HC Deb 04 June 1930 vol 239 cc2338-43

Order for Consideration of Lords Amendments read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."—[Miss Lawrence.]


I want to take this opportunity of objecting very strongly to this matter being dealt with at this time of night. I beg to remind the Minister that the Second Reading of the Bill was taken, I think, at either two or three o'clock in the morning in spite of the protests of hon. Members on this side of the House. It is an important Bill in many respects, and anyone glancing at its Clauses will see that it certainly makes a very considerable alteration in the law of this country. It was a surprise and an objectionable thing that the Second Reading of the Bill, although to a large extent it may have been a matter of agreement, was taken at that time. We made our protest, but we were told on the Second Reading that the Bill was a matter of arrangement between the railway companies and the Government, that it carried out very generally a bargain that had been made, and that we could be assured that the whole of the contents of the Bill were in satisfactory form and followed out the general arrangement that had been arrived at. That assurance was given also on the Committee stage of the Bill.

It is a most surprising thing, knowing as I do the Ministry of Health and the care of the Department, that we should now be confronted, at a quarter to one in the morning, with a series of Amendments consisting of no less than seven pages. I have gone to some trouble to see whether these Amendments are of a drafting character, but from what was stated in another place that is not the case. There are not only Amendments of a drafting character, but also Amendments clarifying particular points and Amendments on points of technical detail. It certainly calls for some scrutiny on the part of the House why these matters were not all considered when the Bill was first presented to the House. No one can blame the Opposition in a case of this kind for saying that, as the Government have put down this business after a very heavy day, we ought to have some explanation. In those circumstances, I appeal to the Leader of the House—if he is here—or the Deputy-Leader—if he is here—or to anyone who happens to be in charge—perhaps the Attorney-General, who stated at a dinner a short time ago that he was going to see that all these Bills were put in proper form so that the public could understand them. I hope he will take these Amendments to the next dinner he goes to and show them how he has succeeded in his task. In any event, I make this protest and ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, as he is apparently in charge, whether he will withdraw these Amendments in order to give us some opportunity of discussing the Bill. Otherwise, I shall divide with my hon. Friends as a protest.


As a very retiring back bench Member I wish to protest very strongly against having to consider these Amendments at this time of the night. I think it is extraordinarily difficult, when we have a Bill of this size, that we should have to take it late and consider Amendments that will undoubtedly have to be very carefully looked into. Many of us who have been suffering for the past few hours because we could not get the advice of the Attorney-General may be desirous of getting information from him that we could not get earlier. But I think there are other reasons why we should object to considering this particular Bill now. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) has pointed out that this Bill has never had full and proper consideration in this House. I see there is no person in charge of the Front Bench at the present time who is likely to be able to give us a proper and adequate explanation as to why these Amendments should be taken at all, and why we should accept them or otherwise. In making these observations at the present time, I would like to say one further thing, or two. The hon. Members opposite who may at the present time think it is a good thing to go on for many hours on end might, after all, follow the advice given by them to other people. We do ask for reasonable time and reasonable hours. Hon. Members opposite might follow the rules they advocate for other people in other places and allow us to end at a normal and proper time.


It is quite true that there was no debate on the Second Reading, and the reason is that this is a Bill of a very highly technical character, but by no means controversial. The railway companies, and the local authorities, had agreed to it and, therefore, the House gave the Second Reading without debate. There was another opportunity for discussion in the Committee stage. In that Committee, certain explanations were asked for and given. The Committee met at Eleven o'Clock, and at a quarter to Twelve the Committee was absolutely and perfectly satisfied with the explanations. It is not the case that no opportunity was given for discussion. There was the Committee stage, and, if there had been the slightest objection inside the room, or outside, on the part of the great interests concerned, those objections would have found reflection in the Committee. It went up to another place which put down what looked like a formidable list of Amendments.


Not another place, but the Ministry of Health.


These things are done by the House of Commons or another place. They amended the Bill on a great number of small drafting points. The bulk of these Amendments are drafting, but there are one or two minor technical points. Every one of them has been discussed with the representatives of the railway companies and the local authorities. They are all anxious to have the Bill. The Bill is purely a machinery Bill, and I ask the House, even at this late hour, to put it through this stage.


