HC Deb 21 November 1928 vol 222 cc1875-7

Resolution reported, That it is expedient to provide for the application to persons in the Diplomatic Service of the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1919, and to authorise in the case of such persons the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of allowances and gratuities under those Acts as so applied.

Resolution read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."


I must protest against this business being proceeded with at this hour. I understood that it was to come on next Friday, We are entitled to have some explanation. Yesterday, replies were given by various hon. Members to the opposition to the Bill, but we had no reply from the Government. It might be well that the Government should show a little courtesy in this matter and give some reason for their action in seeking to press this matter forward to-night.


There was a certain amount of opposition to this Measure yesterday but I think it was the view of the large majority of those who opposed the Bill that, having made their protest on that occasion, they did not desire to carry it to extreme lengths. But that is an entirely different proposition from sitting quietly here while the Government attempt to smuggle the next stage of the proceedings through this House, in the midst of uproar. I very strongly object to that procedure. It will certainly alter my attitude as to what my conduct will be on Friday, if the Bill is to be pressed forward in this way.


Is there not a breach of faith here? So far as I can gather, it was understood that this business would not come on until next Friday, and we had decided to let matters go until then. We are not to be treated in this fashion. It may be that the Government thought the Bill was not of much importance, because they put up an Under-Secretary to deal with it—I do not wish to minimise him in any way—but the Opposition evidently considered that it was a matter of serious importance because the Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. J. H. Thomas) took a hand in it, not ex-Tinder-Secretaries, but the Chiefs, thus demonstrating that the Opposition viewed the situation as one which demanded the best attention that the Opposition could give to it. Surely, in these circumstances, this matter should not be rushed through at the last minute. I charge the Chief Government Whip with taking advantage of us on this occasion. I place myself in your hands, Mr. Speaker. You are the guardian of the rights and privileges of Members of this House and I hold that our rights and privileges as Private Members of the House of Commons are being whittled away. It is demonstrated here to-night that we have to sit here and watch the Government like a cat watching a mouse. When everyone is going away content with the day's work the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury tries to slip this business through. I, for one, shall divide the House. We are not going to allow any section of the House to treat us in this fashion. We are prepared to do the fair thing and be generous, but we are not going to be treated in this way. I consider it a direct insult to hon. Members, because we are here on an equal footing with any other hon. Member. I have had to fight for my position for 30 years not only in the trade union movement, but also in the Labour movement, and I am not going to allow anyone to treat me in this fashion. I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to protect us from all sides of the House and give us justice.


I think the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury or the Financial Secretary might have the common courtesy to reply to the statements which have been made. We have had an interesting Debate on this subject and the bulk of the opinion as it expressed itself seemed to be quite contrary to the proposal. As the question has been raised again this evening the Financial Secretary might say whether there is any disposition on the part of the Government to modify the scheme. I am in full agreement with my colleagues who have made their protest on this matter and I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary or the Financial Secretary might give the House some idea as to whether there will be any modification of the proposal and some concession made to the volume of opinion expressed in the Debate.

Question put.

The House proceeded to a Division

SIR VICTOR WARRENDER and MR. PENNY were appointed Tellers for the Ayes, but there being no Member willing to art as Teller for the Noes, MR. SPEAKER declared that the Ayes had it.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. A. M. Samuel and Mr. G. Locker-Lampson