HC Deb 13 March 1928 vol 214 cc1814-70

Postponed Proceeding resumed on Amendment to Question, "That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

8.0 p.m.


When my speech was interrupted, I was giving particulars of the cases and conditions of men and women with whom I have come into contact. I want to bring other cases to the notice of the Minister of Health. One case was brought to my attention recently of a man who was an omnibus driver. He had been unfortunate enough on one or two previous occasions to come into conflict with the police on minor matters connected with driving, such as stopping too long on the stand, or going along, in one instance, on the near side of a tram. On the particular occasion to which I wish specially to refer he was summoned for going on the offside of a tram at Canning Town fire station, which is a noted stopping place for the change-over of trams which run in the West Ham district. On the near side there is just room for one vehicle to pass between the kerb and the tram. People were coming across the road to the tram, and the man went on the offside. Another tram was coming up, and he had to go further on the offside, otherwise he would have run into the tram which was coming up. Therefore, he took the course of going still further to the offside. He was summoned and fined 40s. and his licence was taken away. He has been endeavouring to get his licence back, and has been five weeks out of work.

I have stated the case of men who, if they are out of work one week, according to the Minister of Labour, get nothing in the way of benefit. This particular man earned £4 a week, and he has a wife and four children under 12 years of age, and pays 19s. 3d. a week rent for four rooms. No one will say that that is an extravagant home. He is a teetotaller; and I have known him for years. Of the five weeks during which he has been out of work, he managed to struggle on for the first three weeks while he was appealing to the Magistrate and the Commissioner of Police to get his licence back. He has been told by the Commissioner of Police that he will not get his licence back, because on the last occasion that he was in trouble he signed an undertaking that if he got his licence on that occasion and anything occurred again he would not get his licence. I have the letter in which he is told by the Commissioner of Police that his licence will not he renewed. The man is 35 years of age and has been a taxi-driver and an omnibus driver for 15 years. He managed to struggle on for three weeks, because his wife disposed of things that they could spare, hoping all the time that he would get back his licence or be able to find some other work. He has not succeeded and has had to go to the board of guardians. He gets no unemployment pay on account of having been convicted of an offence. The hon. Member for Kensington North asked whether the Government were going to delegate to the Metropolitan Asylums Board the duty of looking through the cases of people who have been convicted. What would they do with a man who has been convicted for driving on the offside of a tram, when there are hon. Members in this House who desire that vehicles should go on the offside of a tram?

The driver on the road hardly knows what is the best thing to do. If he does not keep his time with his omnibus, he is in the wrong, and if he is convicted, that goes against him in getting another job, and probably he is out of work for months before he finds another job. Certainly, he would not get a job from the omnibus company, because he cannot get a licence. This particular man might possibly get a job with a private company, but he will not get £4 a week with a private firm. Consequently, he has had to go to the board of guardians, and instead of getting £4 a week he is getting half that amount from the Poplar Board of Guardians, of which one-half is given in kind, according to the Minister's Regulations, and half in cash. Out of that allowance he has to keep a wife and four children, and pay 19s. 3d. a week rent. Then we are told that the guardians lavishly pour out money on these people. This man did not want to go to the board of guardians and he does not wish to remain on Poor Law relief. He would sooner be at work.

I knew this man when he was a boy at school. He is a very decent man, although he has had these unfortunate affairs with the omnibus company and the police. If he cannot obtain a driver's licence, he ought to have a conductor's licence. What would hon. Members do with a man of that kind? Would they tell him that his wife and children must starve? If he fails to pay the rent, the landlord could take him to Court, and because there are arrears he could throw him into the street. In that case, he would have to take the whole of his family into the institution. I suppose some hon. Members would like them to go into the institution, in which case there would be no opportunity of the man looking for a job. What will the Metropolitan Asylums Board know about cases of that description, even if they do investigate the estimates sent in by boards of guardians. What will the 18 appointed people on that board know about the life and conditions of an omnibus driver, or an omnibus conductor, or any worker on the road? Nothing at all, and they do not care. We claim that there should be a body of people acting who understand the life and conditions of working-class people and that if there is to be any overhaul of the control over boards of guardians, such a body as we suggest should render assistance to people who come before them to have their cases properly investigated. I hope the House will have common sense enough and will be reasonable enough to reject this Bill, another rotten Bill brought in by a rotten Government.


I have not taken part in any of the discussions in connection with the Poor Law, but the problem raised in this Bill is of so far-reaching a character and entails such deep-rooted principles that I feel that no one representing a London borough should sit silent and not add his voice in protest. Although I represent a division which has not been quite so hardly hit as some of the receiving boroughs, nevertheless I feel that I must enter some protest against a Bill which is, in effect, the negation of government through elected persons. The Bill takes away from the properly-elected authority the power of control.

Notice taken that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being present——


The interruption gave us an opportunity of seeing how the supporters of the Government are interested in the Bill which has been brought in by the Government, and how concerned they are about London Government and questions affecting the lives of the poorest of our people.


Members of the Opposition are opposing the Bill.


The right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary says that the Opposition are opposing the Bill. We may take it that he has such influence with his followers that they do not need to listen to any argument on the case, but that they will go into the Lobby and vote as they are told, without regard to what the case may be, whether good, bad or indifferent. I congratulate my right hon. Friend on having such a docile majority.


Four hundred of them, and practically none present.


The Bill in spite of its having been introduced by the Government, has found few friends. Even Members of the Conservative party have damned it with faint praise. The hon. Member for Kensington, North, stigmatised the Bill as a stupid Bill. The Bill proposes to hand over to the Metropolitan Asylums Board a large measure of control that should properly belong to the elected boards of guardians. What is the composition of the Metropolitan Asylums Board? The majority of the representatives are from what one would call the contributing boroughs, and 18 other members are nominated by the Minister. That means that, in effect, there is a large majority of the Metropolitan Asylums Board already prejudiced against those boroughs which are receiving boroughs, and over whose budgets they are going to have some oversight. Therefore, not only have we a negation of Government by elected authorities, but we have really a negation of fair dealing and fair consideration of any proposal that may be brought forward.

The Minister of Health, in introducing the Bill, did it in such a manner as to excite prejudice and to make it almost impossible for hon. Members to consider the matter impartially or fairly, even had they been inclined to stay and listen. He gave us a number of figures, in which he compared certain boroughs on the North side or the West End of London with certain boroughs on the East side of the Thames, showing how over a period of years the numbers of unemployed or the numbers of people receiving Poor Law relief have risen, but giving no indication that he was not comparing like with like or taking account of the fact that circumstances vary in every borough, which may mean a larger number of persons in need of Poor Law relief in certain boroughs because of occupational difficulties, depression in trade and the thousand and one other things which would have no relation to other parts of London. These considerations were not advanced by the right hon. Gentleman, and in that way the case was presented with distinct unfairness.

His argument on the financial side was unfair, because he took 1921 as compared with recent years and showed what a rise there had been in the demand made upon the guardians. The hon. and gallant Member for North Hackney (Captain A. Hudson) even took the year 1920. You could not have a more unfavourable comparison; there is not the slightest attempt to give fair consideration to the position in order that the House might be able to form a proper opinion. The Metropolitan Asylums Board, by its composition, will be in a position, which it will not be slow to seize to reduce their own assessments and the amount which they contribute to the Common Poor Fund at the expense of their, poorer brethren in the poorer districts. These people are to have the oversight over the estimates of boards of guardians. A more ridiculous thing was never proposed in a Bill. They will have no knowledge or idea of any of the facts upon which the estimates are framed. All that they will look at will be a certain sum of money, and then will decide whether it is too much or too little. They will decide it solely on prejudice, and with the idea of saving 6d. or 1d. in the £. That is what this Bill means to most of the boroughs. I know that I speak for certain other London Members on this side of the House when I say that we are willing to accept the principle of control by any other authority if they will accept the principle of responsibility.

A comprehensive Bill dealing with Poor Law in London has been promised for a long time, and this Bill, therefore, is an expression of incompetency on the part of the Minister to face the larger problem and a comprehensive measure of reform. It is suggested that this Bill is to operate for five years. That is a long period of time having regard to the fact that since 1909 we have been talking about bringing in this comprehensive measure of reform. But for a short period, either a Liberal or Conservative Government have had an opportunity of bringing in such a Measure over and over again, but this Bill is simply avoiding the problem and making the trouble worse. It will impose greater hardship on the poorer classes of the community. As showing how little consideration has been given to it, how ill-digested its the whole scheme, the very parties who have been complaining of an increase in bureaucracy are by this Bill doing something to increase bureaucracy. There is no machinery by which the Metropoliltan Asylums Board can administer the Bill. They will have to find officers to carry on the work, and that simply means a further number of officials for work which could quite properly be carried out by a properly-constituted body, long since overdue.

The hon. and gallant Member for North Hackney quoted a number of cases of a particular character, like Woolwich and Stepney, as indicating the large increase in the number of able-bodied persons who come on to the Poor Law, and he also made it clear that, as far as he was concerned, he would have no hesitation in disqualifying from the franchise all those who had the misfortune to apply for board of guardians relief. Now we are getting at the true mind of the Tory party. This is the reward they offer to ex-service men, who they called heroes and applauded to the sky; for the vast majority of these able-bodied men who are coming to the guardians are men who served in the Forces during the War in one capacity or another. It shows how little care and thought has been bestowed on the Measure when hon. Members oppo Site quote cases like Woolwich, because it must be known that to a large extent Woolwich is now a derelict town. The trade on which it existed has largely disappeared and there is no possibility of men finding the necessary work at Woolwich. That accounts more than anything else for the large number of able-bodied men who find it necessary to go on the guardians. Let us admit that there are numbers of men who are not anxious or desirous of getting work. But how about labour. I live in and I represent a district which is wholly working-class. I have put myself at the disposal of my constituents in order to help and advise them in every possible way I can, and men have come to me, full of vigour and life with a desire for work, asking me to help them to get a job. Time after time they have come and I have been unable to help them.

Then the day has come when these men do not seem to care; they do not seem to want work. They are disheartened. Their morale and physique have been undermined by the wretched conditions in which they have to live; and hon. Members opposite are more responsible than anybody else for this state of things. They have helped to make matters worse by their abominable system of Poor Law relief. Even if some people have been over generous in regard to the treatment of men and women, are they not a better asset to the nation when they are well fed and well looked after than in the wretched condition I have described? They are only an increasing burden on the community. The Bill is aimed to perpetuate this system. This sort of thing is not going to happen here and there, as is the case at present, but it will place in the hands of irresponsible people, whom the electors will not be able to get at, a power to make this system uniform so far as the receiving guardians of London are concerned. If you draw a lateral line across London dividing it by the Thames you will find that with but two exceptions you have the receiving boroughs on the one side of the line and the contributing boroughs on the other.

We have to-day practically two civilisations, two distinct and opposing communities, in this city of London, and this Bill is going to perpetuate and aggravate the position. A day of reckoning will come as sure as night follows day unless a more reasonable and proper spirit enters into the consideration of this matter. When an hon. Member opposite made a reference to people being disqualified for seeking relief, an hon. Member on this side of the House interjected the remark as to whether it would apply to safeguarding as well. Those people who come under safeguarding are also receiving relief from public funds, and it is going to be my business to bring forward a question concerning Dulwich College, which was originally founded for the poorest of the poor but which has now been filched by the rich for their own purposes exclusively. The same spirit expresses itself in this Bill, and from what I know of the people who are to administer the Measure they will have no care or thought, no bowels of compassion, but will simply be concerned as to whether they can save a penny in the £ or 6d. on the rates in order that they may show a saving to their own people. I hope even now, as there are some hon. Members opposite who have expressed their dislike of the provisions of this Bill, that the particular Clause handing over these authorities to the Metropolitan Asylums Board will be deleted and that we may be able to set up some other central authority to take over the administration of the problem and administer it with some knowledge and understanding and with a desire to do the best for the persons interested and for this city of ours.


