§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Sir KINGSLEY WOOD
The House approaches the Third Reading of this Bill in somewhat unusual circumstances. Many Members of the old House will remember that this particular proposal received the long consideration of that Parliament. We had a Second Reading of the Bill, which was referred to a Private Bill Committee, where there were very long and expensive proceedings, which lasted some 12 days; and the matter was again considered by the House of Commons, and a Resolution was passed which enabled the new Parliament again to consider these and similar proposals. I think the main reasons which actuated the House in accepting that Resolution were, in the first place, that the time and expense which had been involved in dealing with Private Bills of this kind should not, if possible, be wasted, and, secondly, that the new House of Commons should have the right to say whether or not it desired a project of this nature to be continued. It is in those circumstances that we approach these very important proposals.
527 I do not think anyone would dispute that the subject matter of these two Bills, the question of London traffic, is a most important and urgent matter. There is no need for me to remind any Member of this House, whether he be a citizen of London or from some town or district outside, that there is an overwhelming case and demand for additional traffic facilities both in and out of London. It is perfectly true that in many respects we have a very fine traffic service. There are some 11 systems of tramways, of varying degrees of efficiency, in London, but no one will deny that we have a very fine London County Council tramway service. The London County Council are at present, I believe, providing for two-sevenths of the passengers carried, and they have about one-fifth of the capital invested in London passenger traffic. It is equally fair and right to say that, following the combination of the London General Omnibus Company and the various tube railways in 1915, we have in many respects, in this particular body of transport undertakings, one of the finest systems in the world, with some £92,000,000 of capital, representing about 80 per cent. or 85 per cent. of the total capital invested in London traffic. The London Traffic Act, which owed its place on the Statute Book to the last Labour Government, has been a very considerable help in that connection.
I do not think anyone will deny that there has been an extraordinary growth of London traffic during the last few years. The traffic on the local railways has doubled in the last 20 years. On the tramways it has grown from 361,000,000 passengers carried in 1902 to nearly 1,000,000,000 two or three years ago, the latest date for which figures are available. Still more extraordinary has been the growth on the omnibuses, and the numbers have actually risen there, during the same period, from some 280,000,000 people carried to no fewer than 1,671,000,000, and of course more to-day. It is an extraordinary fact that in 1928, last year, 5,000,000,000 passengers were carried in Greater London. I do not think the present Minister of Transport will deny—he would be the first to admit—that the present conditions of traffic in London are in very many respects 528 notwithstanding the services to which I have referred, chaotic and dangerous. Traffic congestion is growing. There were 1,000 fatal accidents in 1927, and I am afraid they are daily occurring in increasing ratio as a result of the present condition of affairs.
The first conclusion that I would draw from that very brief summary of the present conditions, so familiar to all of us, is this, that there can be no question, and it is quite clear, that there is no possibility or desirability or even thought of scrapping any present system of transport in London. People who talk about anybody being actuated by the desire to get rid, for instance, of the London County Council trams are simply putting forward a proposal which would be dismissed immediately by anyone who gave a moment's sensible consideration to it. There is no doubt that all these forms of transport are most urgently needed. It is also perfectly clear, at any rate to my mind, that you cannot appreciably increase the road services, but rather that, if we are to look for relief for the citizens of London in respect of the most unfortunate circumstances in which they find themselves to-day, the most promising solution appears to lie in more tubes and in highspeed railways In addition to this, there is a great waste and loss going on. In the rush hours in London to-day the present accommodation is very gravely overtaxed. Everyone of us could paint pictures of what either he himself has experienced or seen others experience in the mad rush and scramble of London traffic and its passengers in the early hours of the day, yet such is the waste and confusion of the present situation, with these diverse forms of transport, under no particular single control, that during the remainder of the day only about one-third of the accommodation provided is used.
There is another serious financial aspect from the point of view of anyone who desires to get something done in the way of providing a Way out of the existing unfortunate state of affairs. It is perfectly natural to anyone who surveys the condition of London traffic to say, "We ought to have more tubes, and we ought to have, if we can, fast railways," but it is equally true that it has been the experience, notwithstanding investigation after investigation, that new tubes in 529 London cost about £1,000,000 per mile, and that, in existing conditions, the undertakings concerned are unable to embark upon their construction.
§ Dr. SALTER
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that, if these Bills are passed, there will be any likelihood whatever of the extension of the tubes on the south-east or on the east of London, or anywhere else except in so far as the Finsbury Park line is concerned?
§ Sir K. WOOD
Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to develop in my own way the caw which I am putting before the House. I want, if I may, to put a reasoned and, I hope, reasonable statement before the House, and I repeat that, if you want to build a new tube railway in London, it costs about £1,000,000 a mile, and that in existing conditions the undertakings concerned are unable to embark upon them. I do not think that there is anything controversial about that. All these problems, the position of the London County Council trams, the position of what we call the Combine, the question of the management of traffic in London, have, as every Londoner knows, been the subject of much discussion and controversy for many, many years. It has been almost the despair, I should think, of any Londoner who was outside London politics, and it is a fact that the citizens in London have been waiting for some solution of this problem for at least 20 years, during every one of which matters have been getting steadily worse.
I do not propose to-night to refer, because other hon. Members may desire to do so, to the whole of the history which has led up to the particular proposals contained in this Bill, but I will endeavour, very shortly, to trace the history of the very sensible step, which was taken when the whole of this question, which has been the subject of such severe and often bitter controversy as to what should be done, was referred to the London Traffic Advisory Committee. I should have thought that that was a step that would appeal to everybody. Here was a Committee set up under an Act of Parliament for which the last Labour Government was responsible, and appointed by that Government, and everyone will agree—because I have seen no word of criticism concerning it—that it 530 was a thoroughly expert, impartial and far-seeing body of people, who had had during the last few years great experience of traffic problems. The very successful step was taken of referring this whole matter to them in the hope that some recommendations might be made to bring to an end the unfortunate state of affairs which prevail in London. I hope that hon. Members will forgive me for emphasising the thoroughly representative character of that Committee. It was not made up wholly of politicians, for there sat on it officials from the Home Office, representatives of the police, the Ministry of Transport, the London County Council, the railways and the Underground, the assistant general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, a representative of the National Union of Kailwaymen and a very popular Member of this House, the hon. Member for Rotherhithe (Mr. B. Smith), whose promotion to office has pleased everybody.
That was the composition of the Committee to which this urgent matter was referred, and to the relief of the great mass of Londoners, the Committee came to the unanimous recommendations which are contained in their Report, which I see is described in the papers as the Blue Report.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I invite anyone to look at the Report, and it will be seen that, so far as the main principles and the major problems which faced the Committee are concerned, the Committee came to a unanimous conclusion. At the end, it is true, there are some reservations from Sir K. Chalmers, Mr. Cleveland and Sir Herbert Walker, but apart from them, the Report was unanimous, and I emphasise that because I am sure that it will weigh with hon. Gentlemen opposite to know that the three Labour representatives to whom I referred, signed it. I have no doubt that they were very glad to sign a Report which contained for the first time for 20 years some unanimity in this great problem which has so disturbed and divided and puzzled Londoners for so long. It was a great achievement, and it was brought about by people giving and taking, and 531 being prepared to surrender some of their political views in the interest of London as a whole. It was an effort which I suggest this House might well follow. The members of the Committee represented diverse interests, and naturally had their own views as to how the question of London traffic should be solved, and it is a matter which we can all commend that, in the interests of London as a whole, they came to this unanimous recommendation, subject to the reservation to which I have referred.
The Bills which I am supporting this evening are mainly founded upon the recommendations of this Report, and it is interesting and valuable and vital to a consideration of this matter to take into account that this body of men, experts representing all kinds of interests, found that it was impracticable for the London County Council, with one-fifth of the capital invested in passenger traffic, to absorb the other passenger traffic systems. I served on the London County Council for nine years, and I remember that in those days the position of the county council with regard to the management and the owning of the traffic system of London was discussed again and again. A good many people who believe in the municipality controlling the whole of the services of the locality, were inclined to say that when the London County Council themselves were owning and controlling part of that traffic, it was very difficult to see how that authority could be put into full control of all the London traffic. But whatever the argument may be for or against, it is vital to remember that this Committee did not make any such recommendations. Nor did they make any recommendations of complete public ownership of any kind. What they did, and what I suggest we should do, was to look round for the best practical solution which was possible to-day, which would work and which would bring the present chaos and waste to an end, and bring into being at the earliest possible moment those additional traffic facilities which are so urgent and vital to London.
I think that they recognised that in the present division of feeling and political opinion in London, we could go on squabbling and disputing about the problem of municipal or state ownership versus private enterprise for the next 20 532 years, and nothing would be done; and men who must have had strong opinions in the direction of state and municipal ownership, recognise in this Report that this was the only practical course that could be taken if anything were to be done within the lifetime of this generation. Broadly speaking, they brought forward a co-ordinating scheme involving the joint conduct of public utility services by public and private bodies, which I should have thought was an obvious settlement for a time, not prejudicing either the particular view of municipal ownership on the one hand, or of private enterprise on the other. They recommended that broad principle, which involves common management and a common fund, with what was called adequate public control. Thai; was their main conclusion, and I do not hesitate to say that these Bills, for which I am endeavouring to obtain the support of the House, are based, so far as all essential particulars are concerned, upon that Report.
I observed in reading the Debate on the last occasion, that the great point of objection was that this matter was being brought forward by a Private Bill rather than a Public Bill. I do not think that there is great substance in that objection; at any rate, it is not of sufficient substance to warrant a refusal of these Bills, and a relegation of this unfortunate and unhappy matter to further discussion and controversy. I have endeavoured to put myself in the position of people who are opposed to this Bill, faced as they are with the present situation, and I suggest to them that there are immense advantages to London in those proposals. By them London will secure an immediate co-ordination of London traffic representing 80 per cent. of the whole of that traffic. I have carefully considered the objections which have been raised by many Members who say that there is not that adequate control which is foreshadowed in what is called the Blue Report. I believe that under the proposals of this Bill—and I shall be interested to hear if the Minister of Transport will gainsay me—there are sufficient safeguards with regard to rates and charges. Although I come from a Department that likes this sort of thing, I do not think I have ever seen a Bill in which there 533 are so many matters subject to the approval of the Minister concerned. I had to defend many such proposals in the last Parliament, but this Bill absolutely outrivals in this respect anything ever brought forward by the Ministry of Health. It is no exaggeration to say that practically nothing vitally concerning the interests of the public can be done by this new combination without the approval of the Minister of Transport, and, as an hon. Friend reminds me, in very many cases it is subject also to the approval of Parliament. I should say that in every case where the Minister of Transport desired it he could bring the matter to the notice of Parliament. I think there is also another merit in this Bill, and that is that it is an enabling Bill. If this Bill were passed to-morrow, the agreement made between the London County Council and what we call "the Combine" would have to go before the Minister of Transport who, I have no doubt, would cast a particularly vigilant eye on the proposals, and not a step could be taken as regards that particular agreement and the whole of the arrangement without his approval.
Controversy has mostly been raging on the question of control, but I think few will deny that this scheme affords an immediate opportunity for the improvement of travelling facilities in London; and there is another thing which should weigh with Members in all parts of the House and that is that the Bill makes available a scheme of employment by an immediate development of the Piccadilly section of the London Electric Kail way northwards by tube from Finsbury Park. In the course of the last Debate queries were raised by hon. Gentlemen opposite as to whether there was sufficient control and as to whether this new tube scheme was really a genuine scheme, whether there was a real intention to proceed with it. There is a very easy method of dealing with those doubts. If the Minister of Transport, who I am sure is trusted by hon. Gentlemen opposite, feels that there are not adequate public safeguards in this Bill, and that in any other respect the recommendations of the Blue Report have not been carried cut, he can make it a condition that amendments shall be inserted in this Bill in another place to secure adequate public control; and if it be not possible, owing to our Parliamentary procedure, 534 to put them into the Bill, there would be very little difficulty in bringing forward a supplementary public Bill to secure those safeguards.
