§ The Fourth Schedule to the principal Act (which relates to the maximum scale of election expenses) shall have effect as if for the word "sevenpence" there were substituted the word "sixpence" and as if for the word "fivepence" there were substituted the word "fourpence."—[Mr. A. Henderson.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed [18th April], "That the Clause be read a Second time."—[Mr. A. Henderson.]
§ Question again proposed.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir William Joynson-Hicks)
On the last occasion, when this Clause was before the Committee, it was arranged that I should consider the observations which had been made on both sides of the Committee and, after consultation with the Prime Minister, should announce to-day the decision at which the Government had arrived with regard to this matter. I see no harm in saying that, just as there have been differences of opinion on both sides of the Committee, so there have been differences of opinion in the Government itself. [Interruption.] This is not a question of high politics, but is a question on which members of the Government, as Members of Parliament, are quite entitled to hold any views that they like, and it is no more extraordinary that opinions should differ among them than that opinions should differ in the House itself. There are one or two figures which I think I ought to give to the Committee, and, beyond giving them, I propose to say very little more.
The increase in the amount of money available, if the rate per head remains as it is, would vary in boroughs from £150 to £250, and in the counties from £200 to £300. Those are the possible 652 limits within which candidates would have to find more money for their election expenses after the passing of the Bill. It is obvious that there are two principles, perhaps of a contradictory character, which have to be considered in this matter. In the first place, I think we shall all agree that it is the duty of the House of Commons to make it as easy as possible for Members to get into the House—that there ought not to be, when candidates desire to enter the House of Commons, any bar of a financial character which can possibly be avoided. That, I think, is a principle on which all Members of the House will entirely agree. Then there is a second principle, perhaps not quite on all fours with the first, and that is that the expenditure should be sufficiently large to enable a candidate to bring the issues properly before the electorate. Those are two principles which have to be recognised, and they are, perhaps, on the face of them, almost irreconcilable; but, if these two principles are considered and applied fairly, I think that hon. Members, each for himself, will he able to see where the line should be drawn as to the amount of money that candidates should be allowed to spend—such a sum as would not, on the one hand, make it difficult for a man not so well endowed with this world's goods to enter the House of Commons, but, on the other hand, sufficiently large to enable candidates to put their views, and the views of their parties, fairly, honestly and adequately before the electors of the country.
There is only one other figure which I think the Committee might perhaps like to have, and that is as to the amount of money which was spent per head at the last Election, in 1924. I have had a very careful investigation made as to the amount of money spent by the successful candidates in different categories. In the London boroughs, the successful candidates spent 4.23d. per head. In the English boroughs, where the figures of 177 candidates have been taken, the expenditure was just under 4d. per head, namely, 3.91d. In the English counties the successful candidates, who numbered 221, spent 5.29d. In the Scottish burghs, as might, perhaps, be expected, the expenditure was very much smaller, namely, exactly 2½d. per 653 head, while the successful candidates in the Scottish counties spent 4.87d. per head. I am not attempting to draw any deduction from these figures, but simply place them before the Committee because I thought that the Committee ought to have all the information that it was in my power to get. I simply place these figures before hon. Members, and each can interpret them for himself. There is one other thing that I ought to say on behalf of the Government. This Clause is rather a leap in the dark, and we cannot say what expense may be actually needed by candidates before the next Election takes place. I merely mention that for what it is worth.
Finally, I have to say that the Government themselves desire to leave this matter entirely to the decision of hon. Members. In our view, this is a matter which does not affect party politics; it does not affect parties on one side or the other, but is a matter with which Members should be allowed to deal themselves, seeing that it is a matter of the I expenditure of their own money. The Question that is now before the Committee is, "That the Clause be read a Second time." All Members who desire a reduction to be made in the amount that may be spent will, of course, vote for the Second Reading of the Clause, while all Members who desire that no reduction should be made in the amount of money allowed to be spent per head will vote against the Second Reading of the Clause. If the Second Reading of the Clause is carried, an Amendment will. I think, be moved by some of my hon. Friends to omit the boroughs from the reduction of expenditure, and again there will be, as far as the Government are concerned, a perfectly free and open vote in regard to that particular Amendment.
I ought, perhaps, to add that in regard to another Amendment, which suggests reductions below the amounts suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson), that is to say, to 5d. in the counties and as little as 3d. in the boroughs, the Government are convinced that that
§ would be inadequate, and, therefore, I do not suggest that that should be left to the free vote of the Committee. We have had to consider the question, and we have determined, for ourselves, that that would be too small really to enable the facts to be put adequately before the electorate. I hope that it may not be considered necessary to move that Amendment. I suggest to the Committee, therefore, that a Division should be taken immediately on the Second Reading of this Clause, and that then the Amendment. to omit the boroughs should be moved; and, as I have said, on both of these questions, namely, the Second Reading of the Clause and the cost in the boroughs, the Cabinet propose to take no part in the Divisions, and to leave the matter entirely to a free vote of the Committee.
I see that the first Amendment on the Paper is one which proposes a reduction in the rate in the counties, and the Amendment to omit the boroughs item would come after that.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I looked round for my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley), but did not see him here. I was going to appeal to him not to move his Amendment proposing a further reduction in the counties, because the Government could not accept that, as it would reduce the amount below what they think might fairly be left to the opinion of the Committee.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
May I ask if, on the new Clause which stands in the name of certain hon. Members on the Liberal Benches, and which also proposes further reductions in the two rates, the Government will allow a free vote?
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 220; Noes, 71.657
|Division No. 86.||AYES.||[4.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Alexander, A. V (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Ammon, Charles George||Atholl, Duchess of|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Atkinson, C.|
|Albery, Irving James||Apsley, Lord||Attlee, Clement Richard|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Baker, Walter||Griffith, F. Kingsley||Naylor, T. E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Groves, T.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Grundy, T. W.||Palin, John Henry|
|Barnes, A.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Narmanton)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Pilcher, G.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Hammersley, S. S.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Hanbury, C.||Potts, John S.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hardie, George D.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Blundell, F. N.||Harris, Percy A.||Remnant, Sir James|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Ropner, Major L.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Crott||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Briant, Frank||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hills, Major John Waller||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hirst, G. H.||Scurr, John|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Shinwell, E.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N th'l'd., Hexham)||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hore-Belisha, Lestle||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Burman, J. B.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Jephcott, A. R.||Snell, Harry|
|Charleton, H. C.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kelly, W. T.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Colfox, Major William Phillips||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Cope, Major William||Kennedy, T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Lawrence, Susan||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Lee, F.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Livingstone, A. M.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Loder, J. de V.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Looker, Herbert William||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Day, Harry||Lowth, T.||Townend, A. E.|
|Dennison, R.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Drewe, C.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dunnico, H.||Lumley, L. R.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Lunn, William||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-OR-Hult)|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Macintyre, I.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Mackinder, W.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||McLean, Major A.||Wells, S. R.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Macmillan Captain H.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Foster, Sir Harry s.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||Macquisten, F. A.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Mac Robert, Alexander M.||Wilson. Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Malone, Major P. B.||Windsor, Walter|
|Gates, Percy||March, S.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Margesson, Capt. D.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Gillett, George M.||Meyer, Sir Frank||Wright, W.|
|Grace, John||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Montague, Frederick||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Morris, R. H.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Mr. Paling and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Couper, J. B.||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Bennett, A. J.||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Goff, Sir Park|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hacking, Douglas H.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hamilton, Sir George|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Dixey, A. C.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Clayton, G. C.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Fermoy, Lord||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Preston, William||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Long, Major Eric||Price, Major C. W. M.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Raine, Sir Walter||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Salmon, Major I.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustavo D.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Savery, S. S.|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Oakley, T.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)||Lieut.-Colonel Sir George Dairymple|
|Pennefather, Sir John||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||White and Sir Joseph Nail.|
§ Clause read a Second time.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Clause, in line 3, to leave out the word "sixpence," and to insert instead thereof the word "fivepence."
The Division which has just taken place shows that it is the strong opinion of the Committee that there should be some effort made to reduce the amount which would otherwise be authorised to be spent in elections now that the electorate is enlarged, but if Members of the Committee will take pencil and paper they will see that, in the light of the figures just given by the Home Secretary, there is good ground for thinking that the figure of 6d. in counties is still an unnecessarily large figure. The Home Secretary told us that in English counties the amount which the successful candidate spent was 5.29d. and in Scottish counties 4.87d., and, consequently, at present success in a county election does not depend on spending 7d. or anything like it. We are going to add by this Bill something like 9,000 new electors to a constituency, so that a constituency, instead of consisting of 36,000 voters, will, on an average, consist of 45,000. If hon. Members will do a very simple piece of arithmetic, they will see what follows from that. If you multiply the 36,000 voters by 7 you will get a total in pennies of 252,000. If, on the other hand, you take the new position, with 45,000 voters in the average constituency, and multiply that number by 6, you get 270,000 pennies, which is an excess of 18,000 pennies, or £75.
If it were the case that people spent, and had to spend, up to the maximum at present allowed, there would be a fair argument for allowing £75 more to be spent, but, in fact, as we have been told by the Home Secretary, that is not the case, and, on the figures given to the 658 Committee, there is no ground whatever for supposing that if the amount authorised for this larger number of electors were not 6d., but 5d., you would not provide abundantly for the case illustrated by the Home Secretary. I do not forget that averages necessarily consist of combining together cases which are rather above the line and other cases which are rather below, but, at the same time, the figure I suggest gives a good deal of latitude. A fact which the Home Secretary did not mention, but which is also to be established by examination of the statistics, is that the amount spent at General Election after General Election by candidates is decreasing. If the figures are analysed, whether in counties or in boroughs, it will be found that the amount spent per candidate for a contested seat in 1922 was greater than in 1923, and in 1923 was greater than in 1924. The expenditure is tending to go down, and I would point out, finally, that there really is no ground for saying that the addition of 9,000 of the younger women to the electorate justifies a substantial increase of expenditure.
