§ The PRIME MINISTER
I beg to move,That, notwithstanding any Standing Order of this House, Government Business have precedence on every Wednesday for the remainder of this Session.I must remind the House that there are a great many precedents for this procedure, but I shall only give one at the present moment. On the 22nd February, 1921, Mr. Bonar Law moved a Motion taking precedence for Government business at every sitting, including Fridays as well as Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, until the end of the financial year. I quote that Resolution, because Mr. Bonar Law then used a sentence which is my case now. He said:It may be contended, with some appearance of justification, that the necessity of taking the time in this way … should have been avoided, but there was only one way in which it could have been avoided, and that was by causing the House of Commons to meet earlier than it did."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1921; col. 796, Vol. 138.]That is exactly my case. Before we rose for the Christmas vacation I was perfectly prepared to ask the Members of the House to assemble a week earlier than they have done, that is, on the 13th January instead of the 20th January. So far as I was concerned, I had a very good idea that whether your holiday ended on the 13th or the 20th it would be all one to me but, with my usual thoughtfulness for the comfort of the House, I decided that it would be fair if you enjoyed a very good Christmas vacation and then came back in the most excellent good tempers to pursue the work of the Session. But that week could only be given on certain conditions. The work up to Easter had been very carefully thought out and fitted into a time table, and very much to my regret—I hope hon. Members on both sides of the House will believe that I did my best to avoid it—I found that if that week was to be added to the holidays the House would have to give me the five remaining Wednesdays of private Members' time. At first, it looked as if we should have to take the Fridays as well, but I am glad to say that that is not necessary. Therefore, I am moving my Motion that private Members' Wednesdays should be taken by the Government in order to enable Government business to be performed.
44 I see that some newspapers, always publishing false prophecies, have said that I should come to the House and say that Wednesday, as used by private Members, is no good. That is not true. On the whole, Wednesdays for private Members' business are very well used. There are occasions when perhaps they might have been used better. If the opportunities given to private Members were used for raising questions of a more general character than can be debated in the course of Bills, the discussion of which would do us all good; if private Members would use their time as some have done on Wednesdays for that purpose, I would be the last man, except with the most profound regret and only in circumstances of imperative necessity, to curtail private Members' time on Wednesdays. That is my position.
We must pursue with energy the Bills that are already before us. This week, the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill will be started on its voyage. The Representation of the People Bill will be brought on immediately, and, as the House is aware, that Bill must be taken in Committee on the Floor of the House; it cannot be sent to a Committee upstairs. We propose to proceed with the Agricultural Marketing Bill. A very important part of the existing law relating to payments in respect of Unemployment Insurance comes to an end with the last day of the financial year, and, as the Royal Commission has been asked to speed up its inquiries, and give us a report especially upon that part of the law which expires at the end of March, we propose to introduce legislation, I will not say to continue the existing law, but, at any rate, so as to continue the Treasury's power to assist the unemployed after consideration of the problem. Then there are sure to be some emergency Measures and questions for which time will be wanted. For instance, to-day I have been asked by the Leader of the Opposition about India. Time for that, of course, has to be granted, and is granted with the very best will of the Government.
I expect that the right hon. Gentleman will be going again to put his hand into my pocket so far as time is concerned. He knows that I am only too anxious to accommodate him when he is reasonable, but I would like to come to a bargain 45 with him this afternoon. I cannot be reasonable with the right hon. Gentleman unless he is reasonable with me, gives me a slight balance of time and does not compel me to run under backward conditions as far as House of Commons opportunities are concerned. I feel perfectly certain that nobody in this House knows more than he does how reasonable I am in limiting my request for Wednesdays, and not extending it to Fridays as well. It is sheer necessity, and I am following in this respect for once in the good steps of Mr. Bonar Law and the late Conservative Government. I ask for time, which is required for essential business, and I hope that I will receive it from the House.
§ Mr. S. BALDWIN
When the right hon. Gentleman says that he is asking for time and that he hopes to receive it, that is the truest observation he made during the course of his speech. I have, however, one or two Observations to make, and, possibly, there will be further observations by hon. Friends behind me before the Division is taken. I might say, in passing, that I rather deprecate the use of the word "holiday" as synonymous with the Recess. It makes a false impression on the public mind. I also take a little exception to the right hon. Gentleman having spoken as if he had given us a day for the discussion of India to oblige me. That, of course, after the India Conference, the Government are bound to do. They must make their statement, and we are all looking forward to it. In regard to what was done in 1921, I have very little responsibility for that, but, as a matter of fact, precedents for taking private Members' time so early in the Session are not common, and I would rather like to look for a moment at an occasion, not much more than two years ago, when I had to put down a similar Motion on behalf of the Government of which I was then the head.
I had an excuse then which the right hon. Gentleman has not now. I stated in this House that there was certain legislation which had to be got through before the General Election. But there is no prospect of a General Election now. It is very interesting to notice that in the course of his speech on that occasion he ventured to stress that point, and it was taken up, and I thought at the time it was a good point. He also said that, of course, it was the duty of the Oppo- 46 sition, as it is, to do their best to safeguard the interests of private Members. There is no body of men so willing to commit suicide so far as their time for speech is concerned as private Members behind the Government. It happens time after time, and in spite of all the eloquence and the desire to give expression to themselves, that no voice is lifted up against what the Leader of the House wishes to do. The Leader of the Opposition at that time made this point which, I think, is a perfectly valid one, but I cannot be sure if I gave any reply, though I am sure if I did it was a very reasonable one. He said that of course if you take away private members' time, there is always a moral obligation on the Government, in the event of matters of importance coming up, to give time to the Opposition to discuss those subjects. I would remind him of that, because he seems to be in such a reasonable frame of mind this afternoon, and, having finished the Conference, and having very much less to do, I am sure he will consider that favourably. He also saidThis is not a suspension of the Standing Orders; this is a subversion of the Standing Orders."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th November, 1928; col. 56, Vol. 222.]It is less a subversion not taking Fridays, I quite admit, but it is a proposal which in putting it down, we all feel is a pity, and the Opposition always feel that they are labouring under a grievance when private members' time is taken away.
I would say one word to the right hon. Gentleman who leads the Liberal party, because he, doubtless, will support this Motion. I would remind him, as I think it is good sometimes to remind him, of what he said a year or two ago. He said that he was going to support my Motion at the end of 1928, because if that Motion were not carried it would delay the General Election we were all looking forward to. He will no doubt tell us this afternoon whether he is still of the same mind, and is looking forward to a General Election. The curious thing is, that, having made that powerful speech, and doubtless influenced a good many votes, I cannot find his name in the Division List. I have said what I have to say. I cannot flatter myself that these few words of mine are going to convert a majority of the House into a minority. We shall have, as all Oppositions have, 47 to suffer with what patience we may, but we shall raise our voice against this arbitrary confiscation of private members' time.
§ Sir DENNIS HERBERT
The Leader of the House, in moving Motions of this kind, can only rely upon precedents up to a certain point, because in every case the particular position in regard to business is one which must be considered at the time. At the present time, the country finds itself in a position undoubtedly serious, unemployment increasing enormously, our financial affairs, our trade and industry in a sorry plight, and no private Member on this side of the House, at any rate, would be otherwise than willing to give up private Members' time if they saw that the time was going to be used for any remedial measures. But what do we find? We find that the time is to be taken up by Bills and proposals which are not going to deal with this serious state of affairs, and, in fact, cannot reasonably purport to deal with it in any way whatever. One of the principal Measures for which this time is asked is a Measure under the guidance of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture. It is a Measure which, as far as I can see, and, I think, most hon. Members on this side will agree, is going to do nothing to mitigate the evil of unemployment. The agricultural industry does not want it, and does not like it. This Bill, for which we are asked to give time, is one which, as far as I can discover, is genuinely supported by nobody but the right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of it, a number of professional party politicians and a certain number of theoretical faddists, all of whom suffer from an ignorance in regard to practical agricultural matters which is only exceeded by that of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill. I leave the right hon. Gentleman and his friends the supporters of the Bili to wallow in their own self-satisfaction with the extraordinary legislative proposals which they have made.
Do the Government not realise the feeling there is in the country that they are called upon to do something definite with regard to this question of unemployment? More than that, and with a view to mitigating unemployment, the country looks to this Government at once to take some 48 drastic measures to curtail national expenditure, and to try to keep our finances within reasonable limits. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is smiling. I hope he is not smiling at what I am saying. At any rate, I am glad that he is on the bench opposite to hear, for what it may be worth, the statement that wherever we go about the country on business matters, not in regard to politics at all, we find this feeling being aroused throughout the country that we are in an extraordinarily dangerous position with regard to our national finances, and yet the Government are asking for time to promote legislative proposals which, so far as they are concerned with finance, are only going to increase our expenditure. There is not the slightest indication in their programme of anything whatever which will stop this terrible downward slide, with national bankruptcy at the bottom of it. While Rome was burning the Emperor Nero was play-acting in a turret of his palace. It has taken nearly 1,900 years to find a parallel to that; with this country on the verge of national bankruptcy the Government can do nothing but sit in Downing Street subsidising grand opera. I protest against this cynical proposal to take private Members' time for Government purposes when the Government have no proposals on the Order Paper which are in the least likely to meet the demands and expectations of the country for something to deal with the terrible state of affairs prevailing at the present moment.
§ Mr. BROCKWAY
May I as one of the back benchers intervene for a moment in the debate. I welcome the Motion now before the House because I believe that the condition of the country demands that all the effective time of the House should be given to legislation, but I want to urge on the Prime Minister that if the Government takes the time of the House in this way the time should be used in order to deal with the desperate condition of the working classes. The right hon. Member for Bewdley (Mr. S. Baldwin) protested against the use of the word "holiday" in connection with the Recess, and I imagine that hon. Members in all parts of the House will concur in that protest. Those of us who have been going about the country during the Recess, to the mining areas, the steel areas or the textile areas in Lancashire, 49 cannot but be gravely disturbed with the growing deterioration resulting not only from unemployment but from wage reductions from one end of the country to the other. We are faced with a crisis in the deterioration of working class standards which demands much bigger and much bolder legislation than anything yet brought forward by the Government Front Bench.