If there is any doubt as to whether this large scheme, which would provide employment for so many men, is to be immediately undertaken, the Minister is in a position, as any Member of His Majesty's Government always is, to send for the representative of this undertaking. They, as I understand, and I have satisfied myself upon this, are prepared to embark as quickly as they can upon this extension of the tube railway. He can send for them and question them and satisfy himself whether or not that undertaking is or is not to be put in hand. The position of hon. Members opposite is, therefore, vastly improved. They have their own Minister of Transport, and he can make his own proposals regarding public safeguards, and can satisfy himself whether there is an immediate practical possibility of a great scheme being put in hand to improve London traffic facilities and, what is equally important, provide a considerable amount of work for men who, as we all know, have been asking for it for a very long time.
This is the only practical scheme before Parliament to-day. It is based upon the recommendations of this very representative Committee, and if it were carried out it would make an important contribution towards solving the unemployment problem. Very respectfully I would ask Members of the House who have come here to-night with the intention of voting against this proposal to give due consideration to these points. Let us consider as practical business men, apart from ordinary party political views, what will be the position if this Bill be lost. No one can say with any certainty, for instance, that the men who would be so usefully employed would within any reasonable period of time, obtain other employment, and no one can say when the much-needed improvement of traffic facilities in London will be undertaken. In the announcement which the Minister of Transport issued after prolonged consideration and, as I understand, some debate, he said the Government were fully alive to the importance and urgency of the London traffic problem and were ready to explore it further at once and 535 with the immediate interests concerned. I know the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me when I say, not in any personal sense, what cold comfort that was We all know what the word "explore" means. In that announcement there was no suggestion of a conference on the Bill itself with the parties concerned, though surely that would have been a wise course. The right hon. Gentleman could have discussed any improvement which he might desire to have inserted in the Bill, and any additional safeguards which he might wish to see included.
There is no promise of a Government Bill. I could have understood it if the right hon. Gentleman had said, "I have proposals of my own and they are much better than the proposals contained in the Blue Report or any Bills which are receiving consideration at the present time." But there is no promise of a Government Bill. So far as unemployment is concerned, and so far as the provision of the new tube and of other tubes up and down London is concerned, there is no undertaking in this announcement or in the speech of the Lord Privy Seal yesterday that the necessary financial support will be afforded. I have no wish to decry the efforts of the Lord Privy Seal, but there is no man in the House who can say that there is any comparison between the possibilities which this Bill affords of extending the traffic facilities of London and the possibilities under the proposals of the Lord Privy Seal. If I were a man wanting a job in connection with the building of a new tube and had regard to the promises in this Bill and the statement contained in the Minister of Transport's announcement that he was about to explore the position of London's traffic, I should look with despair upon the prospect of obtaining employment which is afforded by the Minister's statement. At the best, even if the Lord Privy Seal's proposals were eventually brought forward, they would provide only piecemeal help. They would do nothing to help to solve the main difficulties of London's traffic.
I think everyone who has sat in this House during the last three weeks without reckoning those who have sat here for years, must have come to the conclusion that there might be a much worse position. It may very well be that this 536 question of London traffic will be the subject of political controversy and discussion for another 20 years, and it may very well be—it is not beyond the bounds of possibility—that this tube extension will never be built—the probabilities are much more in that direction. I have endeavoured to make the observations I have put forward as non-controversial in character as possible, and I venture to say to hon. Members opposite that after many years of controversy, after many-years of patient waiting by the citizens of London, during which the traffic problem has been greatly intensified, and the position has become steadily worse, this Measure is the only practical solution before Parliament. These proposals have received the support of the most expert traffic body in the country, most of them holding different political views. Undoubtedly, this Measure gives an immediate advantage to the travelling population of London, and it also provides workmen with an additional means of employment. If any further safeguards are necessary, it will be possible to make them during the Committee stage. If we reject this Bill to-night, we shall deprive London of the greatest opportunity which it has yet been afforded of dealing with its great traffic problems. The rejection of this Bill will postpone indefinitely a promising scheme of immediate employment for a large number of men, and I ask for a further consideration of these proposals in the best interests of this great capital city. At any rate, this is a well-devised attempt to deal with a great problem, and it is a measure which will bring relief and employment to many of the citizens of London.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now", and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
We had many discussions on the proposals contained in this Measure at the tail-end of the last Parliament, and several attempts were made to push it through. Several of the most enthusiastic supporters of this Bill are no longer with us. Sir George Hume and Sir Henry Jackson, who were members of the last Parliament and members of the London County Council, are no longer Members of this House. It is difficult to explain why they were defeated at the election, 537 but I am inclined to think that one of the big factors which was responsible for their rejection was their association with this Measure. Instead of having those two supporters of the Bill, we have now the heavy artillery brought down from Woolwich in the shape of the late Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health who has come down to-night to try and push this Bill through the new House of Commons.
I am surprised to find that the ex-Minister of Transport is not fathering this Bill to-night, although he is no longer a Minister. I observe that the Bill is going to have the assistance of the ex-Secretary of State for War. This Measure raises a very old controversy, and I cannot help wondering what would happen if a Bill of this character were introduced for any other part of the country, because I am sure no other part of the country would stand it. For the last 20 years there has been no difficulty in promoting Measures in the interests of private enterprise, and, to use a famous phrase, they have said to themselves, "What a wonderful city to sack." Certainly, they found it a wonderful city to exploit, because all kinds of attempts have been made to exploit the essential and vital services of this great city.
I am old enough to remember taking part in the original struggle for the trams. I know that when it was proposed on the London County Council to electrify the tramway system and do away with horses the scheme was described as Socialism both on the County Council and in the House of Commons. I remember when it was proposed to continue the tramlines over the bridges Noble Lords came down in hundreds to the other House in order to throw out that proposal. In recent years, it has Been clearly proved that the municipalisation and the electrification of the London tramways has proved to be a great success, and it has brought about a great revolution in London traffic. Before that reform took place, we had to put up with the old knife-board omnibus, and old antiquated systems which made London the laughing stock of the world. The effect of the electrification of the tramway system in London was to bring about a keen competition among other forms of traffic under greatly improved conditions. We 538 had, of course, a more rapid conversion of omnibuses from horse to motor omnibuses, we had a tremendous number of new experiments on the London streets, and then came severe competition from the trams, and we had our first experience of what we are really discussing now, namely, the trustification of London traffic. It is a rather curious thing—I am not saying it for the purpose of creating prejudice—that the many attempts which have been made to organise London traffic have always had rather a foreign complexion. I believe that the London General Omnibus Company was really a French company. That may have been an accident, but the London General Omnibus Company became extraordinarily successful by skilful manipulation, by what is, I think, called "nursing," that is to say, running two omnibuses one in front and one behind their competitor and forcing him off the streets. The London Road Car Company, which was an English company, was forced off the streets in that way, and any other competitors who dared to show themselves on the streets of London were soon run off the roads.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Really, the hon. Member ought to have a little patience. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) spoke for 50 minutes, and certainly I should be allowed to reply. I am not sure that it is not a good thing that the hon. Member for Streatham (Sir W. Lane Mitchell) should learn a little about London and the necessity for looking more after the interests of London. The third competitor of the tramways was the old—
Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Robert Young)
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but there are very strict rulings, in connection with Bills of this kind, that the discussion must be strictly confined to the matters dealt with in the Bill, and that only passing allusions may be made to other matters. I have been following the hon. Member very carefully, and I am afraid he is now going outside the borderline.
§ Mr. HARRIS
If it had not been for the interruption of the hon. Member for Streatham, I should not have transgressed, but one is stimulated by inter- 539 ruptions. If the hon. Member had been more patient, we should have got along more quickly. What happened then was that American capital came—and this is really the foundation of this Bill—and started to bring up to date the underground railway system of London, first the Tubes and then the Metropolitan Railway and the various associated companies. There were not only American methods, but American ideals, and, as a result, we had the introduction of our friend Mr. Stanley from America. Before the War he carried out the trustification of a great part of the London railway system and of the omnibus system, as well as a great part of the trams. During the War it was found necessary to pass a special Act of Parliament in 1915, which gave to the underground railways and to the omnibus companies the power to form a common fund; and the foundation of this Bill which we are now considering is that common fund.
That power was given, not as a permanent concession, but merely to meet War conditions, when large numbers of railway and omnibus men of military age had gone overseas and there was a shortage of services and of staff. Prices had risen, the high cost of transport had become a difficulty, and, therefore, this Act of 1915 was pushed through Parliament as an emergency Act. It enabled the various associated companies, under Mr. Stanley—now Lord Ashfield—to form that common fund and start the precedent in London traffic of treating the various systems of transport as one unit, pooling all their profits in one, bringing them under one control, and making them a very powerful authority. When the War was over, some of these powers were to have been taken away, but they were far too valuable for the traffic combine, as it has now become, to surrender, and so they used that new power of pooling all profits into one fund for the purpose of competing and endeavouring to make unprofitable the municipal tramways of London. Then a new competitor appeared on the streets—the private omnibus, the pirate omnibus, the independent omnibus, the omnibus run by a returned soldier; and very inconvenient and embarrassing competitors these were. They were so troublesome that again Lord Ashfield came to the House of Commons for a new Act of 540 Parliament. He did not get it in 1923, but, by a curious chain of circumstances, the London Traffic Act was passed when a Labour Government was in office in 1924.
The whole purpose of that Act, as I always said at the time, was to strengthen the hands of Lord Ashfield and enable him still further to tighten the stranglehold on the traffic of London; but there has been during all this time a, skeleton at the feast. The London County Council tramways, belonging to the people of London, were outside the pool, outside Lord Ashfield's control, and always able to compete, to keep down fares, and to provide an alternative system of transport for the people of London; and so a new campaign has been started in the Press during the past two or three years. In the first place, the tramways are attacked as being an obsolete system of transport. It is said that the tramways are out of date, and that the rails should be scrapped and puked up as being no longer suitable for the streets of London. Secondly, they are attacked because they are municipal, the implication being that they are badly managed, and that only the skill and craft and ability of Lord Ashfield could make then: a profitable proposition. I have one comment to make on that, and that is that, in spite of all these attacks, the London County Council tramways are not the only tramways of London. There is another tramway system, the London United Tramways, which is at present run under the control of Lord Ashfield. If tramways are obsolete, why does not he scrap his own trams? If he is so much better able to manage a tramway service than the elected representatives of London, why do not his trams prove more successful and profitable than the London County Council's trams? Recent balance sheets show that the exact opposite is the case, and anyone who has travelled on the two services knows that, as regards both speed and comfort, the London County Council tramways are vastly superior.
Then an attempt has been made to show that this system is unprofitable, that it is being run at a loss, that the ratepayers have to pay a heavy toll to make up the deficiency. Of course, that is a complete distortion of the facts. If these tramways were run on company finance, if the figures were worked out on 541 the same basis as an ordinary company's balance sheet, they would be paying at least 4½ per cent. to the shareholders. But, owing to the curious regulations of municipal finance, the capital has to be paid off in 20 years, and during the short time that these tramways have been in the possession of the people of London, in spite of the severe competition, in spite of the fact that the streets have been open to anybody and everybody to run vehicles against the tramway system, they have already been able to pay off half the capital cost, or somewhere between £8,500,000 and £9,000,000 out of the £17,000,000 raised from the public to defray the cost of construction. That is a result of which any business firm or municipality might be proud, and certainly it does not justify the handing over of this system, as proposed in this Bill, to a competitor, because of its financial bankruptcy.
