§ One allotted day shall be given to the Third Reading and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. on that day or, if that day is a Friday, at 3.30 p.m. on that day.
§ On the conclusion of the Committee stage of the Bill the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without Question put.
§ After this Order comes into operation, any day after the day on which this Order is passed (other than, so' far as relates to the Committee or Report stage, a Friday) shall be considered an allotted day for the purposes of this Order on which the Bill is put down as the first Order of the Day, or on which any financial Resolution relating thereto is put down as the first Order of the day followed by the Bill, and the Bill or any such Resolution may be put down as the first Order of the Day on any Thursday, notwithstanding anything in any Standing Orders of the House relating to the Business of Supply.
§ Where, under this Order, on any allotted day proceedings on any Clause or Clauses of the Bill are to be followed by proceedings on any financial Resolution or Resolutions and the proceedings on the financial Resolution or Resolutions are to be followed by proceedings on other Clauses of the Bill, the House will again resolve itself into Committee on the Bill immediately after the proceedings on the Resolution or Resolutions have been brought to a conclusion.
§ For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion on an allotted day and which 371 have not previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall, at the time appointed under this Order for the conclusion of those proceedings, put forthwith the Question on any Amendment or Motion already proposed from the Chair, and shall next proceed to put forthwith the Question on any Resolutions, Amendments, new Clauses, or Schedules moved by the Government of which notice has been given, but no other Resolutions, Amendments, new Clauses, or Schedules, and on any Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded, and, in the case of Government Resolutions, Government Amendments, or of Government new Clauses or Schedules, he shall put only the Question that the Resolution be agreed to, that the Amendment be made, or that the Clauses or Schedules be added to the Bill, as the case may be.
§ Any Private Business which is set down for consideration at 7.30 p.m., and any Motion for Adjournment under Standing Order No. 10, on an allotted day shall, on that day, instead of being taken as provided by the Standing Orders, be taken after the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill or under this Order for that day, and any Private Business or Motion for Adjournment so taken may be proceeded with, though opposed, notwithstanding any Standing Orders relating to the Sittings of the House.
§ On a day on which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order, proceedings for that purpose shall not be interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House.
§ On an allotted day, no dilatory Motion with respect to those proceedings, nor Motion that the Chairman do report Progress or do leave the Chair, nor Motion to postpone a Clause, nor Motion to re-commit the Bill, shall be received unless moved by the Government, and the Question on such Motion, if moved by the Government, shall be put forthwith without any Debate.
§ Nothing in this Order shall—
- (a) prevent any proceedings which under this Order are to be concluded on any particular day being concluded on any other day, or necessitate any particular day or part of a particular day being given to any such proceedings if those proceedings have been otherwise disposed of; or
- (b) prevent any other business being proceeded with on any particular day, or part of a particular day, in accordance with the standing Orders of the House, after any proceedings to be concluded under this Order on that particular day, or part of a particular day, have been disposed of."
§ It will be useful if I begin what I have to say by reminding the House of the position of business in regard to the Finance Bill itself. Under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1913, the Finance Bill must, unless there is to be 372 considerable inconvenience in the collection of taxes, receive the Royal Assent, at the latest, by the 4th August. Taking into account the House of Commons alone there are between Monday, the 8th June, next Monday, and Tuesday, the 4th August, 42 sitting days of which eight are Fridays. The allocation of time for the Finance Bill is 11 full days and one Friday, leaving 23 days and seven Fridays for other business. Of those 23 days, 10 are mortgaged for Supply.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Between Monday, the 8th June, and Tuesday, the 4th August, there are 42 sitting days, of which eight are Fridays.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
That is so. That leaves 23 days and seven Fridays for other business. Of the 23 days, 10 are mortgaged for Supply. In addition, there are a few days necessary for the consequential Appropriation Bill, and so on. Apart entirely from the question of the disposal of the remaining stages of other Measures now before the House, I must warn the House that emergency legislation on important subjects, including coal and unemployment insurance, will have to be provided for. That is from the point of view of the House of Commons alone, so that it will be prudent for the Government, bearing in mind the length of time spent in Committee on the Finance Bill last year, to make provision for the curtailment within reasonable bounds of the Debate on the Finance Bill this year.
The limitation is a little more severe than the recital of the figures indicate. Between the Committee stage and the Report stage of the Finance Bill there must be two or, still better, three days' interval. With regard to coal, the present legislation expires on the 8th July. Therefore, if anything as to be done by new legislation to ease the coal situation, that legislation must not only pass this House but must be on the Statute Book by the 8th July. So far as Unemployment Insurance is concerned, by the 9th or at the very outside the 10th July the financial powers which the Minister enjoys by reason of legislation 373 —[HON. MEMBERS: "Enjoys!"]—enjoys by reason of legislation—my English is perfectly correct—will have come to an end. It was not a political expression. That means that not only as regards this House but as regards another place any unemployment legislation must have been finished by the 9th July. Hon. Members who have made notes of the dates and will be good enough to consider them will see that there is a very difficult problem in the business of the House, and I would ask the House to assist us in overcoming that difficulty.