So far as unemployment is concerned, the policy of the Government so far has been to concentrate upon the recovery of our export markets. I desire to urge that if, they are going to take the time of the House in this way it should be used for the recapture of our home market by improving the condition of the workers in this country. In addition, as we are faced with vast numbers of unemployed, the Government should concentrate not upon comparatively small schemes of work under local authorities but upon great national schemes such as are necessary to deal with the housing problem. I support the Motion before the House but I do earnestly appeal to the Government to reconsider their programme and bring in legislation which will adequately deal with the desperate condition of the country at the present time.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
I should just like to say one word on the subject which the hon. Member for Leyton East (Mr. Brockway) has raised. The House as a whole will expect at an early date a statement of Government policy on the problem of unemployment, a question upon which the mind and heart and conscience of the country is deeply moved at the present time. The House will expect some statement on the problem as to how we are to get our men back to work. There is no doubt that this question will take precedence of all other questions during the next few weeks.
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
I desire to add my protest against the proposal of the Government to take the time of private Members. There is no hon. Member on this side of the House who would in the least regret making the sacrifice if there was any assurance that any effective use would be made of that time for the purpose of dealing with some of the problems which face us at the moment. At present we are presented with a programme which 50 displays a perfectly cynical disregard of all the needs of the country. Everyone will agree that a new situation has been created even since we separated for the Christmas Recess. There has been an addition of over 300,000 people to the live register, and surely that fact justifies a reorientation of policy, some new proposals, to deal with a situation which has been aggravated to such an alarming extent in the course of the last few weeks. At the present time the only questions in which the country is interested are, first, how to improve the trade of the country and, in the second place, how to reduce the distress of unemployment. These are living problems with which the people are asking the Government to deal.
In what way does the Government propose to deal with them? It presents us with a farrago of Bills, not one of which will add one single man to employment, even if every single Measure is passed. It presents us with a mess of pottage which can only result in increased expenditure and will not add a single soul to the employment list. The Prime Minister and his colleagues are inviting the House of Commons to spend 11 weeks between now and Easter discussing perfectly futile subjects which have no relevancy to the vital needs of the country. We enter our protest against that procedure. That, however, is not the whole case. We are to be presented at the expense of private Members' time with Bills which will add to the economic burdens of the country, which will throw sand into the wheels of capital and labour, which above all other elements in our economic life must be brought to face the difficulties of the present time if we are to survive the troubles of 1931. Instead of dealing with vital problems we are to discuss whether hon. Members below the Gangway are to have the alternative vote, whether we are to use motor cars, or whether the workers are to be permitted to call a general strike. These are the questions the House is to be asked to discuss at a time when what the country needs are resolute measures to deal with the distress which is only too apparent. Let the Government come forward with any proposals, any measures, which show that they have a just appreciation of the present situation and there will be no lack of generosity in surrendering the time of the House. They come forward, however, with a programme 51 which is a farce and an insult to the House of Commons, and we on this side register our protest against it.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Since I became a Member of this House I have always been jealous of the rights of private Members, and I should not like this occasion to pass without making a few comments. I am in complete agreement with the hon. Member for Leyton East (Mr. Brockway). It will be all to the good if all the time of the House between now and Easter were taken up in expediting assistance for the unemployed and improving the condition of the working classes. Certain questions are worrying the working people at the moment. There is the question of wages and the threatened reduction of wages. During recent years there has been a continual fall in wages, but no corresponding reduction has taken place in the rent they have to pay for their houses. I hope the Government will see its way to give facilities for the Rent Reduction and Control Bill which some of my colleagues and I have introduced. The House gave a unanimous First Reading to this Measure, and the fact that not a single voice was raised against it should prove to the Government that facilities for the Bill would not be wasted. There is a very pressing problem in the case of many shopkeepers owing to decreasing trade and harder conditions. I hope we are going to get on the Statute Book before Easter a Measure providing for the reduction of rents in the case of these people.
The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) has introduced a Bill to prevent the reduction of wages. We have asked for facilities for this Measure. The Prime Minister has informed me that the Government are of opinion that the Bill would not meet the case. He did not give any reasons for that opinion. I think the Prime Minister is wrong and that the Bill would certainly be very helpful in preventing such circumstances as have occurred in the railway, mining and other industries. It is true that the Bill could be strengthened, but I hope the Government will see the necessity for passing legislation before Easter which will prevent any lowering of the standards of life of the working classes by reductions in wages. May I point out 52 that in this way we can prevent industrial crises arising? One of the reasons for the existence of the Labour party is that political power should be used for passing Acts of Parliament which will prevent the necessity for strike action or industrial action, and I hope that the Government, even as a minority Government, will take this opportunity when there is a unanimous feeling in the House that something must be done in view of the terrible hardships of the working people. Any Government coming forward with Measures to prevent a reduction of wages, to provide for an increase of wages or for a reduction of rents, would, I believe, have the wholehearted support of the overwhelming masses of the people of this country. It would be doing a great work, and taking the necessary steps towards the creation of a better state of society with better opportunities for all.
§ Captain BOURNE
Although the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) did not seem to be enamoured of the Government proposal, I presume that he will vote for it, but it seems to me an extraordinary thing that the Government should come back after the Recess, when unemployment has greatly increased, and bring forward a Motion of this kind with no better excuse than that Mr. Bonar Law did it in 1921. I believe that the precedent which the Prime Minister quoted is a bad one, for it will be within the recollection of the House that in those days private Members' time went on after Easter, and private Members still had certain opportunities of raising grievances on all important matters, though perhaps not matters worthy of a vote of censure, after Easter. That, to my mind, is one of the reasons why the House should look very jealously at any Government Motions to take private Members' time. If the Motion is carried there will be no means by which back bench Members can raise any matters, no matter how much those matters may interest the country in general, unless they are of such great importance that the Government are bound to find a day for them. Otherwise, we are confined to discussing what the Government choose to place in front of us.
We have been told by the Prime Minister what the Government intend to put before us. It is not an inspiring programme. It is admitted in all 53 quarters of the House, it is admitted in the Press and by people who are making speeches outside the House, that the country is in a bad way. The outward and visible sign of that is the growth of unemployment, more especially the steady growth in the figure representing those who are permanently unemployed. The Government bring forward a programme which, if any Measure contained in it reaches the Statute Book, will not make the remotest difference to our trading position or give employment to a single one of the unfortunate persons now out of employment. The country expects something different.
The only possible excuse for the Government's existence or for their taking office was to deal with unemployment. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Dominions stated that this Government would be judged on its record regarding unemployment. I for one sincerely hope that the Government will be so judged, because I believe that when it is considered that the Government have done nothing and have watched unemployment grow until it has more than doubled and nearly trebled since they first took office, the country will have something to say about it. Unemployment figures stand at the highest total that has ever been known, yet the Government bring in Measures, not to deal with unemployment, but they seek to take private Members' time in order that they might pass the Trade Disputes Bill and an electoral reform Bill which are not urgent and which will not give a single person a job. If that is all that the Government can suggest, I hope that the House will divide against the Motion.
§ Mr. W. J. BROWN
I want to make it clear at the outset that if there is a Division on this Motion I shall vote with the Government for the taking of private Members' time. I should, however, like to make one or two comments upon the proposal and the circumstances in which it is produced. In the first place, I do not regard the giving up by private Members of the Wednesdays between now and Easter as in any sense a serious invasion of private Members' liberty. If it were the case that anything serious emerged from private Members' business in this House, the position would be different. I have sat through many private Members' days in this Parliament, and 54 off-hand I can think of only one debate which led to any concrete result. That was the debate on Capital Punishment, which resulted in the appointment of a Select Committee from which all the Conservative Members resigned as soon as it reached a, critical stage in its proceedings! In those circumstances and in the experience of every one of us, it is idle for the private Member to hope to do anything unless he can get the Front Bench with him, Therefore, it seems to me quite wrong to treat this proposal as an unwarrantable invasion of very sacred private Members' rights. But there is another reason. If the responsible Government of the country comes to the House and says, "In our considered view the requirements of the situation are such that we want the Wednesdays between now and Easter," only the strongest grounds can justify the House in refusing to meet the request. Presumably the Government is a responsible Government. Presumably it is serious in snaking this demand on us, and since the demand calls for no special sacrifice, I see no reason why it should not be met.
But if private Members are to give up the nine days between now and Easter, I hope that the Government will utilise the days well. I can conceive of four subjects which urgently need the attention of the House and need to be thrashed out to a conclusion. There is, first of all, the unemployment situation. The uneasiness which is felt in other quarters of the House is felt on the Government side—that the economic situation is rapidly drifting to disaster without any real control or influence being exercised by the Parliament of the nation. That is true. Those of us who have come back from our Divisions and have seen what the tragedy means in terms of humiliation and sacrifice in the back streets of our towns, feel that Parliament cannot be allowed to go drifting on in face of the tremendous unemployment problem.
A second thing is the wages situation in the country. At the moment tremendous wages attacks are being launched upon railwaymen, upon cotton operatives, upon other sections of the working classes, and again for all practical purposes Parliament is 55 irrelevant to the situation. Both on the workmen's side in industry and on the employers' side, Parliament is almost a complete irrelevancy to the tremendous revolution which is taking place in the country. That cannot go on indefinitely without serious damage to Parliamentary institutions themselves. There is a third issue: there is India. Many of us view with increasing concern the possibilities of the next 12 months in India. Parliament itself has not debated India from the time of the announcement that the Round Table Conference was to be set up, but Parliament will have to face the consequences that emerge from the conclusions of the Conference and of the reactions which the Report of the Conference produces in India. Are any of the nine days to be devoted to that subject?