When we originally discussed the Bill, figures were produced to show that we had a wasting asset. We have had 12 more months in which we are able to judge of the success of this concern, and that shows this has been the best year for many years. The actual results of working are £688,000. That is a very remarkable and satisfactory result. But the word has gone out that London traffic is out of date and is unsatisfactory and a drastic change is necessary, and that is why there have been these various attempts to force this Bill through Parliament. It is a bad Bill, based on wrong principles. There is no precedent for a Bill of this kind and it would not only be against the interests of the travelling public but in the long run would be a serious danger to the people of London. All this idea of concentrating the transport of London into the hands of one concern is thoroughly wrong and unsound. Lord Ashfield already has his hands full. I have looked up the Directory of Directors and I find he is a director of no fewer than 21 companies, including the Associated Daimler company, the British and German Trust Limited, Imperial Chemical Industries, the Midland Bank Limited, all sorts of underground railway systems and the United Railways of Havana. [An HON. MEMBER: "They are all very successful, are they not?] May be they are, but after all, a man has only one life. His hands are pretty 542 full and it would not be wise to hand over our traffic system to him, because even if it were possible for him to control so many systems and companies, it is unsound to concentrate the traffic of London in the personality of any one man, however able, capable and competent. It is building on a foundation of sand. For that reason only this is a thoroughly unsound proposal.
During the last few days various concessions, we are told, have been made. It has been stated in the county council that Lord Ashfield is willing to provide workmen's fares and to run full services. When I challenged the Chairman of the Special Committee who is negotiating these transactions, he had to admit that there was no written agreement. It was all in the air and merely a subject of discussion. If we are to have agreements of this character, surely they should be in a Schedule to the Bill. They have had plenty of time to think out the details of the agreement. These discussions have been going on for six months, and it is Very strange if these powerful people cannot make up their minds on the concessions they are going to give to the people of London in return for the monopoly right to exploit the traffic of London, because that, after all, is what the Bill means. It means creating a monopoly. The Blue Report is full of anomalies. One thing it was very firm about. If you were to carry through a Measure of this kind, to hand over the trams to the management of their competitor, effective public control was essential. This Bill says nothing of the kind. It is an enabling Bill. [Interruption]. That is too late. We are not going to part with these powers until we see the terms of the agreement.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
The hon. Member will recollect that under this Bill every agreement has to be approved by the House of Commons.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I prefer to see the terms of the agreement, and so, I think, the House will before we part with the Bill. If this is fair dealing, we are entitled to see what the terms of the deal are. As far as the right hon. Gentleman's case, that we shall not get a tube railway unless we hand over the trams to the traffic combine, that is nothing short of blackmail. [An HON. MEMBER: "How 543 can you get one?"] There are plenty of alternatives. There are plenty of people ready to accept the terms which, I understand, the Government would offer of the Trade Facilities Act. This is not the only traffic system in London. There is the Metropolitan Railway. It is just as efficient and well managed, I think more efficient than the District Railway, both in their service and in their carriages. Then, of course, there are the great trunk railways. If we had to extend the tube from Finsbury, there is the North Eastern Railway equally capable of building it and equally competent, offered satisfactory terms, to run a tube from Liverpool Street to Becontree and the country beyond. This is a threat. It will be a very bad day for the House of Commons if it is going to allow a combine or trust to threaten it, to say, "You shall not have railways, you shall not extend your transport system unless you give us a complete monopoly of London traffic." For that reason only I hope the Bill will be rejected. That does not do away with the right hon. Gentleman's responsibility. The traffic problem is urgent but, because it is urgent, that is no reason why we should take a wrong step. It will be the right hon. Gentleman's duty to bring up a new scheme, not a private Bill but a Government Bill. My quarrel with the late Minister all along was that he had five long years to deal with this problem and he did nothing.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I did a great deal, and the Blue Report was the result. If the hon. Member says I did not bring in the Bill, it is quite legitimate to say so, but as an old Member of the House, he knows there was no Parliamentary time in which to do it.
§ Mr. HARRIS
The late Government had five years to waste in all sorts of reactionary Measures. Now, after five years, we have to have a private Bill. The Government will have the backing of all thoughtful people, and all who care for London, if they take their courage in their hands and introduce a Measure to deal with this long overdue problem. I hope the Bill will be rejected.
§ Mr. SCURR
I beg to second the Amendment.
Those who were Members of the old Parliament will know that we on these 544 benches fought on every possible occasion against the two Bills which are before us this evening. The results of the General Election have confirmed us in that decision. Previous to the election, the party opposite was in a great majority in the County of London; to-day that position is reversed. The three great champions of this Bill—two on behalf of the London County Council and one on behalf of the combine—Sir Cyril Cobb, Sir George Hume and Sir Henry Jackson, are to-day seeking new pastures and are no longer here. They had to face the citizens of London—and it is remarkable that two of those constituencies were generally regarded as Tory strongholds—and went down before our attack, on this occasion largely helped by our attitude on these Traffic Bills.
We were pleased to hear the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood). I am sorry that he is not now in his place. Those of us who were Members of the last Parliament noticed the difference in his attitude to-day in his endeavour to persuade this House to support this Bill, We were waiting for those lyrical quotations which he used to give us from time to time. Somehow or other he had different fish to fry to-night, and he was no longer the great fighting champion of the Minister of Health, hut he was a genial person pleading for the poor unemployed of London who have been waiting for the right hon. Gentleman and Lord Ashfield to come forward to promise them a tube to Finsbury Park. That sort of argument is absolute nonsense from beginning to end. A lube to Finsbury Park and all the rest of the tubes do not depend upon the Combine at all. If they depended upon the Combine why have not the Combine already obtained powers from Parliament to start executing the work of the Finsbury Park Tube? They told us that they could not raise the capital on favourable terms. Therefore, these Bills are brought forward in order that they may have the backing really and truly of municipal credit, so that by that backing they may be able to raise their capital on favourable terms and use it to the advantage of private enterprise in the county of London.
As far as we on these benches are concerned, and as far as the Members of the 545 Labour party who are representatives on the London County Council and on other public authorities in London are concerned, we have always been in favour of the co-ordination of London traffic. We have never been afraid of being able to bring about that co-ordination and to recognise that that co-ordination must mean control under a monopoly. But the monopoly of a great public service of this kind is not, as long as we are able to prevent it, going to be placed in the hands of a private company with a very considerable amount of foreign capital invested in it. We prefer that the citizens of London, through their own municipal authorities, shall be the only authority in regard to the passenger traffic of London.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich in his speech to-night brought forward the old argument that really and truly these Bills are based upon the Blue Report of the London Traffic Advisory Committee. We have always been familiar with the Blue Report and with the arguments put forward that three members of that Committee were representatives of trade unions. When the right hon. Gentleman flourishes this Blue Report in our faces and says that these Bills are the result of, and implement, the Report of that Committee, he forgets to inform the House of the fact that as far as these trade union representatives are concerned, they publicly and emphatically repudiated these Bills in every way as not in any sense of the word implementing the Report which they had previously signed. If statements are going to be made, let us have the whole of the cards placed upon the table.
I am not going to detain the House long on this matter. I spoke before in the old Parliament. I fought very hard. I am glad to see that the whole of the Liberal party in London are behind us on this occasion in order that we may be able to defeat these Bills. As far as the Bills themselves are concerned, a statement has been issued on behalf of the London County Council which makes play of the fact that agreements must be submitted to the Minister, and, unless he certifies them to be supplemental or incidental to an existing Valid agreement, must be laid by him before Parliament. We know that an agreement may be nullified by the presentation of an 546 Address to His Majesty. That may deceive new Members, but it does not deceive a single old Member of the House. It does not deceive the late Minister of Transport. It does not deceive a single Member on the opposite side of the House. Everyone knows that this is procedure over which the House of Commons has no real control at all. The papers are laid for a number of Parliamentary days, but the exigencies of Government business make it absolutely impossible to get any time for discussion. The time lapses and the hold of Parliament goes. There is no public safeguard in these Bills.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
The hon. Member mentioned me, otherwise I would not have ventured to interrupt him. He knows perfectly well that it is quite true that normally the 30 days during which an agreement shall lie on the Table of the House are allowed to pass as a matter of course, but, if there is anything serious to which any considerable body of opinion in the House objects, hon. Members can always raise the matter and have it debated.
§ Mr. SCURR
We have had experience on several occasions when we wanted to present a Prayer to His Majesty in reference to certain actions of the Government of the real time which we had at our disposal and as to how far we could get in trying to get any alteration at all. As a matter of fact, everyone knows that the procedure is absolutely farcical from end to end. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich said that if anyone suggested that there was any desire to scrap the tramway system of London he would be labouring under a delusion. No one here has ever suggested that they wanted to scrap the tramways of London. What the Combine wants is to get full control of the tramways of London so that in any possible further extension of London traffic facilities the tramways shall be left out and remain precisely as they are to-day. Traffic extensions will be tube, omnibuses, and things of that kind, and the tramway system will be relegated to the past. All we should get would be our present tram- 547 way system, which gradually would deteriorate and in the end be scrapped. We know that that would be an inevitable result of the passing of Bills of this kind.
The right hon. Gentleman says that one of the great features of this proposed legislation of which he approves is that the Bills now before us are enabling Bills. That is one of the strongest objections that we can have to these Bills. Any agreement of this kind affecting a capital value of £17,000,000 as far as London trams are concerned—I think that something like £9,000,000, speaking from memory, has been paid off—should be, if it is to be entered into, made known to the public before it is signed. [An HON. MEMBER: "So it would be!"] No. We know something about negotiations in regard to the making of agreements of this kind. We know that an agreement can be made by the London County Council and that there is no opportunity for the citizens of London to make any protest. [Laughter.] I hear the sniggering of hon. Members opposite who, perhaps, know very little about the municipal system of London. If these Bills were passed, and the County Council entered into this agreement, there would be no opportunity for the citizens of London to express any opinion until the year 1931, when the agreement would be in force, and working. The Bills are bad from beginning to end. They have been conceived in iniquity and in the interests of a private undertaking which, from the time that Mr. Yerks of Chicago came to this country, has always been desirous of getting complete control of the traffic system of London.
§ Sir KENYON VAUGHAN-MORGAN
Those hon. Members who have attended these Debates have always listened with interest to the arguments adduced, on the one hand, by the Liberal party, and on the other hand by the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr). We all agree that the hon. Member advances with sincerity the cause which he has fostered throughout; but in contending that London has not an opportunity of passing judgment on proposals of this kind, he has rather overlooked the events of recent history. The subject of the coordination of London traffic, in principle, was eagerly debated up and down 548 London on the occasion of the last London County Council election. It figured in the election addresses of the three parties, and London jeturned an unequivocal judgment in favour of these proposals.
Hon. Members who have been associated with these Debates, will be familiar with what are colloquially known as the four commandments. For the benefit of new-Members, I will reiterate the principles which the county council laid down as the basis of any arrangement, agreement, undertaking or system of co-ordination into which they might enter. All such proposals must comply with the four following stipulations: (1) That the interests of the travelling public should be adequately safeguarded, both as to service and fares; (2) the council's tramways, which will remain its property under the scheme, should be properly maintained; (3) the value of the county council's tramways undertaking should be adequately recognised, both as to capital and revenue, and (4) the interests of any employés displaced at a result of unified operations, should be safeguarded. Those principles underlie the proposals, and those are the principles of the agreement into which the county council are prepared to enter. The hon. Member for Mile End and the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris) made reference to one fact which we all regret, especially those on this side of the House, namely, that for the time being we are deprived of the presence here of two colleagues who have had long experience of London Government, Sir George Hume and Sir Cyril Cobb. When the hon. Member for Mile End and the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green tried to draw the conclusion from that fact that London has given its verdict against these proposals, I think the facts are against them.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Sir K. VAUGHAN-MORGAN
I do not want to misinterpret the statement of the 549 hon. Member. I do not recollect him referring to 36. If he will refer to the total number of votes east by the Conservative party and the Labour party in London, he will find that the results are very nearly identical. [HON. MEMBERS: "Do not the Liberals count?"] The Liberals are again represented by two hon. Members, and if the argument adduced by the hon. Member for Mile End is to apply, the defeat of one Liberal Member might be ascribed to the same cause. I think that argument goes but a very little way. It is, undoubtedly, a fact that the figures of the last London County Council election, when this was a prominent question and eagerly debated, show that London, favoured these proposals.