The essential expenditure remains, for the most part, exactly the same. Expenses under such heads as election agent, sub-agents, personation agents, committee rooms, public meetings, bill-posting or advertising, remain, or ought to remain, substantially the same. The only difference will be that the new electors, who, hitherto, have been at the meetings or looked at the hoardings, but have not been able to vote, will be able in the future not only to attend the meetings and look at the hoardings, hut also vote. The only point on which it can fairly be said that an increase of expenditure may be expected will be in the matter of stationery, printing and posting. As regards stationery, once you have had set up in type the election 659 documents and printed 36,000 of them, everyone knows that to print another 9,000 copies is a very small matter indeed. As regards postage, 9,000 halfpennies only come to £18, and, therefore, unless we do something quite substantial to reduce the maximum figure, we are, while claiming to reduce unnecessary expenditure, really encouraging a higher rate of expenditure in practice than has been found sufficient in the past. I submit that any reasonable analysis of the figures would give very strong support to the view that the figure of 6d. in the Clause, which has just been read a Second time, is really unnecessarily large, and that the figure of 5d. should be substituted.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I am rather surprised that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has moved this Amendment. The Committee has passed the Second Reading of the Clause by a very large majority, composed of all sections. The Clause was moved officially from the front Opposition Bench, and, therefore, I assume we may take it from the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Clause, and who has had the experience of being Home Secretary in the last Government, that he is satisfied that 6d. is a fair sum to put in the Clause. That sum has been accepted this afternoon by a great majority of the Committee, including a very large number of the Conservative party. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has come here with his reforming zeal, and wants to be even more reforming than the reforming Government to which I have the honour to belong. He tried to analyse the figures, but, quite obviously, the figures I gave were average figures and not maximum figures. The election expenses of a very large number of Members of the party on the opposite side of the Committee are, quite frankly, known to be considerably less than those on our side, yet the right hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) is so fair—I thank him for it—in regard to this Clause, that he knowing from past experience that his own colleagues would not want probably to spend up to anything like 6d, per vote, realising that on our side things are somewhat different, put down what he considered to be a fair figure.
660 Then the right hon. and learned Gentleman tries to put in a figure which, I am prepared to say, would not be fair to a large number of Members who have sat for many years and who realise what the cost of elections is. On behalf of the Government, I certainly hope the Committee will not accept the Amendment. He made great play of the fact that election expenses are declining. That is true, but the reason is obvious. When a Member has had three elections in three years he goes to his agent and tells him to be very careful indeed. On all hands, there was less money spent in 1924 than in the previous two elections, but, owing to the stability and the excellence of this Government, that experience has not been repeated, and I think by next year, when we shall have been in power five years, hon. Members will perhaps find their purses sufficiently repleted.
There is one other thing I would point out. The right hon. and learned Gentleman made great play of the fact that you cannot get more meetings and you cannot get more personation and so forth. In these large constituencies, you cannot get the electors into the meetings. The halls are not big enough. In many constituencies you cannot get more than about 25 or 30 per cent. of the electors to the meetings at all. [Interruption].It is a little awkward if an election takes place in a foggy November. [An HON. MEMBER: "Is that the month when the next election will take place?] Elections take place at the most convenient period of the year, whatever that may be, and we have to guard against all possibilities. We have to guard against the possibility of a very cold, foggy, wet period when you cannot hold as many open air meetings as you can in the summer months. There must necessarily be an increase in pamphlets with this new large electorate. You have 5,500,000 more people who have never had votes before, have never had election literature, and never had the privilege of hearing the speeches of the right hon. and learned Gentleman or others in their lives. Now they are coming as fresh voters, and it would be wrong to reduce the limit I have already agreed upon. We have tried to deal fairly with the matter and to leave it fairly and squarely to the opinion of the House, but, as I said a few minutes ago, we are not prepared to leave to the Com- 661 mittee a figure which is believed to be wrong. We believe the figure to be wrong and unfair, and one which would seriously militate against a considerable number of Members putting their case fairly, strongly and as fully as they might wish to do before the new electorate. That being so, I hope the Committee will refuse the Amendment, and allow the Clause to pass as originally proposed.
§ Sir BASIL PETO
On a point of Order. If the Amendment he rejected, shall I be in order in moving the manuscript Amendment I have handed in to substitute 6½ for 6d.?
No, because sixpence will then have been ordered to stand part. The hon. Baronet will have an opportunity to put his case on this Amendment.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Although it is true that the Second Reading of the Clause standing officially in the name of this party has been carried, I suppose we are at liberty, when new light is thrown upon the subject and new evidence is produced, to change our minds. The Home Secretary said there were two points that had to be considered in coming to a decision on this question. One was that the figure should not be so low as to prevent a candidate putting his views properly and fully before the electors, and the second was not to penalise men who could not afford a lavish expenditure upon their candidature. I believe the experience of the Labour party has proved that it is possible for a candidate to put his views before a constituency without the expenditure of the maximum amount allowed by law. It would have been interesting if the right hon. Gentleman, when he had his officials at work, had extracted the average figure of election expenses of successful Labour candidates. I think the result would have shown that we have not on the average spent anything approaching 50 per cent. of the maximum allowance. I know that there are some of my hon. Friends behind me whose election expenses have not exceeded about £200. I have fought nine contested elections, and I have never spent half the maximum sum, and I have never felt hampered in the slightest degree. I have never felt that through lack of money I was prevented from putting my views adequately before the constituency.
662 We are not tied to any particular figure. We do not want to hamper candidates in putting their views before their constituencies, and we do not want to place poor candidates at a disadvantage. On the other hand, we do not want to put a premium upon lavish expenditure, which is very often unnecessary. I think most hon. Members will agree that a great deal of the expense of printing particularly is wasted, and no return is given in the shape of additional votes. The figures given by the Home Secretary in regard to the average expenditure has caused us somewhat to modify our views, and we are now of opinion that the figures proposed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) would not prevent any candidate from doing what the Home Secretary says should be the object we have in view in fixing the maximum allowance, namely, putting his views fully before the electorate, and therefore we are going to vote for the Amendment.
We were not altogether unprepared for the Machiavellian finish of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. The right Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley seemed to give us an example of how perfectly accurate figures and statistics can be twisted to prove results which really have no bearing on the real facts of the situation. I am one of the unrepentant band of 72 wise virgins who recently went into the No Lobby with a view to keeping the figures as they were. We were defeated, and a reduction has been decided upon. I want to bring forward reasons why this further reduction should not be contemplated. No one can charge me with being an advocate of high election expenses. I am unfortunate in probably standing alone in having fought three elections in the space of 12 months, and my banking account is still staggering under that triple blow. Undoubtedly at the first by-election the expense was heavy, but being less green in the later elections, and having more control over my agents, I was able to get through them on sums very substantially less than the maximum I was entitled to use.
The question in my mind is not whether we shall have to issue so much more literature or have so many more meetings, and engage so many halls. It is a question of the conditions in the elections that are to be fought. For 663 example, there may be cases, such as Marylebone, where to all intents and purposes there have been uncontested elections. Now the matter becomes a particularly contested one, although we all know the result is a foregone eon-elusion. Nevertheless it means that there is additional expense on the candidates there, because of those special conditions. A constituency may have been rather quiet, having recognised the inevitable for some time, and then, for some reason, intense electoral interest is aroused by some special feature and the result is that the candidate is compelled in spite of himself to entertain a larger expenditure than he would otherwise have done. I do not see why in my West Country division of Yeovil, where the conditions have hitherto been from a financial point of view comparatively satisfactory, although there were those three elections in one year, I should have to tie myself in view of conditions in the future which I may not know about, or tie my friends and colleagues, of whatever party, in different parts of the country, who may be facing special conditions of which I know nothing and hope not to know anything.
I do not think it can be too often emphasised that it is not a question of whether a candidate is now going to have to pay so much. This is a maximum and not a minimum allowance. We are all at one that it is eminently undesirable that any party should have for one of its advantages the fact that it has money behind the people who represent it in the House. We believe the best minds and brains should be available for party politics, and membership of this House should not be debarred by financial considerations. The considerations that keep people from standing as Members of Parliament are not whether, having faced an expenditure of £1,200 in an election, that should be increased to £1,350 or £1,400. That additional amount is practically not worth regarding. The real thing is the constant expense of a Member of the House in his regular work, the calls upon him for political and social subscriptions, and above all, the fact that so many young men are compelled, at those years at which it might be very desirable for them to be in the House, to think of their daily bread. Politics is becoming 664 more and more a whole-time job, making a tremendous demand on the time of Members, and the man whom we might wish to see here has not the financial resources to enable him to become a Member, not because he is going to spend an additional £150 or £200 at an election, but because he has to give up his time which otherwise would he occupied in earning his living. Therefore, I consider it would be eminently shortsighted on the part of the Committee if we went any further. We have lately decided on this reduction from 6d. to 4d. and I hope very much, therefore, that the Committee will repudiate the suggested further reduction of maximum expenditure for the reasons I have endeavoured to show.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I should like to support the Amendment to the proposed Clause which has been moved by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon). There are certain kinds of figures which are not of very great help in considering this question, and the Home Secretary gave us some of those figures. Average figures are not helpful in this matter at all. As an illustration of that, I should like to draw attention to the case of a certain disease. It was stated that the average age at which people (lied from that disease was about 50. On medical research being made into the matter, it was found that only two people had died from it; one was aged 90 and the other was a new-horn infant. Exactly the same error is being made by the Home Secretary when he compares the average amount spent on county elections by members of the party opposite with the average amount spent by members of the party on this side.
I have taken the trouble to jot down a few figures, which, I believe, are relevant to this issue. Since the present amounts were fixed in 1918, there have been considerable falls in the cost of various services, such as printing and stationery and even postage, in the conduct of elections. I admit that there has been a concurrent rise in wages, but, on going into the matter—and I have made my inquiries from many printers and also from a political department—and I find that in the case of paper, which is a very important item in conducting an election, there has been a fall since 1918 665 of 1s. 1d. per lb. For example, in 1918 cheap paper, which is by far the major item with regard to the greater part of political reprints and so on, was 1s. 6d. a lb. In 1928, it had gone down to 41d. I should like to give the case of envelopes. At every election every candidate must use at least one envelope for each elector. Some candidates use as many as two and three envelopes for each elector. That is to say, they send out three postal communications. In 1918, envelopes cost 29s. per thousand. In 1928, they cost 9s. 3d. per thousand, so that on that one item alone there is £35 saved in the case of candidates who only send out one postal communication; or £70 in the case of candidates who send out two postal communications, and as much as £100 in the case of many candidates who send out three postal communications during an election. I submit that it is a relevant figure, for there we can put our finger on one specific item stationery which saves candidates as between 1918 and 192S sums varying from £30 to £100.
I should like to say, if it is to be argued that county elections need not be subject to a decrease but that borough elections may, that there is little justification for that submission. I have been taking out a few figures with regard to the cost of county elections. Supposing there wore three elections, as there were in 1922, 1923 and 1924, and there were 35,000 electors, there would be £1,015 spent at each election by a candidate who spent the full amount. If we multiply that by three and add a certain amount, not an excessive amount, for expenditure between elections, we arrive at a figure of over £6,000. I think I can claim with definite knowledge that there must be a large number of hon. Members on the other side who represent county constituencies who spent in 1922, 1923 and 1924 at least £6,000 on their elections and on nursing their constituencies. I believe that in many cases the expenses have been even higher, and I do not think it is a good thing.