Finally, there is the tremendously urgent question of Parliamentary reform itself. Nine days would suffice to reform the procedure of this House; nine days of Parliamentary time seriously devoted to bringing a seventeenth-century machine up to date would be a wise expenditure of Parliamentary time. We have had it from the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), that this Parliament was never created for the handling of economic issues, that it was developed at a time when the sole concern of Parliament was broad political issues that were susceptible of debate in a large assembly. But in the last two centuries a new civilisation has grown up, an industrial civilisation, and to that civilisation the proceedings of our Parliament are very largely irrelevant. I should be out of order if I pursued that subject too far, but I profoundly believe that to a very large extent the great anti-democratic, anti-Parliamentary movements that are sweeping across the continent of Europe will be developed in this country in our time unless Parliament can be made equal to the work of handling the situation in this country.
The Labour party has a programme for Parliamentary reform, and it is a programme which the Liberal Members would find it difficult to oppose. If the Government devoted the nine days to the business of making this House a suitable medium for handling twentieth century problems, the whole subsequent 56 course of the Government of this country might be different. I see that the Prime Minister has left the Chamber, but I hope that whoever replies for the Government will tell us how it is proposed to utilise the nine days that we are asked to sacrifice. I shall vote for the Motion because I think it is the right of the Government to make this request to the House. The Government has a duty to the House of Commons also, and that is to say how far, if at all, the nine days are to be applied to the four great problems that confront the country and about which not a word has been said in the sketch of Parliamentary business that has so far been presented to the House.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
With a very large part of what the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton (Mr. W. J. Brown) has said, I find myself in substantial agreement. In the first place I would protest against the absence of any responsible spokesman on the Government Front Bench, unless the Postmaster-General is to reply. This is rather an important Motion, but everyone left the Treasury Bench after it had been debated for a few minutes.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
They are not responsible for the Motion. The hon. Member for West Wolverhampton has asked for specific replies from the Government on the points that he has raised, and the Government should reply not only to him but to some of us who have observations to make on the Motion. It is treating the House with even less deference than usual, in fact with the utmost contempt, to fling down a Motion of this magnitude and importance, and then not bother even to listen to the debate or to answer it at the end. That is what the Government are doing. I think that the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton is to some extent responsible, because he opened his remarks by announcing that, although he proposed to criticise the Government in certain respects, yet whatever happened, he was going to vote for the Motion. As soon as that remark passed his lips, I noticed that at least two hon. Members left from the Front Bench opposite—
§ Mr. W. J. BROWN
I did not quite say that. I did not say that I was going to criticise the Government, and nobody who knew me would credit me with that intention. Like Rosa Dartle, I was merely asking for information.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I at once acquit the hon. Member of any intention to criticise the Government in any respect, because I know that he has for long been one of their most loyal and enthusiastic supporters. But the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) said he agreed with every word that the hon. Member for East Leyton (Mr. Brockway) had said. What did the hon. Member for East Leyton say? He said he was quite prepared to see private Members' time taken up for effective work on the part of the Government, and I hasten to say that I am quite certain that every hon. Member on this side would share that view. If there was the slightest reason to suppose that the time which we are asked to concede was to be taken up with any sort of effective work, we would gladly give it without a Division. But is there the slightest reason to suppose that the work of the Government in the next few weeks is going to be any more effective than its work during the past 18 months?
Under our present system of procedure, the Government of the day are primarily responsible for the legislation which we are invited to consider, and the work which we are asked to do. How have the Government asked this House to spend its time since last October? In considering, week after week, and day after day, two Measures of first-rate importance, namely, the Education Bill and the Road Traffic Act, neither of which is calculated to put a single man or woman into employment. The Education Bill is not even to come into operation until the autumn of next year—if then, because now there is some talk of abandoning it. But, if the Government had any sense of the gravity of the crisis, they would not have asked the House of Commons to waste its time for weeks on end on two Measures which have no direct bearing on the economic problem—the only problem that matters at the present time.
How do they propose to ask us to spend our time now? What are the two principal Measures to be placed before us in the next few weeks? They are the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill, and the Electoral Re- 58 form Bill. I ask hon. Members opposite: How many men and women will those Measures put into employment? How are those Bills going to affect the industrial situation? There is no reason to suppose that they will do anything to alleviate it. The country is interested, above everything else at the present time, in proposals to restore prosperity to industry and to revive trade. The country cares about nothing else. The Government have wasted our time on other subjects since October, and now they propose to waste our time still further on subjects which are not relevant to the one key problem. That is ample reason why hon. Members, and especially backbenchers, should decline to give the Government the time for which they ask, unless we receive a categorical assurance that the time will be usefully, and, in the words of the hon. Member for East Leyton, effectively, employed in tackling the only problem that matters.
Take the question of industrial policy generally. If one asks the President of the Board of Trade what specific proposals he is going to bring before us to revive industrial prosperity, one can get no answer of any sort or kind except that he is going to indulge in a few more perfectly futile discussions at Geneva. That is the sole practical proposal he has yet been able to bring before us. If any of us asks the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the vital subject of financial policy, the Chancellor of the Exchequer treats it as a sort of personal affront. He has done so, not once, but over and over again. I myself have, on several occasions, asked him about financial policy, and the reply has always been curt and barren of any sort of information, and the impression is given that it is somehow or another an insult to the right hon. Gentleman to ask him for any statement about financial policy. But who would deny that this is one of the most urgent questions of the day?
Finally, there is the question of the actual handling of the unemployed themselves, quite apart from any question of schemes worked and the revival of industry. That is a subject on which hon. Members opposite might be supposed to have some views, but there is not a word upon it from the Minister of Labour or from the Government generally. The Unemployment Insurance Fund is per- 59 mitted to go on running into debt to the tune of half-a-million a week while abuses on both sides, both by employers and by some of those who draw unemployment benefit, are allowed to continue unchecked. The Government have practically abrogated all responsibility in this respect, and have thrown the matter over to a Royal Commission which may or may not report in the course of the next few weeks. If one thing is certain, it is that this question of the treatment of the unemployed themselves—and the huge figures of unemployment which have been reached in the last few weeks make it more urgently necessary than ever—should be considered without delay.
The hon. Member for West Wolverhampton said that the Labour Government had a programme of Parliamentary reform. If he outlines all the programmes which the Government have put before the country but of which we have heard nothing during the last 18 months, we shall be here for the summer. They also had a programme and a policy for the control of imports, but we have not heard much about it since the Imperial Conference. Dozens of programmes have been held out to the electors of this country, none of which has even been thought of, since the present Government assumed office. If we are to wait for the Government to put any part of their programme into operation, we shall have to wait for a long time before we see anything in the nature of reform of Parliamentary procedure. That is not to say that such reform is not necessary. I believe that sooner or later some such reform will, undoubtedly, be necessary, and I understand that a Select Committee of this House is at present considering the matter. What is of importance today is that the Government, under our existing procedure and I think probably under any procedure, must assume primary responsibility for the sort of legislation submitted to this House and the kind of questions which we are asked to consider.
My right hon. Friend the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) asked the Prime Minister at Question Time to-day whether he had any further proposals regarding unemployment, and the Prime Minister, after hedging a good deal, had 60 to admit that the Government had no further proposals of any sort or kind to deal with this question. Yet we are asked to deprive private Members of the only chance which they will have, until next October, of drawing the attention of the House and the country to some of the things which really matter. There is not the slightest reason to suppose that the Government are even aware of the magnitude of the crisis or that they will do anything but attempt, as they have done in the past, to lull the House and the country into a false sense of security.
§ Mr. J. JONES
It is very gratifying, indeed, to hear the new-found enthusiasm on the subject of unemployment which has been expressed from the benches opposite. I remember the time when we used to walk in procession to the West End of London asking that something should be done for the unemployed when our Friends who are now on the benches opposite had the complete control of Government in this country, and when there was only one man in this House, in the person of Keir Hardie, to speak for the unemployed. I can remember the reception which he got when he dared to ask for £1,000,000 to assist the distressed at that period.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) must connect his remarks in some way with the Motion before the House, which deals with the taking of private Members' time.
§ Mr. JONES
I am trying, as far as I can, to do so. I do not want, like Flannigan's pup, to go a bit of the way with everybody. I want to say what I think and to think what I say. In so 61 far as I am concerned, my view is that private Members' time in this House is simply a waste of public time. You talk for days and weeks together and nothing happens as far as private Members' Bills are concerned. You may get the blessing of some Minister who says that the idea is a good one, but the Government have not the time to carry it out. Consequently, I say, it is a complete farce, and until the Rules of the House are altered so that every Motion coming before it will get fair consideration, whether Government Motions or private Members' Motions, it will continue to be a farce. I quite agree with hon. Members that we are facing a great economic crisis, but who is responsible for it? It is the people who are moaning and groaning here this afternoon. They are the champions of the system which has made unemployment. Those who believe in the present industrial system and who stand for it know full well—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
This is not the time for a debate of that nature. The Motion now before us is for the taking of private Members' time.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I take it that the hon. Member is complaining of the Ruling which I have just given. I must again point out that this Motion refers to the taking of private Members' time. If the hon. Member can make out that the Government ought not to use that time in legislating in a certain way, he will be in order.
§ Mr. JONES
I was trying as far as I was able to express my views on the subject, although those views may not meet with the approval of some other Members of the House. I want to see unemployment tackled because my constituency suffers from it as much as any other. In common with some others, I think that the Government might be more courageous in that respect, but I protest most emphatically against people grumbling about the lack of time for private Members' Motions, when they themselves with a big majority and with greater power than this Government failed to tackle the problem. We believe in trying to do 62 something for the unemployed, and those of us who belong to the Socialist movement—with which I have been connected for 40 years—believe that you will never solve the problem until you abolish the system which has created it, and that is the private ownership of the means of living of the people of this country.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MANDER
I wish to say a word upon this Motion because the interests of back bench Members are not always identical, especially on a question like this, with the interests of those who sit on the Front Benches. It is perfectly easy for a right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench to be called upon to speak at almost any time he wishes, but it is far more difficult for hon. Members on the back benches to have such opportunities. Therefore, I think they ought to watch very carefully any proposal of this kind, but I am bound to say, from my experience of discussions on private Members' Motions in this House, that a great deal of the time is absolutely wasted on Wednesdays and might be put to much better use. The Government are going to bring in various Measures. These may be unwise Measures, but the House of Commons can take those Measures in hand as they have done before in this Parliament and make them wiser and better Measures. The spectacle of hon. Members above the Gangway protesting against this Resolution is one of the most astounding things that one has seen for a long time. Only a few weeks ago one of their Members put down a Motion on a subject that stands in the forefront of their political programme—the necessity for economy. [An HON. MEMBER: "And yourselves!"] It was not a Motion put down by a Member of the party with which I am associated, or we should have been here in our places. It was put down by hon. Members above the Gangway on one of the gravest points in their programme, and after a half-hour's debate, not 40 of them were here to do it reverence. In those circumstances the opposition of hon. Members above the Gangway is a hollow mockery, and I hope in the circumstances that this Motion will be carried.