The main question for us to-day is, that if London is to lose the benefit of these Bills, if this method of solving the problem is not to be followed, what is to take its place? There can be no doubt as to the urgency and importance of the question. I could quote the words used by the Lord Privy Seal last evening, in which he recognised the urgency and importance of this problem. It is scarcely necessary to remind him that for years past this problem has faced London, and that at long last an adequate method of solving it has been devised. That method has been recommended by leading Members of the Labour party. It has beer supported by Mr. Bevin, one of the Labour leaders, and a leader of the transport industry. It complies with all the reasonable stipulations for the protection of the rights of Londoners, and it solves a problem which has faced the people of London for such a long time past.
The hon. Member for Mile End said that the party which he represents have always been in favour of co-ordination. Co-ordination is the basis and foundation of these proposals. As much reference has been made to the personality of the head of the London electric railway, so-called the combine, may I say that so far as I am personally concerned I have no interest of any material kind either in the combine or any of its undertakings? My interest is solely that of a Londoner, the representative of a London constituency, and one who has devoted for some years a considerable amount of attention to London problems, particularly 550 the problems of traffic. I have the same interest in London and its traffic problems as the two hon. Members. That interest is shared, I am sure, by the Minister of Transport, and I commiserate with him that he has to take the attitude which the Government are adopting of scrapping these proposals, destroying all this work, setting at nought all the successful efforts which have been brought to such a high pitch, condemning London to a further delay, during which we are once more to explore the problem, tread the well-trodden paths, with which surely everyone must be familiar, once more delve into the difficulties with which everyone also is familiar, and once again to receive reports which, as Minister of Health, it will be difficult to find time to read. For what reason; for what advantage? Certainly not for the advantage of those who are at present experiencing the inconvenience of having to go to and from their work in overcrowded omnibuses and trams.
§ Sir K. VAUGHAN-MORGAN
I see no reason why hon. Members opposite should claim a monopoly of interest in a problem of this sort. To me it is a matter of regret that, on a subject like this, we cannot agree as to what is necessary and that a purely partisan attitude has characterised the Opposition all through the history of these Bills. It has led them to oppose the Measure in this House. It only means postponing for so much longer a solution of this urgent problem. I hope the House will hesitate before it destroys the work which has been done and which promises the only real and satisfactory solution of the problem of London's traffic facilities.
§ Mr. HERBERT MORRISON
The, hon. Member who opened the Debate has quite correctly explained the reason why these Bills are submitted to the House for a Third Reading, and I desire to express my own appreciation, and that of my hon. Friends, for the fairness with which the late Chairman of Ways and Means handled this problem. He provided that the people of London and the country should have an opportunity of expressing their views upon these Bills, and by the provision which he made in the Resolution of the House 551 they are now before the House once again for consideration. The Government fully agree with everything that has been said as regards the urgency of the problem of London traffic. It is recognised as urgent and important by all parties, but the worst thing we could do would be to try and find a solution in a spirit of panic, in a spirit of undue haste, that is in the sense of being inclined to accept a solution which is wrong simply because of a feeling of panic on the general problem. It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to say that the problem is urgent and that the Government should accept these Bills. They should remember that they have been in power for four years—
§ Mr. G. BALFOUR
On a point of Order. I understand that these are private Bills submitted to this House for consideration. The Minister for Transport is now putting the case as to whether the Government should accept them. I understand that when a private Bill is submitted to this House it is the usual practice for the Government to take no side—
§ Mr. BALFOUR
—in the discussion. The Minister may make certain observations for the guidance of the House, but it is new to me to hear, on the occasion of a private Bill, a Minister of the Government rise on the Front bench and declare the intentions of His Majesty's Government—
The hon. Member is taking a long time to put his point of Order. I understand that the Minister of Transport is interested in these Bills and, therefore, he is entitled to take part in the discussion.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I agree that the Minister of Transport is interested, and should express his views, but he is now giving the vie-w of His Majesty'e Government.
§ Mr. MORRISON
I was informing the House that the Government regard this matter as one of very great urgency, and it may rest assured that it is receiving 552 the immediate attention of the Government. No undue time will be lost. The question arises as to whether the real problem of the congestion of London transport will be solved by these Bills. I submit that they will not solve the problem of congestion to any very material extent. They are incomplete so far as all forms of London transport are concerned. They do not deal with all the factors which contribute to the congestion of London streets. Hon. Members must recognise that London is a great sprawling centre, many centuries old, many of its streets very narrow and badly laid out, and that they cannot be put right in five minutes. It will cost an enormous amount of public money. Other factors also contribute to the congestion. There are not only omnibuses and trams, but commercial vehicles and taxi-cabs, private cars, which are a very serious and growing problem, and these things cannot be dealt with by means of these Bills. There are strict limits to the possibility of reducing the various classes of vehicles on the streets. Surely we should be wrong if we assumed that the situation is getting relatively worse than it was.
Let me refer to the operation of the London Traffic Act, for which I am afraid I cannot claim any credit, because I gave my hon. Friend the Member for White-chapel and St. George's (Mr. Gosling) a few difficulties when the Bill was going through. I have never hesitated to admit, and do not hesitate now to admit, that the operation of the London Traffic Act of 1924 and the work of the Traffic Advisory Committee have undoubtedly, so far as congestion is concerned, given us a state of things which is better than it would have been had the Act not been in operation. I am glad that my predecessor as Minister of Transport agrees with me in that respect. I think we should pay credit where it s due and not paint London traffic blacker than it is.
Two things the Act has done. It has more or less stabilised the development of omnibus traffic. It has, by the regulation of traffic in general, including the one-way traffic, eased a good deal of the problem that existed. But there is a continuous increase in the number of vehicles upon London streets, and the problems will be with us for some time. I cannot 553 see that these problems are to be effectively solved by the passage of the Bills now before us. We should not forget the virtues of London traffic. If the House remembers, as it does, the terrible problem of London's ancient history, its narrow streets and the masses of traffic, it will pause and give some praise to London drivers and London policemen for the really miraculous way in which they make the beat of their difficulties. I am not disposed to throw cold water upon the City of London and the way it handles one of the most terrific traffic problems in the world.
The right hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) referred to the number of accidents in London streets. It should not be assumed that a reduction in congestion on the streets will necessarily lead to a reduction in accidents. It may be that the lessening of congestion and the increase of the average speed of vehicles, far from reducing the number of fatalities, may conceivably increase it. The real question that is raised by these Bills is not so much a question of congestion as a question of the efficiency and of the development of the London transport system as an economic proposition. That is the real question that is raised, and it is upon that question that the House ought to give its verdict to-night. It has been urged from the benches opposite, both in this Debate and in previous discussions, that it is vitally important that there should be a cessation of competitive services and a development of co-ordination between all forms of London traffic. This discussion proceeds upon the basis that this fact was first discovered by hon. Members opposite. The people who urged economic co-ordination of these and other services were not the Conservative party; they were the Socialist party. Economic co-ordination is the economics of Socialism, but the economics of free competition are the economics of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. We congratulate the right hon. Member for West Woolwich, and I do so particularly because officially he represents me in this House, on his steady conversion to the economics of Socialism so far as London traffic is concerned.
The old theory was that competition between traffic services led to the best possible services for the travelling public at the lowest possible price. That was 554 the common illusion which afflicted everyone in examining various industrial problems. It was wrong. The public have to learn, as Lord Ashfield and I certainly have learned, that when an empty seat exists on an omnibus or tram or train, the capital charges and the running costs in respect of that seat must be met in some way. They may be met from additional charges to the users of the undertaking; they may be met by reduced wages to the workers in the undertaking; or they may be met by reducing the profits of the owners of the undertaking. But the economic fact has to be faced that competitive services involving a number of empty seats in any class of vehicle necessitate the capital and the maintenance charges in respect of those empty seats being met either out of the industry or out of the travelling public. That is the economic case for co-ordination.
It is particularly important when one is dealing with the traffic problem of London, with its peak load, with its density of load in the mommas and density of load in the afternoons and its lightness of load in the middle of the day. Every pound of capital expenditure in London transport must be used to the most economical advantage if the industry is to be as successful as it ought to be. Therefore the question between us is not the question of economic co-ordination. Hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have accepted the economics of Socialism in that respect, and we are glad. The sole issue is as to whether the monopoly which is necessary to secure co-ordination should be in some way public or accountable to the public or should be a private monopoly. That is the issue raised by these Bills, and it is not the smallest use boggling at it. The people of London are very nervous about a private traffic monopoly, and quite rightly when it is remembered that an unnecessary charge of a mere farthing on the average fare, multiplied by the thousands of millions of journeys which are made every year, would mean an annual charge on the people of about £3,600,000. Therefore the cost to the people of London is important and they are naturally concerned that the interests of the travelling public should be fully safeguarded.
555 The Labour party here, the Labour party on the London County Council, never adopted a policy of hopeless refusal to compromise on this matter. It was urged that there were possibilities of working agreements between the undertakings, outside legislation. The undertakers took the view that that was not possible without a statutory protection to the existing undertakers, which meant a private monopoly. It was also urged that the new capital coming into the transport industry should be public capital, so that gradually there might be an element of public ownership in the industry greater than is the case now. It was urged that there should be municipal control, or that there should be provision for purchase by the public at some time. AH of these possible compromises were steadily rejected by the promoters of the Bills. I do not say this as a matter of controversy or as an argument against the policy of the London County Council, which is no business of mine as Minister of Transport, but it so happens that whereas a great corporation like that of Birmingham, with which there has been so intimately associated the late Minister of Health, is keen on the municipal ownership of its great undertakings like tramways, omnibus, water, electricity, gas and even banks—the last name will always be honourably associated with the name of the late Minister of Health—and while it is the case that Birmingham is a Conservative municipality, and that this same keenness is a common experience in some county boroughs dominated by the Conservative party, yet the Conservative party on the London County Council has a great dislike of conducting any trading undertaking under municipal ownership. It does not boggle at drains and things like that, but it does boggle at trading undertakings. I do not lay that as a matter of criticism of the London County Council. It is entitled to have its views, but it does not increase the possibilities of compromise between those who believe in public control and those who believe in private ownership.
This Bill has now reached us as amended in Committee. I wish to draw the attention of the House to certain features of the Bill which seem to us to be unsatisfactory. The Bill was based in one respect upon a recommendation which 556 was made in the Blue Report; that is to say, that there should be a common management and a common fund, and the Bill does contemplate the establishment of some form of common fund. But, whereas the Blue Report recommended a common fund into which the whole receipts of the industry should pour, the Bill contemplates either a new common fund or two common funds, one of them already existing and not subject, as far as I can see, to the control set up under the Bill. Clause 16 of the Bill provides that all existing contracts must be respected, and therefore a new common fund could not interfere with the operation of the previous common fund. Clause 3 provides for the final control of the combined undertakings under a board of directors. There is no definite provision for municipal representation on that board of directors. Although Lord Ash-field has indicated that he would be willing to have one or two municipal directors out of, I think, 20, there is no guarantee even of that in the Clause. There is a provision for an advisory board, which is understood to be the body to deal with tramways, but it is advisory only, and the authoritative body is the board of directors.