Although I am not directly concerned, as the representative of my Division, we can see in this Bill coming events casting their shadows before. London is a great city and represents practically one-fifth of the adult population of Great Britain. This Bill is an attempt to "try it on the dog." The right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary is usually smiling, as long as he knows he is winning. He is smiling to-night but I do not believe he will smile after the next General Election. At present he would make a splendid picture for "The Babes in the Wood." Those of us who are interested in Poor Law administration take more care of the figures in the streets than we do of the figures in the books. That has been our plan. We know the people whom we represent. I am not now a member of a board of guardians because the right hon. Gentleman opposite, by means of an automatic majority, which really represents a minority, decided that we were no longer capable of administration, that we did not know the people among whom we lived, and, that we were too generous in giving out-door relief. This afternoon I came back from the South of England where I have been on a, propaganda tour, on behalf of the trade union and Labour movement, and my progress was stopped by a reception which was being given to King Hallelujah and his lady Oh-be-Joyful. Their pictures appear in every evening newspaper and I suggest to the hon. Gentlemen opposite that before we part with these Royal visitors, whom we are all pleased to see—on the pictures—it will cost this country as much as the Poor Law relief of West Ham for the next 12 months. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Yes, I will bet that when the Estimates are presented, if we ever get them, it will be found that King Hallelujah and his wife have cost this country more than the poor of West Ham will cost for the next 12 months.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)

I understand that this Bill does not apply to West Ham at all.


I am sorry to disagree, but when I approached Mr. Speaker to ask for the opportunity of speaking, he told me that this was a general Bill and likely to be extended.


On a point of Order. I would point out that the Local Authorities (Emergency Provisions) Act, which is extended by the Bill, has reference to any board of guardians.


Clause 1 of the Bill refers to the extension of certain provisions as set out in the Schedule, and, when I turn to the Schedule, I find that it deals with the continuance of a Section which provides for the temporary extension of charges on the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund and also with certain provisions of the Local Authorities (Financial Provisions) Act. Whether these apply to Greater London or not, I am not clear.


As my right hon. Friend the Minister has already stated, the Bill is confined to London with the exception of the grant of certain borrowing powers—to which no one has taken any objection—and the question of these borrowing powers does extend to other parts of the country.


Is it not the case that we are now discussing an Amendment which raises very much bigger issues than those contained in the Bill—an Amendment which was moved expressly to enable us to point out the futility and stupidity of the Minister in bringing forward such a Bill?


If the Bill were restricted in its effects, even though the Amendment apparently raised much broader issues, I do not think hon. Members would be able to discuss matters which would not be relevant to the Second Reading of the Bill, if no Amendment had been moved. After the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary, of course it would appear that, if the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. Jones) confines his remarks to the question of the borrowing powers, he will be in order, but I understand that the authority which is to control the expenses of the guardians will only be able to do so with regard to the Metropolitan boroughs.


May I point out that the Minister referred at considerable length to the West Ham Board of Guardians?


Only by way of illustration.


If the right hon. Gentleman referred to West Ham by way of illustration, I do not think can prevent the hon. Member for Silver-town from countering the illustration.


Do I take it, then, that this Bill refers to the borrowing powers of authorities in all counties or county boroughs—to my constituency of Merthyr?


The hon. Member will be glad to know that it extends and continues those powers.


Yes, and you have overriding powers in it as well. In that case, this Debate is going on for some time.


I thank you very much, Sir. I do not pretend to he an expert in form. I do not understand how Bills are drafted. I do understand how Bills are paid. We in West Ham are the orphans of the storm. Originally the Bill was introduced to deal with the Metropolitan area. We are just outside it. We are not as well placed as Poplar or Greenwich or any of the other parts of London. I believe the right hon. Gentleman opposite would admit that, if he walked from Poplar to Canning Town, he would not know where he was. He would not know the difference between one part and another. If he walked from Canning Town to Tidal Basin he would not know when we had left Canning Town. We know where we are, geographically, but we do not know where we are financially. In this case we are up against it. The Metropolitan Asylums Board—a proper name for them because it suggests a home for mental inefficients—is a nominated board. Will the hon. Gentleman opposite tell us is this the policy the Government are going to pursue? Is it their policy that men and women nominated by the Government are going to be the dominating factor in local government? This is only part of it. They have tried it on in West Ham, and it has come off because West Ham has a bad name, but I want to say to hon. Members opposite, whether they believe it or not, that the men and women in West Ham whom they have pilloried would, bear favourable comparison with themselves in the matter of honesty and probity in public life. Their only crime was that they knew the people whom they represented, and they did their best for them.

Is this kind of legislation to become continuous? Remember, you are creating a boomerang. You may be clever and powerful to-day, but when the time comes we may be able to reverse the situation and, instead of reactionary administrators appointed by the Government, we may have Socialists appointed to act as Commissioners. I do not want to see that. I do not want to see people put into positions unless they have been elected. I want democracy to operate. I believe in democracy, and, therefore, I am opposing this Bill, which proposes to hand over to a nominated body composed of mental and physical inefficients in the main. The Metropolitan Asylums Board is composed mainly of gentlemen who have lost their way. It is a kind of retiring home for politicians of both parties who did not know where to go, and most of them are well dressed up and do not know where to go—[Laughter]—It is all very nice for Members to smile who do not know these people, but we have met them and come into contact with them on the Metropolitan Water Board, the Lea Conservancy, and the Thames Conservancy. You can see them there, retired Generals and Admirals who never saw the sea; they are all there, swanking with their decorations thick upon them.

These are the men to whom you are going to hand over the control of Poor Law administration in London, with the possibility of extending it to the other parts of the country, because we have been told that when we go for borrowing powers we have to come to these persons, who know nothing about the conditions under which the people live. We in West Ham have had some experience of them, and they will not trust us to vote, but the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will have to go at the next election for votes to the same people whom they have disfranchised. If we are not good enough to vote for the guardians, are we good enough to vote for a Member of Parliament? Why not make it universal and disfranchise us all, both for national and local purposes? The object of this Bill is to make the local representatives absolutely come under the control of a nominated body. We know what London is. The London County Council elections proved it—the power of the purse and the motor car. You know that we of the Labour party could not fight against those conditions. We had to do the best we could under improper conditions to try and hold our own, and you gained a pyrrhic victory. I hope it will do you good, but you cannot hold us back, because we know that we shall win in the end.

What is the good of talking about democracy, as the Prime Minister did the other night? What did he mean? He reminds me of Kruger's speech just before the South African war: "I will give them votes, but I am going to count them." You do not mind giving votes to the workers so long as you have tie power to control them and appoint Commissioners to regulate them. We in West Ham are not afraid, but London is, of course, in a different situation. They have some money given to them out of the Common Poor Fund. I heard hon. Members opposite talking about the money they pay out. A penny rate in Wesminster brings in £36,000. Where does that money come from? It comes from the labour of the people of London and the increased value of property along the Embankment and other parts of the West End. We in West Ham can raise only £5,000 on a penny rate, and our rates are held up to ridicule; yet, as a matter of fact, in relative values to the administration of public necessity, our rates are lower than those of Westminster, but we never get a penny piece of credit for it. They are the exemplars of municipal economy and administration; yet they have bigger slums in Westminster than we have in West Ham.

Therefore, we are entitled to say that this Bill is simply a piece of the usual Conservative camouflage, an attempt to blind the people's eyes to the real issue. If you want to do something in the matter of Poor Law administration, bring in what the right hon. Gentleman himself used to advocate, namely, the unification of public services. I do not want to refer to the dead, but his right honourable father, whose speeches I very often read when I was not a Member of this House, foreshadowed the time when all these great public services would be amalgamated and administered. What have we got now? It is simply playing with the situation. West Ham is not responsible for its own poverty, and Poplar is not responsible. Hon. Members on the benches opposite have been boasting about what they have been able to do, but what have they done? They have sold their workhouses and closed their infirmaries because of the growth of great office buildings and hotels in their city, but the overflow is down to West Ham, Tottenham, and all the outlying parts of London. They have made money out of it, because they have sold one of their institutions for £44,000 to one of the poorest districts in the East End of London. Therefore, they say, "Save us from the storm; pass this Bill for five years." I hope it will be five years' penal servitude for the proposers of it.

The proposition behind this Bill is of such a character that it means reaction in all forms of local government. The real problem that the right hon. Gentleman has to face is how to reform the Poor Law, and he knows that, when he starts on that, he has to attack his own people. He knows very well that the problem of Poor Law reform will mean the attacking of all the social evils and social privileges in our present civilisation. Therefore, we are up against this Bill, not because of what it proposes to do, but because it will not tackle the real problem, the problem of poverty in all its reality. At the last General Election we were told by the Prime Minister and his supporters that they were out to attack all these great social problems on scientific, statesmanlike lines. We were dreamers. We lived in a fool's paradise. They were the only people who mattered. What are they doing now? Simply presenting us with sticking-plaster for wooden legs. No single proposition have they produced yet to deal with any of our problems, industrial, economic or political. I am speaking for myself; I am not a Front Bencher; I am very much a back bencher, but I want to say that the proposition made in this Bill is simply a "try-on." By means of the Clauses dealing with borrowing powers every authority is going to be brought under this Bill. The time will come when we will not come to you to borrow money. We will make you come to us and borrow. The only thing which you will not be able to borrow from us will be political capacity.

This Bill is simply an attempt to continue what you have been doing all the time you have been in office and in power, namely, to make barriers against the growing democracy, and to queer the pitch; you say to your friends that when you are succeeded by any other Government opposite to your own, it will take all their time to clear away the reactionary legislation that you have carried. I am one of those who believe that we will not waste much time in clearing away all the reactionary barriers which you have erected. I should like to see the time come when we have the power to clear you and your barriers out of existence.


The hon. Member is going a little wide of the provisions of the Bill.


I have as much right to be a prophet as Mr. Baldwin has.


The hon. Gentleman must not refer to the Prime Minister by name. If the right hon. Gentleman were to prophesy on this Bill, it would be my painful duty to stop him.


I beg his pardon, I meant the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister. He made a prophecy the other evening outside the House, and that was in order. I am making a prophecy inside that, when the next opportunity arrives, the right hon. Gentleman will not be able to be a prophet. I happen to be an orphan in this case. I only want to say that this reactionary legislation is being prepared for a purpose; it is to prevent the Government's successors from being able to do the things that they want to do; it is an attempt to erect a kind of fence against any possible progressive legislation in future. For that reason, I oppose the Bill, although we in West Ham have the advantage of the Common Poor Fund. London has been cut up into watertight compartments. Certain parts of London are sure of returning Conservative members to boards of guardians, and, automatically, they become part of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, and all the other parts which are not so reactionary will have to submit themselves to this body—a junta controlled by the Conservative party. What a beautiful thing it is! I wonder what our comrades opposite would say if, when the Labour party became a majority in this House, they said that they were going to have a board all on their own to see that their people could not do what they wanted? That time may come. All this legislation will come back to you eventually. I am going to live to see it. The time will come when you will not be able to carry on these proposals. You can do what you like now, but you cannot keep on doing it. We who live on the outskirts of London, in spite of the difficulties which you have placed in our way, in spite of all your Commissioners and appointed boards of guardians, are going to carry on, and as soon as we get our opportunity we will send them back to you with their tails between their legs. This Bill is an insult to the electors of London, and it is only part and parcel of the policy which the right hon. Gentlemen opposite have adopted ever since they have been in office, and that is to try and cripple the workers of London and the country in the control of their own affairs.