We hear hon. Gentlemen suggesting that we must educate the electors. If I may say it quite inoffensively, it appears to me that the people who spend the most money on their elections are the people from whom we get the least political arguments. Most of the political 666 arguments of the very wealthiest Members—though there may be exceptions to this rule—come out of their purses. It is an entirely bad thing, not only for hon. Members opposite but for hon. Members on this side too, because when they find their opponents spending these large sums of money in angling for votes, they are bound to retaliate with some other inducement. The result is, if I may give an angling simile, that they east gaudier flies upon the water. That makes hon. Members opposite spend more and hon. Members on this side promise more. [Interruption.] I was going on to say that that process is altogether to the national disadvantage, because the people who suffer from it are the Liberal party, who depend upon political principles. The hon. Member for North Hackney (Captain A. Hudson), for whom I have the greatest envy in that he represents a constituency not 100 miles from mine and has a much easier task there, stated that whereas hon. Members of the Conservative party had to spend the money themselves, Labour Members had outside organisations to help them, the theory being that hon. Members on his side do not have outside organisations to help them. I submit that that is not; quite accurate, because it is well known that the public-houses and, to a lesser extent—
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I was really only replying to an argument put forward previously from the other side.
I must remind the hon. and gallant Member that there is a difference between a discussion on the Second Reading of the Clause and the Amendment to-day.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
There is a point beyond which a Government on the left in the future will not permit hon. Members on the other side to hold the advantage they possess of spending more on their constituencies. It is not only a question which arises at elections but a question of expense between elections, and it may well be that since, as at the present time, there is no definite date 667 at which an election begins, unless hon. Members on the other side show a spirit of conciliation in respect of this Amendment, the time will come when we shall want to impose stricter limits as to the date at which an election begins. This morning I was looking through an account of some of the leading cases which deal with the amounts spent on these elections and the date at which an election begins, and I came across a ruling by Pollock which, I think, illustrates my point, and if hon. Members will permit me I will read it. It is short. It deals with a case of corrupt expenditure. It says:We find that the election commenced at a period many weeks, at any rate, before the election itself. We find that fact, because a person who was an absolute stranger to the district, who lived at a distance but who had considerable command of money, commenced his connection with the district by sending for an agent"—
I do not think that this can be in order on this Amendment, which is an Amendment proposed for a reduction of in county constituencies only. The hon. and gallant Member must confine himself to that. It is not a question either of a Second Reading of the Clause or of the Clause standing part of the Bill.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I respectfully submit that since in this case we are discussing the amount presumably to be spent at county elections, is it not in order on that subject for me to argue that there ought to be a specific date fixed as to when the election begins; otherwise, we are not in a position to say when it has commenced?
The hon. and gallant, Member cannot possibly propose that in connection with this Bill.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I do not seek to evade your ruling in any way. I had hoped that it would be in order. I had one or two things I wished to say about it. I should like to conclude by urging hon. Members on the other side to attempt to meet this Amendment in a spirit of conciliation. This question of expenses, whether it is for a county or for a borough, has the seeds of the bitterest party quarrel in it, and, unless hon. Members on the other side meet it in a spirit of conciliation, they will find at some future date that we shall desire to take up the whole matter and impose 668 far stricter limits. On the other hand, if they are prepared to accept this Amendment, it may well be that in years to come we shall be content to leave matters as they stand.
§ Sir B. PETO
I regret that it will not be in order for me to move a further Amendment, namely, that a reduction of a halfpenny only be made. I take it that it is a foregone conclusion that all but the limited number of Members who voted for leaving things as they are will support the Clause as moved originally by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) on behalf of the Labour party and not the Amendment of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon). I want to say a word with regard to the arguments addressed to the Committee by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden). He was making an endeavour to find reasons for a change of opinion suddenly developed on behalf of the Labour party and on a part of the Clause which deals exclusively with county elections. The arguments brought forward were based upon the fact that the average expenditure of the Labour party was so much lower than that of their opponents. The appearances of Labour party candidates in rural county constituencies have not been very numerous and they have been singularly unsuccessful. Therefore, any arguments based upon how much it cost them to run an election in the countryside have really no relevance whatever in this discussion. If he could have shown us that a large section of the Members of the party on the benches opposite had won their seats in county constituencies and won them on vastly less than the maximum amount allowed at present, certainly it would have been a relevant argument.
If we accept the assumption of the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley that the expenditure set by the Speaker's Conference in 1917, and adopted by the House, namely, the present maximum of 7d. and 5d., has proved to be more than is necessary or, at any rate, fully adequate, then I think his argument goes this far, that there are some items of election expenditure which will not be increased or will be very little increased on account of the additions to the electorate. In my view, 669 that would be met by a reduction of the figure by one halfpenny and not by one penny. I am convinced that there are a great number of other expenses which will necessarily be very much heavier than they have been in the past, on account of the larger electorate. We shall have a majority of women electors. With the electorate of women which we have had for the last ten years we have seen growing up more and more into a gradually developing and specialised organisation everywhere, a woman's side of politics. Meetings of women have had to be held and women's subjects have had to be brought before special meetings, and so on. In addition, there is the argument, which the Home Secretary properly addressed to the Committee, that there will be more and more duplication of meetings in order to find room so that this largely increased body of electors may hear the arguments of the candidates. More than ever it will be found necessary to hold meetings specially for women when they are in a majority of the electorate.
There is one item of expenditure which I should like to see cut out entirely. It was considered in the Speaker's Conference and a suggestion was made that it should be made illegal to plaster constituencies with the rival posters of the candidates. I think that is a great waste of money. On one hoarding you will see a huge poster with the words: "Vote for A," and on the other side of the street you will see an exactly similar poster: "Vote for B." I do not think that is an appeal to the electorate that ought to be allowed in election expenses. I do not know whether it would be in order for me to move that it be made a corrupt practice to issue posters of that sort. I am convinced that one halfpenny is the utmost reduction permissible if in widespread country constituencies the candidates are to place their views before the electorate. I support the Clause. as it now stands, seeing that I shall not be in order in moving an Amendment to make the figure 60. instead of 6d. I hope the Committee will pass the Clause as it stands by as large a majority as possible.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
I am glad that the Labour party have indicated that they will support the Amendment to the new Clause, because it is in the right direction. I agree with the hen. Member 670 for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) that posters of the kind which he has described are not really essential. The necessary thing in a Parliamentary election is to give the electors a specific argumentative statement in favour of the respective candidates. The whole trend of political movement in the large political parties is to give an incentive to those who have control of the very well-provided war chests to flood the constituencies with literature and posters, whereas those who work oh more moderate lines are often handicapped. Reference has been made to the amount expended in certain Scottish constituencies. My own expenses did not come up to anything like the average which was mentioned. I maintain that we can do perfectly good electioneering business in the way of legitimate appeals to the electors on a much mode moderate basis than that which has prevailed up to the present time. One great disadvantage which some of us experience is that we have not the Press on our side. The candidate who has the Press on his side has facilities which help him very materially in making his appeal to the electorate. I should have been glad to support an Amendment which would have gone more deeply in restricting expenditure both in counties and boroughs.
§ Brigadier-General CHARTERIS
I rise to express a view contrary, I am afraid, to the views of hon. Members on this side of the House. I support the reduction from 6d. to 5d. because I understand that my own Amendment, to reduce the amount to 4d. in a county constituency and to 3d. in a borough constituency, will not be in order. If the figure of 6d. is to he adopted for county constituencies, the amount which the candidate will have to spend will be approximately the same that he has had to spend at previous elections. I regard the amount which a candidate has had to spend at previous elections as limiting to a serious extent the field from which suitable candidates can be drawn. There is an opinion held that the expenses of a Member in Parliament so far outweigh his election expenditure that the latter need not to be taken into account. I do not think that argument can hold. It is true that when a rich man is the Member of Parliament for a county constituency, the constituency expects much from him, but when a poor man is the Parliamentary representative for a county constituency, then, as in my own experience, the county 671 does not expect so much from him as from a rich man, and he does not reduce his influence thereby. If a county constituency finds a poor man spending too much money that poor man will lose just about the same number of votes as would the rich man who spends too little money; so great is the commonsense of county constituencies. Therefore, the amount which a Member of Parliament has to expend when he is a Member need not be considered when we are discussing what should he spent by a candidate during his election campaign.
There can be no doubt that the present amount required from a candidate standing for a county constituency is an effective bar to many suitable men standing for Parliament. That operates against my own party, but it is not simply on that account that I am in favour of a reduction. I look at the question from a wider standpoint and as a question of national importance. There must be a tendency for those who have brains but not much money to be attracted to a party which has unlimited funds and whose principles do not essentially differ from those of a party which has not unlimited funds. Consequently, there may be the danger in an extreme case of finding in the Liberal party young men with Unionist principles, but without private means, who are prepared to sacrifice their principles to considerations of pocket, if the divergence of principle between the Liberal and Conservative parties on certain matters become slight, as may well be. There is a risk that we may find in the Liberal party those who have more brains than money, and in the Conservative party those who have more money than brains. With regard to the Socialist party, I suppose the obvious corollary will be that those who are in the Socialist party may not have much money or brains.
Anything that we can do to reduce the expenditure, the money bar, which at the present time operates more particularly in regard to the counties, will be an advantage from the point of view of getting county constituencies represented by people who have the interests of the county at heart. In the counties there are fewer and fewer local county people with sufficient money to face the heavy expenditure involved in a Parlia- 672 mentary election. If we keep the amount at the present figure we shall find more and more that the counties will be represented by people who do not live in the county, whose interests are not in the county, and who come from distant parts to stand as candidates in the interests of a particular party. If we are told that the experience of past elections shows that the amount of money which is allowed to be spent cannot be reduced below the present amount, then I agree with the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) that it will be found possible to reduce the cost by abolishing posters of the kind to which he referred. That would bring the figure much lower than the present sanctioned amount. I do not think it would be necessary to legislate for that reform. The common sense of the candidates will show them how to reduce the expenditure which has been forced upon them by custom. They will reduce that part which is unnecessary.
There is one further aspect of the question which calls for attention. Last Session we passed into law the Trade Disputes Act, of which I was a supporter and am a convinced believer. That Act of Parliament has undoubtedly deprived the Socialist party of certain means by which they financed their political activities. I have always regretted that aspect, because I do riot think that any party should seek to get political advantage by crippling the financial resources of any party opposed to it. It may be true that if we reduce the amount allowed to be spent by a candidate it will not make any difference to the amount spent by most Socialist candidates; still I think that, having passed an Act limiting the resources of an opposing party, we should at the same time reduce the amount which they may be required to spend from those resources.