§ Clause 3 makes it quite clear that the agreement, as such, cannot he revised by the Minister, but only the return on capital and the amount of ranking capital. The Minister of Transport cannot interfere with the agreement except in respect of the amount of ranking capital and the reasonable return upon such capital. Indeed, the agreement itself is rather extraordinary in that it does not exist so far. It is not scheduled to these Bills. It has not been before the Committee upstairs, and there was no intention of it being before the Committee of the House, at any rate in recent times. Therefore, the House is asked to give enabling powers to make an agreement, which is not before Parliament, and upon which we have no information whatever. The only provision is that the agreement is to lie upon the Table of the House, and Members know that is fairly illusory. If they do not know it, they will remember the discussion that took place upon the famous Clause of the Minister of Health in the Local Government Bill, when the Conservative Press and the Conservative Mem- 557 bers of the House were denouncing this lying on the Table business as utterly illusory and utterly unreal. There is no provision as to the length of the agreement, but it is understood unofficially that it was intended to be for 42 years, as was the case with the electricity undertakings under the Acts of 1925. It was admitted that, if the agreement lasted for 42 years, there could, in fact, be practically no revision at the end, because the absorption would have taken place. The Bill really leaves municipalities and companies outside the London County Council area to come in as best they can, and the municipalities owning tramways in extra-London, such as West Ham, East Ham, Croydon, Walthamstow and Leyton, have been badly treated in that they were supposed to be consulted by the reference to the advisory committee, but, in fact, they have not been so consulted.
§ The Bill makes it abundantly clear that among the first charges on the combined undertakings is the reasonable return on ranking capital, and, in my judgment, this might quite well work out that an increase of fares was in fact necessary to comply with the actual provisions. Now it is said that Clause 11 and Clause 12 give ample supervisory and controlling power to the Minister of Transport, If hon. Members will refer to those Clauses, they will find that that is not true. Clause 11, which deals with appeals to the Minister on fares and services, assumes first of all—and remember that these are always appeals by somebody to the Minister which is quite a different thing from continuous supervision on the part of a State Department—that the action to be complained of has already taken place; secondly, that the alteration of fares is material, and thirdly, that there has been a withdrawal or material reduction of services. When the complaint is made, the Minister may order an inquiry by the Advisory Committee, but even then no action can be taken by the Minister which would interfere with the reasonable return upon ranking capital. Now under Clause 12 a local authority may ask the Minister for developments or extensions, but it would appear that the Minister is by inference bound by the inquiry of the Advisory Committee, and, even so, he does not appear to be in a position to require the development or extension to be made, but only to determine the order or priority and that 558 order or priority shall only be observed as far as practicable. Clause 13 preserves the separate ownership of the undertakings as they develop and in that respect the provisions for control and coordination are incomplete.
§ It is true that outside the Bills certain undertakings have been given by Lord Ashfield and the London County Council. I am not going to challenge the bona fides of Lord Ashfield. I know him quite well. I have an enormous respect for his knowledge and judgment on London traffic matters. I shall meet him quite often on London traffic matters, and I shall be pleased to discuss with him in the most friendly way the common problems with which we are confronted. But, in dealing with Parliamentary Bills, we cannot deal with them on the basis that the head of the combine is a gentleman we like or a gentleman we do not like, because other chairmen of the combine may come. The directors may change, and it may be that they may not all take the same view as he takes.
§ The other point that was raised was whether the Bills could be amended. There is the title of the Bills which makes it exceedingly difficult to amend them according to the policy of the Government. Again, it is known to the House that the Government does not, and ought not, to control a private Bill upstairs. Even if we agreed with the promoters as to what we wanted and then went to the Private Bill Committee and said, "This is what we have agreed. Will the Committee be so good as to make the necessary Amendments in the Bill?" The Committee, exercising their judicial independence, might quite rightly tell us to mind our own business, and that it was no part of our job to run Private Bill Committees. They would be quite justified in doing so. In any case, the structure and fundamentals of the Bill are very difficult to amend in the direction in which they ought to be amended.
§ It has been said that at the London County Council election of March, 1928, a majority of those who support the Bills, or rather the Blue Report, which is not the same thing, were returned. I shall say something about the Blue Report and quote the authors of the Report to show that it is not the same. There was a majority of Municipal Reform members sent to the county council at that elec- 559 tion, but, if we take the votes of those who supported that Report and the votes of those against, we find that the Municipal Reform candidates got 284,000 votes and those opposed to them received altogether 318,000 votes, a majority against the proposals of 34,000 votes. Those are the facts. I need not dilate upon the results of the General Election, which is so close that everyone knows what happened, and I do not want to remind hon. Members opposite of the sad fate of the Conservatives.
§ In view of the fact that members of the Labour party always opposed these Bills; in view of the fact that this was a big issue in London at the General Election, and in view of the way in which the people have spoken upon it, it would be impossible for the Government to advise the House to pass these Bills. Hon. Members opposite have previously, without any justification, chided the Government for not keeping their Election pledges but to-night they are urging the Government to break those Election pledges. I cannot support any such view. It has been indicated—but I hope and I think it has not been done on behalf of the London Traffic Combine—that the building of necessary tubes is dependent on the fate of these Bills. I venture to say that that is a consideration which ought not to be advanced in connection with this matter—
§ Mr. MORRISON
My predecessor in office asks me "Why not"? It is an undesirable position to advance—and Lord Ashfield has never advanced it to me and I am quite sure will not be foolish enough to advance it—that unless Bills which confer a substantial private monopoly in London traffic are passed, certain traffic undertakers will refuse to do their duty to the travelling public. To use the unemployed in this connection seems to be shameful but that really is the position of hon. Gentlemen opposite when all their statements are boiled down. I do not believe for a moment that it is the position of Lord Ashfield. I believe he will be willing to co-operate with my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, and with myself as Minister of Transport, with a view to these extensions being achieved, particularly having regard to other legislation 560 which is going through the House of Commons. It has been urged that the Government, having been in office for five weeks ought to have solved this problem. May I remind hon. Members opposite that this problem was before the last Government throughout the whole of its existence? It was before previous Conservative and Coalition Governments. If Members read the White Taper issued by the Traffic Advisory Committee on the occasion of the Second Reading of the Bills, they will find that the people who have a right to complain are the Traffic Advisory Committee and the people against whom they have a right to complain are the previous Government and my predecessor in office. Repeatedly the Committee were asked to consider the problem. Repeatedly the Committee said that they must have a decision as to Government policy on London traffic. Repeatedly the last Government evaded making any pronouncement of Government policy for dealing with The problem. It was because the previous Government, with the Minister of Transport in control, refused to come to a decision that these Bills were ultimately introduced. It is impossible in the time at my disposal to go through the whole history of the matter but hon. Members will find from that White Paper that the previous Government delayed and delayed and that a grave responsibility rests upon them in this connection.
The Government cannot advise Parliament to pass these Bills. I say, as I said before, that we regard the problem of London traffic as one of great urgency. Co-ordination is necessary but we cannot submit to a permanent private monopoly in London traffic. There must be public accountability and public control. We do not rule out, and neither I am sure do cither of the other parties, the question of public ownership, or some form of public ownership in London traffic operations, any more than Birmingham or Berlin has ruled out that particular solution. We shall immediately examine the problem. I shall be pleased to confer with the representatives of the London County Council and the Combine. I assure them that, although the Government cannot agree with them on these Bills, we are advising the House in no vindictive spirit, and in no spirit of personal spite against the 561 promoters of the Bills. Good will remains and can be continued. Although the House will, in all probability, reject these Bills, as far as we are concerned the door is open to further consultation, and the Government fully accepts its responsibility in this urgent matter.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I confess to a profound feeling of disappointment and depression after listening to the speech of the Minister. To what does his speech amount? He gave us a learned dissertation on various clauses of the Bill; he told us some things about the Parliamentary elections and the County Council elections which seemed to me wholly irrelevant, but all that he said amounted to this—that the Government is to explore the position further. Does that carry us any further? The Minister himself said that the position has been explored for 15 or 20 years. In his position, with access to all the documents, he must know that the difficulties of solving this question are very great indeed, especially owing to the antagonism between municipal and private enterprise. Here we have two Bills in which, at long last, municipal enterprise represented by the London County Council, and private enterprise, represented by Lord Ashfield's Combine, have come to an agreement. Then the hon. Gentleman calmly says that he wishes to explore the position further and asks the House to reject these excellent Bills. It is really a crying scandal that because hon. Members opposite take, as they are perfectly entitled to do, a certain view about municipal enterprise in London traffic, therefore, London should have to wait a great many years longer for a solution of the existing problem. Has the hon. Gentleman been at Finsbury Park and other places to see the congestion there every morning and every evening? Have hon. Gentlemen opposite no consideration for the feelings of women and children—
§ Mr. MORRISON
May I inform the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that it has been my lot to travel about London in exactly the same way as the common people and I know these problems from personal experience.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
Then it is all the more disgraceful that the hon. Gentleman 562 knowing the conditions which prevail should have come to such a decision. Apart from the unhappy controversy between municipal and private enterprise, surely hon. Gentlemen must admit that though these Bills will not solve the problem—I doubt if it ever will be completely solved—yet they go a long way towards solving the problem. Has not the hon. Gentleman read the evidence which Lord Ashfield gave before the Select Committee? Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that a statement such as Lord Ashfield then made, given to a public Committee of the House of Commons, is equivalent to a pledge. Lord Ashfield said he would be prepared, if given Parliamentary powers, to proceed with the Finsbury Park Tube directly these Bills became law. Is not that a great advance and something which helps London traffic? To say that the Combine are holding a pistol at the heads of the House of Commons or anybody else is farcical. The fact is that they cannot raise the money under present conditions, but if they had the whole or most of the London traffic they could.
Here you have the London County Council, elected by the electors of London, approving of these Bills. Are hon. Members opposite so undemocratic as to think that because the London County Council does not at present represent their views, it is not a body to whose views attention ought to be paid? Here we have a Bill which is fathered by a democratically-elected assembly and supported by a combination which, whatever hon. Members may think of its methods, has given to London the finest system of traffic in the world. They come to you, and they say, "We consider these Bills to be, not perfect, but a great advance on present conditions, and if you will allow us, the popularly elected body and the private enterprise, to pool our resources and have a common management, we will proceed at once to spend no less a sum than £5,500,000 on the Finsbury Park Tube, which will provide a tube seven miles long and which will at long last, at any rate in the North-East of London, provide adequate and proper travelling facilities for the unhappy people who now have to travel under such deplorable conditions." It is really very sad indeed to sit here, as I have done from half-past seven, and 563 listen to these discussions about municipal enterprise and private enterprise, these small criticisms of the details of the Bill, and to hear not a word said about the thing that really matters, namely, as to whether or not these Bills will improve the travelling facilities for the wage earners of London. There was not a word on that point from the Minister of Transport.
Why cannot we go on with these Bills? If they go through, there is nothing to prevent hon. Members opposite, if they have time and power, proceeding with their plan of municipalising the whole of the traffic of this great city. They are perfectly entitled to hold that as being the best ultimate solution, but supposing these Bills passed into law, how will their task be made more difficult than it is now? I should say it would be made easier, because it is easier to municipalise one undertaking than several undertakings. What it comes to—and I promise not to speak at any length at all, because other hon. Members wish to speak—is that because hon. Members opposite have made certain political attacks in the London County Council on their political opponents, the people of London are to go without proper travelling facilities and to wait until hon. Members opposite bring in their comprehensive Bill, which I promise them will be a very long time, because at the next General Election London will remember how the party opposite treated them on this question.