9.0 p.m.


I confess that the answer which I got a moment or two ago from the right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary rather opened my eyes to the extent to which this Bill can be made to cripple and hinder local government in the country. I am not surprised that the Minister of Health, in his speech introducing the Bill, dealt rather lightly with that particular aspect of it which concerned the boroughs outside London. It is ostensibly a Bill dealing with the Metropolitan area, but, on an examination, we discover that it refers to every local board of guardians outside London. That is rather an alarming situation, because the Bill is going to solidify the Act of 1921 for a further five years. It is going to crystallise the condition which obtains now, and we are going to find that outside London, in all the distressed areas, the relief which we expected and hoped to get, and which has been promised year after year for the last 10 or 12 years, is to be deferred for another five years. When one contemplates the deplorable condition of the area in which my constituency is situated, the whole of Glamorgan, for instance, or South Wales, when one contemplates the bankrupt condition of every board of guardians, when one thinks of the want and destitution which faces the people, and the 24 per cent. of unemployment, with no hope of any relief whatever, one can realise that it is a situation which may very well fill all local authorities with despair.

A day or two ago I asked the Ministry of Labour what was being done towards assisting unemployed men, so as to take them out of the purview of the local authorities. After all we have heard about the training centres to be set up, what does the Ministry of Labour report regarding South Wales, with its scores of thousands of men who have been unemployed for three, four or five years, with all its local authorities breaking down, with young men denied a single pennyworth of relief from anywhere at all and with poverty-striken parents compelled to maintain their sons? What help has been given in the training of young men there I was told that 121 men had been sent to Dudley, 51 to another area and five to a third area. Out of all the thousands of men out of work, out of all the thousands of men who are literally starving, training has been found for fewer than 200. The whole thing is sheer lunacy, and I am here to protest to the utmost of my power against the policy pursued by the Government.

The hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) has talked of what a penny rate produces in West Ham—£5,000. That is affluence by contrast with what it produces in Merthyr Tydvil, where it brings in only about £960. Instead of introducing this miserable Measure to curtail and cripple democratic authorities here in London, and to extend the powers of the Ministry of Health over boards of guardians in the provinces, why do not the Government accept the responsibility for what is happening and do something statesmanlike, something that one could recognise as an earnest attempt to grapple with the situation instead of playing with it in this miserable, perfunctory way? The whole thing is a cheating and a deluding of the people of this country, and this Government, who represent enormous power, enormous wealth and enormous influence, ought to be ashamed of the line they are taking on this question.

To-day a reception is being given to His Majesty the King of Afghanistan. [Interruption.] I am not going to condemn it at all. The King of Afghanistan comes here on a State visit, and no one wishes him any harm at all. He has come here for the purpose of studying Western civilisation, and studying the people of England. I wish he could have been in this House this afternoon to listen to the speeches. He would begin to understand that probably he has not much to learn from us about dealing with poverty. Indeed, I should be surprised to learn that there were many people in his own country, poor and resourceless as it may be in comparison with our own, whose condition is worse than that of thousands and thousands of people whom I can find in this land. It is fair to assume that there are few people indeed in his country who need the help that we find it necessary to give to our own people. I hope he will see something of our country, and I wish he would read the speech of the Minister for Health in which it was admitted that in West Ham—or, at any rate, one district down there, I forget exactly which—there were 31,000 people being given relief, even under his reformed board of guardians. With all their harshness and with all their desire to cut down expenditure as much as possible, this miserable abortion of a Poor Law relief committee has to give assistance to no fewer than 31,000 people. Let the King of Afghanistan understand that, and then perhaps he will learn that there is something about this country to avoid as well as to copy. At least I hope he will have the common-sense not to provide himself with a Government such as we have got, because I am sure that if he does so, there will be no progress in Afghanistan.


The Minister of Health, in moving the Second Reading, spoke about the generosity of the contributing boroughs in London, saying some of the receiving boroughs had been given as much as 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. of their Poor Law expenditure out of the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund. A contribution of 30 per cent. sounds a great deal, but it would be more to the point if we were discussing percentages of the whole of the rates of London. Such a percentage is nothing in the light of the discrepancy in the incidence of rating between such boroughs as Wandsworth and Westminster on the one hand and Poplar and Bermondsey on the other. London is one industrially and commercially, and from the standpoint of dealing with its poverty it ought to be one financially. I believe in the complete equalisation of rates. If we had complete equalisation of rates in London a percentage of 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. would be something worth talking about. What generosity is there in well-to-do boroughs giving a proportion of their wealth to the poorer boroughs of London in order to relieve the poverty stricken people there? Well-to-do boroughs are inhabited by well-to-do people. Those who live in Westminster or in Wandsworth have made money. I do not put up the argument that they do not contribute anything in the way of service to the community, but certainly their comfortable circumstances, which are reflected in the amount of rates which can be raised in those boroughs, are the result of the common toil and common commercial activities of the whole of the people of London. Surely it is ethically wrong for the well-to-do boroughs to talk, or for the Minister to talk, about their generosity.


I never used the word "generosity."


The Minister says that he did not use the word "generosity." My recollection is that he did, but I will not contradict him. The purport of his remarks was that these boroughs were doing something exceptional—


No, my point was that the boroughs which are receiving were doing something exceptional.


That may be, but the point of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was that the well-to-do boroughs were generous and were giving to the boroughs where poverty is rife. I say there is no question of generosity, but that it is a matter of duty and that an even larger amount ought to be contributed than the 9d. per head given under the Metropolitan Poor Fund system. After all, the people who live in the well-to-do and comfortable quarters of London live there of their own choice. They do not live in the boroughs where poverty is rife, but these are the boroughs which provide the profits upon which their wealth is built. The people who live in Poplar and Bermondsey are the people who make dividends for those who live in Wandsworth, and the other richer parts of London. That was the impression conveyed by the Minister of Health, and there is no question of generosity. There would be much more reason to talk about it from that point of view if we had a proper system of equalisation of the whole of the rates of London under which the rates would be levied upon all the property in London and the land values. I admit the idea that local authorities should, under all circumstances, be allowed to do as they like is altogether wrong. That is not a Socialist principle. If there is public control over Poor Law expenditure or anything else, there should also be a sense of responsibility and democracy in that public control. There is no democracy in the proposal to set up this new body to control expenditure. The Metropolitan Asylums Board is not an elected authority, because its members are nominated. It is not constituted for the purpose of controlling Poor Law expenditure. This Bill is not aimed at Westminster or Wandsworth, but it is aimed at Poplar and Bermondsey, and you leave it to a nominated body to hold up at any time a considerable part of the Poor Law expenditure of London.

When the case of West Ham was considered some time ago, the Minister of Health thought it necessary that the House of Commons representing the whole nation should decide the fate of West Ham so far as the administration of the Poor Law was concerned, and the right hon. Gentleman appointed his own Poor Law authority for West Ham. Under this Bill if the same circumstances should arise the non-democratic members of the Metropolitan Asylums Board can do what the Minister of Health has done in the arrangements he has made for West Ham. It is one thing for a drastic proposal such as that which the Minister of Health was responsible for relating to West Ham to be brought before the House of Commons, but it is altogether another thing for a hole-and-corner body like the Metropolitan Asylums Board to be given such stupendous power to determine the method by which Poor Law relief should be administered in particular parishes in London. I will take West Ham as an illustration. Anyone who knows the circumstances of West Ham will not deny that there was a certain amount of maladministration.


The representatives of West Ham have repeatedly asked for a public inquiry, judicial or otherwise, to prove the statements that there has been corruption and maladministration in West Ham, and every time our request has been refused. Hon. Members know perfectly well that if there had been corruption and maladministration in West Ham the guilty parties could have been sent to the Old Bailey, and I have no hesitation in repudiating those charges.


That is not a point of Order, although, if the hon. Member who is speaking likes to give way, the hon. Member may correct him.


West Ham has been so often in the pillory that I must deny those charges. We have challenged the Government to investigate these matters, and we have defied them to send us to the Old Bailey. On every occasion, our demand for an inquiry has been refused.


I did not make any charges of corruption.


The hon. Member said that he agreed that there had been maladministration in West Ham.


If I used so unfortunate a word as "maladministration," I am prepared to withdraw it. I did not mean anything that would render a person liable to be sent to the Old Bailey. In the case of my own borough, I know that there are points of criticism in regard to the administration which are perfectly justified. If the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) had waited a little while to hear what I was going to say, he would have seen that what I meant was that, so far from there being view was that the situation has been anything to criticise in West Ham, my view was that the situation has been handled efficiently and effectively by the Labour party and by the people with whom the hon. Member for Silvertown is associated. I do not agree with the ordinary kind of nonsense which is talked about West Ham. The trouble about the administration of the Poor Law in West Ham is that people interfere with the legitimate policy adopted by the Guardians without understanding the poverty which exists there, and the need for giving adequate and reasonable relief. The result of such interference has been to make poverty in West Ham worse than it was before. That is my point, and, if the word "maladministration" does not express my meaning, I am very grateful for the opportunity of being able to withdraw that word, because I do not wish to get at cross purposes with the hon. Member for Silvertown.

A body which is going to deal with public funds provided by a number of boroughs in London should have a certain amount of collective responsibility. That body should have some real responsibility. That body should have some real responsibility for the way in which money is going to be spent. We regard this Measure as thoroughly undemocratic, and I agree with the statement which has been made by the hon. Member for Silver-town that the policy of the Government is that the people who are out of work and poor, and without adequate facilities for living, should be kept as low as it is possible to keep them. That is not our policy. We say that the poverty of London and of all those districts at which this Measure aims is something for which the whole of London is responsible; in fact, the whole country is responsible. Therefore, we ask that irresponsible people who live in the more amenable quarters of London and its surroundings should not be allowed to interfere with Poor Law administration in Poplar and Bermondsey. We say that these people should not have the power of holding up the local government of London and practically dictating terms to it.

I would like to conclude by reading, if it has not been already referred to in the Debate, a resolution that was passed at a Conference held at the Westminster City Hall on Tuesday last. It was a Conference of representatives of the metropolitan borough councils which receive grants from the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund, and it passed this resolution. I know, of course, that the boroughs represented were those that receive grants, but they are not all Labour boroughs by any means. They are boroughs that are at grips with the poverty problem and the Poor Law problem in their respective localities, and this is the resolution that they passed unanimously: That the temporary legislation contained in the Local Authorities (Emergency Provisions) Acts, 1923–26, providing, inter alia, that the increase in the charges upon the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund in respect of indoor relief from 5d. to 1s. 3d. per head per day shall be continued, and that the expenditure on outdoor relief throughout London should be equalised from the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund. And they desire—these are both Municipal Reform and Labour bodies, who know the circumstances and are face to face with the problem— that the maximum expenditure in respect of outdoor relief to be charged upon the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund should be increased to one shilling per head per day. I hope that there will be some opportunity during the Committee stage of this Bill to move to the effect that there shall be an increase in the amount given to those boroughs where the degree of poverty is so great as to require extraordinary expenditure. The reason is that we regard London as a whole; we regard London as responsible for the whole of the poverty problem in London. We do not believe that poverty is a necessity of modern civilisation. It is the result of the system under which we live, and of the idea, which exists under that system, that those who are poor through no fault of their own should be despised by those who in the past have made profits out of them, and that they should be forced to live the mean and miserable lives that they have to live even when they are in work, let alone when they are out of work and dependent on Poor Law relief. We want that kind of system to end, and we want to be just and reasonable towards them while the system actually exists.