I would like to see the figure very much lower. I would like to see it reduced to such an extent that voluntary work would become the order of the day instead of the exception, as at the present time. When first I contested a constituency I had an offer voluntarily to do a good deal of the work which had been done hitherto by paid officials—work of the same kind which is done in the Socialist party by voluntary effort. I was, however, met 673 with the argument that as the work had always hitherto been paid for, voluntary work was undesirable. I believe that if we cut down the expenditure very considerably we should find enthusiasts in the Unionist party and the Liberal party who would gladly undertake voluntary work. Voluntary work has this advantage over paid work that the voluntary worker certainly brings a great deal of enthusiasm to his work whereas the paid worker may not. It would be even better if we could go still further and say that a candidate should not be called upon to spend one penny for election expenses and that his constituency should find the whole of the money required for the election. One great advantage of that would be that those who contributed financially as well as contributing their work voluntarily would bring more enthusiasm into the work on behalf of the party to which they belong. Every penny contributed would bring with it a certain amount of enthusiasm into the work, which might otherwise be lacking. I regret very much that the Amendment does not go further, and I regret that I shall have to part company with hon. Members on my side of the House; but I shall have no hesitation in supporting the Amendment which has been moved by the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon).
§ Sir ROBERT SANDERS
On a point of Order. I have gathered from the two previous speakers that they are under the impression that in connection with this Amendment it will not be possible to move any scale other than 5d. Surely that is not so. The question will be put that "sixpence" stand part, and if we answer that question in the negative, I presume that it will be possible to move that 6½d. or 4d. or any other sum be substituted.
I do not think that an Amendment to substitute 6½d. would be in order, but 5d. or 4d. would be in order.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I should like to congratulate the last speaker on the general tone of his speech. The general trend of the Debate this afternoon shows that there is undoubtedly a feeling that the scales should not be weighted against the poorer candidate, and I want to ask 674 hon. Members to consider to what extent the scales are at present weighted against the poorer candidates of the Labour party, especially in the county constituencies, so that those who really believe in the expressions to which they have given utterance will unhesitatingly vote for the Amendment. Take a recent example of a by-election in a county constituency which was won by a member of the Liberal party; the St. Ives by-election. In that election the roads were thick with the motor cars of the Liberal and Unionist candidates—it is an enormous area—but against the hundreds of cars which were at the disposal of the Conservative and Liberal candidates the Labour candidate had one battered two-seater. It was stated in the Liberal Press that the Labour candidate, during the greater part of that election, had the services of one two-seater motor car only. One is able to realise the appalling handicap of any Labour candidate in these county constituencies, with their enormous areas. The Conservative and Liberal candidates can secure all this help without adding one penny to their election expenses.
In the average county constituency the Conservative candidate has many friends who own motor cars, which can be put into the field without any cost whatever to the candidate. The Labour candidate can count the number of cars at his disposal on the fingers on one hand and, therefore, if hon. Members opposite believe that the scales should not be weighted against the poorer candidate then they should support the Amendment. But there are other ways in which the scales are weighted in favour of the Conservative candidates and against others. In the county constituencies they have the influence of the landlords in their favour. Those who have worked in county elections know the appalling amount of pressure which is brought to bear on the farm labourer by the friends of the party opposite. He is generally in a tied house, and is told that unless he votes for the Conservative candidate he will not be able to live in his cottage.
The hon. Member is now taking a line similar to that of the hon. Member for South Hackney (Captain Garro-Jones), which is out of order.
§ Miss WILKINSON
In considering this question we have to realise certain advantages which the party opposite possess, which do not necessarily come into the election expenses, and, therefore, having these advantages I am urging that they should agree to a lesser expenditure on the actual election.
That is rather a wide field. I am rather surprised that the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour) did not refer to the pressure which might be exercised by licensed victuallers.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I do not wish to argue your ruling, but I think it is important that hon. Members opposite should realise the enormous advantages they have in county constituencies, which do not come into Election expenses at all. In addition to those to which I have already referred, they have the Press. There are soma constituencies where not more than half-a-dozen copies of a Labour paper are sold, and therefore, as they have motor cars, the landlord's influence, and the Press, surely they can be generous and say that as far as Election expenses are concerned they are prepared to see a lesser amount spent. The last speaker also referred co the effect of the Trade Disputes Act on the funds of the Labour party. I think he spoilt the generous tone of his speech alike by saying that the Labour party had money to which they were not entitled, but the appalling difficulties which have been placed in the way of the Labour party have undoubtedly meant that money which would have been used to run meetings in the constituencies between Elections has had to be saved for the General Election itself.
The Conservative party and the Liberal party have also this extra advantage. The Conservative candidate can write to a dozen or twenty or thirty of his friends and get a £10 note without any trouble. [Interruption.] Well, all I can say is that any hon. Member opposite has only to use the telephone and he would get as much money in a few minutes as the Labour candidate would get in a year. Surely that is the logic of the situation, or else it means that the county families are much less enthusiastic than the unfortunate farm labourer. The Labour party has to depend not on the £100 cheques of the 676 county families, but on the pennies of the farm labourers. If hon. Members opposite go into the Lobby against the Amendment it will not be in line with the speeches they have made this afternoon; that is, if they do not want the scales to be weighted against the Labour party. I was interested very much in that part of the speech of the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) when he pointed out that the addition of large numbers of women to the register meant many extra meetings. That is undoubtedly true. A feature of modern electioneering is the large part played by women. Many meetings have to be held in the afternoon for women as they cannot attend a night meeting. The Elections which have taken place since women have had the vote, in 1918, 1923 and 1924, have been much less of a circus and more of a businesslike discussion.
My experience, both in general elections and by-elections, is that the women electors are impatient with the showy side; their meetings are very businesslike discussions. The are the most effective meetings that take place in an election; and they are not costly. They do not cost as much money as those violent appeals to prejudice put up on the hoardings by hon. Members opposite. We all remember the drawing of a Bolshevist, and the saying, "It is your money we want," which cost thousands of pounds and did not do anything like the amount of harm which the party opposite imagined it would. We are now adding a new electorate of about 5,000,000 to the register and it is important that they should not get accustomed to these circus methods. It would be to the advantage of every party.
It would be all to the advantage of the country if elections were less and less an appeal to prejudice and more and more an appeal to reason. [HON. MEMBERS "Hear, hear!"] I am glad to have the agreement of hon. Members opposite, and I feel that we can now get on a little because I want to suggest that appeals to reason are a much cheaper proposition financially than appeals to prejudice; that meetings for quiet discussions cost less than shrieking posters on hoardings. Getting people to talk sense is much cheaper, and in the long run is infinitely better political education. For all these 677 reasons I hope hon. Members opposite will agree to a further reduction for county constituencies. The Labour party is looking forward with great hope to the next election because we recognise the magnificent voluntary services we shall receive from the younger women who are coming on the register. We are relying on their enthusiasm. If the party opposite wants to appeal to youth, about which they speak so much, it is much better to appeal for the voluntary service of youth and not offer pay for it.
§ Major HILLS
I am not altogether convinced by what the Home Secretary said and perhaps it is because he and I approach this question from different standpoints. He regards a large expenditure in county areas as the normal thing. I regard this immense expenditure as a great disadvantage to the country and also a great disadvantage to the Conservative party. I have fought a good many elections, and spent a good deal of money. My experience throughout has always been the same—namely, that your expenditure tends to rise to the maximum. All the people around you seem to find excellent reasons for spending more money. The maximum is now a big one. I do not want elections to cost more. I want Parliament to be open to the man of moderate means. I know there are men of moderate means in Parliament at present on both sides of the House, but still this large expenditure does put a premium on wealth. There is a difficulty sometimes, certainly in the Conservative party, in a candidate obtaining a constituency unless he agrees to pay the whole of his election expenses—I do not know whether it is the same on the other side of the House—and it is quite clear that £100, or £150, or £200, more is a substantial amount and might deter the man of Moderate means from coming forward.
I hope it is not too late to appeal to the Home Secretary to leave this question to the free vote of the Committee. I sit on and speak for the back benches, and the back benches have quite a different interest in this matter from Cabinet Ministers, who are quite properly endowed with big salaries. I appeal to him on behalf of a large number of men who sacrifice a great deal to come into 678 the House, who give up chances of preferment in business and money-making, and who spend a lot of money to come here. If we were starting to reconstruct our political system, we would not have these great expenses. A man comes forward to serve his country and it is an unreasonable and improper thing to ask him to pay a large sum of money before he can enter Parliament. I hope the Government will see their way to leave the matter to the free vote of the House. My experience is that all this heavy expenditure does no good to the candidate. The expenditure is forced upon him. He is told that there is a certain amount that he can spend, and all the influences around him urge him to spend up to the limit. I do not think he gets any good out of it. A smaller expenditure would do quite as well. I plead with the Home Secretary to leave a question which concerns the rank and file of the House to the decision of the rank and file.
With considerable amusement I heard the Amendment moved by the right hon. Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon). I think that at last he may have brought unity to the Liberal party. He has given them a three-fold option, and that is what Liberals always like. They can vote for the Amendment because they dislike the Conservatives so much, or they can vote for the Amendment because they can then point the finger of scorn at the fighting fund and say, "We are having none of that," or they can vote for the Amendment in the hope that the fighting fund will last until the Liberal party get back into power—a very poor hope indeed. I am one of the 71 who voted against any reduction at all, because I do not see why there should be any change at present. Would the Socialists give away anything that they have got? No, and I would not ask them to do so. They talk about being plundered by the passing of the Trade Disputes Act. They were getting money to which they had no right.
That is a great extension of the question whether sixpence or fivepence should stand part of the Clause.
I was leading up to my point. The right hon. Member for 679 Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) supported the Amendment. I do not think that he has anything to brag about in claiming that his expenses never come to 50 per cent. of what he is entitled to spend. It is certain that if I took up such a pernicious doctrine as the Labour party doctrine, I could, without spending anything, get in for almost any place, except a county constituency or that which I have the luck to represent. Labour Members get practically everything done for them and they have not very much to be proud of. They naturally want our spending power to be curtailed as much as possible. We have heard the Hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) make a fervent appeal for a reduction of the expenditure. How much did she spend on her first effort?
We have heard several Members on the Conservative side make an appeal for a further reduction. I think that a further reduction would be madness. It is absolutely essential for the well-being of the nation that at the next three General Elections at least, the Conservative party should be returned to power. Even sixpence in the county constituencies will be hardly
§ enough, but a good many of us will manage with that amount to keep a majority.