§ Captain AUSTIN HUDSON
I want to say a word or two in protest against this Motion. While some of us may disagree as to the wisdom or otherwise of taking 63 private Members' time, Members on all sides of the House are agreed on the suspicion that they have of the use that the Government will make of the time they hope to get in this way. I think the Prime Minister rather deceived the House when he gave us to understand that he had given an extra week in order that Members could enjoy their holidays, because one of the chief reasons why the date of 20th January was chosen was in order to finish the Round Table Conference, and I do not believe that would have been done had the House been sitting and the various Ministers engaged in that Conference had to attend this House.
I maintain that these private Members' days, even though they may not always be wisely used, are a very necessary safeguard for private Members. They allow a Member or a party to ventilate some subject at adequate length, which might otherwise not be ventilated. There is a number of subjects with which the country is at the present time very vitally concerned. There is the subject of unemployment, and there are all the different reactions which are the result of having such an enormous number of unemployed, such as the state of trade and the different circumstances which arise from the present working of the Unemployment Insurance Act. Supposing one of these particular heads or subjects should come to a point in the next few weeks, we should probably have had the opportunity of discussing it had not this Motion been moved. There is a question for which time was asked to-day, which would be eminently suitable for a private Member's Motion, and that is the question of the conditions of employment in Russia. We have had it debated in the papers at great length, and it would be all to the good for that subject to be ventilated here. That will now be impossible unless a Vote of Censure is put down and time granted for it by the Government.
There is another subject, which particularly affects London Members, and that is the present position of the law in relation to Sunday, which it would be very suitable to discuss here. We have different views on it, but we could find out what the general consensus of opinion is and what steps should be taken in the matter. Then again, as we have seen to- 64 day, various suggestions have been brought forward by the left wing of the Government party, all of which it would be very interesting to discuss in this House. When the Government move such a Motion as this, they should he perfectly certain that they are giving adequate time for the Opposition, or even for Members of their own party, to discuss subjects which are of great interest to the country as a whole.
There are now two particular Bills which the Government are wanting to push through. There is the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill, and then there is the Representation of the People Bill. What possible hurry can there be for either of them? They are purely party legislation. The object of the Trade Disputes Bill, according to the different discussions that have taken place in the papers, is to increase the coffers of the party opposite.
Mr. DEPUTY - SPEAKER (Mr. Dunnico)
The hon. and gallant Member is getting rather wide of the subject. He is not entitled to go into the merits or the demerits of any of these Bills on this Motion.
§ Captain HUDSON.
I bow to your Ruling. I was pointing out that the Prime Minister said he was taking time because of the legislation of real urgency which this House is to be asked to pass, and I was trying to prove that it was merely party legislation, without any real urgency, but I will not pursue that subject further. The Representation of the People Bill can have no possible effect on the vital issues before the country, and it is merely an attempt, as everybody knows, to wangle things in such a way as to get the maximum representation for the party opposite in time to come. Then we have the Education Bill, and we do not even know whether or not it is to be proceeded with. Not one of these three Bills, to accelerate which we are asked to pass this Motion, will have the slightest effect in the way of putting people into employment; they are, on the other hand, likely to be very costly and to cause more unemployment even than there is at the present time.
One other reason for my opposition to this Motion—and I believe I am rather backed up in this by what has happened within the last 18 months—is that I 65 believe that we have far too much legislation in this House. These Wednesdays which are given up to the discussion of different subjects, not in the form of a Bill and not necessarily to be in the form of a Bill in the future, do far more good than the continual bringing forward and rushing through of more and more legislation. One other reason why I object is that I had a private Member's Motion down, which was ruled out by a Motion of the Prime Minister's at the end of last Session.
The final reason why I think this House would be unwise to agree, anyhow without a protest, to the passing of such a Motion as this is that, if only in a small way, this system of allowing private Members by ballot to bring forward various Resolutions gives this House some kind of control over the Executive. If a Motion is brought forward and a Division is insisted on, the Government must take some notice of that Division and must make some reply to the debate. Gradually, control has been stolen from the House of Commons. Members of every party in turn have agreed that something ought to be done about this, but every time a Motion such as this is brought forward it means that even the small amount of control that we have now is being taken from us, and the Executive and the Civil Service behind them rule the country more and more without any kind of check being put upon them by the representatives of the people. For these reasons, I hope this Motion will not he carried.
§ Mr. ALBERY
From every side of this House and from representatives of every party in it the opinion has been expressed that the legislation which the Government have put before the House and for which they wish to take private Members' time is not in itself of sufficient importance or usefulness to the country in the present time of emergency. That has been debated fairly fully, and I do not propose to say anything on that subject, except that I entirely agree with the general view which has been expressed.
It seems to me that when the Prime Minister tells private Members that he proposes to take their time, we private Members are entitled to the presence on the Front Bench of at any rate a Cabinet Minister to hear our views, to pay some attention to any complaint which we 66 may wish to make, and subsequently to return some reply. In the present; case we have practically been told that we are going to have our time taken, that we can get up and say what we think about it, but that the Government do not care what we think about it and are not particularly interested to hear what we think about it, and that, whatever the result is, they are going to take our time. That seems to me to show a lack of courtesy to the ordinary hack bench Member of this House.
There is one special reason why we should protest against this proceeding to-day. No doubt the taking of Wednesdays could be fully justified if the business of the Government was of sufficient importance and was calculated to deal with the urgent problems now before the country, and further—and perhaps this is as important an argument as any—if the taking of that time was calculated to give adequate time to private Members to discuss in debate the Measures which the Government are bringing forward, but from what the Prime Minister said to-day that does not appear to be the case. He said he was going to give us two days for the Trade Disputes Bill. That Measure in its printed form is extremely complicated. There is bound to be a great deal of legal argument about it, and I take it that there is hardly any hon. and learned Member of this House who will not have something to say upon it. Probably most of those hon. and learned Members will he called, and rightly so, because we shall need a lot of help and instruction to understand what the Government propose to do, but the days allotted are separated.
There will be a great many Front Bench speakers from both sides, and if we get only two allotted days, the majority of private Members will have no opportunity whatever of expressing their views on a subject of the greatest importance, not only to the country but to every single constituency. The legal arguments will mostly be of an explanatory kind, and this is particularly a Measure on which the greatest possible opportunity should be given to private Members to put their views. There is no legislation proposed by the Government which is going to create more feeling in the constituencies or a greater interest 67 there. There is no legislation in their programme to-day about which there will be a greater and a more acute division of opinion, and I protest, not so much about the taking of this time, as at the fact that the time so taken is not to be used, as it ought to be, to enable an adequate debate to take place on those Measures which the Government will subsequently introduce.
§ Lord EUSTACE PERCY
I beg to move, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
I do so in order to call attention to the gross discourtesy of which the Government are guilty. The taking of private Members' time may or may not be justified, but it is a very serious request to make to the House of Commons, and that that, request should be made and a debate conducted upon it without a single member of the Cabinet on the Front Bench, but with just the Postmaster-General to listen to the views of the House on this subject, is a gross discourtesy to the House of Commons. [HON. MEMBERS: "A very good man!"] An extremely good man; I would not say a word as to his morality, even were that in order. I would not say anything against him on personal grounds, but he is not a member of the Cabinet; he is not responsible for the policy of the Government. I draw the attention of the House more especially to this. The Government are now proposing to take private Members' time, and what has characterised the treatment by the Government of private Members' time during this Parliament has been the same gross discourtesy that they are showing to-day. The hon. and gallant Member for East Rhondda (Lieut.-Colonel Watts-Morgan) introduced the other day a Bill, about which we used to hear a great deal when the late Government were in office, to provide boots for children in the schools. When he brought that Bill forward, there was no representative of the Ministry of Health on the Front Bench, although the Parliamentary Secretary, if not the Minister himself, wag within the precincts of the House. As the hon. and gallant Member well knows, they deliberately abstained from coming here in order that they might not have the responsibility of answering him. Having treated private Members in that way during this Parlia- 68 ment, they now come to take away private Members' time, and they private Members in precisely the same way when they make that request.
Let there be no doubt about the grounds on which we oppose this Motion. We do not oppose it because of what might be done in private Members' time if it were not taken away; we oppose it because of what will be done in private Members' time if it is taken away. In the last few months an increasing distrust and contempt for the House of Commons has been growing up in the country, and the Government propose to increase that distrust and deepen that contempt by using the time of the House during the next few weeks, in the midst of an unexampled economic crisis, with unexampled distress throughout the country, not in discussing anything which has any relation to that distress, but in discussing how employers and workers may most easily fight each other.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
On a point of Order. The Noble Lord has risen to move the Adjournment of the Debate, but is he not carrying on the debate on the Motion?
I think the Noble Lord has rather departed from the reasons he gave why the debate should be adjourned.
§ Lord E. PERCY
I beg your pardon, but I do not think I have departed from them. We are to occupy the time of the House in discussing how employers and employed may most bitterly fight each other, and we are to dance round that mulberry bush for weeks while the hon. and gallant Member's constituents in South Wales, having been put out of work by the Government's Measures, are now to be left to starve by the Government's utter inability to take any action—
The Noble Lord rose to move the Adjournment of the Debate on the ground that, no responsible Cabinet Minister was present, and I cannot permit him to discuss on the Motion now before us the Government's action in Wales.
