley, T.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Vauahan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Waddington, R.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Pennefather, Sir John||Ward. Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Penny, Frederick George||Warrender, Sir victor|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||perkins, Colonel E. K||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||perring sir William George||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Plicher, G.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||price, Major C. W. M.||Wells, S. R.|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Radford E. A.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple|
|Kidd. J. (Linlithgow)||Raine, W.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Ramsden, E.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Rees, sir Beddoe||Williams. C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Reid, D D. (County Down)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Remer, J. R.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Rentoul, G. S.||Wilson. R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Rice, Sir Frederick||Withers, John James|
|Lougher, Lewis||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Cn'ts'y)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Ropner, Major L.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Wood, E (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Lumley, L. R.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wood, Sir S. Hill-(High Peak)|
|Lynn, Sir R. J.||Rye, F. G.||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Salmon, Major I.|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. Of W.)||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Captain Lord Stanley and Captain|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Bowyer|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Dalton, Hugh||Hirst, G H.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hilltbro')||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie|
|Ammon, Charles George||Day, Colonel Harry||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Dennison, R.||Jenkins, w. (Glamorgan, Neath)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Duncan, C.||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Dunnico, H.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)|
|Barnes, A.||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)|
|Batey, Joseph||Gardner, J. P.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Gillett, George M.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Gosling, Harry||Kelly, W. T.|
|Briant Frank||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Kennedy, T.|
|Broad, F. A.||Greenall, T.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M,|
|Bromfield, William||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Kirkwood, D|
|Bromley, J.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Lansbury, George|
|Brown, Ernest(Leith)||Groves, T.||Lawrence, Susan|
|Buchanan, G.||Grundy. T. W.||Lawson, John James|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Lee, F.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hall. G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Lindley, F. W.|
|Clowes, S.||Hardle, George D.||Lowth, T.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Harney, E. A.||Lunn, William|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Macklnder, W.|
|Campton, Joseph||Hayes, John Henry||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Connolly, M.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Cove, W. G.||Henderson, T, (Glasgow)||March, S|
|Maxton, James||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Viant, S. P.|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Mosley, Oswald||Sitch, Charles H.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Murnin, H.||Smillie, Robert||Watson, W. M. (Duntermllne)|
|Oliver, George Harold||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Palin, John Henry||Smith, H. B. Lees. (Kelghley)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Pethick, Lawrence, F.W.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Ponsonby, Arthur||Snell, Harry||Welsh, J. C.|
|Potts, John S.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Westwood, J.|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Riley, Ben||Stephen, Campbell||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Ritson, J.||Sullivan, J.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Sutton, J. E.||William, Dr. J. H. (Lianetly)|
|Robinson. W. C.(Yorks, W. R.,Eiland)||Taylor, R. A.||William, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Rose, Frank H.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Atterlltte)|
|Saklatvala, Shapurll||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Salter, Dr. Alfred||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Scrymgeour, E.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Scurr, John||Thurtle, Ernest||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|sexton, James||Tinker, John Joseph||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Varley, Frank B.||Whiteley.|
Bill read a Second time, and committed.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.—[The Attorney-General.]
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.