That is the matter looked at from the point of view of the House of Commons alone, but there is something else. We must also look at it from our recent experience of the conduct of another place. The Finance Bill should reach that place a full month before the Royal Assent is required. Therefore, it is essential to dispose of all its stages in the House of Commons by the 3rd July.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
May I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman? I do not understand his reference to the 3rd July. I do not understand how in connection with the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act the Finance Bill must be passed by the 4th August. That Act says that it must be four months from the assent of this House to the Financial Resolution.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to explain. The date of the 3rd July is determined by two Acts of Parliament. One is the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1913. By that Act, taking the dates that precede it, the introduction of the Bill and so on, the Finance Act must be passed by the 4th August. Under the Parliament Act the provision is that the Bill must be before another place one month before the Royal Assent can be given over its head, provided that it is not going to pass that Bill in the ordinary way.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
One month before the end of the Session. This is very important. I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but surely he must agree that there are two dates. I do not understand the reference to the 4th July under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act. As I read the Provisional 374 Collection of Taxes Act it is four months from the assent of this House to the Financial Resolution. Under the Parliament Act it is one month—not before any arbitrary date—before the end of the Session. If the Session goes on to the 4th or the 5th September it does not matter, so long as the Bill goes to the other place one month before the end of the Session.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The position that the authorities have given to me is this, that the Finance Act must be passed by the 4th August. Working out the dates in relation to what is known as the Bowles Act, the date is the 4th August, and, working back to the one month which must elapse between the time that the Bill leaves this House and the time when the Royal Assent can be given, whatever the action of the House of Lords may be, means that the Bill must leave us on Friday, the 3rd July.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Those are the facts. The combination of the Bowles Act and the Parliament Act means that we have until the 3rd of July to get the Finance Bill through this House. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The machinery of the Parliament Act may not have to be invoked, but, on the assumption that that machinery has to be invoked—I think the Government would be very foolish if they disregarded that possibility—the dates I have given have to be kept. In these circumstances, as the number of sitting days between the 8th of June and the 3rd of July is 16 full days and four Fridays, a strict allocation of time for the discussion of the Finance Bill is absolutely essential. Hon. Members opposite have an Amendment on the Order Paper thathaving regard to the nature and contents of the Finance Bill, this House decline" to assent to the arbitrary imposition of limits upon the discussion thereof.I am not quite sure what is in the mind of those who drafted it. I assume that one thing in their mind is that it is very undesirable to guillotine a Finance Bill. It has been done already three times. The first time on the 18th of April, 1910, then on the 21st of November, 1910, and again on the 7th of July, 375 1914. The first two precedents were very special and I will not refer to them, but the Resolution on the third occasion was necessitated by the fact that, whereas on the first two occasions there was no Bowles Act, on the third occasion there was, and the guillotine Resolution passed on that occasion was necessary in order to get the Bill through within the terms of the Bowles Act. And that is precisely our position to-day. On the first occasion when the guillotine was applied to a Finance Bill, the 18th of-April, 1910, Mr. Asquith in proposing the Resolution prefaced his remarks by admitting that it was without precedent in the history of the House of Commons, and he trusted that it would supply no precedent for a future occasion. He himself gave both succeeding precedents, but the important thing is this, that Mr. Balfour who then led the Conservative Opposition made some observations which were very wise regarding the guillotining of a Finance Bill. On the first occasion referring to Mr. Asquith, he said:He seems to think there is something peculiarly sacred in financial matters that ought to make it impossible to extend to them the treatment which comes so easily now, I regret to say, to Governments in dealing with their Measures. I do not think that at all. The view that finance ought to be surrounded by special and peculiar safeguards, which other legislation need not be surrounded by, is a survival from a period in our history when finance was almost the only important matter with which we were concerned, when the sort of legislation which is now the dairy work of this House was never dreamt of, and when all that was considered was that there should not be raids made by private Members of the House itself on the National Exchequer. All these safeguards were not against the public outside, not against the Lords, and not against anybody at all except our own noble selves. There was a fear that there would be perpetual snatches made at the public purse, and this induced the House to surround legislation on financial matters with these very special safeguards. The distinction between national finance and national legislation on social subjects is always different, and, in some cases, entirely different. For my part, I do not believe there either is, or ought to be, any special sacredness in Bills which, according to the technical rules of our procedure, are to be described as Money Bills."