§ Lord E. PERCY
I was about to use the following words. It is in these circumstances, when they are asking the House to give up the freedom of private 69 Members in order to devote themselves to these degrading, absurd and irrelevant occupations, that the Government—
§ Lord E. PERCY
It is on this occasion that the Government come to the House, and not a single Member of the Cabinet sits on the Front Bench to justify the way in which they would use their time. It is for that reason that I move the Adjournment of the Debate.
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Lees-Smith)
I may explain to the House that an urgent Cabinet meeting is being held. The Prime Minister asked me to occupy this place, and, if any specific question with regard to business were raised, to reply to it, having, if necessary, obtained the information for the purpose. I have been sitting in my place, and up to the present only two questions with regard to business arising out of this Motion have been put, and both questions I have noted in order to give a reply at the end of the debate. If the right hon. Gentleman persists in his Motion, I will say a few more words, but I hope that, as I have given this explanation, he will withdraw.
§ Lord E. PERCY
I can only say that the statement that there is an important Cabinet meeting is no excuse whatever for the absence of a Cabinet Minister. That has never been accepted as an excuse, and it will not be to-day.
§ Mr. HARDIE
To the Motion before the House that private Members' time be taken there has been moved a counter Motion for the Adjournment of the debate. It is simply a question of wasting the time of the House; I have been here eight years, and I have seen it more than once. The Procedure of the House is such that people outside are led to believe that inside all parties there is only a handful of capable Members, and that the rest must be spoonfed. That is exactly what the House is suffering from. If the House of Commons were looked upon as a body of responsible individuals, reponsible for individual efforts in the Government of the country, the question of who is on the Front Bench would not matter at all. The Motion for the Ad- 70 journment of the debate is a waste of time, and is only another evidence of the need for bringing the whole Parliamentary machine up to date. Surely the rights of private Members ought to be secured, but—
The hon. Member must confine his remarks to the Motion before the House, which is "That the Debate be now adjourned."
§ Mr. HARDIE
I am trying to give reasons why it should not be adjourned. We want to face the question of unemployment, but to adjourn now will be equal to saying that we are not in a position to deal with it, and we will be deprived of the opportunity of putting forward suggestions. Where schemes are being put up to local authorities and they refuse to carry them out, is not that something which this House ought to deal with now? Why should we adjourn the debate when such an important subject as this has to be dealt with?
§ Mr. HARDIE
I am doing my best to keep to the subject before the House, but you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, are confined by the old and rotten customs of this House. The Motion for the Adjournment of the debate is simply made for the purpose of scoring points, and I am sure that the Noble Lord cannot be satisfied that by moving the Motion he is doing anything to deal with the situation of the nation. When we find private interests preventing local authorities carrying out schemes, we ought to carry out the schemes and put the public authorities aside.
§ Mr. HARDIE
The Noble Lord spread himself pretty wide, and he went into some details about a Bill which were most inaccurate.
When I called the Noble Lord to order he obeyed my Ruling, and the hon. Member must also obey my Ruling.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I do obey your Ruling, but the Noble Lord continued after you had called him to order. I am not pre- 71 suming to take that liberty, and I deny the right of anyone with a title to tramp over the decisions of the Chair, while common Members are refused that right.
The duty of the Chair is to deal fairly with all Members of the House, and I endeavour to do that.
§ Mr. HARDIE
In conclusion, I would just say that this is not a serious Motion, there is no sincerity behind any part of it; nor was the Noble Lord himself sincere. He tried to evade every point relating to what should be the serious business of this House, and I hope we shall see that there is no adjournment.
§ Major GEORGE DAVIES
I think the hon. Member who has with some difficulty succeeded in completing his speech was hardly justified in levelling a charge of lack of sincerity against the Noble Lord in regard to this Motion. Let me bring the House back to a recollection of the situation before us. The Leader of the House, with considerable brevity, gave us the reasons why he wished to inflict what is a considerable demand upon the time of private Members. It is asking a concession of the vast majority of the Members of this House who do not happen to sit on the Front Benches and thus on account of the positions they hold or have held, have the privilege of being called, roughly speaking, every time they rise to their feet. Having made that demand, the Cabinet, with one accord, rose and filed out, leaving the Front Bench almost denuded of occupants. From reading the public Press I know that the Post Office is not unused to criticism, but I could not help feeling a certain amount of sympathy for the Postmaster-General, who, like Casabianca, was left in a place "whence all but he had fled" listening to criticisms to which he could have only an indirect authority to reply, because they could really only be dealt with by the Leader of the House.
I maintain that we have shown our justification for raising this question from two points of view. One is that if we are asked to make this concession of our rights as private Members, it is only courtesy, indeed, it is the proper procedure, that the Leader of the House, having made his request, should remain 72 throughout the Debate in order to listen to the criticisms which followed. These have by no means been confined to one side of the House, because hon. Members opposite, while they have indicated that they propose to support this Resolution, were by no means profuse in their compliments to their own Front Bench regarding the use which the Government propose to make of this time. The second justification for our action is that we now have the privilege of the presence of the Leader of the House as a listener and possibly to wind up the debate. I think our course in making this protest was an exceedingly proper one, because from whatever point of view one looks at the matter, as to whether in the past the best use has been made of private Members' time or whether the best use will be made of it in the future, this is an occasion when we have to register a protest, lest by allowing such proposals to go through as a matter of form, we find that ultimately we, as private Members, have been legislated out of a large number of our already limited opportunities in this House. For those reasons I hope this Motion for the adjournment will be pressed to a Division.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I must confess that I am rather surprised at the action taken by the Noble Lord. I understand that the grounds upon which he based his Motion are not quite the same as those taken by the hon. and gallant Member for Yeovil (Major G. Davies). I am not quite sure whether it is the Noble Lord or the hon. and gallant Member who is really responsible for this Motion.
§ Major DAVIES
If the right hon. Gentleman had had the privilege of listening to my right hon. and Noble Friend he would have realised that, though there was a more indirect approach to it, the ultimate goal at which we were both aiming was the same.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am very glad to hear that. It shows a unanimity which has hitherto been rather conspicuous by its absence. The fact of the matter is, this is not the first time in the history of this Parliament or of its predecessors when a Cabinet meeting has been held on certain urgent matters during the time when the House was 73 sitting. The reason why the hon. and gallant Member saw what he did see, namely, Cabinet Ministers on this bench all rising to go out together, was not that we wished to show any discourtesy to the House but that we were going elsewhere in a body on account of a summons which had been issued more than two days ago—I think three days. I left my hon. Friend the Postmaster-General in charge because there is no Member who has studied more carefully the procedure and practice of the House. If the apology which I gave to my hon. Friend on my left and to my colleagues round about when I was leaving had only been uttered in a somewhat, louder voice, so that it might have got across the Table, hon. Members opposite would have found that I was perfectly well aware that I was doing a thing which required some explanation. After this, I hope I shall be allowed to return to this meeting, which is of very great importance, and that the debate may go on with hon. Members assured that my hon. Friend the Postmaster-General will reply. An hon. Member opposite seemed to think that I was trying to avoid the right to reply to the debate. I have, in the ordinary way, no such right, to reply. The reply can only be made by another Minister. I assure the House that my departure did not indicate any disrespect to the House. I sat here as long as I possibly could, and left only when it was absolutely necessary to attend to the other business.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I do not think the reply of the Prime Minister has been at all satisfactory, and I hope that we shall, if necessary, press this Motion to a Division. I do not think the Prime Minister has any conception of what the position really is. [HON. MEMBERS: "You have not been here!"] On the contrary, I have been here this afternoon and made a speech. [Interruption.] What happened was this. [HON. MEMBERS: "They had to tell you all about it."] The Prime Minister made a very serious Motion this afternoon, to take away the whole of private Members' time until Easter.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I pointed out that I was not taking away the whole of private Members' time at all, and I also pointed out that, in view of there being more sittings of the House nowadays, 74 private Members, as a matter of fact, have more time.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
At the same time the Prime Minister will not deny that he is taking at least nine full days which otherwise would have belonged to private Members between now and Easter.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I was quoting from what I understood was said by the hon. Member for East Leyton (Mr. Brockway).
§ Mr. BROCKWAY
Since a direct reference has been made to me, perhaps I may say that I did not make any such suggestion.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I think it was the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton. [interruption.] I think lie did. [Interruption.] But I am not prepared to argue about that. What I say is that this is a Motion which is to take a considerable amount of the time of private Members.
§ Mr. McSHANE
I think it is within the recollection of the House that the Motion before the House is one for the adjournment of the debate, and not the Motion to which the hon. Member is speaking.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
The Prime Minister, after having submitted his Motion in a very brief speech, and listened to the reply of the Leader of the Opposition, went out, accompanied by all his Cabinet colleagues, after little more than an hour's debate. I think we are entitled to suggest that if this Cabinet meeting was summoned two days ago the Prime Minister must have known very well that 75 it would take place at a time when the House would be discussing this extremely important subject and he might have arranged to hold a Cabinet meeting at a time which did not coincide with the most important period of the debate. Even so, he ought to have left a responsible Cabinet Minister on the Treasury Bench to reply to the debate. The hon. Member for East Leyton and the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton both delivered attacks, or what amounted to attacks, on the lack of policy of the Government, and expressed the hope that the Prime Minister, or some other Member of the Government, would give assurances that the time of the House which the Government were taking would be effectively used; and the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton also complained of the absence of a responsible Minister, and said there was nobody to reply.