§ Sir HARRY HOPE
I wish to state the case of the large county constituencies where the population is somewhat sparse. I have the honour to represent a very large county constituency in Scotland, with an electorate of something like 24,000. We have very wide distances to travel in order to get into touch with the electorate in counties such as that, and it is essential, if we are to put our case before the people in the isolated country districts, that the sum should be not less than sixpence. Many of our Scottish counties are very sparsely populated and there are great distances to be travelled by candidates. There is, therefore, need of what might be called a flexible amount. I think the Home Secretary is wise in adhering to this figure. It is, of course, only a maximum and permissive figure. Where we have such a diversity of constituencies, it is necessary that we should retain a maximum figure which will allow the electors in those constituencies to get into touch with their candidates.
§ Question put, "That the word 'sixpence' stand part of the proposed Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 215; Noes, 111.681
|Division No. 87.]||AYES.||[5.24 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Drewe, C.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Albery, Irving James||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Elliot, Major Walter E.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Buchan, John||Ellis, R. G.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Burman, J. B.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Apsley, Lord||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Fielden, E. B.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Campbell, E. T.||Frece, Sir Walter de|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Carver, Major W. H.||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Atkinson, C.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Goff Sir Park|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Clarry, Reginald George||Grace, John|
|Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Clayton, G. C.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cobb. Sir Cyril||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Bethel, A.||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Colfox, Major William Phillips||Hacking, Douglas H.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Cope, Major William||Hall. Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Couper, J. B.||Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Hamilton, Sir George|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hanbury, C.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Davies. Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Headlam, Lieut-Colonel C. M.|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Margesson, Captain D.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Meller, R. J.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Meyer, Sir Frank||Smithers, Waldron|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Steel. Major Samuel Strang|
|Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiten'n)||Oakley, T.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Hume, Sir G H.||Penny, Frederick George||Tinne, J. A.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Ward. Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hult)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Pilcher, G.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Preston, William||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Price, Major C. W. M.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Raine, Sir Walter||Wells, S. R.|
|King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Ramsden, E.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Remnant, Sir James||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Loder, J. de V.||Rentoul, G. S.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Long, Major Eric||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford. Lichfield)|
|Looker, Herbert William||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Ropner, Major L.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Luce, Maj,-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lumley, L. R.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Lynn, Sir R. J.||Salmon, Major I.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Wood, E.(Chest'r. Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|MacIntyre, Ian||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|McLean. Major A.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Sandon, Lord|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Savery, S. S.||Captain Viscount Curzon and Major|
|Malone, Major P. B.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew. W)||The Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hardie, George D.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harney, E. A.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Harris, Percy A.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Baker, Walter||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Scurr, John|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hills, Major John Waller||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barnes, A.||Hilton, Cecil||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hirst, G. H.||Shinwell, E.|
|Briant, Frank||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Broad, F. A.||Hudson, J. H. Huddersfield||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Charleton, H. C.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundoe)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Christie, J. A.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Snell, Harry|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kennedy, T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Compton, Joseph||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cove, W. G.||Lansbury, George||Strauss, E. A.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lawrence, Suaan||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lee, F.||Templeton, W. P|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Livingstone, A. M.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lowth, T.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||MacDonald, Rt Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Day, Harry||Mackinder, W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dennison, R.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Tomilnson, R. P.|
|Dunnico, H.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Townend, A. E.|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||March, S.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Gardner. J. P.||Montague, Frederick||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Morris, R. H.||Whiteley, W.|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gillett, George M.||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln.,Cent.)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Palin, John Henry||Wright, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Paling, W.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Groves, T.||Potts, John S.||Sir Robert Hutchison and Mr.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Purcell. A. A.||Wiggins.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
§ Colonel VAUGHAN-MORGAN
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Clause, to leave out from the word "sixpence," in line 3, to the end of the proposed Clause.
The purpose of this Amendment is to leave the maximum figure allowable for boroughs at the present rate of 5d. Since the beginning of the Committee stage of this Bill I have had the advantage both of listening to the arguments adduced and of reading in the OFFICIAL REPORT the record of the speeches already made on this question. The Home Secretary, in the course of the Debate this afternoon, laid down the principles which ought to guide the Committee in determining the issues before it concerning electoral expenses. I agree with the principles laid down by the right hon. Gentleman. At the same time, neither the Debate as far as it has gone, nor my own consideration of those principles, lead me to depart from the opinion which I have formed and which leads me to recommend this Amendment very strongly to the Committee. I have experience in connection with boroughs, and it is with borough constituencies that the Amendment deals. The Home Secretary gave us some statistics which appear to me to justify the retention of the present figure of 5d. in the case of boroughs. The right hon. Gentleman reminded us that the average cost in the London area was 4.23d., and in the English boroughs it was well under 4d.
The new Clause as it stands at present, proposes that in future the figure for boroughs should be limited to 4d. Previously the figures were 7d. for counties, and 5d. for boroughs, a difference of 2d. in favour of the county divisions. That figure of 7d. for the county division has now, by the Vote of the Committee, been reduced to 6d., but I submit that it would be unreasonable to reduce the borough figure from 5d. to 4d. merely because it has been the practice in the past to maintain a difference of 2d. between counties and boroughs. The reason why candidates were originally allowed a higher rate of expenditure per elector in counties was because certain expenses were believed to be higher in the counties than in the boroughs. Transport expenses were regarded as higher, and it was also thought desirable in the counties to allow for additional sub-agents. Modern conditions of life in rural areas have tended to 684 reduce the expense of transport at elections, as rural omnibus services are now available. The Committee has taken into account the fact that there may be a margin, and has agreed to reduce the figure to 6d. in the case of counties, but if experience in the counties has been that the expenses are less to-day than in the past, such has not been our experience in the boroughs.
We have not the latitude which is allowed to candidates in the counties in connection with the appointment of officials. We are not allowed sub-agents, and in many ways our difficulties have been increased where the difficulties of the county candidates may have been reduced. In busy and densely populated industrial areas, great difficulty is experienced in obtaining suitable committee rooms, and the expense is increased accordingly. There is also the difficulty of obtaining halls in which to hold meetings. That also leads to additional expenditure. In my own Division the halls available for large public meetings are few in number, and are generally booked up weeks, if not months in advance. It is only by negotiation that they are obtainable, and all this adds to the cost. I should like to quote, in support of what the Home Secretary said this afternoon, a leading article which appeared in the "Times" on 26th March:An electorate of thirty thousand cannot be joined to the debate on current issues, without expenditure on all the means of publicity; and the pursuit of its political education, at other than election times, again requires money. It is of essential public interest that this work should be thoroughly done, not only that the verdict when given, should be given on the evidence filly presented, but, that every voter should be made to feel the reality of his or her share in the commonwealth. As a constituency grows in numbers the cost, the difficulty, and the necessity of arousing and holding its interest in the raw which is to be put to it, grow in proportion.The suggestion has been made in the course of this Debate that many of these expenses, such as printing, do not rise in proportion to the actual additional numbers and that elections do not necessarily increase in difficulty and expense because of the addition to the electorate. I submit that in the boroughs both our difficulties and our expenses increase with increased electorates. There is a need for additional meetings and for various forms of literature. We have to 685 resort to special methods of informing the electorate of the issues before them. I gather from the Order Paper that some of my hon. Friends who were previously in favour of a reduction in the borough figure have to some extent changed their minds. Second thoughts may be best—in any case I prefer their second thoughts in this matter—but at the same time I observe that there is a proposal to reduce the figure from 5d. to 4½d. I do not think it would be advisable to make any change at all. It may be said that the difference between 5d. and 4½d. is not very large, but in that case what becomes of the argument that the present figure is responsible for keeping out desirable and eligible candidates who cannot meet the expense. The difference between 4½d. and 5d. in an electorate of 30,000 would be about £80, and in an electorate of 40,000, plus the 25 per cent. estimated increase, the difference would be just over £100. I do not think that the argument that the present maximum is limiting the opportunities of eligible candidates is supported by those figures.
The cost of a Parliamentary career to an individual is not represented solely by the cost of contested elections. Let us consider the problem which faces anyone with Parliamentary ambitions. If he is a young man, he has to reckon with the sacrifices which the pursuit of a, Parliamentary career will involve, and the disadvantage at which it will place him, in comparison with his competitors in professional life or in business—especially in business. If he tries to serve two masters, if he tries to follow two careers, he will be at a disadvantage with his competitors who are devoting themselves to one single object. The deterrent is very much less a question of money, in the first instance, than a question of time. If a young man, who is on the threshold of a professional or business career, is going to give up a great deal of his time either to nursing a constituency or to the work of the House of Commons, should he be returned, he will certainly be handicapped as regards ordinary advancement in his profession or business. Thus, unless he has the advantage of independent means, he is already handicapped by circumstances which this proposed new Clause does not, and cannot, affect. The monetary difference involved here is too 686 slight to affect him, and the Clause makes no proposal to deal with the time obstacle.
Let us take the problem as it affects a man of maturer years, who has attained some modest success, either in a profession or in business, and has a competence sufficient to enable him to devote his leisure to the service of the State in some public capacity. What is going to deter such a man from following Parliamentary ambitions? I do not think it is solely the cost. In many cases it is not that at all, or that is, at any rate, a subsidiary consideration. What affect him are rather the hurly-burly of an election, because the rough and tumble of a contested election is something to which his previous life has rendered him entirely unaccustomed, the demands on his leisure if or before he is successful, and then there is a certain attribute which vas well defined in the "Times" in another leading article, from which I will read an extract, in October, 1927:It requires considerable enthusiasm"—That is the attribute to which I refer—to face the prospect of being heavily fined at intervals for the privilege a standing a fortnight's hectic abuse and thereafter being the unresting servant of a numerous electorate for so long as a Parliament may last.I think it is the trials of a contest and the sacrifice of leisure which have more of a deterrent effect on such a candidate than any question of the cost of a Parliamentary contest. It has been pointed out during this Debate that it is not money that wins Parliamentary elections. There are one or two other things that play a far greater part, and one of them is the personality of the candidate.
§ Colonel VAUGHAN-MORGAN
That has a great deal to do with it. A third important factor is the issue which is put before the electors. At the present moment, unless the candidate has a proper opportunity of informing the electorate and the electorate looks to him for guidance, the electorate will have to look elsewhere for its education and guidance. Nowadays the electorate is so large that the problem before the candidate is already difficult enough. I may remind the Committee that the electorate, if this Bill passes, will have been enlarged 687 five times in something less than five decades, and we now have an electorate which is literate, interested, and anxious to receive guidance and education, especially on social and economic problems, which many of them especially in our industrial boroughs feel acutely personally and with which many of them come into close personal contact.