I will say something even at this early hour. I once saw a play written by a namesake of my own—Henry Arthur Jones—called the "Hypocrite." The principal character in the play gave an exhibition of the kind of thing which we have heard tonight from the hon. Members opposite.


That has nothing to do with the Bill; it does not seem to be relevant.


Neither are the speeches of the hon. Members opposite relevant to the Bill.

Question put, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."

The House divided: Ayes, 179; Noes, 47.

Division No. 345.] AYES. [12.55 a.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hastings, Dr. Somerville Noel Baker, P. J.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Haycock, A. W. Oldfield, J. R.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Hayday, Arthur Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Hayes, John Henry Owen, H. F. (Hereford)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro') Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.) Palin, John Henry
Alpass, J. H. Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow) Palmer, E. T.
Ammon, Charles George Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Arnott, John Herriotts, J. Perry, S. F.
Aske, Sir Robert Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth) Potts, John S.
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Hopkin, Daniel Price, M. P.
Barnes, Alfred John Horrabin, J. F. Pybus, Percy John
Bellamy, Albert Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield) Quibell, D. J. K.
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Hunter, Dr. Joseph Ramsay, T. B. Wilson
Benson, G. John, William (Rhondda, West) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Bentham, Dr. Ethel Johnston, Thomas Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Ritson, J.
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Romeril, H. G.
Bowen, J. W. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Rosbotham, D. S. T.
Broad, Francis Alfred Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. Rowson, Guy
Brooke, W. Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield) Kennedy, Thomas Sanders, W. S.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire) Kinley, J. Sawyer, G. F.
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Buchanan, G. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Shield, George William
Burgess, F. G. Lathan, G. Shillaker, J. F.
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Law, A. (Rosendale) Shinwell, E.
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.) Lawrence, Susan Simmons, C. J.
Charleton, H. C. Lawson, John James Sinkinson, George
Church, Major A. G. Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle) Sitch, Charles H.
Clarke, J. S. Leach, W. Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Daggar, George Lees, J. Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Dallas, George Lewis, T. (Southampton) Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Dalton, Hugh Lindley, Fred W. Smith, W. R. (Norwich)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lloyd, C. Ellis Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Dickson, T. Longbottom, A. W. Stephen, Campbell
Dukes, C. Longden, F. Strachey, E. J. St. Loe
Duncan, Charles Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Strauss, G. R.
Ede, James Chuter Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Sullivan, J.
Edmunds, J. E. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)
Edwards, E. (Morpeth) McElwee, A. Thurtle, Ernest
Elmley, Viscount McEntee, V. L. Tinker, John Joseph
Freeman, Peter McKinlay, A. Tout, W. J.
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) McShane, John James Vaughan, D. J.
Gibbins, Joseph Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Wallace, H. W.
Gibson, H. M. (Lancs. Mossley) Mansfield, W. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Gill, T. H. Marcus, M. Wellock, Wilfred
Gillett, George M. Marley, J. Welsh, James (Paisley)
Gossling, A. G. Mathers, George Westwood, Joseph
Gould, F. Maxton, James Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Messer, Fred Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Mills, J. E. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Granville, E. Milner, Major J. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Gray, Milner Montague, Frederick Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Morgan, Dr. H. B. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Grundy, Thomas W. Morley, Ralph Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Moses, J. J. H.
Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.) Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick) Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Hardie, George D. Muff, G. Paling.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Balniel, Lord Boyce, H. L.
Albery, Irving James Beaumont, M. W. Bracken, B.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Betterton, Sir Henry B. Briscoe, Richard George
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Colfox, Major William Philip Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford) Thomson, Sir F.
Colville, Major D. J. Knox, Sir Alfred Todd, Capt. A. J.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester) Wayland, Sir William A.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford) Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Wells, Sydney R.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Elliot, Major Walter E. Penny, Sir George Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Womersley, W. J.
Greene, W. P. Crawford Salmon, Major I. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Hartington, Marquess of Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart Captain Wallace and Sir Victor
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome Warrender.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendments considered accordingly.

  1. CLAUSE 11.—(Alterations of railway valuation roll during quinquennial period.) 187 words