§ Mr. MARLEY
It amuses one who is an old Member, but a newcomer to this House, to notice that, while on nearly every other occasion in this House hon. Members opposite talk very freely about the benefits of open and free competition, as regards London traffic they are convinced that competition is unhealthy, from the point of view both of the public and of the owners of the vehicles used. We hope that hon. Members opposite will progress along that road of economic research and try to understand the motives which drive this party forward from success to success as election follows election. As the representative of a London constituency at a former period, I thought, when these Bills first came before the House, of the undue haste with which they were being hustled 564 through, and if I had had no previous knowledge of the House or of the methods of legislation on particular occasions, I should have been rather suspicious of the methods being employed in this particular case.
It may be that there is no attempt to provide an immediate solution of the London traffic problem, it may be that the Minister is taking a very responsible action in proposing that the House should not proceed with these Bills, but, I suggest that he would be taking a much more serious decision in regard to the future welfare of London if he were to suggest that we should proceed with them, because, in spite of what was said by the right hon. and gallant Member for Christchurch (Colonel Ashley), I would suggest that there is no provision that any party to any agreement under the Bill may be able to go on and develop their own part of the undertaking without the consent of the other party or without referring the matter to arbitration, so that publicly controlled traffic within the meaning of this Bill would cease, because we are told that the full representation of the public would be two members on the board of directors of the common fund, though that is only verbal and not contained in any Schedule. How far, then, could we on this side, who agree with the policy of the public control of municipal traffic and of all traffic, support a Bill which proposes to hand over to a monopoly the whole or the majority of the traffic of London?
We plead with hon. Members opposite, who may be persuaded by the right hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) to vote for these Bills, to remember that, because it happens to be a London Measure, they should not take action against the people of London which they would not dare to take against the people in their own constituencies, where they already have municipal control of their own traffic systems. They ought not to come to this House and, because London is such a great lollipop, spread all over the place, with such a heterogeneous number of boroughs and such a concatenation of overlapping authorities, with no great corporate spirit so far developed—though it is being developed, chiefly at the inspiration of the party on these benches—vote against municipal control of London's traffic. They them- 565 selves always claim, in their own municipalities in the North and in the Midlands, to whatever party they may belong, the absolute right to put under municipal control such things as traffic, gas, electricity, and other services essential to the public welfare, yet, when it comes to London, the same people are claiming to say that London shall be handed over to a private combine for 40, 50 or 60 years. I hope that hon. Members opposite who might be persuaded to think differently in regard to London problems from the way in which they think in regard to their own particular areas, will think twice before supporting this Bill, and, if they do not want to let down their own friends on those benches, they can meet the case by abstaining from voting.
The problem of the growth of the traffic of London has become more and more difficult, as the Minister suggested, because of the increase in the number of private vehicles upon the roads, and the suggested control under the Combine is not going to relieve the traffic to any great extent, and is certainly not going to relieve it immediately. I should like to suggest to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite that the 1924 Traffic Act was the first suggestion of some control over London's surface traffic; and this Bill goes further in that direction, but it does so by handing over the complete development of that traffic to a Combine which is largely controlled as a private enterprise. We are not prepared on this side of the House to further a proposal of that kind. An hon. Gentleman opposite said openly and frankly that he had no intention of speaking, because he was interested in this matter. We on this side do not take the view that we do because we are personally interested in the London County Council or disinterested in the Combine. It is because a vital principle is involved, and, because the development of London depends on whether the traffic is controlled and regulated, we hope that there will be some public, democratic and easily accessible body, which is easily susceptible to public feeling. That is not provided by either of these two enabling Bills. In regard to the control of the common fund there is already a common fund in existence which cannot be altered by any subsequent agreement made by the Minister, and the amount of latitude 566 allowed to the Minister is very restricted in these Bills, and he can only move in a certain direction in regard to capital, even if he had the opportunity and the consent of the House.
My final word is to warn Members in regard to the Press atmosphere which has been created with regard to the congestion of London. Those who throw their minds back to the appearance of the independent omnibuses will remember that as soon as the first independent omnibus appeared, there came congestion of traffic. I will suggest to hon. Members opposite that there are parts of the country not so susceptible to House of Commons influence where congestion exists to a much more serious degree. There are influences in the House which can move, and do move, when competition comes into conflict with their particular interest in London traffic. With these private enterprise omnibuses came competition and congestion, and the Press immediately began to talk about pirate omnibuses, and aroused public opinion against them. In the Press you continually see advertisements telling you the number of travellers on the Underground and the omnibuses. They do not serve to add a single passenger to the Traffic Combine, but they serve, is they say in fleet Street, to sweeten the Press. This great scare has been raised ingenuously with a great deal of genius and tact and skill, by those who have other interests to serve rather than those of the public.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Sir W. LANE MITCHELL
We find that this question has been thrown into the cockpit of party politics because of a certain political line taken at the recent Election, and hon. Members opposite find that, however much they are pledged to co-ordination, they are bound to oppose the present Bills. Probably I had something to do with starting these Bills. I was speaking to the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works at the Bar of the House at the time the Bills were going through, and he said, "Co-ordination is inevitable. We cannot get it by nationalisation, and I am prepared to support co-ordination, providing we can get some control of the fares and of the interest that is to be paid on the capital."
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Mr. Lansbury)
Does the hon. Gentleman say that I made a statement of that sort?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The hon. Gentleman's memory or something else is leading him very much astray. I made a speech from that Box in the last Debate, and I put my position in regard to these Bills as clearly as a man could. I believe in co-ordination, and so do we all; but we are not going to have the traffic of London handed over to a private company. I will remind the hon. Member that on that occasion I said that most of those Members who were foremost in supporting these Bills would be defeated at the Election. A Tory Member offered to bet me a "fiver" that I would be wrong, and I am sorry that I did not take him on.
§ Sir W. LANE MITCHELL
The time of which I am speaking was when the private Bill was going through in the Government of 1924. It has nothing to do with these two Bills at present before the House. What makes me stick to my recollection is that I thought the declaration so strange and informing that I went direct to Lord Ashfield and told him what the right hon. Gentleman had said. Not only did I go to Lord Ashfield, but I went to the County Council and told them the same thing. I think, therefore, that I was the cause of these negotiations being started. What troubles me is what is going to happen now. It is evident that these Bill" will be thrown out. What will happen then? Those who have had anything to do with local affairs know the trouble of getting certain parties together. Twenty-five years ago there was trouble about an underground convenience in Crystal Palace Parade. Four local authorities were interested—Croydon, Camberwell, Lambeth and Penge—and the Crystal Palace authorities were also interested. It has taken 25 years to get that convenience put down there: and I predict that what will happen now is that -for the next two years Parliament will be too much taken up with other things to look at projects of this kind and that London's traffic will be relegated to a backward position.
I was sorry to hear some of the things which were said of Lord Ashfield, but 568 the attack on Lord Ashfield was nothing like the attacks made upon him 20 years ago. I can remember the first Traffic Commission, which sat for three years taking evidence and reported in 1906. One of the recommendations of that Commission was that the motor omnibus need not be considered, that it was not a practical proposition. Lord Ashfield, however, stuck to motor omnibuses and spent £100,000 on trying to develop them, and it is because of the advent of the motor omnibus that there are these tramway difficulties. If it had not been for the omnibuses running the trains nearly off their wheels—[Laughter.] Yes, it was only through the Traffic Committee that the tramways were enabled to get back a little of what they had been losing. Four or five years ago they were losing at the rate of £250,000 a year, but because the Traffic Committee got things into shape and restricted the number of omnibuses the tramway position began to improve. If there is to be free competition, I should not bother, if I were Lord Ashfield. I should say, "I can make money all right; there is no trouble about my making money; the trams can do what they like." If it had not been for the Traffic Committee, the tramways would have been more bankrupt than they are now.
§ Sir W. LANE MITCHELL
The hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) gloried in having the support of the. Liberal party on this particular matter. Look at them! My interest in the matter goes back to a time 25 years ago when I supported the trains of London and the development of electricity. Lord Banbury refused at that time to allow the trams to go across the bridges, and I took the field against Lord Banbury and turned him out. Hon. Members cannot say, therefore, that those of us sitting on this side of the House have no interest in the affairs of London.
§ Sir W. LANE MITCHELL
Anybody who reads the Blue Report and sees the recommendations of the Committee and knows that control is now in the hands of the Minister of Transport, will regret that we are not in a position to consider this question in the House apart from party politics.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to say a few words on this matter as a representative of the orphans of the storm. Throughout the speeches there has been no reference to the authorities outside the London County Council area. We are always looked upon as the poor relations of London proper. The time may come when we may have some influence upon the problem connected with London's traffic, but the authority set up under this Bill leaves us absolutely out in the cold. There are to be two representatives out of 20 sitting upon the Committee, according to this Bill, and we know where the two will come from. They will come from the London County Council, and that body is simply an annexe of the Conservative Central Association. So far as Labour is concerned, we are down and out—but we are not standing it! We are down-in-here and you are not going to have it all your own way! A hundred and fifteen years ago—[Laughter]—wait a minute—a great General arrived in London and was feted. He associated with all the great people of London. He had helped to win the Battle of Waterloo—just as we are going to win the battle of Waterloo Bridge. When he left London at the end of his visit he was asked by one of our great men what he thought of London, and he said, "What a magnificent city to sack." The Germans are not sacking us now; it is the international financiers who are trying to sack London.
What control are we to have over the people who have got their money in London's transport? None at all. Lord Ashfield is a splendid man, he knows transport from A to Z; but we also know him from A to Z, and the first interest that he has got, naturally, as the head of this great combine, is the interest of his shareholders. He must have, or else he would not have his job for long. I know something! Therefore, we outer London authorities feel that we are simply there to be exploited. We have spent £2,000,000 upon our tramway-system. We give lower fares than are to be found in almost any other part of the country. Take the fares for men going to the docks and children to the parks; it is a halfpenny fare from Custom House in Silvertown up to Epping Forest. Will Lord Ashfield or any of the rest of them who are interested in these Bills give the 570 same facilities to enable children to get fresh air, give them a chance to get further out of London instead of living in the slums and the fœtid atmosphere in which they have to live at present. No. They want to concentrate control, and they will give us two representatives out of 20—just to show there is no ill feeling. But it is not coming off—not in these trousers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Go on!"] I promised Mr. Speaker that I would not speak longer than five minutes, and the less I say the better it will be for the other side. I want to remind the House that London is after all something more than a city, it is the capital of the Empire—the place the other people talk about, those people who believe in waving the Union Jack in front of the union jackasses. They are the only people who believe in the Empire. We have not got an Empire, except the Empire at Stratford, and there it costs us 6d. for the cheapest seat.
London traffic can be co-ordinated, but under public control. I go down to Manchester. What do I find? All forms of traffic are under the control of the Manchester City Corporation. I stay with a friend of mine whose place is just outside the boundary of the City of Manchester. The tram fare to Albert Square is 2½d. but in my ignorance I once got on an omnibus. The omnibus conductor asked me for 5d. I said "The fare is 2½d., my friend told me so" and the conductor replied "But this is a private omnibus and it is not allowed to compete with the municipal undertakings." A Tory Government allowed that legislation to go through! The Manchester City Corporation had insisted that they were the controlling authority for transport within their own city area. We in West Ham cannot get such powers. We asked Parliament for permission to run omnibuses to the Island of Silver-town—it is an island, that is the reason why I am here. We asked power to run omnibuses where no trams could be run, because of the swing bridges and level crossings, and we were refused the right to run omnibuses. The result is that these poor people have to walk two or three miles in order to get to their work simply because this House would not grant us facilities to run omnibuses. The people whom I represent have not got one single consideration in these Bills, simply because they are poor. The 571 people whom I represent do not count with all these high and mighty gentlemen who have their own motor cars to take them home at night and who are not always fully sensible.