It is not customary for Members from other parts of the country to intervene on a Bill of this kind, but I must say that, when I came in to listen to the Debate, I thought at first that this was a perfectly innocent Bill. Unfortunately, however, the interruptions and the replies to the statements made by the Parliamentary Secretary have helped to open our eyes to the dangers of the Bill. I wonder why people get into such a frame of mind that they think that poverty is a crime. I am astonished at times to hear people apologizing, and almost inclined to attribute all sorts of original sin to people who have become poor through no fault of their own. I remember, when I was younger, hearing leading politicians advocate the unification of rates, and at that time the Liberal party were very strong on that idea. The object of unifying rates is that people in a locality which is better favoured than others should assist in carrying the common burden. In London, unfortunately, the poor are compelled to live wherever they can get shelter, or wherever they can get work, and, when work has failed them in those localities, they still have to live there, while the wealthier part of the population moves out to better surroundings. You then have the poor being com- Pelled to carry the burden of unemployment, and you have the wealthy with very little in the way of rates to pay, because they have run away from the place where they made their money.

I would not apologise at all for the claim made by London Members that the rates should be uniform all over London. Why should they not be uniform? The people who are wealthy are only wealthy because other people work. It is not because of any additional labour that they have put into the country. In addition to that, we now have whole areas into which people were brought in order to carry on War work. The Government failed to re-distribute them, and they are left there. The burden of rates is mounting higher and higher, and the only cure that hon. Members on the other side have is to take away the power of the elected representatives of the people. I have heard them defend that, but I am inclined to think that it will be a boomerang which may strike them at some future time. They have superseded certain boards of guardians because they thought they were doing too much for the people whom they represented, but in this Measure they are doing something that no British Government has ever attempted to do—they are actually giving to a non-elected body the power to reduce or increase expenditure. That is a dangerous principle. No matter on what authority I serve, whatever expenditure I advocate, I have to face the electors to justify it, but I do object to nominated people, who do not require to face the electors, having a power of that kind, and I would appeal to the House to look at this matter from that point of view. It is a very dangerous principle, and there is no knowing where it may end.

It may be that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the other side felt that it was necessary for them to do something. Their party just now appears to be at the top, and I noticed that there was an interruption when it was suggested that they were not in a majority in the country. I do not know the reason for that interruption, because they have not a majority of the electors, and they are doing a lot of things to which the people of this country, once they realise what is being done, will object. I do not think that the British House of Commons is going to allow anything in the shape of Mussolini yet, either from the Minister of Health or from his Parliamentary Secretary. We have a tradition here. So far we have been a free people. We have certain rights, and now an attempt is being made to take them away, and to give to nominated persons the control of expenditure. I hope and believe that our party at some time will be strong enough to make other suggestions. I would divide the poverty of London. If we are not going to get a uniform rate, I would try to see to it that every borough should carry its fair share of the people who are suffering. In addition to that, I would try to divide the work. I would go even into the West End where there are people who have been unemployed since they were born, whose fathers before them were unemployed, and who would feel insulted if they were offered a job. They do not require to go to work. You should tell them that they have got to take a job, and that if they do not work neither shall they eat. That is the doctrine which we should preach.


The hon. Gentleman is going outside the provisions of the Bill.


I thought I was keeping very close to the line. I made no reference to subsidised royalties, and I never pointed out the danger of financing people who were quite able to look after themselves, or the danger of spending money in the way it is sometimes spent. I take the view that the people of this country have a right to live though the Government have failed to find them work. Every member of the community has that right.


I am in entire agreement with my hon. Friends on these benches who have spoken about London. I agree with them that the rich cannot live without the poor. If the poor do not provide the wherewithal for them to live, then they will die with the poor. I agree that there should be one rating authority. Why should there be this difference in the City of London as compared with any other great city in the country? Many of them are incorporated boroughs like London, and why there is this difference in the case of London, so as to make it more difficult for the poor to live in the various poor areas in London than in the rich, I could never understand.

I want to ask the Minister if Clause 1 applies to the whole country as well as to London. Clause 1 amends the Act of 1921 and the Amending Act of 1924, which applies to all the authorities in the country, including London. If that be the case as far as the outside authorities are concerned, I can see no help whatever within this Measure. Let the right hon. Gentleman remember what the position is in my own county. We have there 15 Poor Law areas, some of them down and out, with no assessable value so to speak, because of the closing of the pits. We are told that it is because of high rates that industry is going down, and the power to go on borrowing money for the payment of debts incurred will not help the future. What we want is not the power to borrow. Indeed, I am doubtful whether some of the authorities in the County of Durham will be able to live, for they are practically bankrupt. I am not referring to those of the Division of Chester-le-Street. I am referring to the authorities who have done, during these depressed times, just what the Minister and his Department desired them to do. Take the case of Bishop Auckland where there were 13 collieries working, and today there are two. There is no rateable value, and their rates are over 30s. in the £. If they have power to borrow for the future, that will be no help whatever. They are not asking for the power to borrow, but for something far more substantial than that. I ask the Minister to give some relief to these areas which are down and out.

In the county of Durham people cannot buy food, never mind pay rates. They cannot provide themselves with the necessaries of life. In various areas, mothers and children die for lack of nutrition, but, apparently, that does not matter. If the Minister will give a helping hand to these people rather than say to them, "Go and borrow," then we can hope for the future. Is the coal trade to develop? The Minister knows that without the coal trade in my county there are millions of people there who are not going to get the wherewithal of life. Tradespeople just as much as the miners are complaining of the poverty of the people. They say their business is going down, and they are practically bankrupt. I am glad to tell the Minister they are showing that the policy advocated on these benches is to be their policy in future. It is the policy of seeing to it that the people have the right to live and work. Without the mines, you cannot go on. What is the Minister going to do to help them to go on? There can be no help from anybody but the Minister.

Take the statistics that are offered to us from the Department of Mines. You find that all the sacrifices which have been made have been made by the miners themselves. Cost and wages are where they were, and the royalties are just as much as they were three or four years ago. Nothing whatever has come to our help, and is the Minister going to say that we must borrow to get out of our troubles when we cannot borrow from anybody because, owing to the depressed conditions, people will not lend us money at all? Is the Minister prepared to lend the money to pay off these bills and give us a longer period than five years? Is there nothing he can do to help these down-trodden areas, which are down and out through no fault of their own? If he cannot do that, then this Bill will not be worth the paper it is written on as far as we are concerned.

I do plead with the Minister to do something more. This will not help. It will leave us practically worse off than we were before. Let him help us and give us a chance to start again. I feel sure that better results will accrue if he will come to the aid of these impoverished areas in my county. Not only is the mining area down and out but, because of it, shipbuilding is down and out, and so are engineering and other trades. The remedy, apparently, is that we must borrow for another five years, which will make things harder than they are at the present time. We cannot expect to stop unemployment, which has been growing month by month. The records of last year from January to October show that the number of unemployed miners increased every month, and something like 12,000 more men were thrown on to unemployment benefit or on to the guardians. Will the right hon. Gentleman consult with the Minister of Labour and see if something cannot be done to ease the position there? Thousands of men have been compelled to go to the guardians, when they ought to have been receiving some relief from another source, or from the Unemployment Relief Fund. That ought to be a question which the Minister should take up with advantage. I appeal to him to help us in a way which will be of some advantage, rather than offer us something which will be of no advantage whatever, but rather the reverse and will make us poorer.


I think the House, taken as a whole, has not realised the importance of what the right hon. Gentleman described as a small Bill. Most of his Bills are small ones, but they are all most pernicious. They are the worst kind of legislation, I should think, that the House has passed or discussed for very many years. He has not brought in a single Bill in the last two or three years but those that curtail the rights of local authorities. He will be remembered as the statesman, who, having come into public life as an ardent municipal administrator, when he reached this House became the instrument for destroying local government. There is something about his early days that most people, like me, who have some regard for local administration, respect, but he wipes that all out when, on behalf of his party, and from a purely partisan point of view, in order to destroy the policy of those with whom he disagrees uses the brute force of a huge majority to rob the elected authorities of the rights this Parliament has conferred on them.

I do not believe any other House of Commons would have allowed him to smuggle his legislation through. He brought in a Bill to wipe out boards of guardians and defended it by setting up a whole cloud of suspicion about men who, under very great difficulties, had been trying to deal with an almost impossible situation in West Ham. He has done the same at Bedwellty and at Chester-le-Street, and he has the audacity to tell us of the fruits of the work that he and those instruments that he appointed at West Ham. There was a glow of pride in his face when he told us that they had reduced the numbers from nearly 70,000 down to 30,000. He might reduce them to nothing at all. He has only to refuse to give people relief and he need have no poor rate at all. You have only to say to the unemployed or to the able-bodied who come to you, or to the widows, or to the sick, "You have been here a long time; you have been sick a long time; you are getting older and you need more assistance, or you have been out of work a long time, and therefore the time has come to strike you off," and you will soon clear off the poor rate, and, as you say, restore the finances of these districts.

That, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, is a policy which succeeds only for a short time. He knows enough of the history of local government and of the Poor Law to know that the eternal principles of 1834, which a roving commission put into operation, were discovered to be unworkable, and that from 1834 to the present time men who preceded him in his office and held the view that he is attempting to carry through now, though they have apparently succeeded for a short time, have been swept from power and another policy has had to be pursued. We who take our stand in opposition to the right hon. Gentleman have never said that we believed it was a good thing merely to give able-bodied men and women money for nothing. I came into this House in 1910 and made a speech within two days of my election the whole burden of which was that we wanted to stop the demoralisation of our people by giving them money for nothing. We wanted work for them, and that has been our policy from that day to this, and long before. Keir Hardie, when he came into this House and first raised the banner of the unemployed, and was received with the contumely and contempt with which all pioneers are received, did not ask that men should be given money for nothing. He asked that they should have work, and, failing work, maintenance, but work first of all.

I think the right hon. Gentleman when he has time to think this thing out will be a little ashamed of his speech when be tries to understand, if he does not understand now, the meaning of the figures that he so glibly rolled off. He said that he would take the boroughs in pairs, and that was a fair way of comparing them. He knows, or ought to know, that Stepney cannot be compared with any other borough in London and the fact that Stepney, in addition to a Gentile board of guardians has its own Jewish board of guardians and has a population very largely Jewish vitiates altogether a comparison with any other borough. He knows perfectly well, too, that it is no use trying to ride off and say, it is Labour administration that has brought about this condition of affars in London. He knows as well as I do that out of the 32 boards of guardians in London, there are not six that are controlled by Labour majorities, and that those unions that are spending the money that he says is granted them from the richer unions are not controlled by Bolshevists or by people like myself, but are controlled very largely by members of his own party, who are no better and no worse than the rest of us, but are forced into the position of spending large sums of money on Poor Law relief.

Unfortunately, I was not able to be here the whole of the time that the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris) was speaking, but, if the right hon. Gentleman will consult his officials, he will be told that for years before the date from which he started Bethnal Green never gave a penny of outdoor relief. It was one of the unions that was known in London, just as Whitechapel was, as a non-outdoor relief union. What broke down that policy? It was not a Labour majority. The thing that broke it down was that at the end of the War a considerable number of ex-Service men had no other resource than to go to the Poor Law, and there was not a board of guardians at that time that dared refuse outdoor relief to ex-Service men. The right hon. Gentleman himself would not have dared to do it. If he likes to go over the history of the various boards of guardians, he will find that from, I believe, 1860 to the end of the War there was no outdoor relief at all, and that then, when the men came back from the War and the slump in trade began, the guardians were forced to break down their old policy of no outdoor relief. The right hon. Gentleman stands at that Box and talks about Poplar and other boards and other men whose shoe lachets he is not worthy to unlace with a superior kind of contempt, as if they were people of no account, forgetting all the time that they are giving voluntary time and service to the public to carry on public work.