Immediately afterwards I got up and asked whether the Government would be prepared to give any assurance that the time taken would be effectively used in tackling the only problem that matters, the economic problem, and joined with the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton in expressing some surprise, and even discontent, at the absence of any responsible Minister. Perhaps it was impossible to postpone the Cabinet meeting, but the Prime Minister might have seen that the Lord Privy Seal was in his place, because he is able to answer upon the specific questions addressed to the Government by hon. Members sitting behind the Treasury bench and by hon. Members here. We pointed out that the Government had wasted the time of the House since October, and that there was reason to suppose that they proposed to waste it till Easter in discussing legislation which had no direct bearing upon the unemployment problem, and we asked from some responsible Member of the Government an assurance that they would be in a position to bring forward further new constructive proposals to deal with the economic problem and with unemployment.
We got no answer. Not a single Cabinet Minister was present to listen to the arguments, and I think we have a perfect right to complain. The Prime Minister cannot ride off by saying that this is a question of taking only five, or six, or eight days, or whatever it may be. 76 That is no justification for no responsible member of the Government being present to answer questions addressed to them, not only from this side of the House, but from their own supporters, or people who claim to be their own supporters. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet have chosen on a very important motion to treat the House of Commons with contempt, but I can assure him that that contempt is nothing to the contempt with which he and his Government are held in the country to-day; and in conclusion I would like to draw his attention to the cartoon which appears this evening in the "Evening Standard."
§ Sir PHILIP CUNLIFFE-LISTER
The right hon. Gentleman has given the House an explanation of why no Cabinet Minister was present during this debate, but the Cabinet was fixed two days ago, and it must have been known then that it would be impossible for Cabinet Ministers to be in two places at once. Though I think a case might very well have been made why the Prime Minister himself should be here, he will observe that the case presented from this side was that during a debate of this importance, when the Government are seeking, by the first Motion of the Session, to take the time of Private Members, there ought to be present a member of the Cabinet; because with the doctrine of collective responsibility, all members of the Cabinet are responsible for policy. The Prime Minister said the Postmaster-General was present and that he knew a great deal about procedure. I have no doubt the Postmaster-General could pass an examination in Erskine May at least as well as almost any other Member of this House, but this is not a question of procedure, it is a question of policy. We are dealing with a question of policy and policy alone.
This is a Motion to take private Members' time, and the justification put forward for taking this course is that the Government, as a matter of policy, desire to get on with certain Bills. The desirability of proceeding with them is entirely a question of policy. Under these circumstances, we are not dealing with a question of procedure at all. I think we are entitled to ask, when this Motion is being debated, that there should be a responsible Cabinet Minister present. I am aware that the Prime Minister pays great respect to the 77 rights and to the dignity of the House, but if the party on this side had been in office, and we had put down a Motion of this kind, the right hon. Gentleman would have been the first to say that it was the duty of the Leader of the House to make sure that one of his responsible Ministers was present during the debate.
The excuse that has been put forward is that Cabinet Ministers could not be here because of an urgent Cabinet meeting. We have not been told how urgent that meeting was. If the Prime Minister had told us that the absence of his colleagues was due to an important Cabinet meeting necessitating the attendance of all his colleagues; if the right hon. Gentleman had told us that some crisis of an urgent character had arisen which required all the Members of the Cabinet to be present, that might have been a good reason for the Cabinet being summoned while this debate was proceeding, but that is not what the Prime Minister has said. We have been told that the Cabinet meeting referred to was summoned two or three days ago with a clear knowledge that this debate was going to take place, and I submit that it is very unfortunate that the Cabinet should be summoned when the whole Government and the House knew that this subject was going to be debated. If the Prime Minister elects to summon a Cabinet meeting on such an occasion as this, then he ought to see that a responsible Member of the Government is present. I hope that this Motion to adjourn the debate will be carried to a Division.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
The Prime Minister has already admitted that the action of the Government in bringing forward this Motion needs some explanation, but he did not give an adequate one. Reference has been made to the decline in the prestige of Parliamentary government, but how can hon. Members opposite, who have deplored this decline, expect this House to have any prestige whatever when the views of hon. Members are treated with such discourtesy as our arguments have been treated by the Government in fixing a Cabinet meeting to take place when the House is discussing a Motion to take away the rights of private Members. Is a Motion of that kind likely to make Parliamentary 78 government a success or to enhance the policy or the programme of any Government?
I am prepared to accept the statement that no studied insult was intended, but, at any rate, it means that in the mind of the Government the views of the Members of this House matter very little. Criticisms of this Motion have been put forward by the hon. Member for East Leyton (Mr. Brockway) and the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton (Mr. W. J. Brown), but the Government did not pay any attention to them. I say that it is absolute nonsense even for hon. Members opposite to claim that they are doing anything for the people they represent when they cannot get their own Government to come into the House to listen to their speeches. In these conditions, it is nonsense to imagine that private Members are anything more than a mere voting machine if their opportunities of debate are to be taken away by a procedure of this sort. I hope that this Motion for the Adjournment will be carried as a last attempt to defend private Members' rights in Parliament.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
I would like to draw the attention of the House to one very serious effect which this debate has already had. After three hours' debate, the Prime Minister will notice, hon. Members below the Gangway, who usually support the Government, have left the House because they cannot stand any more of the debate. The Prime Minister ought to take that to heart. That is a most adequate reason why the House should adjourn. The Prime Minister has appealed to the House as a Council of State. On the first day after the Christmas Recess he gives as an excuse for his absence the fact that he has to attend a Cabinet meeting. May I point out that the right hon. Gentleman arranges all the Business? He has control of the Business in the House of Commons and in the Cabinet, and yet he has arranged for a Cabinet meeting to take place on the day when the House of Commons is considering a Motion to snatch away the privileges of private Members.
This is a Motion in which an attack is made on the rights of private Members, but, notwithstanding, this opportunity is seized in order to take the Members of 79 the Front Bench out of the House. I should be the last to say anything that, would depreciate the Postmaster-General, because I am sure he is a very nice and inefficient man, but he does not represent the Cabinet at the present time. I would like to say that this sneer at the House of Commons which comes so often from the Prime Minister when he deals with matters of this kind, this attack on the rights of the House of Commons, coming at a time when it is essential that every Member should show the deepest respect for the procedure of this House, ought not to be endured without a protest. It is not sufficient for the Prime Minister to listen to the debate for only a few moments. The leading Members of the Government ought to be here in order to find out what is in the minds of the Members of the House of Commons.
This proposal to adjourn the debate is not a desire to take up the time of the House of Commons, because none of us wish to waste time. Our desire is to compel the Government either to show that they are able to carry on the affairs of the nation or submit to a Motion to
§ adjourn the debate. There ought to be some Members of the Cabinet to listen to the debate when Members of the House of Commons come back from their constituencies. I have been a Member of the House for a considerable number of years, but I have never known an occasion on which this Motion was more justified. I have never before seen the House of Commons treated so abominably, and the House would be well advised to emphasise the principle that private Members have a right to exercise some control over the affairs of the country and the destinies of the Cabinet. After the way the Prime Minister has treated the House this afternoon, I think that the best way we can show our dislike of that treatment on behalf of the millions of people we represent, is to adjourn the debate and show our disapproval of the disrespectful treatment by the Prime Minister of the greatest of all institutions, the British House of Commons.
§ Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 174; Noes, 261.83
|Division No. 88.]||AYES.||[6.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Chapman, Sir S.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Albery, Irving James||Christie, J. A.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Cobb. Sir Cyril||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Colman, N. C. D.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Atkinson, C.||Cranborne, Viscount||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd.Henley)|
|Baillie-Hamilton, Han. Charles W.||Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Galnsbro)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur p.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Kills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Balniel, Lord||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, s.)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Duckworth, G. A. V.||Jones. Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Eden, Captain Anthony||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-s-M.)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Everard, W. Lindsay||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Ferguson, Sir John||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey|
|Boyce, Leslie||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)|
|Bracken, B.||Forestier-Walker, sir L.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Fremantle, Lieut-Colonel Francis E.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Ganzoni, Sir John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Buchan, John||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Butler, R. A.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Margesson, Captain H. D.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Gower, Sir Robert||Meller, R. J.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Grace, John||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Campbell, E. T.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Greaves-Lord. Sir Walter||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Gritten. W. G. Howard||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Cayzer. Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)|
|Chamberlain, Mr. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|O'Connor, T. J.||Savery, S. S.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Simms, Major-General J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Peake, Captain Osbert||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Klnc'dine, C.)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Purbrick, R.||Smithers. Waldron||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Somerset, Thomas||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Remer, John R.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Ross, Major Ronald D.||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.||Wood. Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Salmon, Major I.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart||Thomson, Sir F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Tinne, J. A.||Sir George Penny and Captain Wallace.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Foot, Isaac||Law, A. (Rosendale)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Forgan, Dr. Robert||Lawrence, Susan|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Freeman, Peter||Lawson, John James|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Cra[...]e M.||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Leach, W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Lees, J.|
|Alpass, J. H.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)||Lewis. T. (Southampton)|
|Ammon, Charles George||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Angell, Sir Norman||Gibbins, Joseph||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Arnott, John||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Gill, T. H.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Gillett, George M.||Lowth, Thomas|
|Ayles, Walter||Glassey, A. E.||Lunn, William|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, B[...]ston)||Gossling, A. G.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Barr, James||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Batey, Joseph||Granville, E.||McElwee, A.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Gray, Milner||McEntee, V. L.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'W.)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Benson, G.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||McShane, John James|
|Bevan, Aneur[...]n (Ebbw Vale)||Groves, Thomas E.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|B[...]rkett, W. Norman||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Blindell, James||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Mansfield, W.|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tyd[...])||March, S.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Markham, S. F.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth. C.)||Marley, J.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Marshall, Fred|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hardie, George D.||Mathers, George|
|Bromley, J.||Harris, Percy A.||Matters. L. W.|
|Brooke, W.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Mills, J. E.|
|Brothers, M.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Milner, Major J.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Haycock, A. W.||Montague, Frederick|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hayday, Arthur||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Hayes, John Henry||Morley, Ralph|
|Burgess, F. G.||Henderson, Arthur, [...]unr. (Cardiff, S.)||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Herriotts, J.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland)||Hirst, G. H. (York, W. R.Wentworth)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Cameron, A. G.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Mort, D. L.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Hoffman, P. C.||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hollins, A.||Muff, G.|
|Chater, Daniel||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Horrabin, J. F.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Isaacs, George||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Cove, William G.||John. William (Rhondda, West)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Cowan, D. M.||Jones, F. Llewellyn (Flint)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|Daggar, George||Jones. J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Dallas, George||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Palin, John Henry|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Paling, Wilfrid|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Palmer, E. T.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Perry, S. F.|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Jow[...]tt, Sir W. A. (Preston)||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Duncan, Charles||Kelly, W. T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Phillips, Dr. Marlon|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kinley, J.||Picton-Turberv[...], Edith|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Knight, Holford||Pole. Major D. G.|
|Egan, W. H.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)||Potts, John S.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Pybus, Percy John|
|England, Colonel A.||Lathan, G.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Un[...]ver.)||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Raynes, W. R.||Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)||Townend, A. E.|
|Richards, R.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Sinkinson, George||viant, S. P.|
|Ritson, J.||Sitch, Charles H.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Romeril, H. G.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)||Walker, J.|
|Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Rothschild, J. de||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Waiters, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Tudor|
|Rowson, Guy||Smith, H. S. Lees- (Keighley)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Russell, Richard John (Eddlsbury)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Salter, Dr. Alfred||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Wellock, w[...]fred|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Snell, Harry||Westwood, Joseph|
|Sanders, W. S.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||White, H. G.|
|Sandham, E.||Sorensen, R.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (B[...]rm., Ladywood)|
|Sawyer, G. F.||Stamford, Thomas W.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Scott, James||Stephen, Campbell||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Scurr, John||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Sexton, Sir James||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Strauss, G. R.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Atterc[...]ffe)|
|Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Sutton, J. E.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Sherwood, G. H.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Shield, George William||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)||Wise, E. F.|
|Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Sh[...]aker, J. F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Shinwell, E.||Tillett, Ben||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Tinker, John Joseph||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Toole, Joseph||T. Henderson.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Captain Sir WILLIAM BRASS
On this Motion to take up private Members' time on Wednesdays from now till Easter, I should like, as the Prime Minister is here, to ask him one or two questions. First of all we have to consider, in giving up this great privilege of private Members, what the Government are going to use this time for. The Government, as I understand, are going to use this time for three Measures. One is the Education (School Attendance) Bill, and on this I should like to ask the Prime Minister a question. There are rumours in the newspapers that the Education (School Attendance) Bill, which has been debated at great length in this House, is going to be dropped. I think that, before we are asked to vote on this question of giving up the time of private Members to the Government, we are entitled to ask the Prime Minister whether these rumours which are going round are correct or not. I presume that they are not correct, because to-day, when my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition asked the Prime Minister whether there was going to be any change in the programme for this week, the answer that the Prime Minister gave was that there was not going to be any change in the programme for the week. From that I presume that the Prime Minister has no intention of dropping the Education (School Attendance) Bill.