Again, let me remind the Committee that if' we candidates cannot have an effective opportunity of putting our case before the electors—"educating the electorate" is the term I like to use—then the electorate is bound to go elsewhere for that guidance, and the whole purpose, as I understand it, in the original case, of limiting Parliamentary election expenses was in order to prevent important issues being swayed by outside bodies, in order to prevent outside bodies exercising undue influence over the electorate for purposes for which the election was not intended—I mean bodies with no direct political responsibility—and I submit that anything which tends unduly to limit the opportunities of candidates is strengthening the chance of outside interests. Undoubtedly, if we do not as candidates have a proper chance, it must lead to greater influence, not necessarily always a wise influence, being exercised by the Press. There is a danger in such cases that the electorate may be swayed by sentiment and may be stampeded by a Press campaign. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] They never have been in the past, but they might be in the future. I know my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North St. Pancras (Captain Fraser) believes that the difficulty may be met by the use of broadcasting, loud speakers, and appliances of a like nature, and I dare say he is right, but I do not think we should be wise to dispense with those instruments for election purposes which we already know and have tried until we are quite satisfied that the newer methods will fulfil the purpose either equally well or better. As an argument for reduction of expenses, I do not think that is one which can well be applied.
It is perhaps not necessary to remind the Committee that what I am dealing with is the figure which limits the maximum, but I do not suggest that it imposes the obligation on any candidate to spend the whole of it. I do not place any great 688 credence on those stories—at any rate, I think they are isolated rather than general—of the inexorable agent, anxious to prove himself worth his salt, who insists upon the candidate spending up to the limit. I have certainly not encountered those enthusiastic supporters who have scrutinised the expenditure of the candidate and pounced upon every spare penny which the candidate has not spent. It has not been my experience, and I do not think it need be the experience of anybody, but there may be times when, in the interests of the education of the electorate, something more requires to be spent than normally we find it necessary to spend. I, therefore, consider that the margin should not be destroyed. The Prime Minister reminded us the other day that democracy is on its trial. It certainly is necessary in our urban and busy industrial districts that we should bear that in mind, because there is the battleground on which the social and economic problems of the day have to be fought out, and it is there in particular that we have to meet what a former Member of this House, Dr. Haden Guest, described in his recent book as "the fine irresponsibility of the propagandist." We meet him in regard to these social and economic problems, and especially do we encounter him in our urban and industrial boroughs. It is there that we have to meet him, it is there that we have to disprove him, and it is there that we may have to, and do in point of fact, defeat him.
In asking the Committee to accept this Amendment, I desire to remind them that if, again in the words of the Prime Minister, our task at the present moment is to "make democracy safe for the world," it would ill become the House of Commons and this Committee to deny to us, the candidates in boroughs or Members for boroughs, the opportunity at least of acquiring the supplies and munitions which we deem necessary for the purpose.
§ Captain AUSTIN HUDSON
I wish to say only a few words in support, of the Amendment, as I gave rather fuller reasons in support of it when we had a general discussion on the Second Reading of the Clause. From the speeches which have been delivered, it has become apparent that there is a very good case indeed for leaving the borough figure as it is. I had a fairly open mind on the question of the county figure. It ap- 689 peared to me that most of the county Members of the Conservative party were for the reduction, and I, therefore, took no part in that Division, but I hope the county Members, as well as the borough Members, will support this Amendment, because there is a very good case for leaving the borough figure where it is at the present moment. The figure for London given by the Home Secretary when he spoke earlier in the afternoon was a very astonishing one. He stated that the amount spent at the last General Election per head on an average was 4.23d., which would mean that, if this Amendment were not accepted and the new Clause were left as it is, the London Members would have to cut down their expenditure compulsorily by 0.23d. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] Yes, because 4d. is the figure, and they spend on an average 4.23d., the English boroughs being slightly below.
The hon. Member for Middlesbrough East (Miss Wilkinson) said that the best way of educating the people was to get a quiet meeting and there talk to them, and I entirely agree, but there are places, particularly boroughs, where it is quite impossible to get that quiet and put the Conservative point of view. I happened to read in the "Times" today an account of the last election meeting at Hanky, where it says that anything like reasoned argument by the Conservative candidate was absolutely impossible, because the hooligan element absolutely prevented it. In such cases it seems to me that it is more than ever necessary that the people should be got at by means of literature. The Labour party say they do not like the hooligan, but one thing is quite certain, and that is that the hooligan does like the Labour party and will always do his best to see that the Labour candidate gets in.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Captain HUDSON
People who kick up rows at meetings, always on behalf of the Labour candidate. It seems to me that this has become purely a domestic concern of the Conservative party, if one can judge by the speeches delivered. The Labour party admit that they do not want to spend money and would not spend anything like the limit allowed if the Amendment were accepted. The 690 Liberal party do not seem to care, or need not care, as regards their pockets, because they seem to have an inexhaustible fund with which they can deal, as I presume that it is not out of their own pockets that the sort of family circus which has been going around by-elections on the Liberal behalf is paid. Therefore, it is up to Conservative Members to decide whether or not the reduction is to take place. I worked it out that for a borough constituency of 30,000 at 5d., you are allowed to spend £625. If it were increased by means of this Bill, to 35,000, and the new Clause is inserted to make it 4d., the amount would be £584. If it went up to 37,000, there would still be a reduction, the total being £616. It is only when you get an addition of 10,000 to the 30,000 that you have a bigger figure to spend, namely, £666, as against £625 for the 30,000 constituencies. The proportion is very much greater for boroughs than for country constituencies, and I hope that all Conservative Members will vote for the present maximum, which is in the nature of a compromise. I am certain that that will be the wisest thing to do, and I hope, therefore, this Amendment will be carried.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I think the Committee has a legitimate grievance against the hon. and gallant Member for East Fulham (Colonel Vaughan-Morgan) and the hon. and gallant Member for North Hackney (Captain Hudson). By a three to one majority we passed a Clause to prevent an undue addition to the expenses; the majority of the Conservative party voted for this Clause, and then these two hon. and gallant Members come along with this Amendment. It is, incidentally, refreshing to hear them speaking against the Front Bench, and I am glad to see, at any rate, that the Robots are gaining courage. But it is most unfair to Members of this House. We had a full Debate on Thursday on this matter, the Home Secretary has given his opinion, the Cabinet have thrashed it out, and it is left to a free vote of the House, and then these two hon. and gallant Members move this Amendment. I agree with the hen. and gallant Member for East Fulham, who is my Member, when he speaks about the literate, thinking 691 inhabitants whom he represents in this House. The hon. and gallant Member who spoke last, however, appealed to party prejudice. He first of all quoted the "travelling circus" of the Liberal party—I must say that it is very efficient as a machine in by-elections; he then talks about the hooligans at election meetings, and would have the Committee believe that they only support the Labour party. That is notoriously untrue, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows it. In certain constituencies the Conservative party are very glad to have the support of what are known as "plug-uglies," and when this kind of thing is returned they squeal out very loudly. [HON. MEMBERS: "What are plug uglies?"] I refer to the rather rowdy crowds who attend race meetings, and are known as gangs, and are very ready helps in times of trouble to certain Conservative Members of this House, and have helped some of them to get here. When rather rowdy people allow their feelings to get the better of them at Conservative meetings, people at once say, "The hooligans who dare to support the Labour party and who are defeating democracy and preventing free speech!"
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
I cannot associate these matters with the Amendment before the Committee.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Apparently, Captain FitzRoy, I made myself rather clearer to you than the hon. Gentleman opposite did. I was only replying to the hon. and gallant Gentleman's argument about so-called hooligans, but I do not propose to pursue it. It is no argument for increasing election expenses, unless the expenditure on beer for some of these people comes out of the expenses. When the hon. and gallant Member for North Hackney speaks of it as being necessary to get at the people, he must be relying on some of the propaganda of the type that returned him and some of his colleagues at the last election. All the serious arguments came, of course, from the hon. and gallant Member for East Fulham, my Member, as was fitting. He made a speech to which we all listened with great interest; it was given very modestly and moderately, and it was obviously carefuly prepared. I hope the Home Secretary kept his eyes 692 and ears open during that speech, and that he was not seduced from the position which he took up on the original Amendment. I hope that he saw the net that was set by the fowler from Fulham, and that he will not be caught. His argument was that it was necessary to spend more money to educate the electorate—these literate, intelligent people who live round him and me in Fulham. He said that meeting places are few. There are school places in Fulham to be got; our constituency is well placed for meeting halls, and I do not know that they are very expensive. I took part in the recent county council election there—
§ Colonel VAUGHAN-MORGAN
May I inform the hon. and gallant Gentleman that there is no meeting place in Fulham that can accommodate more than 1,000 people?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
The average Member of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's party is very glad not to have to address more than 1,000 people; it is a great strain to have to address more. I wish I could always rely on meetings of more than 1,000 people. The fact of the matter is that, if the hon. and gallant Gentleman were allowed to spend a shilling per head, he would be no better off as regards meetings. He would still have his school places and the halls that are at present available, and he would get no extra help from extra expenditure. What he really means—and he practically told us so—is that he wants to be able to spend more money on what he calls educating the electorate by posters, placards, sandwich men, and wheel-boards with slogans on them. Slogans are things that do not need much thought, and appeal to the imagination or prejudice, such as, "Your food will cost you more! or "Hands off England!" or "Away with the Red Terror!" or "Do not buy stolen goods!" That sort of thing is really not educating the electors. You will remember a recent county council election in which enormous sums were spent by the Moderates in placarding London with a hideous figure, an evil-looking person, supposed to be a Labour candidate. This evil-looking person was holding up his hand pointing at the unfortunate passerby, supposed to be the voter, and say- 693 ing, with a mouth that badly needed the attentions of the dentist, "It is your money we want!"
That is the sort of expenditure that is making a mockery of democracy and of our electoral system. It is a very bad form of expenditure. I have spent on posters in the past much good money that I would rather not have spent, and I did it because my opponents have put up posters attacking me or my policy or my friends, and my enthusiastic supporters have come to me, and said, "You must put up posters, too," and I have agreed with them in the excitement of the moment, but I have kicked myself when the bills have come in afterwards. I want to save the hon. and gallant Member for East Fulham from this unnecessary expenditure. I want to save him from another and very objectionable form of expenditure; that is the expenditure on scurrilous leaflets, which the Conservative Central Office, and, indeed, all central offices of various kinds, get out, and which are not altogether dignified and worthy of a party. I think, speaking honestly, that the Labour party is least to blame in this respect, if for no other reason than that we have not had the money to spend on them. The handbills and leaflets which are put in people's doors at election time undoubtedly cost money, and they are not necessary. This is not educating the electorate. The way the electorate can be educated is by the Press, by the election address of the candidate, and by, above all, personal contact and personal interviews, and listening to the speeches of the candidates. The extra expenditure which the hon. and gallant. Gentlemen want will not help at all in those directions. As regards the Press, Fulham is very well served—
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
The Home Secretary has told us that the extra amount would be from £150 to £200.