There is not a single one of these unions that he is now charging with extravagance, with mal-administration, with giving relief too generously, but has to give the right hon. Gentleman every week a return of the names of every case that receives relief under these conditions. If Poplar, Bethnal Green and those other unions have been throwing money away indiscriminately, and have not been doing their duty, how is it that until the present time they have not been interfered with by the right hon. Gentleman and his inspectors? If they have been doing wrong, they have been doing wrong in collusion with the right hon. Gentleman. If they have given away too much money, the right hon. Gentleman is as responsible as they are. Therefore, it is useless for him to come here to-night and plead as though he wanted some new power. The right hon. Gentleman has got all the power any Minister needs. He said he would not like to be the person to exercise the power. I shall have a word or two to say about that in a moment. As to whether he has the power, as far as able-bodied people who get relief are concerned, he can stop relief at any moment in any case he pleases, and in regard to any board he pleases, and he knows that that is true. During all these years, as we are told, that the boards have been doing what they ought not to have been doing, they have been doing it with the cognisance of the right hon. Gentleman, and, as I say, in collusion with the right hon. Gentleman.

The reason the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessors have not interfered is the reason that a noted nobleman gave to the country a coupe of years ago, when, speaking at a public meeting, he said it was perfectly true that when the War stopped, and for a few years after the War, it was necessary to give out-relief, and it was necessary to give large unemployment pay, because if we had not done so there might have been a revolution. But things are different now. Everything has settled down, and we must cut down this relief. If it was right to give adequate assistance when were afraid of revolution, it is right to give adequate relief and assistance now, even though the people are quieter than they were before. There is no more justification for refusing adequate relief to-day than there was in 1922, 1923 and 1924. Further than that, not only the right hon. Gentleman but all his predecessors are in exactly the same boat, and it is no use the right hon. Gentleman talking as if the boards or guardians themselves have been acting absolutely without his cognisance, and, as it were, in a hole-and-corner sort of way. The returns have had to go up, and he knows the sort of formula that his officials have sent back, namely, that they do not object, and because of that, in the main, the auditor has allowed the expenditure.

There is another point of view. If it is only control of extravagant expenditure that he requires, he has not only the auditor, who can surcharge and ruin a man who gives away too much relief, but he possesses the power which comes from the original Poor Law Act itself. He has two ways of curbing boards of guardians—his own power and the power of the auditor—and he knows perfectly well that such powers are now being exercised in such a fashion that most London boards have not the least discretion as to what they shall give in relief to any particular case. Therefore, there is no need for the right hon. Gentleman to come here to-night and ask that some new authority should be set up to relieve him and the auditor of what the law has put upon them in this regard. I objected to the power that was given to the auditor, but there it is.

Another thing I would like to say about the right hon. Gentleman's speech is with regard to the figures and the comparison of districts and rich boroughs generally which he gave. I said, when the conference was held in Westminister, where Mr. Hunt, the clerk to the Westminster Council, and myself came to an agreement and afterwards put it before the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond), that I considered the Westminster people had behaved in a very generous manner in meeting us in the fashion they did. It is perfectly true that not one of us who were parties to that agreement ever imagined that this sort of arrangement would go on for all these years. We thought it was a purely temporary thing pending the complete reform of the Poor Law. I say to those who represent Westminster, and to my hon.

Friend the Member for North Kensington (Mr. Gates), with whom I worked at least in a very happy sort of way—we discovered that when we were doing work we could agree more than when arguing first principles—it is no use imagining that they can, as it were, put themselves in a corner from the rest of London. They are absolutely dependent upon us. Whether we are dependent upon them is another matter. It is often asked, What would the poor do without the rich? I would like the rich to ask themselves what they would do without the poor? Those who do the work of the world could probably get along when those who do not do it would not be able to get along.

The right is being claimed of determining how this money shall be used, and while I agree that you have a right to a certain control, it is rather a new doctrine to say that those who find the money—those who pay the heaviest taxes—have the right to say how it shall be spent. If that be a right doctrine, one of these days you will want to allow only the representatives of the Super-taxpayers to come here to determine how we shall spend the taxes of the country. It is a sort of extension of the doctrine which is beloved by certain hon. and right hon. Gentlemen that limited liability companies ought to have votes as limited liability companies because they pay more rates. I believe there was a time in the country when it was asserted that the people who were rated higher than their neighbours ought to have a bigger say in the control of things. I thought we had got away from that until I listened to the right hon. Gentleman and read his rag of a Bill. He is introducing the doctrine that the well-to-do are to have a bigger voice than other people in regard to how the money is to be spent. I do not view it from that point of view at all. I take London as a whole. I am not a born Londoner, but I am a Londoner by adoption. I am very proud of London, with all its slums, with all its dirt, with all its Bolshevism and all the other isms. It is as good as any other city in the world. I do not discriminate between South Kensington and Bow and Bromley, where I live, I do not discriminate between the people. I believe we are all interdependent one on another. I believe that in the long run our problems are very much the same. I believe that the difficulties that we have to face in the East End are difficulties that Kensington ought to shoulder with us, as we shoulder any that you have to face in North Kensington.


We do.


The Minister of Health says that he wants to satisfy the principle that those who find the money shall call the tune. I suggest that the proposal of the Bill does nothing of the kind. Who are these nominated people? Why should they have any voice in the matter at all? They do not pay. None of them lives, or very few of them live, in the county of London. Some of them live at Bexley in Kent: some at West Norwood, parts of which, I think, are outside the county of London. Another one lives at Weybridge, another at Upper Warlingham, in Surrey, and so on. Why should they have anything to say? Who are they that they should be called upon to review me, for instance? They may be, as my hon. Friend the Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) said, very good dry-land admirals, but what do they know about finance? Read the names of the men and women who are on the Metropolitan Asylums Board, and you will find that there is not a financier among them. You will find that there is not one of them who has had any more experience than my friends the dockers and carmen and clerks and others who man the Poplar Board of Guardians. Why they should be given the power of overriding our Estimates I do not know.

The main point I want to make here is that if you are going to have control you must, if it is to be equitable, have with it central responsibility. I object altogether to the Government saying to us, "You have to administer the Poor Law, but you must administer it along the lines which will cost only so much. If you spend more than so much we shall step in and we shall not allow you to have the money." I say that also because the people who come for Poor Law relief, the men and women and children, have to be dealt with individually. To say that this crowd of managers, to whose mercy the right hon. Gentleman is going to consign us, should have the right to tell us what we should give to Mrs. Smith or to Mrs. Brown or to John Smith or to any of these people, is quite beside the point. They have no knowlede of the circumstances, or of the conditions under which the people are living. On the other hand, if you had a central authority which not only controlled the money but controlled the administration in such a way that the people who have the final vote as to the money came into contact with the individual cases, there would be something to be said for it. But there is nothing to be said in support of this sort of proposal which means control, by a body, of the money, but no responsibility as to how it is administered.

10.0 p.m.

That brings me to a further point. The right hon. Gentleman and this precious Committee of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, it is quite possible, will cut off the money, and it is possible, too, as is happening now, that numbers of people may be driven off the relief list; but the right hon. Gentleman's Department—in this I except him personally—has always been too cowardly ever to take responsibility. They may compel us to refuse to give relief in a case, and if anything happens to that case and there is a coroner's inquest, it is either the relieving officer or the board of guardians that will be called to book, and not the right hon. Gentleman or his Department. They are very careful, when they send out orders, to use language which safeguards themselves. That will happen under this Committee. It will issue instructions as to what we have to do and what money we are to have to expend, and then if anything happens to any particular family, what will be the result? I would like to ask, what would any hon. Member say if, all of a sudden, in Poplar, because we had pushed off some ex-service man who had a wife and children and he went home and cut their throats, as men have done because we have stopped their relief—whom would hon. Members blame? We should get the blame. But the people to be blamed would be the right hon. Gentleman and his Department, because of their policy. If this thing goes through, these people will have no responsibility except to stop our doing what our judgment says we ought to do.

There is another side to the question. The right hon. Gentleman takes a good deal of credit to himself that where he has exercised a strong hand he has been able to bring down expenditure, and so on. But I want to make this other assertion, that the right hon. Gentleman has used his power with regard to loans in the most disgraceful way, in order to impose his own policy. He was good enough, during one of these Debates, to charge me with having said that I believed it was the right policy, after an election, "To the victors the spoils." I said on that occasion, and I repeat now, that I do not see any difference between a person voting for a candidate who will do him justice in his hour of need, through the board of guardians; I see no greater moral obloquy in a person voting for the people who will act decently under those conditions, than in the action of right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen who say, "Vote for us and we will safeguard your industry. Vote for us and we will put on a tariff in order that your particular business may succeed." I see no difference in morals at all. As the Minister of Health is a good Tariff Reformer, I hope he will just remember that if there be any moral obloquy, there is more excuse for the poor devil who is down and out than for the rich man who wants to get richer and to use Parliament for his own ends.

The right hon. Gentleman in his speech to-day did not give us any hope of a reform of the Poor Law. When the right hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb) moved a Motion in regard to reform of the Poor Law, the right hon. Gentleman responded and said that he was very glad that we were all in favour of it, and that it was going to be done. Why should the country continue with this system? All of us admit that it is a very bad system to work, bad for those of us who have to work it and bad for those for whose benefit we are supposed to administer it. Why should we have to put up with this bad system for years longer, simply because the right hon. Gentleman has not pluck enough to stand up to his friends? Why should the House of Commons submit to allowing this great piece of social reform to be shoved off and not undertaken simply because of a few obscurantist Tories, who are going to revolt against the right hon. Gentleman? If he really had the courage of his convictions, he would have defied them and have brought in the Bill.

He knows that there is not an authority which has investigated this problem that has not declared against any such scheme as he is bringing forward to-night. I have the right to speak on this side of the subject, because I spent nearly four years on the Poor Law Commission, with the assistance of the right hon. Member for Seaham and his wife, to whom this country owes a tremendous lot for the work she has done in this direction. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the report of the majority and the minority, the Maclean Report and the further report by Lord George Hamilton's Committee, have declared again and again against this mucked-up, patchwork system that he is proposing to perpetuate to-night. He knows perfectly well that the War has accentuated every difficulty that was pointed out by the majority and minority reports. He knows, also, that what he is proposing to-night will not in any way relieve the situation. All that he is going to do is to hand over boards like those of Poplar and Bethnal Green to the tender mercies of his nominated friends on the Metropolitan Asylums Board.

I dare say those who have been listening to us on this subject become very bored and very weary at hearing the kind of devilish reiteration of the story of poverty. Some hon. Members are sent here to safeguard particular interests, others are sent here to forward particular measures of reform. I am sent here by an electorate that is very poverty stricken. I am sent here by men and women many of whom have to subsist on Poor Law relief. I represent people of whom one hon. Member opposite was good enough to say that if he had his way he would rob them of their votes. He said that he would take away their franchise. I want to say to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and all within the sound of my voice: "The problem of poverty in this country is increasing. Within a very few days you will be discussing what is happening in Wales and elsewhere. You cannot escape from it." There have been more discussions in this House, since the War on poverty and the conditions of poverty than I should think there have been in any Parliament since Parliament ever existed. What is the reason for it? The Prime Minister said, the other night, that I f what we said was true he would be swept out of power. We have not the chance of sweeping them out of power; but they know perfectly well that there has not been a by-election at which the votes have not gone down and down so far as their side is concerned.

Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite may say what they please about this Bill and about our policy in regard to Poor Law, but repression of the poor has never succeeded and it never will succeed. If it were possible for it to succeed, if this thing which the right hon. Gentleman will pass through this House comes into force, if you are able to override the power of the directly-elected authorities in this country, and if the right hon. Gentleman's policy which he has applied to West Ham becomes, through the operation of this Bill, applicable to all the poorer boroughs of London, there is only one thing that he will be doing and one thing this House will be doing, and that will be to destroy the faith of the people in this House and in democracy. This sort of legislation is doing more to make men and women turn their thoughts away from Parliamentary action to other action. It is making men and women feel that it is hopeless to elect people to local authorities.