§ Mr. JONES
Have I ever pleaded guilty to being anything else? At any rate, I have always tried to be human, and some hon. Members opposite have never yet been human. We are opposing these Bills, because they do not recognise the responsibility which has been placed upon the Members of this House. Consequently, we intend to vote against this Bill, because we consider that it is an outrage on public decency. I shall vote against this Measure because it is supported by those who are in favour of foreign interests, and we all know that a great part of the capital of the traffic Combine is American capital. I do not mind Americans exploiting their own country, but I object to them coming over here to exploit us. Most of the money which is invested in the Traffic Combine comes from the United States of America. They have so much money that they do not know what to do with it, but they know "who to do with it." Therefore, as an extra London Member, representing an authority which has invested £2,000,000 in the transport system, I am going to oppose this Bill for all I am worth, and I hope hon. Members opposite will accept their defeat in a good spirit.
§ Sir WALTER GREAVES-LORD
I hope notice will be taken of the compliment which has been paid to the Conservative Central Office by the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. Jones). If it is a fact that the London County Council is an annexe of the Central Conservative Office, it is only so because that organisation has been able to convince the democracy of London that adherence to Conservative principles is the best thing for the great area of London. I represent a constituency which is dependent from day to day upon the provision which is made for London traffic, and, as a Conservative at the last Election, I pledged myself time after time to the electors that if returned I would do all that I could to get for them the advantages which in my opinion these traffic Bills 572 will give to them. I speak also as one who uses the ordinary means of traffic in London constantly in my daily life, and, therefore, have a full opportunity of judging the conditions and knowing the necessities of the people among whom I live and work. Unfortunately, the Socialist party in this House, while supporting the general proposition about coordination, have, in their desire to make an attack upon a particularly successful and advantageous piece of private enterprise, not only attacked co-ordination, but have tried to support that attack by a campaign of misrepresentation, which I am glad to find they have now jettisoned and have not attempted to put forward in this House.
On the last occasion when these Bills were before the House, we heard a great deal from Gentlemen who now occupy the benches opposite about the inevitable increase of fares which must take place if these Bills were sanctioned by Parliament. That which was said in this House by them lost nothing in the repeating to the electors of London during the last General Election—[An HON. MEMBER: "To your cost!"] I agree that it was to our cost, because very often one General Election is not enough to stop the influence of misrepresentation such as was indulged in by hon. Members opposite. But for hon. Members opposite to repeat before the electorate the misrepresentations which some of them made in this House when these Bills were here before—to repeat those statements after the definite Parliamentary undertakings which were given in this House and before committees of this House, was a type of electioneering which is happily infrequent, and which, while it may bring a reward at one election, cannot bring other than disaster on the party who use it when tested on a second occasion.
Let me for one moment, while congratulating them upon having abandoned those misrepresentations, turn to the matters that they have put forward. The suggestion now made is that there is no effective public control of any kind in these Bills. It is agreed that coordination is necessary; it is agreed that co-ordination in London traffic would not only be of great benefit to the people of London, but also that it would go a very long way towards relieving the very 573 serious traffic problem that we have. It is also agreed on all sides that you cannot get co-ordination without creating some type of monopoly; and I venture to think, with all deference to those opposite who believe that there is only one form of monopoly that is permissible and economic, that the best form of monopoly in matters of this kind is that monopoly which is largely private enterprise but which is supervised by public control. That is exactly what you have in these Bills. When you have the whole of your traffic under the supervision and control and in the ownership of a public authority, the only watchdogs on that monopoly are themselves public servants, very often of the same authority; but, if you have the type of monopoly which these Bills set up, then every public authority, except in this case the County Council, is a watchdog for the public interest, and has the fullest opportunity of making representations if that monopoly is used against the public of the London area.
Hon. Members have talked a great deal about the lack of control, about the lack of opportunity to make representations, but they have been extremely careful not to refer to the provisions of the Bill. If they had referred to them they would have found that one of the first conditions of the validity of any agreement is that it should be submitted to every local authority owning a tramway or light railway undertaking, and that any representations made by such authorities must be considered. Then there is a provision, first of all, for submitting the matter to the Minister of Transport, and, thirdly, a provision which ensures that Parliament shall ultimately have the right to decide whether the agreement shall he entered into. The control does not end there, because by Clause 11 there is a perpetual control over the matter of fares. It is said that control is illusory, because one of the principles which shall govern the general management of the monopoly is that it shall be so managed as to make a reasonable return upon the capital. But inasmuch as the capital of the private undertaking and of the public undertaking which is joined to the Combine is to he assessed according to the same principle, that is merely a provision that the ratepayers who pay their rates to the London County Council shall not have the property of the London County 574 Council squandered, and that the County Council and the ratepayers shall get a fair return upon the capital invested in the undertaking, and it is as much a condition for the protection of the rate-paying public of London as it is a protection for anyone else concerned with the monopoly set up by the Bill.
It is abundantly clear that whenever there is any question of alteration of fares, or withdrawal or reduction of services, there is not only ample provision for that matter being inquired into, but complete and almost absolute power given to the Minister of Transport to take care that the public interest is served and protected. Not only is this monopoly controlled as to fares in the interest of the public, but equally it is controlled as to the developments that are necessary in the public interest. If a system of monopoly must be adopted, there is no better form of monopoly than the one that gives us an interest in enterprise, but, at the same time, such popular control as ensures that that enterprise shall be used for the development of those public services which are essential in the public interest of the great population of the London area.
May I say a further word in amplification of something that was put by the late Minister of Transport. He suggested that, whether ultimately this country adopts the policy of nationalisation or municipalisation or not, this Bill can in no way hinder hon. Members opposite in the promotion and the successful carrying out of that policy, if they are successful. If they really believe in their policy of municipalisation, or nationalisation, this Bill is in reality something that will help them very considerably, quite apart from the fact that they own only one undertaking, because, when they took over the coordinated system, they would be taking over a system which would be efficient and in respect of which they would not have to go through the whole processes of co-ordination and systemisation which would be so necessary, and is so necessary, to the London traffic system at the present time. Frankly, I submit that, in order to gain an electoral advantage by misrepresentation, hon. Members opposite, possibly, not expecting the result which happened at the last election, have shut themselves up—[An 575 HON. MEMBER: "Did you expect it?"] I can only speak for my own constituency. I expected the majority that I got. With regard to other matters, the only conclusion to which one can come is that hon. Members opposite, not, perhaps, expecting that they would be called upon to carry out the responsibility of dealing with unemployment, so bound themselves by misrepresentation and by electoral pledges that they are now prevented in common honesty from taking the only step which they know will enable them to deal with two great problems, one, the London traffic system, and the other the enormous amount of unemployment which still exists in the London area.
§ Mr. NAYLOR
While I join in the view expressed by certain Members on the other side of the House that this is a question which ought not to be put into the cockpit of party politics, I feel that after what has fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Norwood (Sir W. Greaves-Lord) something ought to be said in answer to the allegations which he has made. He charged the party on this side of the House with misrepresentation during the General Election on this question of the co-ordination of passenger traffic, but he made no attempt to show in what that misrepresentation consisted.
§ Mr. NAYLOR
No, I am not asking the hon. and learned Member. I am merely stating the fact, but I am not asking for any further observations on the part of the hon. and learned Member. He knows perfectly well that the whole of the arguments for and against these two Bills were fully stated in this House before the General Election took place. If there was any misrepresentation, that misrepresentation could have been exposed at the time when the Bills were being considered by this House. As a matter of fact, we know that certain Members on the other side of the House who, fortunately or unfortunately, are not with us to-night, had to be corrected by Members on the Labour side of the House with regard to certain important statements which they made when these Bills were before the people of London. 576 It is rather significant that those Members who had the promotion of the Bills in the previous Parliament are no longer with us. Where, to-night, is the late Member for Central Wandsworth (Sir H. Jackson); where is the late Member for Fulham (Sir C. Cobb); where is the late Member for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume)? Where is the Conservative party to-day? That party is in the cold shadow of opposition. Those Members who have departed have been put into cold storage from which, some day, possibly, they may be picked out once more. It is rather interesting that the leader of the party in favour of the Bills, to-night, is the right hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood), who nearly lost his seat, mainly because these Bills were opposed by a large number of his constituents. He has tried to make out a case for the Bills, and suggested that the travelling facilities in London and the improvement of those facilities depend upon the passing of these Bills. He did not explain in what way the travelling facilities are to be improved by the passing of the Bill.
The main issue as presented to us by speakers on the other side of the House has been the traffic problem of London. Against the traffic problem of London I put the interests of the travelling public of London. If the right hon Member for West Woolwich meant that taking off part of the omnibus services and part of the tramway services with a view to relieving the traffic problem is a reason for supporting these Bills, I suggest that the people of London who use these passenger conveyances are lens concerned with the traffic problem, as a traffic problem, than they are about the facility with which they can pass from one part of London to another. They are also concerned as to what they may have to pay for the privilege of passing from one end of London to the other, in the event of these Bills being passed.
We have heard something about the protection afforded by certain Clauses of the Bill in regard to these possible disadvantages. Why is it that we are told again and again that if we pass these Bills certain new tubes will be laid down in London? The right hon. Member for West Woolwich was more guarded to-night in this respect than the hon. Member for Central Wandsworth was in the last Parliament. The right hon 577 Member merely mentioned the question of the tube from Finsbury Park, northward. If this House refuses to pass these two Bills, why are we to be denied even the one tube from Finsbury Park to the north?
§ Mr. NAYLOR
What is there in the refusal to pass these Bills that is going to make it impossible for Lord Ashfield to give us this North London tube? We in the South-East of London think that our service so far as passenger traffic is concerned is in need of great improvement. We consider that these tubes should be made a question of service for the public and that we can best be served by making public service a public responsibility. It is from that point of view that we are asking the House not to pass these Bills to-night. If Lord Ashfield or if the hon. Members who are supporting this attempt at legislation are so concerned about the interests of the travelling public in London, let them get on with these tube extensions without asking for a monopoly as the price London will have to pay for them.
Are the interests of the travelling public of London better served by eliminating either the omnibuses or the tram services? That is one of the objects of this so-called co-ordination. They say that they cannot get a co-ordination of the passenger traffic unless they have a monopoly, but is it not obvious that they can only make these improvements by so altering the passenger traffic system of London in such a way as to yield a greater profit to the Combine, and thereby enable them to open out in these new directions. I hope we shall give effect to the opinion which the people of London undoubtedly expressed at the last election on these two Bills. The people of London have told us that they do not want them, and I think we can safely leave it to the Ministry of Transport to consider what methods are necessary to deal with the traffic problem as such: but "hands off the people's trams." If this House passes these Bills the people of London will have been betrayed into a position in which they will be unable to help themselves, and I therefore ask the House to reject the Measures.
§ Sir HENRY CAUTLEY
Whatever decision the House comes to on these Bills, I think it is desirable that the new Members of the House should have before them from the Chairman of the Select Committee to whom the Bills were referred, the reasons, shortly, which made that Committee come to what on the evidence before them was the only possible conclusion. The House is well aware that the Committee sat for 12 long days and heard evidence on every point and every proposal in connection with these Bills. The whole difficulty had been caused by two things. First, the invention of the motor omnibus and, secondly, the increased desire of the London people to travel. In 1920 the competition of the motor omnibus and other means of traffic had arrived at such a point that the London County Council tramway system resulted in a loss of £590,000, which had to be found by the ratepayers. It is common ground that no tramways in this country, or even in the world, are better managed than those of the London County Council. The competition increased, and in 1923 there was a strike on the London tramways system, owing, to the desire for an increased wage necessitated by the increased cost of living. There was no money and no prospect of improvement in the tramway receipts.