§ Colonel VAUGHAN-MORGAN
It is not fair for the hon. and gallant Gentleman to represent this to be a matter of extra expense. It is the same rate for a larger number.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do not wish to misrepresent the hon. and gallant Gentleman. You are asked to bear the expenditure of a greater total amount of money. If you spread the expenditure over a greater number of people, it ought to be less, obviously. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) showed us that once you have got the block made for your beautiful photograph, which you will put in your literatuse, it does not matter whether you strike off 30,000 or 40,000 copies; once you have the minimum number of posters advertising meetings—which would be the only form of posters I would allow, if I had my way—you have no extra expense. The same applies with regard to halls. You cannot build a hall especially for Elections. Therefore, if London spent an average of 4.23d. per elector for a smaller number of electors, it would be to the advantage of all boroughs throughout the country to spend only 4d. for the greater number. If you lad this maximum amount, when the people who have strategically placed committee rooms try to charge you a very high price for them, you can say, "I am sorry, but here is the legal maximum which I can spend." It is no use that person saying he will go to your rivals with the certainty that they will pay the money. Agents who think that their efficiency depends on the amount of money that can be spent will be brought up by the same wholesome check. Fourpence per elector, with the increase of electors, will provide all the legitimate means of educating the electors that can be desired, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman is asking for expenditure that is needed for purposes only of befogging, or prejudicing, or stampeding the electors. In the interests of all parties in this House I hope hon. Members who voted for the original Clause of my right hon. Friend will stand fast now and vote again for the reduced amount, because I am certain that in the long run politics will not suffer, and that their pockets and ours will certainly gain.
§ Major Sir RICHARD BARNETT
As one of the diminishing number of Members of this House who took part in the Debates ten years ago, I should like to say a few words on the question of Election expenses. The maxima of 7d. and 5d. came down to us from the Speakers Conference with all the authority conferred by the unanimous resolution of that Conference, and, as far as my recollection carries me, those figures were never challenged in this House at all. The only way in which any question arose on them was on two Amendments. The first of these proposed that there should be an intermediate sum of 6d. for county boroughs between the figures for the counties and the boroughs, and that was negatived. The second Amendment, which was adopted after considerable debate, allowed an expenditure of £75 in the counties and £50 in the boroughs for the Election agent's fee in addition to these maxima. The maxima have worked well in the past 10 years. I never heard any criticism of them either in London or in the country until we came to discuss the provisions of this Bill, but it is perfectly obvious that what may be a good maximum for the constituencies which were created in 1918 is not necessarily good for the constituencies which are being created under this great increase in the franchise.
It is a simple process of arithmetic to work it out—it does not even need pencil and paper. If you increase your constituency by one quarter and you reduce the figure from 5d. to 4d., you get exactly the same amount to spend during an Election as you had before. There is to be the same amount of money to be spent in a constituency with 40,000 electors as there was in a constituency with 32,000 electors, and in my submission that is not right. Unless the maximum has been wholly wrong in the past—and there was no suggestion of that sort until this Bill was introduced—if there is an increase of a quarter in the number of the electors some provision ought to be made for the candidates to reach those additional people. I cannot deal with that point now, because there is on the Paper another Amendment which suggests that after the present Amendment has been negatived, as I hope it will be, we should adopt a figure of 4½d., and I hope that will receive the approval of the Committee. I would 696 ask every member of our party, and especially all the London Conservative Members, to vote against this Amendment, which declares that in spite of an increase of 25 per cent. in the electorate of a constituency there ought to be no change in the maximum.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir G. DALRYMPLEWHITE
I support the Amendment moved by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Fulham (Colonel Vaughan-Morgan), and I do so because when I first noticed it on the Paper I took the liberty of adding my name to it, so that it should not be thought to be merely a group of London Members who had put it. down. Despite what we have just heard from my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South-West St. Pancras (Sir R. Barnett), I think the great bulk of borough Members of the Conservative party do favour this Amendment, and I hope they will show it in the Division Lobby. It is only human nature that none of us wishes to spend more money than we are obliged to. As one who has fought six contested elections during a political career of 25 years, I certainly do not want to have to spend more than is necessary, and I support the Amendment because I think it is a fair one, and because I agree with those hon. Members who have said that there must be an opportunity of putting our case before the electorate and that we ought not to be hampered in doing so. The original Clause was moved by a right hon. Gentleman on the Socialist benches. I generally look with considerable suspicion on proposals emanating from the Socialist benches, and I wonder that more of my hon. Friends do not share that feeling. More especially do I look upon a proposal with suspicion when speaker after speaker gets up from the Socialist benches and, with his hand on his heart, declares that not by a very long way indeed do any of them, or practically any of them, spend anything approaching these maxima. One may ask, in that case, why they are putting forward this Clause? In my opinion, they are doing it, not in order to do themselves any good but in order to do the two other parties harm. I will not speak for the Liberal party, because I feel that they are able to "paddle their own canoe" in this matter, but I will speak for my 697 own party, and I repeat that it is not to do themselves good but to do harm to their opponents.
This Debate has already ranged over a wide area, and some of these points may have been touched upon before, but I would like to mention one reason why, perhaps, the original maxima was not so necessary for hon. Members belonging to the Socialist party as it may be for us. First of all, we have to spend more money on clerical work. At election time, and especially in by-elections, the Socialist party can get and do get the services of paid trade union officials working nominally—anyhow, working voluntarily—in their offices. In addition to that, unless rumour be at fault, there has been more than one case, in those districts where the Socialist party have captured the machinery of the cooperative movement, where it has been astonishing to see how many of the clerical staff of the local co-operative society can be spared from their work in order to help the Labour candidate during an election. Then as regards the expenses of meetings. The Socialist party can put in a great deal of politics at trade union lodges, though indeed they need not put in any polities at all, because all they have to do is to mention at the meetings of the lodge that "So-and-so is the Labour candidate and you have got to vote for him, and if you do not you will know the reason why." That is a very simple form of electioneering.
Further, the Socialist party are able to hold many more street-corner meetings, because the electorate to whom we appeal prefer, I think, to hear more reasoned arguments at a meeting held in a hall than to attend street-corner meetings. We have to spend more on the hire of schools and halls than hon. Gentlemen opposite. Probably, too, we have to spend more on the hire of schools than the members of the Liberal party. I will go back to distant elections in order to hurt the susceptibilities of as few Members as possible, but I would recall that in the past chapels were very largely used, even on Sundays, as a medium of political expression. I remember that in the election of 1906 it was practically unnecessary for Liberal candidates to devote attention to the Education Act because that had been 698 sufficiently dealt with by the minister in the pulpit on Sunday, when he invited his congregation to vote for the Liberal. The ministers did not even confine themselves to the Education Act, which might be regarded as a legitimate subject for comment by a minister in chapel, but they dealt also with the subject of Chinese slavery. That is an instance of where members of our party are put to the greater expense.
While it is quite true that most of the county Members, as far as I can gather, are quite willing to have their maximum reduced to 6d., I do hope they will help us in the boroughs to keep our maximum at the present figure. I have contested county divisions, and have contested and sat for borough constituencies, and I think it would be a good thing if there was less of a gap between the expenses allowed to the county divisions and to the boroughs. At present the borough Member has a considerable and almost an unfair advantage over the Member for a county constituency. A candidate or Member in a county constituency has more arduous work to do, not only at election time but also in between elections, than the borough Member: and if in addition he is penalised by a difference of 2d. per head in the matter of expenditure it makes a very considerable disadvantage to him. It would be a good thing more nearly to assimilate the expenditure, so as to bring the expense as well as the difficulty of contesting a county seat nearer to that of a borough seat. I hope that, despite the efforts of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South-West St. Pancras, whom I have known for a great many years, to persuade Conservative Members to reject this Amendment, that they will support us in the boroughs.
§ Captain FRASER
May I remind the hon. Member who has just sat down that he must couple his suspicions of the Labour party in this matter with some of his own party, or else he must withdraw his suspicions altogether, because we brought forward this question before the Labour party did, and we moved the Instruction. While dealing with this aspect of the case, I would venture to return to a point which has been made in previous Debates, which is that it is not from the point of view of hurting the Conservative party but of helping them that 699 we continue to press for a decrease in election expenses. It may not be understood, but it is our belief, that the wider the area from which candidates may be drawn the better it is ultimately for our party. It is upon that ground, and upon that ground only—I would like to be allowed to correct those words, and say that it is upon that ground only as far as this part of my argument is concerned, that I would ask for the indulgence of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who do not appreciate that point. I do not mean that it is upon the party ground only that we vote for a reduction of election expenses, but because we believe the House of Commons as a whole will be better served if there is the widest possible field for free persons to be brought into its service.
The hon. and gallant Member for North Hackney (Captain Hudson), in advocating this Amendment, said that he desired his friends to vote for it, that is to say, to vote for 5d. in the boroughs, as that figure constituted a compromise—a most unholy compromise, if I may say so. What does it mean?—"If we in the boroughs prevent the effort which some people are making to reduce the money in the counties to 5d.—if we come with you and vote for 6d., will you come with us and vote for 5d.?" Any compromise of that sort must be quite a private one amongst a few Members. It seems to me that the only compromise we ought to try to make is the one which the Home Secretary sought when he told us very fairly what is the Government's point of view. As I understood it, he said the Government did not commit themselves to details, and thought the Whips should be off in order that the Committee might arrive at some kind of figure by general agreement. We have been told that even in the most expensive group of constituencies the figure of 4½d. had not been reached. I am not, able to say what the Home Secretary thinks upon this point, but, in my view, 4½d. is a reasonable figure. For these reasons, I hope hon. Members will vote against the Amendment.
I would like to deal with one or two arguments which have been used by the Mover of this Amendment. The hon. and gallant Member for East Fulham (Colonel Vaughan-Morgan) said that the 4½d. pro- 700 posal would make very little difference to the election expenses, and would have very little bearing upon the question as to whether or not a young man, who was not particularly well endowed, would be able to stand for Parliament; and he further stated that it would only be a matter of about £75, or a little over £100. I would like to tell the hon. and gallant Member that there are many of us in this House to whom £100 does make a difference. Although the hon. and gallant Member for East Fulham said that £100 is such a small sum that it would make no difference, later on he argued that it was a very big sum, and that to deprive him of that £100 might ruin his chance of educating the electors of Fulham.