I know, everybody knows, that the right hon. Gentleman gets his reports from his inspectors, because now inspectors of the Ministry of Health go round the district inquiring here and there. They are quite political agents for the right hon. Gentleman. I know, and the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do, the sort of feeling that exists among the people, and it is a very bad and very ugly sign. We who represent the Labour movement have pinned our faith to democratic methods, to Parliamentary and administrative machinery, and it is because the right hon. Gentleman in all the legislation which he has passed within the last two or three years has done his best to destroy administration, that we are against this Bill. We will do our best to defeat it, and if we do not defeat it we will do our best to get a majority here, and then we will put the right hon. Gentleman and his party in their right place.


The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has made his usual speech. He has made many extravagant charges, one of which, I hope, he will not be able to make again so far as this Bill is concerned. He has accused my right hon. Friend of smuggling Bills through the House of Commons. I thought that was rather a back-handed compliment to his friends sitting behind him. So far as this Measure is concerned, my right hon. Friend and myself are anxious that its provisions should be fully known and that the House should be in a position to know the whole of its points before they vote upon the Second Reading. What is the position with reference to the Act of Parliament which we are now seeking to continue and amend? This Bill seeks to continue the Local Authorities (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1923, which will expire in a short time unless this House takes action and passes this Bill. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood), who proposed the Amendment, carefully avoided the real issue. The issue is not whether it is desirable that a Measure of Poor Law relief should be introduced, but what we shall put in the place of an Act which will expire in a few days. I was interested to hear what the hon. Member and his colleagues had to say on the question of Poor Law reform and in their anxiety that the Government should introduce such a measure. I hope they will be satisfied with the Bill when the Government do introduce it, though I rather doubt it. I remember statements made by the Party opposite in regard to a Measure of Poor Law reform. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, dealing with this question, said that he could not undertake at that moment to bring in such a Measure because: There are pressing matters with which we have to deal now, but as soon as those matters are out of the way, or are got under way, undoubtedly the position of the Poor Law must be very carefully considered—considered with such incidents and such examples and experiences as we have had from Poplar."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th February, 1924; col. 1103, Vol. 169.] I want to know whether hon. Members opposite will agree with the Measure which is contemplated by the Leader of the Opposition. Then when we had a discussion on Poor Law reform, particularly in connection with what was known as the Mond Order. Mr. Edgar Lansbury, who certainly speaks for a section of the Labour party, wrote to this effect: He was prepared to support reform of the Poor Law but only on condition that he received guarantees that the methods of relief adopted by Poplar would be retained. I can assure hon. Members opposite that that will not be the case in regard to the Government proposals; and I doubt very much whether they really want to press their request for the Government to bring in Poor Law reform proposals. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne referred to the discussions which took place in the House when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health. He adopted then the rather typical attitude of the Government of that day. He said, "Yes, the question of Poor Law reform must be considered by a conference of all parties. That is our solution." I assure that hon. Member that when the Government bring in their proposals they will take full responsibility. He rather indicated that he left some proposals for Poor Law reform in the Ministry of Health. I have never seen them. As far as I am concerned, I have not had the pleasure and privilege of seeing them. The House can be assured that in due course, and at the right time, proposals for Poor Law reform will be introduced by the Government, and they will take full responsibility for them.

We have to-night to deal with a Bill which seeks to continue an Act of Parliament which will expire very shortly. The hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris), I should have thought, would have come back full of vigour from the London County Council elections and with some ideas as to the situation in London. In what he had to say, however, the hon. Member only re-echoed the statement of the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) about Poor Law reform.


No, he spoke first.


We have to deal immediately with a very critical situation, a situation which demands the attention of this House. The proposal which my right hon. Friend has made will, I at once admit, impose further cheeks and conditions, through the Metropolitan Asylums Board, upon the administration of certain boards of guardians in London. We have chosen for that purpose an authority which has been criticised and condemned by hon. Gentlemen opposite, but, had any other authority been suggested, it would equally have been criticised by hon. Gentlemen opposite. The fact is they want no control; they want no effective control.


No. Hon. Members opposite who are here now, were not here when I spoke, and when the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health quite properly put a question to me about control and I answered that we were prepared to accept financial control. The right hon. Gentleman has no right to make a statement such as he has just made.


I should be sorry to get into a controversy with the hon. Gentleman. What he said was that he was going to develop, in the course of his speech, the kind of control which he was prepared to suggest. I am still waiting for that part of the speech. I suppose that in the course of the time which he occupied the hon. Gentleman forgot to state exactly what his proposals were, but, in deference to him, I shall amend my statement, and I shall say that hon. Gentlemen opposite really do not desire to see effective control of the boards of guardians. All they have suggested tonight is a control, which, I suppose, might come with the Greek Kalends; but they have made no practical suggestion for meeting the immediate necessities of the time. I suggest that the Metropolitan Asylums Board is not deserving of the criticisms which have been passed on it and, as we have had some prophecies here to-night, I venture to predict that it will do its work excellently under this Measure.


Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House how that Board is elected?


I want to assure the hon. Member for North Kensington (Mr. Gates) that he need be under no anxiety concerning this board. They represent London as a whole, and two-thirds of them are elected by boards of guardians up and down London. A number of the members of that Board have had direct experience of the administration of the Poor Law because they are guardians themselves, and, as regards their reputation and the work which they have done, they are a body to which this House can safely entrust the administration of this very difficult matter. My hon. Friend need not be under any anxiety whatever in that connection. I want to deal with the real issue which has been raised by the Opposition tonight, because I think we can put aside the elaborate Amendment which they have proposed. Quite frankly, they do not like this Bill. They do not want any check interposed between themselves and the other authorities from which they obtain money, and the real crux of this Bill is that Clause of it which is designed to secure greater care in the administration of Poor Law relief by certain boards of guardians in London and a greater measure of control of the charges on the Common Fund, which I do not hesitate to say I hope will bring an end to an unjust system which compels certain boroughs in London to pay for extravagances and abuses that have been far too prevalent in London during recent years.

It is not surprising that such a provision should meet with the strenuous opposition of the Labour party, a party which, in this House and out of it, has enthusiastically endorsed a Poor Law policy which has pauperised and nearly reduced to bankruptcy certain important areas in the country, and a party which has defended, within the knowledge of this House, the notorious action of the superseded boards of guardians of West Ham, Chester-le-Street, and Bedwellty. We do not expect such a party to support the proposals in this Bill. Indeed, I will confess to hon. Members opposite that, if we had the support of the Labour party for this Bill, we should begin to doubt the desirability of its proposals and their effectiveness as a remedy for the abuses to which I have referred. Nor is it surprising that their principal and most vehement spokesman to-day against these proposals is the proud parent of Poplarism, who boasts of it and glories in it


He is a humane man, and that is more than you are!


The condition and the administration of the locality with which he is chiefly identified in public life constitute one of the outstanding but unhappy examples of the necessity for this Bill. What is the position at this moment so far as London is concerned? It was very well described by the hon. Member himself in 1924, when very much the same issue as we are discussing to-night, namely, the question of the Poplar Order, was the subject of public discussion. What did the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley say on that occasion, describing the situation at Poplar? He said: At Poplar they had borrowed, and other people had to pay for them, and that was an excellent position to be in. Poplar's time is getting very nearly to an end, and I unhesitatingly assert to the House that the necessity for the imposition of some supervision and check on the expenditure of this large Fund is overwhelming and long overdue. The present system is undoubtedly a premium on bad administration. The paying boroughs in London have been placed in a thoroughly unjust and impossible position, and no doubt the large sums of money which have been obtained by the receiving boroughs have, in certain cases, been used to support an improvident policy—


Why do you not prove all this?


—and loose and extravagant administration, without any right or power to intervene by the people who have been made to foot the bill. The hon. Member asked me why I do not prove some of these statements. I gladly do so. The hon. Member quite rightly said that a number of general inspectors of the Ministry of Health have been making inquiries into the actions of certain boards of guardians in London, and I have their reports, which were made as the result of very many complaints by ratepayers all over London. I will take the case of Bermondsey as an illustration to prove the statements that I have made. Bermondsey had 1,387 persons per 10,000 of its population in receipt of relief. That is nearly one person in every seven in that district in receipt of relief. I think it is the second highest in England. One of the assistant general inspectors of the Ministry paid a visit there, and in order that his investigations should be impartial, and that the results could not be questioned in the manner that some of us have heard in this House, he went to one street where there were 11 persons drawing substantial relief. He prepared a report, in which he condemned the guardians for their failure to apply sound principles in their administration of out-relief. He gave a number of cases, one or two of which I will quote as instances of the kind of loose administration which has been taking place in that district. This is one of the cases of the 11 which the assistant general inspector, a man of experience and position, visited in Bermondsey. He reported: Case D. A strong, fine-looking man, dismissed from his job, and imprisoned for larceny in 1925. Has been in receipt of domiciliary relief almost continuously since, making his income up to 44s. 6d. weekly in cash. His last job brought in 39s. weekly and he stated he is quite willing to accent work if it is now offered to him at 44s. 6d. the amount of his relief, and he asked, 'What could be fairer than that?' His wife earns money, but the amount has not been checked by the board of guardians.


Is it not a fact that, week by week, that case had been reported, together with all the others, to his Department?


I have no knowledge of that.


You know it is true.


At any rate it makes no difference. I propose to quote the report of the assistant general inspector, who makes the following comments on these scandals: Under the administration of the Bermondsey Guardians it has been possible for a man who has been convicted of defrauding the guardians and assaulting the police and has done a very little occasional work to be maintained in an unsatisfactory home for six years. It has been possible for a lazy fellow to maintain and increase his family in most undesirable conditions, under which seven people live, sleep and eat in one small room, at the expense of the rates for a period of six and a half years. It has been possible for a man, after imprisonment for a gross and impudent fraud on the guardians, to resume at once an income of 46s. a week in cash from the rates. What was the position of other boroughs in relation to Bermondsey? Under the present arrangements, Bermondsey have received a net grant for the year ending 31st March of £270,865; in other words, they have received 5s in the £ in relief of their rates at the expense of other boroughs. Bermondsey has expended a quarter of a million of money in outdoor relief, and of this sum no less than £183,000 has been borne by the other boroughs; in other words, nearly 72 per cent. of that expenditure. Under the present arrangements, which we are seeking to alter, there is no effective supervision; there is no adequate safeguard against extravagant expenditure on this scale. [Interruption.]. What I would particularly emphasise is that the Fund is not subject to a public audit at which representations could be made by the contributing authorities.


Let us have some more.


I could continue giving illustrations of the kind of thing which is going on in London to the hon. Gentleman who tempts me to give further examples.


Let us have it all out.


This is the sort of thing that has been going on far too long in London. The Ministry of Health has no direct power of intervention.


Yes it has.


Boroughs can draw on the Fund to a practically unlimited extent.


Not true.


You know it is not true.


There is no doubt about it. The extravagant relief which is the rule in such boroughs as I have instanced is not only a grave financial matter but it is a grave moral matter as well. I suggest to the House that by passing this Bill not only will they make adequate financial provision for the protection of a large number of ratepayers in London but they will also be doing something to prevent the establishment of that pauper state which the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer warned the country against the other day. I admit that this particular Bill is in the line of succession of other useful Bills passed through this House by my right hon. Friend, and I hope that it will be equally successful and will prevent waste and extravagance in the same way as have those other Measures.