A court of inquiry that was then held said that the cause of the lack of receipts was entirely competition, and the Government of that day, in 1924, accepted the position and passed the London Traffic Act of 1924. That Act did two things. First of all it enabled the Minister of Transport to limit the competition, and more particularly the competition with the tramways. The tramways of London were bolstered up by a limitation of the competition on the tramway routes. There was not the slightest doubt that if the tramways had had to stand against the competition of the motor omnibuses, they could not have survived a year. That was the position in which London traffic was then placed. The Act also set up an Advisory Committee. That Committee sat for some time, and in 192? produced the Blue Report. The Blue Report was unanimous in declaring that it was absolutely necessary to have coordination of omnibuses, trams and tubes, that otherwise it would be impossible for 579 any of them to survive, and London would be badly served. At that time there was competition between the omnibuses and the tubes.
It is suggested now that there is nothing to show how a common fund or common management will improve traffic in London. That view was negatived by the evidence we had that under the combination that already existed, coupled with the assistance of the Trade Facilities Act, the South London tube had been remodelled and a new tube constructed to Morden. It is admitted by everyone that three new tubes are essential to carry the large masses of Londoners who are coming in and going out—one on the North-East of London, one on the East of London and the third on the South-East of London. It was proved before us, and no one ventured to contradict the statement, that not a single shilling could be put into any London traffic enterprise as matters then stood. The Blue Report stated that the problem was one of great urgency, that there was no chance of getting any capital into the industry, and that London was likely to be left in a grave position. We had further evidence that the common pool had succeeded beyond trial or experiment and had resulted in this—that the tubes had been made reasonably paying competition. I am absolutely convinced that the money which in the last two years has gone to pay the small dividends that the tubes are paying to-day, has been provided by the motor omnibus company of London.
When the House sees that from this system the combination has been rendered reasonably profitable, that it is able to raise fresh money, that it has rebuilt an old tube and built a new one, it does not require very much foresight to see the good results that would follow if the same system were extended to the tramways which are at present left to themselves. At present the North Middlesex tramways and those of some of the local authorities round London can hardly make ends meet. Unless something is done the tramway system must fail and the very large amount of money which the London County Council have invested in the tramways will be lost. Under those conditions, what were we to do? We had this scheme before us. In spite of the requests which each 580 member of the Committee made for other schemes to be put forward, no scheme was put forward, and no suggestion was made of any municipal management. Municipal management is itself impossible. The boundary for the London traffic area goes far beyond municipal boundaries, and the London County Council by being a tramway owner has put itself out of court. There is no municipal control of tramways to-day that goes beyond its own boundaries. In Sheffield the other day they entered into a combine with the railway company for all traffic outside their own boundaries.
The Committee, therefore, carne to the conclusion that the only possible course, having regard to the urgency of the matter, was to use this method of the common pool and common management that was offered to us and we devoted ourselves to securing the greatest possible control that it was possible to obtain. I defy any Member to suggest a better method of control to secure the interest of the public than that in this Bill. Opportunity is given to any local authority in the area to make representations. The Minister of Transport has control over the services and fares. In fact, there is no part of the Bill which is not subject to his control. There has never been a greater measure of public control in any matter of this kind. I think it is right that the House should know what the Committee did and, in coming to a decision on these matters, I wish the House to recognise that they will be undertaking a great responsibility, if they leave London traffic in its present state. New tube railways are essential for dealing with the problem, and evidence was given that, without this co-operation or combination, without the common fund and common management, not a single shilling could be raised for making new tube railways. If these Bulls are now thrown out, a matter which is of great urgency to London will have to stand over.
§ Mr. G. BALFOUR
Earlier in the Debate I interrupted the speech of the Minister to raise a point of Order which I regard as of great constitutional importance. I said that this was the first time since I entered the House of Commons that I had ever heard from the Ministerial Front Bench a clear pronouncement of Government policy made upon a private 581 Bill. It is a matter which I think ought not to be allowed to pass without drawing the attention of hon. Members to it—particularly the attention of those hon. Members who have recently come into this House. The Minister stated the Government position quite clearly, and, after I had raised my point of Order, he went on to make it even more clear. He gave a short and simple statement of the Socialist programme and policy and said that these Measures did not comply with that policy. [Interruption.] I rise now in difficult circumstances, at this late hour, to put in a plea for the right of citizens of this country to present Bills to the House of Commons, to be dealt with here by an impartial tribunal of the whole House, irrespective of party politics.
§ Mr. HERBERT MORRISON
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to remind the House that when these Bills were before the House on the previous occasion the Minister of Transport at that time definitely advised the House to pass them? I have exercised a similar right to-night by definitely advising the House not to pass them.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I was not unmindful of all that had fallen from my right hon. and gallant Friend, the ex-Minister of Transport, and I watched with great care, and not without grave anxiety, as is well known to many hon. Friends of mine on this side, whether he passed at any time just that borderline which would have compelled me, as one of his supporters, to rise and make exactly the remarks which I am making to-night. I should have done so without hesitation had he ventured to cross that borderline, but I was glad to note, grave as my anxiety was—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members opposite are quite entitled to those derisive cheers, but grave as my anxiety was, he never crossed that borderline. My right hon. and gallant Friend, on those occasions when private Bills were before this House, always submitted it as the view of the Ministry that a certain course was expedient in the public interest, and if the Minister had risen to-night and said,
§ as Minister of Transport, that it was expedient in the public interest to advise the House on such and such a course, I should not have complained. But the hon. Gentleman did not do that. He adumbrated the theory and practice of Socialism and said, "This Bill does not comply with them." He further laid down the gage to the country that the citizens of this country have no right to come to this Commons House of Parliament and be judged and tried by hon. Members of this House, but said that they were to be judged by His Majesty's Government.
§ I ask all hon. Members, Have we sunk to this condition so soon during the administration of hon. Members opposite, that the citizens of this country no longer need follow the procedure laid down by this House, of appearing before a tribunal upstairs, set up by His Majesty's Government of the day, to hear the evidence of both sides and give their verdict on that evidence? [Interruption.] "No," they say, "You can go through all this procedure and spend your money on it, and when it is all done our Star Chamber has already prejudged the case and given its decision, and citizens have no longer any rights in the matter." The fate of this Bill is immaterial to me. I ask nothing better than that the Minister of Transport should have said to this House, in a constitutional manner, "This is a Bill which is the promotion of the London County Council and others, submitted to the judgment of this House, and we leave it to the free judgment of the House; this is the evidence for and against; go into the Division Lobby." He would have used his influence probably—and quite rightly—with his friends to vote with him, and none of us would have objected, but, when it comes to saying to the people of this country, "No longer shall the House of Commons decide these matters, but His Majesty's Ministers will decide them in the Cabinet Star Chamber," then it is time to protest.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 172; Noes, 295.
|Beaumont, M. W.||Grace, John||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Bennett, Sir Albert (Nottingham, C.)||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Birchall, Major, Sir John Dearman||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Remer, John R.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Boyce, H. L.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bracken, B.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Salmon, Major I.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hartington, Marquess of||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey. Farnham)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Butler, R. A.||Herbert, S.(York, N. R., Scar.& Wh'by)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hills, Major John Waller||Savery, S. S.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Castlestewart, Earl of||Hurd, Percy A.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Illffe, Sir Edward M.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Smith-Carington, Nevllie W.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Christie, J. A.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Lane Fox, Rt. Hon. George R.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Stanley, Maj. Hon. D. (W'mortand)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Stewart, W. J. (Belfast, South)|
|Cranbourne, Viscount||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Llndsey, Gainsbro)||Long, Major Eric||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Lymington, Viscount||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Culverweil, C. T. (Bristol, West)||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Train, J.|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Marjoribanks, E. C.||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Meller, R. J.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Mond, Hon. Henry||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Fielden, E. B.||Muirhead, J. A.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||O'Neill, Sir H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Peake, Captain Osbert||Sir William Lane Mitchell and|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Penny, Sir George||Captain Hudson.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Compton, Joseph|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bowen, J. W.||Cove, William G.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Cowan, D. M.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Broad, Francis Alfred||Daggar, George|
|Alpass, J. H.||Brockway, A. Fenner||Dalton, Hugh|
|Amnion, Charles George||Bromley, J.||Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)|
|Angell, Norman||Brooke, W.||Day, Harry|
|Arnott, John||Brothers, M.||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Dickson, T.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Dudgeon, Major C. R.|
|Ayles, Walter||Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Duncan, Charles|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Buchanan, G.||Ede, James Chuter|
|Baker, Walter (Bristol, E.)||Burgess, F. G.||Edge, Sir William|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Edmunds, J. E.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)|
|Barr, James||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Egan, W. H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Caine, Derwent Hall-||Eimley, Viscount|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Cameron, A. G.||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)|
|Bellamy, Albert||Cape, Thomas||Freeman, Peter|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)|
|Bennett, Captain E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Charieton, H. C.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Chater, Daniel||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
|Benson, G.||Church, Major A. G.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Cluse, W. S.||Gibbins, Joseph|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Gibson, H. M. (Lanes. Mossley)|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Gillett, George M.|
|Glassey, A. E.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Gosling, Harry||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Gossling, A. G.||McElwee, A.||Sandham, E.|
|Gould, F.||McEntee, V. L.||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Mackinder, W.||Scott, James|
|Granville, E.||McKinlay, A.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Gray, Milner||Mac Laren, Andrew||Sexton, James|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'W.)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Groves, Thomas E.||McShane, John James||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Shield, George William|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mansfield, W.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||March, S.||Shinwell, E.|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Marcus, M.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Markham, S. F.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Harbord, A.||Marley, J.||Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Mathers, George||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Matters, L. W.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Maxton, James||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Melville, J. B.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr, (Cardiff, S.)||Messer, Fred||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Middleton, G.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Millar, J. D.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Herriotts, J.||Mills, J. E.||Snell, Harry|
|Hirst, G. H. (York, W. R., Wentworth)||Montague, Frederick||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Hoffman, P. C.||Morley, Ralph||Sorensen, R.|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Spero, Dr. G. E.|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Horrabin, J. F.||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Hunter. Dr. Joseph||Mort, D. L.||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Moses, J. J. H.||Strauss, G. R.|
|Isaacs, George||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Muff, G.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Johnston, Thomas||Muggeridge, H. T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)||Murnin, Hugh||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Nathan, Major H. L.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Naylor, T. E.||Tillett, Ben|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Noel Baker, P. J.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Oldfield, J. R.||Toole, Joseph|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Tout, W. J.|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Townend, A. E.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Kennedy, Thomas||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Palin, John Henry||Viant, S. P.|
|Kinley, J.||Paling, Wilfrid||Walkden, A. G.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Palmer, E. T.||Walker, J.|
|Knight, Holford||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)||Perry, S. F.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Lang, Gordon||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Wallers, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Tudor|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Lathan, G.||Phillips, Dr. Marion||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah|
|Law, Albert (Bolton)||Picton-Turberville, E.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Law, A. (Rosendale)||Pole, Major D. G.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Ponsonby, Arthur||White, H. G.|
|Lawson, John James||Potts, John S.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Pybus, Percy John||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Leach, W.||Quibell, D. F. K.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Lees, J.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Raynes, W. R.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Llndley, Fred W.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Lloyd, C. Ellis||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Longbottom, A. W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Longden, F.||Romerll, H. G.||Wise, E. F.|
|Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Lowth, Thomas||Rowson, Guy||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Lunn, William||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Percy Harris and Mr. Scurr.|
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.586
§ Third Reading put off for six months.