§ Colonel VAUGHAN-MORGAN
The argument was the difference between 5d. and 4d. and between 4½d. and 5d. If £200 is a forcible argument in one case, then it must be a good argument in the other case. I never suggested that £100 is not a matter of importance to most people. I drew attention to the fact that the expenses applicable in London are not the main determining factor when a man is looking forward to a Parliamentary career.
§ Captain FRASER
I do not wish to misrepresent my hon. and gallant Friend, and I apologise if he thinks I have done so. My hon. and gallant Friend fails to appreciate that there are a great many people in the Conservative party to whom £100 does matter, and I think it would be an advantage to the party as a whole if the number of people in the Conservative party to whom £100 did matter was increased. It appears to some of us that 4½d. is a fair compromise, and, after all that has taken place, I hope hon. Members will be willing to accept that suggestion. I hope the Committee will defeat the Amendment, which would strike the boroughs out of the Clause altogether. I think the figure of 4½d. is acceptable to all sections of the Committee. If this compromise is adopted, we shall increase the present figure adequately. I know that there will be some extra expenses owing to the increased electorate, but no one can argue that the extra ½d. will not cover the extra expenses which will be involved by this Bill, because it will probably provide more than enough. I think the 701 proposal which the Home Secretary has invited the Committee to adopt without putting on the Whips is one which will meet the views of a great majority of the Members.
I do not desire to go over the whole of the ground covered by the Mover of the Amendment. One of his arguments was that the sum of money already available was inadequate for educating the electorate. On this point I would like to remind the Committee what has taken place in London, because London is the particular district from which this Amendment has emanated. It is admitted that London is the area which is mostly affected by a reduction of election expenses. The Home Secretary has given a very interesting figure relating to the average expenditure by winning candidates at elections in London, and he placed the figure at 4¼d. I would like to mention another figure which is more significant, because the winning candidates referred to by the Home Secretary must include some of those very safe seats in which no money was spent, and where there is very often no contest at all.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
My figure related to contested elections, and did not include any uncontested elections.
§ Captain FRASER
I suppose that figure included the winners on both sides where there was a contest. That is a very significant figure, and being less than 4½d., it seems to suggest that 4½d. forms a fair compromise. Nevertheless, the figure given by the Home Secretary includes seats in such places as the City of London, and these are safe seats where the people do not bother about spending much money. An examination of the constituencies which are highly contested, and the expenses incurred would, I think, bring us much nearer to the sum now proposed. I think the figure of 4½d. would meet the majority of constituencies, and it is only those holding seats by a narrow margin like that of the hon. and gallant Member for East Fulham who are worried about it. In London there are 15 seats held by Conservatives where the majorities in each case are less than 5,000, and the election expenses amount to 88 per cent. of the maximum. There you have a clear margin of 12 per cent., and if we accept 702 the figure of 4½d. there will be another 12 per cent. added, making 24 per cent. increase, which is more than adequate to meet the extra costs which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) has shown cannot possibly amount to the full 25 per cent. For these reasons, I ask the Committee to reject the Amendment to cut out the boroughs, and accept the figure of 4½d., which, I think, is a very reasonable compromise.
§ Sir R. SANDERS
I know there was a considerable difference of opinion amongst the Conservative party on this question before the discussion took place on the Amendment. As far as I can see, the great majority of the county Members wish to have a reduction in the expenses, while a great majority of the borough Members wish to leave things as they are. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I am sure the borough Members do not wish to make it more difficult for the county Members to get what they require. If the borough Members attach great importance to retaining the figure at 5d., I, as a county Member, shall support them, and I hope other county representatives will do the same. The figure of 5d. was arrived at by a Committee. consisting of the Members of all parties, and it was adopted without opposition by a House of Commons in which the Conservatives were not in a majority. Therefore, it cannot be claimed that the figure of 5d. was forced upon the House by the Conservatives, and it seems to be a figure which is quite reasonable to meet the demands of all parties. The Bill we are considering adds enormously to the electorate, and, consequently, it must add a certain amount to the election expenses. I think a good case has been made out by the hon. and gallant Member for East Fulham (Colonel Vaughan-Morgan), and I shall support the Amendment.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
It is only right that a word or two should be said why we must resist the Amendment proposed by the hon. and gallant Member for East Fulham (Colonel Vaughan-Morgan). We were all very much impressed by the figures given to the Committee by the Home Secretary when we were considering the new Clause. We felt that the best Amendment would be to make the figures in the Schedule 703 5½d. and 4½d., but that there might be some objection to dealing with halfpennies except perhaps in Scotland, and we came down on the side of 6d. and 4d. The figures given by the Home Secretary show that all the difficulties would have been met by agreeing to 5½d. and 4½d. We, therefore, feel that we must resist this Amendment, which would mean that there would be no change, as far as the boroughs are concerned, from what is contained in the Schedule to the present Act.
The right hon. Gentleman, in his very brief remarks, took up the point rather to show that there was no need for change so far as the boroughs are concerned. I do not agree with that argument. I think that, if you add one-fourth to the number of electors in any constituency—whether that constituency has an electorate at present of 35,000, 40,000, or, as in my own constituency, 52,000, which probably, under the new Act, will be raised to something like 64,000 or 65,000—a very strong case can be made out, for, after all, the larger the number of electors that has to be dealt with, the more, proportionately, can the expenses be reduced, if there be the will to reduce them. If you are going to get so many election addresses printed, then, the higher the number, the less, pro rata, ought to be the expense of each additional 1,000 or each additional 10,000, as the case may be. It seems to me that that applies to the case which this Committee is now considering, and that to leave the boroughs just as they were when their electorates were one-fourth less in number than they will be when this Bill becomes law, would be encouraging those who can lavish money needlessly on certain forms of expenditure in the boroughs to do so, and, therefore, handicapping those who, like the hon. and gallant Member for North St. Pancras (Captain Fraser), feel the weight of every additional £100 of
§ expenditure that may be forced upon the candidate.
§ I think that the case would be met if the Amendment now before the Committee were rejected, and the next Amendment, to which reference has been made by the hon. and gallant Member, namely, the Amendment proposing that the sum be 4½d., were carried as an agreed Amendment. After all, none of the figures that have been referred to to-day need be arbitrary. We are none of us discussing this matter from a purely partisan point of view. The Home Secretary, I think, gave me this credit, that in putting down the proposed new Clause, I at any rate was not actuated by any party intention, and I now rise to try to get the Committee to come to an agreement with regard to boroughs by accepting the Amendment which proposed that the sum be 4½d. I think that, if we do that, the whole arrangement of 6d. for the counties and 4½d. for the boroughs ought to be satisfactory to all parties in the House.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I hope that the Committee will now be prepared to come to a decision. I stand exactly as I stood in the earlier part of the clay, but the right, hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) stands a little differently.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
On my figures I stand where I stood before, that is to say, that the Government desire to leave the matter entirely to the Committee. I think we have heard all the arguments from both sides, and I hope that the Committee are now prepared to vote on this Amendment.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'word' in line 4, stand part of the proposed Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 173; Noes, 181.707
|Division No. 88.]||AYES.||[6.51 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cluse, W. S.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.|
|Albery, Irving James||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Colfox, Major William Phillips|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Briant, Frank||Compton, Joseph|
|Ammon, Charles George||Briggs, J. Harold||Connolly, M.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Broad, F. A.||Cove, W. G.|
|Attleé, Clement Richard||Bromley, J.||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)|
|Baker, Walter||Buchan, John||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Buchanan, G.||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Charleton, H. C.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sexton, James|
|Davison Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Day, Harry||Kelly, W. T.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Dennison, R.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Duncan, C.||Kennedy, T.||Shinwell, E.|
|Dunnico, H.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Simon, Rt. Hon. St. John|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Kirkwood, D.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Lansbury, George||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|England, Colonel A.||Lawrence, Susan||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer)||Lee, F.||Snell, Harry|
|Fairfax, Captain J, G.||Livingstone, A. M.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Loder, J. de V.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lowth, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Gardner, J. P.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lunn, William||Strauss, E. A.|
|Gates, Percy||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Mackinder, W.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Gibbins, Joseph||MacLaren, Andrew||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Gillett, George M.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Templeton, W. P.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||March, S.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Montague, Frederick||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Groves, T,||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col- J. T. C.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Naylor, T. E.||Townend, A. E.|
|Hall, F, (York, W. R., Normanton)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Oliver, George Harold||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Palin, John Henry||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Hardie, George D.||Paling, W.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Harney, E. A.||Pethirk-Lawrence, F. W.||Westwood, J.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Potts, John S.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Purcell, A. A.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Ramsden, E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.||Windsor, Walter|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Wright, W.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sanderson, Sir Frank||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Scymgeour, E.||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. B. Smith.|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Scurr, John|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut. -Colonel||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Clarry, Reginald George||Haslam, Henry C|
|Allen. J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Clayton, G. C.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Apsley, Lord||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Cope, Major William||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Couper, J. B.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Atkinson. C||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Herbert. Dennis (Hertford. Watford)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.|
|Bethel, A.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hudson, R. S.(Cumberland, Whiteh'n)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Drewe, C.||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Eden, Captain Anthony||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Bowyer Captain G. E. W.||Ellis, R. G.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fermoy, Lord||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Fielden, E. B.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Ford, Sir P. J.||Looker, Herbert William|
|Buckingham, Sir H||Frece, Sir Walter de||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Burman, J. B.||Galbraith. J. F. W.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Grace, John||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Grant, Sir J. A.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Campbell, E. T.||Grotrian, H. Brent||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||McLean, Major A.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hamilton, Sir George||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hanbury, C.||Mac Robert, Alexander M.|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Rice, Sir Frederick||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Malone, Major P. B.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Ropner, Major L.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Meller, R. J.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Rye, F. G.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Salmon, Major I.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Morrison-Bell. Sir Arthur Clive||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Wells, S. R.|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Savery, S. S.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Oakley, T.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mel. (Renfrew, W)||Wilson, Sir Murrough (Yorks, Richm'd)|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Shepperson, E. W.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Penny, Frederick George||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Skelton, A. N.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Withers, John James|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Smithers, Waldron||Womersley, W. J.|
|Pilcher, G.||Somervllie, A. A. (Windsor)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Preston, William||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Raine, Sir Walter||Storry-Deans, R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Remnant, Sir James||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Colonel Vaughan-Morgan and|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Tasker, R. Inigo.||Captain A. Hudson.|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
§ Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The new Clause [Amendment of s. 33 and Schedule 4 of principal Act] standing in the name of the hon. Member for Denbigh (Mr. Ellis Davies) would be out of order owing to the Instruction. The new Clause [Amendment of Schedule 4 of principal Act] standing in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Dumfries (Brigadier-General Charteris) and another new Clause [Amendment to 8 Geo. V., c. 64] standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Harmsworth) will not be in order.