When the Parliamentary Secretary said "these are the last words I will address to the House," there were ironical cheers from the Labour benches. I did not join in those cheers, because I always take a great pleasure in listening to the speeches made by the right hon. Gentleman. To-night his speech has been characterised by the same fluency and the same flippancy that has always characterised his utterances from that despatch Box. The moral indignation which he displays when he is checking hon. Members on this side for apologising for or excusing extravagant boards of guardians is to me the most entertaining feature in his speeches. I remember the time when the right hon. Gentleman sat on these Benches, and I recollect one night when he was defending the tenants in Woolwich because they were being evicted. Some of them were in arrears with their rent for about six years, to say nothing of the rates. The right hon. Gentleman defended those tenants, because they lived in Woolwich and were voters in Woolwich. That kind of thing is not good enough.

It may be a fair political game, but the Parliamentary Secretary reads off to us as fair samples of the unemployed poor of London four cases which were casually visited as if they were four fair examples of working-class houses which the inspector had walked into. I think the first case he mentioned was somebody who had been convicted for larceny; the second was somebody who had been in prison for defrauding the guardians; the third was a lazy fellow, whatever that means, because there are some of us in this House who are not very energetic; and I forget what was the crime of the fourth man. Out of the four persons mentioned as fair samples three of them had been in gaol. What was the crime of one of those who was sent to gaol? Simply that he had got £2 4s. 6d. a week from the guardians. Will the Parliamentary Secretary tell the House what was the number of that man's family, and how many persons had to be maintained with that sum?

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that if he had kept that man in gaol it would have cost the country £2 13s. per week? That is the cost of maintaining a prisoner in a Scottish convict prison. The right hon. Gentleman calls £2 4s. 6d. per week lavish expenditure when probably that was the amount of money given to keep the man and his wife, and probably six children. It is disgraceful that the right hon. Gentleman should come here—[Interruption.] I have as much right to get information from my hon. Friend the Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) as the right hon. Gentleman has to get information from his officials under the Gallery. What is the idea of bringing out the fact that these men have been in gaol? Does he suggest that they should be starved by the boards of guardians because they have been in gaol? Is that our conception of modern decency? The Home Secretary goes round appealing for a fair chance for people who are discharged from gaol, appealing for a new attitude towards the criminal, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health comes forward and suggests that this man, because he has been in gaol, should be allowed to starve. I am not surprised that I get heated.

The gibe is thrown at us across the Floor of the House that we do not oppose, but we are absolutely sick and tired, after four years, of listening to that confounded rubbish from the Front Government Bench. You cannot oppose nothing; it is impossible to put up an opposition to nothing at all. [Interruption.] There is nothing there to oppose; it is nothing but creating prejudice against the working-class population; there is no statesmanship involved in it at all. I am much interested in the fact that the Government yesterday introduced a Bill to extend the franchise to certain people. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman remembers the history of Rome. Presumably, in his junior solicitor days, he would have to learn a certain amount of it; I had to do so, otherwise I would not know anything about it. I remember that in the history of Rome, as the common people forced their way into the seats of office, making inroads into this office and the next office, they found, when they got there, that the powers which had been attached to the office had vanished some- where else. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite are proposing to give very wide voting powers to the electors of this country, but are making such arrangements that, when they have recorded their votes and directed their representatives to this or the next body, that body has no power to do anything at all.

That is a fraudulent trick on the community. I put it to the Government that the members of these working-class boards of guardians are decent, clean fellows who give £2 4s. 6d. a week to a man with a wife and family. At the week-end I met a gentleman in the country, belonging to a class with whom I do not usually associate—a man who has not worked all his lifetime, but who, I believe, did hold a decorative position in the Army. He told me that the result of the Conservative Budget on his income was to put back into his pocket £120 that had previously gone into the public Exchequer. That is not graft. It is graft if you give something to someone with a wife and six children, but to hand back £120 into the pockets of your own friends, who are Super-tax payers, is not graft. Of course, it now becomes available for investment and for developing the industries of the country. The thing, however, that distresses me about this Bill is this. I enjoy a joke just as much as the right hon. Gentleman enjoys talking the stuff that he talks—I cannot see any other reason why he should smile—but this is a very serious problem for the nation.

The serious thing about it is not the point at which my friends have been hammering to-day. That is the immediate had thing, but the really serious thing is this, that emergency legislation, introduced in 1923 to meet circumstances which at that time were expected to be of a passing nature—emergency provisions for a period of bad employment—having been carried on during this emergency, which has now lasted for nearly five years, is now being extended by the Tory Government for another five years. The right hon. Gentleman winks. The most expressive and intelligible thing that he does is that wink. I ask if this is the serious, considered view of the Cabinet after four years of Conservative Government—of that sane, stable Government that can only be obtained from Conservatives? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] The joke of that lies in the fact that they themselves have made themselves believe it. Then in those calm, considered and lucid intervals, which, I presume, even they have, they have come to the conclusion, looking at it quietly and secretly in the Cabinet chamber, that there can be no hope of getting out of the emergency of unemployment and trade stagnation for another five years. They are a Government, and I, thank Heaven, am only a back bencher of the Opposition. If I had sat in a responsible position on the Government Bench for five years, as those right hon. Gentlemen have done, and had to come forward at the end of those five years and tell this House that the position as a whole was worse than it was when I took office, and that I could offer no hope to the nation for five years, I would walk away down to the Terrace and throw myself over.


I think there is a point of view which should be put before the House comes to a decision on this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman began his speech by flinging a taunt at the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) to the effect that he had repeated his usual speech. If it were true that the hon. Member did follow in general lines a speech he has often made in this House, it is even more true that the right hon. Gentleman himself followed with meticulous care the steps of an argument with which we have become only too familiar. A few days ago we were, at a very late hour of the night, debating the position of West Ham under the new board of guardians, and I ventured to say that we had these continual Debates in this House where on the one side you have quoted cases of hardships and on the other side the right hon. Gentleman finishing up with an appeal for certain ratepayers whose pockets under the measures which he now proposes are to feel a certain amount of relief. The right hon. Gentleman said in the course of his speech that, after all, the real question was not the Amendment on the Order Paper. The real question, he said, was that certain hon. Members above the Gangway on this side of the House resented any control over the expenditure of public funds for outdoor relief. If hon. Members above the Gangway will bear with me for a moment, let us assume for the sake of argument that the right hon. Gentleman is right. Let us assume that all these boards of guardians are behaving in the way he suggests and are actuated by the motives he suggests. What has the right hon. Gentleman done to put an end to that state of affairs? Under this Bill, as far as I can see, what you are going to do is to bring a number of boards of guardians once more into open and direct and continual conflict with another authority set up by the Government.

The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) said the effect of legislation of this kind was that people lost their respect for Parliamentary institutions and began to look for another method of relief for all their difficulties. I think there is a great deal of truth in that. If you have a system which continually produces the overriding of powers which have been given to popularly elected bodies by the Government, there must be something wrong, and I suggest once more that even if all the right hon. Gentleman says about boards of guardians and all he suggests about certain Members above the Gangway were true, he and his colleague have not yet begun to get at the root of these difficulties. May I remind him of a speech the Chancellor of the Exchequer made in the Debate on the Address, when after three years he suddenly discovered that there was an urgent rating problem dealing with the necessitous areas. Every word of the Amendment is justified because the Government, while dealing with symptoms, even if we admit for the sake of argument that they have deal in the right way with the symptoms, and even if we say this Bill is dealing in the right way with them, have not attempted to deal with the real disease. The real disease here is not that certain people are being cut down in their relief. That is an inevitable consequence of what has happened.

The real disease is that the thing which was once a local difficulty has become a great and grave national problem. That problem was grave when this Government came into office. It has been put before them from above and below the Gangway over and over again in the course of the last three years. I do not believe in the whole range of problems dealing with unemployment there is one that is so urgent and grave as this dealing with these great necessitous areas. The Chancellor of the Exchequer a few weeks ago admitted it. The Minister of Health, who was not present the other night, was described by the hon. Member for East Ham (Miss Lawrence) as a very efficient administrator who had no imagination for larger problems. If the right hon. Gentleman, having in his own office the documents, proposals, suggestions, the petitions which have come with regard to necessitous areas for years past, has not realised the enormity and the gravity of that problem, indeed he has no imagination at all. I shall vote for the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman, in his reply, once more wholly evaded the real question, which is that his Government has grossly failed to provide, at any rate, the remedies that are possible for one of the greatest ills in our national life.





Mr. Speaker, am I at liberty to continue the discussion? [Interruption.]



On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask the favour of your ruling? I understood that at a quarter to four to-day we suspended the Eleven o'Clock Rule. Does not that mean, therefore, that even though it is after eleven o'clock, we can continue the discussion, especially in view of the fact that the Government have no desire to burke discussion on this Bill.


I thought that the hon. Lady gave way to the sense of the House.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 208; Noes, 128.

Division No. 33.] AYES. [3.52 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Davies, Sir Thomas (Clrencester)
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Briggs, J. Harold Davies, Dr. Vernon
Albery, Irving James Briscoe, Richard George Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Brittain; Sir Harry Drewe, C.
Allen, J. sandeman (L'pool,W. Derby) Brocklebank, C. E. R. Eden, Captain Anthony
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Edmondson, Major A. J.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks,Newb'y) Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Buckingham, Sir H. Elliot, Major waiter E.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Ellis, R. G.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Burman, J. B England, Colonel A.
Balniel, Lord Butler, Sir Geoffrey Erskine, Lord (Somerset, weston-s.-M.)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Campbell, E. T. Erskine, James Malcolm Montelth
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Carver, Major W. H. Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Cautley, Sir Henry S. Everard, W. Lindsay
Bellairs, Commander Cariyon Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Fairfax, Captain J. G.
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Berry, Sir George Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Fanshawe, Captain G. D.
Betterton, Henry B. Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Fermoy, Lord
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Fielden, E. B.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Cobb, Sir Cyril Forrest, W.
Blades, Sir George Rowland Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Fraser, Captain Ian
Blundell, F. N. Cooper, A. Duff Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Boothby, R. J. G. Couper, J. B. Ganzoni, Sir John
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Gates, Percy
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainbro) Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B. Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Brass, captain W. Curzon, Captain Viscount Grace, John
Brassey, Sir Leonard Daikelth, Earl of Grattan- Doyle, Sir N.
Grotrian, H. Brent MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Sandeman, N. Stewart
Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Macintyre, Ian Savery, S. S.
Hacking, Douglas H. McLean, Major A. Shaw, Lt.-Col- A.D.Mcl.(Renfrew, W.)
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Macmillan, Captain H. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Macquisten, F. A. Smith, R.W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine.C.)
Hamilton, Sir George MacRobert, Alexander M. Smithers, Waldron
Hammersley, S. S. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Makins, Brigadier-General E. Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Harrison, G. J. C. Malone, Major P. B. Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Margesson, Capt. D. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Haslam, Henry C. Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Storry-Deans, R.
Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Henderson, Capt. R.R.(Oxf'd, Henley) Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Streatfelld, Captain S. R.
Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P. Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Templeton, W. P.
Hills, Major John Waller Murchison, Sir Kenneth Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Hoare, Lt.-Col Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St.Marylebone) Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Thomson. F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Nicholson, Col. Rt.Hn.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell.
Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Nuttall, Ellis Tinne, J. A.
Hopkins, J. W. W. Oakley, T. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) pennefather, Sir John Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) penny, Frederick George Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney,N.) Perkins, Colonel E. K. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Hume, Sir G. H. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstapte) Ward. Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Huntingfield, Lord Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Hurd, Percy A. Philipson, Mabel Warrender, Sir Victor
Hurst, Gerald B. Pilditch, Sir Philip Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carilsle)
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Power, Sir John Cecil Wayland, Sir William A.
Iveagh, Countess of Pownall, Sir Assheton Wells, S. R.
Jackson, sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Preston William White Lieut.-Col. sir G. Dairymple.
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Raine, sir Walter Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Ramsden, E. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Rawson, Sir Cooper Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Kennedy, A. R. (Preston). Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Kindersley, Major G. M. Remnant, Sir James Winterton. Rt. Hon. Earl
King, Commodore Henry Douglas Rentoul, G. S. Womersley, W. J.
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Wood, E.(Chest'r. Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Knox, Sir Alfred Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Lamb, J. Q. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford) Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Robinson, Sir T. (Lanc., Stretford) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Loder, J. de V. Ropner, Major L.
Long, Major Eric Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Looker, Herbert William Rye, F. G. Major Sir George Hennessy and
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Salmon, Major I. Major Cope.
Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Lee, F.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Fenby, T. D. Lindley, F. W.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Livingstone, A. M.
Ammon, Charles George George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd Lowth, T.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Gibbins, Joseph Lunn, William
Baker, Walter Gosling, Harry MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness
Barnes, A. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) MacLaren, Andrew
Barr, J Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Batey, Joseph Griffith, F. Kingsley Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Bondfield, Margaret Groves, T. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Grundy, T. W. March, S.
Brlant, Frank Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Maxton, James
Broad, F. A. Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Morris, R. H.
Bromfield, William Hardle, George D. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Harney, E. A. Murnin, H.
Buchanan, G. Harris, Percy A. Naylor, T. E.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Hayday, Arthur Owen, Major G.
Cape, Thomas Hirst, G. H. palin, John Henry
Charleton, H. C. Hore-Belisha, Leslie Paling, w.
Clowes, S. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Cluse, W. S. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Ponsonby, Arthur
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Potts, John S.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) John, William (Rhondda, West) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Connolly, M. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Riley, Ben
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Ritson, J.
Crawfurd, H. E. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W.Bromwich)
Dalton, Hugh Kelly, W. T. Rose, Frank H.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kennedy, T. Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)
Day, Harry Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Dennison, R. Lansbury, George Salter, Dr. Alfred
Dunnico, H. Lawrence, Susan Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lawson, John James Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Sullivan, J. Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness) Sutton, J. E. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Smillie, Robert Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey) Welsh, J. C.
Smith, Rennle (Penistone) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.) Wiggins, William Martin
Snell Harry Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow) Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Tinker, John Joseph Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles Tomlinson, R. P. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Stamford, T. W. Townend, A. E. Windsor, Walter
Stephen, Campbell Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P. Wright, W.
Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Viant, S. P.
Strauss, E. A. Wallhead, Richard C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. Hayes and Mr. Whiteley.