Then there is the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill, and 84 there is a very important Measure to deal with unemployment. There is a rumour about the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill as well. This rumour is that a bargain has been made by the Government with the Liberals—who, apparently, are not taking much interest in the proceedings—that the Committee stage of that Bill is going to be taken, not on the Floor of this House, but in Committee upstairs. If that be the case, I think we ought to know it before we are asked to give up our time. No doubt the Postmaster-General will be able to give an answer as to whether the Committee stage of the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill is going to be taken on the Floor of the House or upstairs, and whether there is any truth at all in the rumour that the Education (School Attendance) Bill is going to be dropped to-morrow. These are some of the rumours which are going about at the present time.
I wanted to say something about the Liberals. It is difficult to talk about them when there is not one of them on their benches at the present time, but we did have an indication from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), when the Leader of the Opposition was speaking, that he was going to support this Motion. Be assented with a nod. We can understand why he wants to agree to the time of the House being taken, because he is so anxious to get the alternative vote and to get the Elec- 85 total Reform Bill through, but I should like to remind him, though he is not here, of a pledge—perhaps I can do it through the Press Gallery—that he gave at the last election about unemployment. This is what he said:We are ready with schemes of work which we can put immediately into operation. The work put in hand will reduce the terrible figures of the workless in the course of a single year to the normal proportion and will, when completed, enrich the nation. These plans will not add one penny to the national and local taxation.That was at the beginning of the last election, when there were 1,100,000 unemployed, and at present the figures are over 2,600,000. On the back of this Liberal leaflet we find that the number of people who were going to be employed under this pledge was 586,000. Curiously enough, the number of people who have been directly employed by the work of the Government is 86,000, and so we are short of 500,000 on the Liberal programme, and what is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs going to do about that? He says, "I would rather have the alternative vote on the chance of being able to get some support from the people of the country than bring in these schemes which I have promised to bring in and which I told the electors I would bring in at the last election." The leaflet finishes up with these words:Vote Liberal, and put this pledge to the test.The right hon. Gentleman is being put to the test at the present time, and the Liberal party prefers the alternative vote, and supporting the Government in taking away the privileges of the private Member, to bringing in measures which he says will reduce the number of the unemployed to the normal within a year. But the Prime Minister also made a pledge at the last election. He wrote an article in the "Daily Herald" in which he said:We have a programme. We only want the power.If the Trade Disputes Bill, the Education Bill and the Electoral Reform Bill for the bribing of the Liberal party are the programme he was thinking of, I do not think the House of Commons thinks much of it. If the Prime Minister had a programme at the beginning of the election, why does he not produce it? The result 86 of his programme up to the present is that he has directly employed 86,000 people out of a total of 2,600,000 who are now unemployed, so I do not think it is fair for the right hon. Gentleman to come to us private Members and say, "We want to take your time, not to deal with this programme that I told you about at the last election, not to deal with anything to do with unemployment, but so as to be able to give what the Liberal party wants, which is the alternative vote, and to give our back bench Members the right to strike if they want to." I do not think the country will be very pleased with the Government when they find out why they want to take up the time of the House. I hope that the Postmaster-General, when he replies, will remember my two questions, whether there is any truth in the rumour that the Education Bill is going to be dropped, and whether it is proposed to take the Committee stage of the Trade Disputes Bill on the Floor of the House or in Committee upstairs?
§ Major DAVIES
Those who have taken part in this debate, on whichever side, have concentrated not so much on whether it was or was not the best use of Wednesdays, to devote them to private Members' Motions, but whether the time will actually be put to the best use. Even hon. Members opposite who intend to support the Motion have themselves taken up the greater part of their speeches with severe criticism of their own Front Bench on that point. After all, that really is the point at issue. It is not difficult to bring forward precedents. It is not difficult to say that the best use has not been made of private Members' time on Wednesdays, but when it comes to the passing of this Motion whereby we are being requested as Members of the House of Commons to make this concession, we are entitled to see the kind of use that is to he made of the time and what is proposed to be done if we make the gift we are asked to make. Six months ago there had been a period of 12 months of this Government in office when the expectations of the agricultural community had been raised to a very high pitch through undertakings that had been given on public platforms throughout the country. Week after week we asked the Minister of Agriculture and other Members of the Government when they were going to provide some opportunity for this 87 matter to be discussed, and we were always put off with the suggestion, "You have your opportunity in the Ballot for Wednesdays." That was true, but those who were lucky in the Ballot did not bring it forward. If we had been more fortunate, we might have spent more profitable Wednesdays than we did. Nevertheless we who occupy the back benches realise that with the present development of the Parliamentary machine our opportunities of independence and of expression of thought become less and less.
Some of the speeches to-day touched on a matter that has been ventilated to some extent in the Press, whether or not our Parliamentary system is in touch with and is properly reflecting the views and feelings of the country as a whole, whether it is not a little out of date and whether it should not be amended. Indeed the hon. Member for Wolverhampton West (Mr. W. J. Brown) indicated, with the enthusiasm of a comparatively recent Member, how quickly he could remould the whole of Parliament and its institutions in the five days which this Measure is proposing to take from private Members' time. He is, perhaps, an optimist. I do not propose to go into the question whether better procedure and rules could be evolved, but, under the present organisation, the tendency is more and more to make us occupants of the back benches, on whichever side, cash registers of the Front Bench. Hon. Members opposite are straining at the leash to make great flights of oratory while their Whips say, "For goodness sake, keep quiet. We want to get this Measure through." They are having a dose of that now. That becomes more and more necessary because of the plethora of legislation which Government after Government seem to think it is right to inflict on the House and the country. They have squandered their time and their opportunities in the last six months. Hours and hours and nights of Parliamentary time have been spent in discussing an Education Bill which, admittedly, is not to come into operation till the close of 1932 and which, if rumour be not a more lying jade than usual, is likely very shortly to be, temporarily any how, removed from the Order Paper. All that time, which was toeing devoted 88 to something which would have no practical bearing on the really great questions of the day, could have been devoted to other Measures for which there is clamour throughout the country.
The Prime Minister suggested that we had come back refreshed from our holiday and that he had given us an extra week. There are very few Members who have not occupied a large amount of the Recess in work in their own constituencies. We cannot he in two places at one time, and those who have a good deal of territory to cover in a constituency know what a great deal of time it takes. In the course of these journeys, getting once more in closer touch with those who send us here, there are three questions that have been put all the time. The first is as to the enormously increasing public expenditure, the second the cost of the increasing hundreds of thousands who are going on the unemployment register, and the third is, "When are you going to get this Government out?" Those are the three questions that are filling men's minds to-day to whatever party they belong, unpleasant as it may sound. I may leave the third out as savouring too much of internecine warfare, but for the other two it is undoubtedly true, not only of people who take a prominent part in our party politics but of the great mass of the people of the country who are not normally attracted by matters political but are suffering the gravest apprehension on matters economic and industrial. Here not only have we been wasting time in the direction I have indicated, but the Prime Minister is compelled to come to us back benchers and ask us to make a big sacrifice, even if we have not made the best use of our time in the past, in order to facilitate legislation which is entirely out of touch with the real needs and demands of the country, and savours very much of a pact, a deal, or an understanding with the absentee landlords who are not even on the benches below the Gangway. For these reasons, unless the Government can reassure the minds of hon. Members opposite, as well as on this side, that a really good use is going to be made of the time that is demanded from us, we see no reason why we should tamely submit to it, and I shall vote against the Motion.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. T. Kennedy)
rose in his place, and claimed to move,
§ "That the Question be now put."90
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 261; Noes, 176.91
|Division No. 89.]||AYES.||[6.30 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Matters, L. W.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mills, J. E.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'W.)||Milner, Major J.|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Montague, Frederick|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Grundy, Thomas W.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Morley, Ralph|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydv[...])||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Angell, Sir Norman||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Morris-Jones. Dr. J. H. (Denblgh)|
|Arnott, John||Hall, Capt. W. p. (Portsmouth, C.)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Mort, D. L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardie, George D.||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Ayles, Walter||Harris, Percy A.||Muff, G.|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, B[...]ston)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Muggeridge, H. T.|
|Barr, James||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Batey, Joseph||Haycock, A. W.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Hayday, Arthur||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)|
|Benn. Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Hayes, John Henry||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Benson, G.||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Herriotts, J.||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|B[...]ndell, James||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Owen. H. F. (Hereford)|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Palin, John Henry.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Hoffman, P. C.||Palmer, E. T.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Hollins, A.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hore-Belisha, Les[...]e||Perry, S. F.|
|Bromley, J.||Horrabin, J. F.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Brooke, W.||Isaacs, George||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Brothers, M.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Phillips, Dr. Marion|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Picton-Turbervill, Edith|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Jones, F. Llewellyn, (Flint)||Pole, Major D. G.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Potts, John s.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Jones, Rt. Hon Le[...] (Camborne)||Ramsay, T. B, Wilson|
|Buxton. C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Calne, Derwent Hall||Jones, T. I. M[...]dy (Pontypridd)||Raynes, W. R.|
|Cameron, A. G.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Richards, R.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kelly, W T.||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Chater, Daniel||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ritson, J.|
|Church, Major A. G.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Romeril, H. G.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kinley, J.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Knight, Holford||Rothschild. J. de|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)||Rowson, Guy|
|Cove, William G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Russell, Richard John (Eddlsbury)|
|Cowan, D. M.||Lathan G.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Law. Albert (Bolton)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Dallas, George||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Dallas, George||Lawrence, Susan||Sandham, E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lawson, John James||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Davies. E. C. (Montgomery)||Leach, W.||Scott, James|
|Davies. Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Scurr, John|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lees, J.||Sexton, Sir James|
|Dudgeon. Major C. R.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Shaw. Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Duncan, Charles||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Ede, James Chuter||Logan, David Gilbert||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwe[...]ty)||Longbottom, A. W.||Shield. George William|
|Edwards. E. (Morpeth)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Egan. W. H.||Lowth, Thomas||Sh[...]aker, J. F.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lunn, William||Shinwell, E.|
|England, Colonel A.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Foot, Isaac||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Forgan, Dr. Robert||McElwee, A.||Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)|
|Freeman, Peter||McEntee. V. L.||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||MacLaren, Andrew||Sinkinson, George|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith. N.)||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)||MacNe[...]-Welr, L.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James [...].||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||McShane, John James||Smith. Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lanes, Mossley)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Gill, T. H.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Smith, Tom (Ponte[...]ract)|
|G[...]ett, George M.||Mansfield, W.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Glassey, A. E.||March, S.||Snell, Harry|
|Gossling, A. G.||Markham, S. F.||Snowden, Rt. Hon, Philip|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln., Cent.)||Marley, J.||Sorensen, R.|
|Granville, E.||Marshall, Fred||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Gray, Milner||Mathers, George||Stephen, Campbell|
|Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Vaughan, D. J.||Williams, David (Swansea. East)|
|Strauss, G. R.||Viant, S. P.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Sutton, J. E||Walkden, A. G.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Taylor R. A. (Lincoln)||Walker, J.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)||Wallace, H. W.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Tudor||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Thurtle, Ernest||Watkins, F. C.||Wise, E. F.|
|Tillett, Ben||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Tinker, John Joseph||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Toole, Joseph||Westwood, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Townend, A, E.||White. H. G.||Mr. Paling and Mr. William Whiteley.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut-Colonel||Everard, W. Lindsay||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Albery, Irving James||Ferguson, Sir John||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Purbrick, R.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Remer, John R.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Reynolds, Col Sir James|
|Atkinson, C.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)|
|Baillie Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Gower, Sir Robert||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Baldwin. Oliver (Dudley)||Grace, John||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Grettan-Doyle, Sir N.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut-Colonel E. A.|
|Balniel, Lord||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Beaumont. M. W.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Savery, S. S.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Simms, Major-General J.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hamilton, sir George (Ilford)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Hammersley, S. S.||Smith, R.W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Boyce, Leslie||Hartington, Marquess of||Smithers, Waldron|
|Bracken, B.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Somerset, Thomas|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Haslam, Henry C.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd,Henley)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Buchan, John||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. H. J.||Spender-Clay. Colonel H.|
|Butler, R. A.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hurd, Percy A.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth,S.)||Lamb, Sir J. O.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Lane Fox. Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Leighton. Major B. E. P.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Ch[...]J. A.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Ward, Lieut. Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Lymington, Viscount||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro)||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Meller, R. J.||Wilson. G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Cunliffe-Lister. Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Davidson. Rt. Hon J (Hertford)||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Moore, Lieut. Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Muirhead, A. J.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Duckworth, G. A. V||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Nicholson. Col Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES —|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Nield. Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Sir Frederick Thomson and Sir George Penny.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||O'Connor, T. J.|
§ Question put accordingly.92
§ The House divided: Ayes, 263: Noes, 176.95
|Division No. 90.]||AYES.||[6.41 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Arnott, John|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff. Cannock)||Alpass, J. H.||Aske, Sir Robert|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Ammon, Charles George||Attlee, Clement Richard|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Angell, Sir Norman||Ayles, Walter|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hirst, G. H. (York W.R. Wentworth)||Potts, John S.|
|Barr, James||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Batey, Joseph||Hoffman, P. C.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Bellamy, Albert||Ho[...]ns, A.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Hore-Belisha, Leslie.||Raynes, W. R.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Horrabin, J. F.||Richards, R.|
|Benson, G.||Isaacs, George||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Bevan, Aneur[...]n (Ebbw Vale)||Jenkins, Sir W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Blindell, James||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Ritson, J.|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Rothschild, J. de|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Rowson, Guy|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Brooke, W.||Jones, T. [...]. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Brothers, M.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Sandham, E.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Kelly, W. T.||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Scott, James|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Scurr, John|
|Buxton, c. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Kinley, J.||Sexton, Sir James|
|Calne, Derwent Hall||Knight, Holford||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Cameron, A. G.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lathan, G.||Shield, George William|
|Chater, Daniel||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Sh[...]s, Dr. Drummond|
|Church, Major A. G.||Law, A. (Rosendale)||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Shinwell, E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lawson, John James||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Leach, W.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Cove, William G.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)|
|Cowan, D. M.||Lees, J.||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Sinkinson, George|
|Daggar, George||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Dallas, George||Logan, David Gilbert||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Longbottom A. W.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherh[...]the)|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lowth, Thomas||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lunn, William||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Duncan, Charles||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Snell, Harry|
|Ede, James Chuter||McElwee, A.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Edmunds, J. E.||McEntee, V. L.||Sorensen, R.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||MacLaren, Andrew||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Egan, W. H.||MacNe[...]-Weir, L.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Elmley, Viscount||McShane, John James||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|England, Colonel A.||Malone, C. L'Estrangt (N'thampton)||Strauss, G. R.|
|Foot, Isaac||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Sullivan, J.|
|Forgan, Dr. Robert||Mansfield, W.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Freeman, Peter||March, S.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Markham, S. F.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Marley, J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Marshall, Fred||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Mathers, George||T[...]ett, Ben|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lanes, Mossley)||Matters, L. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Gill, T. H.||Mills, J. E.||Toole, Joseph|
|Gillett, George M.||Milner, Major J.||Townend, A. E.|
|Glassey, A. E.||Montague, Frederick||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Gossling, A. G.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Morley, Ralph||Viant, S. p.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Walkden, A. G.|
|Granville, E.||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Walker, J.|
|Gray, Milner||Mort, D. L.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Coins)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Tudor|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Muff, G.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Muggeridge, H. T.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Nathan, Major H. L.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Naylor, T. E.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Oldfield, J. R.||White, H. G.|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Lad[...]wood)|
|Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Hardie, George D.||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Harris, Percy A.||Palin, John Henry||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Palmer, E. T.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Perry, S. F.||Wise, E. F.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr, (Cardiff, S.)||Phillips, Dr. Marion||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Mr. Paling and Mr. William, Whiteley.|
|Herriotts, J.||Pole, Major D. G.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Ferguson, Sir John||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Albery, Irving James||Fermoy, Lord||Peake, Capt. Osbert|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Penny, Sir George|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Purbrick, R.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Remer, John R.|
|Atkinson, C.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Gower, Sir Robert||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Grace, John||Roberta, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Balniel, Lord||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Savery, S. S.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Simms, Major-General J.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vans[...]ttart||Hammersley, S. S,||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Boyce, Leslie||Hartington, Marquess of||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Bracken, B.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Haslam, Henry C.||Somerset, Thomas|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd,Henley)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Buchan, John||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Butler, R. A.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hills. Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Stanley Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hurd, Percy A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth,S.)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Han. N. (Edgbaston)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Christie, J. A.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Lymington, Viscount||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Cranborne, viscount||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Meller, R. J.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Darymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Windsor-C[...]ve, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington. S.)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Muirhead, A. J.||Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-s.-M.)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||O'Connor, T. J.||Sir Frederick Thomson and Captain Wallace.|
Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.
That, notwithstanding any Standing Order of this House, Government Business have precedence on every Wednesday for the remainder of this Session.