Bill read a Second time, and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills.

Division No. 34.] AYES. [11.1 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Perring, Sir William George
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Albery, Irving James Greene, W. P. Crawford Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Grotrian, H. Brent Pilcher, G.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Guinness, Rt. Hon. Waiter E. Pilditch, Sir Philip
Apsley, Lord Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Power, Sir John Cecil
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Hamilton, Sir George Pownall, Sir Assheton
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent,Dover) Hammersley, S. S. Preston, William
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Price, Major C. W. M.
Balniel, Lord Harland, A. Raine, Sir Walter
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Harrison, G. J. C. Ramsden, E.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Rice, Sir Frederick
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Betterton, Henry B. Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd,Henley] Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P. Ropner, Major L.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Blundell, F. N. Hills, Major John Waller Rye, F. G.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hogg, Rt. Hon.Sir D. (St.Marylebone) Salmon, Major I.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B. Hopkins, J. W. W. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Sandeman, N. Stewart
Brass, Captain W. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Briggs, J. Harold Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Briscoe, Richard George Hume, Sir G. H. Savery, S. S.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew,W.)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Shepperson, E. W.
Brown,Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Buckingham, Sir H. King, Commodore Henry Douglas Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Burman, J. B. Knox, Sir Alfred Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Lamb, J. Q. Smithers, Waldron
Campbell, E. T. Little, Dr. E. Graham Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Carver, Major W. H. Long, Major Eric Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Cayzer, sir C. (Chester, City) Looker, Herbert William Sprot, Sir Alexander
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Lumley, L. R. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Clayton, G. C. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Cobb, Sir Cyril Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Cockerill, Brig.-General sir George Macintyre, Ian Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Cope, Major William McLean, Major A. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Couper, J. B. Macmillan, Captain H, Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Courtauld, Major J. S. Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) MacRobert, Alexander M. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Crookshank,Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) Makins, Brigadier-General E. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. p.
Dalkeith, Earl of Margesson, Captain D. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on Hull)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil) Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Davies, Dr. Vernon Merriman, F. B. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Dawson, Sir Philip Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Watts, Dr. T.
Drewe, C. Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Wells, S. R.
Eden, Captain Anthony Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-
Edmondson, Major A. J. Moore-Brabazon, Lieut-Col. J. T. C. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Ellis, R. G. Murchison, Sir Kenneth Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Nelson, Sir Frank Winby, Colonel L. P.
Fanshawe, Captain G. D. Neville, Sir Reginald J. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Fermoy, Lord Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Womersley, W. J.
Fielden, E. B. Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Finburgh, S. Oakley, T. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Ford, Sir P. J. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Fraser, Captain Ian Oman, Sir Charles William C. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Ganzonl, Sir John Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Gates, Percy Pennefather, Sir John TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Glyn, Major R. G. C. Penny, Frederick George Captain Viscount Curzon and Sir
Gower, Sir Robert Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Victor Warrender.
Grace, John Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Batey, Joseph Buchanan, G.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Beckett, John (Gateshead) Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Bondfield, Margaret Cape, Thomas
Ammon, Charles George Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Charleton, H. C.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Broad, F. A. Clowes, S.
Baker, Walter Bromfield, William Cluse, W. S.
Barr, J. Brown, Ernest (Leith) Connolly, M.
Cove, W. G. Kennedy, T. Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Kenwortny, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Snell, Harry
Crawfurd, H. E. Lansbury, George Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Dalton, Hugh Lawrence, Susan Stamford, T. W.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lawson, John James Stephen, Campbell
Day, Harry Lee, F. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Dennison, R. Lindley, F. W. Sullivan, Joseph
Duncan, C. Lowth, T. Sutton, J. E.
Dunnico, H. Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Fenby, T. D. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Gardner, J. P. March, S. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Gibbins, Joseph Maxton, James Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Gosling, Harry Montague, Frederick Tinker, John Joseph
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Morris, R. H. Tomlinson, R. P.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Murnin, H. Townend, A. E.
Griffith, F. Kingsley Naylor, T. E. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Oliver, George Harold Viant, S. P.
Groves, T. Owen, Major G. Wallhead, Richard C.
Grundy, T. W. Palin, John Henry Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Paling, W. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Hardie, George D. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Harris, Percy A. Potts, John S. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Hayday, Arthur Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Wellock, Wilfred
Hayes, John Henry Riley, Ben Welsh, J. C.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Ritson, J. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Hirst, G. H. Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall,St. lves) Whiteley, W.
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Wiggins, William Martin
Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Saklatvala, Shapurji Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Salter, Dr. Alfred Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Scurr, John Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
John, William (Rhondda, West) Sexton, James Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Wright, W.
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Slesser, Sir Henry H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Smillie, Robert Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. A. Barnes
Kelly, W. T. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)

Question put accordingly "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 207; Noes, 127.

Division No. 35.] AYES. [11.10p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cobb, Sir Cyril Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Harland, A.
Albery, Irving James Cope, Major William Harrison, G. J. C.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Couper, J. B. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool,W. Derby) Courtauld, Major J. S. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Apsley, Lord Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Henderson,Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent,Dover) Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro) Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Balniel, Lord Dalkeith, Earl of Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Hills Major John Waller
Beamish, Rear- Admiral T. P. H. Davies Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Dawson Sir Philip Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Betterton, Henry B. Drewe, C. Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'K, Nun.)
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Eden, Captain Anthony Hopkins, J. W. W.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Edmondson, Major A. J. Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster Mossley)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Ellis, R. G. Howard Bury, Colonel C. K.
Blundell, F. N. Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M. Hudson, Capt, A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Hume, Sir G. H.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Fanshawe, Captain G. D. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Con't)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Fermoy, Lord Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)
Brass, Captain W. Fielden, E. B. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Briggs, J. Harold Finburgh, S. King, Commodore Henry Douglas
Briscoe, Richard George Ford, Sir P. J. Knox, Sir Alfred
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Fraser, Captain Ian Lamb, J. Q.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Ganzoni, Sir John Little, Dr. E, Graham
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Gates, Percy Long, Major Eric
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y) Glyn, Major R. G. C. Looker, Herbert William
Buckingham, Sir H. Gower, Sir Robert Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Burman, J. B. Grace, John Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Lumley, L. R.
Campbell, E. T. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Carver, Major W. H. Greene, W. P. Crawford Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Grotrian, H. Brent Maclntyre, Ian
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. McLean, Major A.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hall, Lieut. Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Macmillan, Captain H.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Hamilton, Sir George Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Clayton, G. C. Hammersley, S. S. MacRobert, Alexander M.
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Preston, William Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Price, Major C. W. M. Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Raine, Sir Walter Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Margesson, Captain D. Ramsden, E. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Thom, Lt.-Col J. G. (Dumbarton)
Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Rice, Sir Frederick Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Merriman, F. B. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'fs'y) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint) Tichfield, Major the Marquess of
Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Ropner, Major L. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wallace, Captain D. E.
Murchison, Sir Kenneth Rye. F. G. Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph Salmon, Major I. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Nelson, Sir Frank Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Neville, Sir Reginald J. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Watts, Dr. T.
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Sandeman, N. Stewart Wells, S. R.
Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Sanderson, Sir Frank White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple
Oakley, T. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Savery, S. S. Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew,W) Winby, Colonel L. P.
Pennefather, Sir John Shepperson, E. W. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Penny, Frederick George Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Womersley, W. J.
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Perring, Sir William George Smithers, Waldron Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Pilcher, G. Sprot, Sir Alexander TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Pilditch, Sir Philip Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G.F. Captain Viscount Curzon and Sir
Power, Sir John Cecil Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Victor Warrender.
Pownall, Sir Assheton Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hayday, Arthur Scurr, John
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hayes, John Henry Sexton, James
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Ammon, Charles George Hirst, G. H, Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Sinclair Major sir A. (Caithness)
Baker, Walter Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Barnes, A. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Smillie, Robert
Barr, J. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Batey, Joseph John, William (Rhondda, West) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Snell, Harry
Bondfield, Margaret Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Stamford, T. W.
Broad, F. A. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Stephen, Campbell
Bromfield, William Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Kelly, W. T. Sullivan, Joseph
Buchanan, G. Kennedy, T. Sutton, J. E.
Cape, Thomas kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Charleton, H. C. Lunsbury, George Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Clowes, S. Lawrence, Susan Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Cluse, W. S. Lawson, John James Tinker, John Joseph
Connolly, M. Lee, F. Tomlinson, R. P.
Cove, W. G. Lindley, F. W. Townend, A. E.
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Lowth, T. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Crawfurd, H. E. Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Viant, S. P.
Dalton, Hugh Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Wallhead, Richard C.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) March, S. Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Day, Harry Maxton, James Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Dennison, R. Montague, Frederick Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Duncan, C. Morris, R. H. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Dunnico, H. Murnin, H. Wellock, Wilfred
Fenby, T. D. Naylor, T. E. Welsh, J. C.
Gardner, J. P. Oliver, George Harold Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Gibbins, Joseph Owen, Major G. Whiteley, W.
Gosling, Harry Palin, John Henry Wiggins, William Martin
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Potts, John S. Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Griffith, F. Kingsley Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Riley, Ben Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Groves, T. Ritson, J. Wright, W.
Grundy, T. W. Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall,St.Ives) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Hardie, George D. Saklatvala, Shapurji TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Harris, Percy A. Salter, Dr. Alfred Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Paling.

Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.