—[OFFICIAT, REPORT, 18th April, 1910; col. 1766, Vol. 16.]This dictum by one who was a careful custodian of the proprieties and liberties of this House must not be overlooked in the Debate to-day. It is another Balfour 376 Declaration of very considerable historic importance. From 1914 until the beginning of the present Parliament Governments were content to take the risk that the Finance Bill would be passed into law by the statutory date. It is not possible under the altered conditions for this Government to take such a chance. A further argument against the view that Finance Bills are unsuitable for treatment under a time table may be found by a reference to some Bills which have been more recently subjected to this form of treatment. There was a Local Government Bill of 1928 which became the Local Government Act of 1929. It was piloted with much patience and persistency by the right hon. Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain). It is a case in point, and he was reminded of it at the time. I will read the long title of that Bill:An Act to amend the law relating to the administration of poor relief, registration of births, deaths, and marriages, highways, town planning and local government; to extend the application of the Bating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, to hereditaments in which no persons are employed; to grant complete or partial relief from rates in the case of the hereditaments to which that Act applies; to discontinue certain grants from the Exchequer and provide other grants in lieu thereof; and for purposes consequential on the matters aforesaid.That Act contained in its final form eight Parts of 138 Clauses, occupying 150 pages, and there were appended to it 12 Schedules occupying 63 pages. A very large part of that very long Act was concerned with levying rates and taxes upon His Majesty's subjects. The right hon. Member who now leads the Opposition moved on the 11th December, 1928, a comprehensive time table for that Bill and the similar Scottish Bill, and in that time table he allotted 13 days to the Committee stage, three days to Report, and one day for the Third Reading. That does not bring it right home, because it must be pointed out that for the Clauses of the Local Government Bill relating to rating and valuation, including relief from rates and a number of provisions regarding valuation affecting agriculture and dwelling-houses, the time allotted by that Motion was two days. In its nature it was a Finance Bill; the time allotted to it was meagre in the extreme campared to the time table on the Order Paper to-day. If there is anything in the argument that, owing to the nature 377 4.0 p.m.
of the Finance Bill, there should le no Guillotine, then the action of our predecessors fully justifies what I am proposing to do this afternoon. But there are other instances of Finance Bills. There is, for instance, that of the 13th June, 1921, when the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), who was then leading the House, moved the time-table Resolution for the Safeguarding of Industries Bill, a taxing Bill which originated in Committee of Ways and Means, and was, therefore, not subject to the 11 o'clock Rule. That Bill, in due course, received the certificate of the Speaker as a Money Bill under the Parliament Act. That Bill was Guillotined, Another instance of the application of the Guillotine on a Bill affecting charges on the people was the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Bill, 1928, on which a Guillotine Resolution was passed on the Motion of the present Leader of the Opposition. In face of this record it is idle for the Conservative Opposition to pretend that this is a revolutionary proceeding adopted for the first time. To be perfectly candid, I do not like these Guillotine Resolutions, but I have to get business through this House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] At this stage we will leave that expression of opinion unanswered. I may be under a delusion, but I am under the delusion that part of my task is to get business in a reasonable amount, and with reasonable opportunities of discussion, through this House, and however much I may try to avoid these things, I cannot help myself altogether.
I would like to remind the House that in connection with the Guillotine Resolution of 13th June, 1921, my right hon. Friend in opposing the Resolution in a very mild and reasonable speech, said that he did not like it. We were, he said, divided, of course, by all sorts of differences, some of them not very big but some very big indeed, and why could not we as Members of the House of Commons, and interested in the House of Commons, come to some sort of arrangement about these Guillotine Resolutions, or whatever might take their place? His suggestion was that an agreement to curtail discussion might be reached which would avoid the Guillotine. I wish it had been possible, but it was found to be impossible. I should have 378 preferred that, and I confess that up to the very last moment I was not agreeable to the Guillotine being imposed. What finally converted me? I assumed that the House would take its own responsibilities upon it, and the morning after the Second Reading of the Finance Bill, when the Budget Resolutions covering the first six Clauses had gone through without Division, 60 Amendments to those first six Clauses appeared upon the Order Paper.
That was a declaration of policy which it was utterly impossible to ignore. Any opposition to the Guillotine which lingered in my mind, any old-fashioned ideas about the Finance Bill that might have survived Mr. Balfour's declaration, went at once. It was perfectly plain to everybody what those 60 Amendments meant. I would not venture to say what was the result of a very patient examination on my part that morning, of every one of them regarding their contents or their merits. Even supposing that they were all very important and necessary to be put down, the fact that 60 Amendments to the first six Clauses, not including any of the Land Tax Clauses, or the "objectionable Clauses"—[Interruption]—the first six Clauses went through without a Division, and nobody objected to any great principle. Objections were taken only to the Land Taxation Clauses, which the Opposition called objectionable—[An HON. MEMBER: "And you have just called them objectionable!"] I did not. Really, I must say that that behaviour is in accordance with 75 per cent. of the 60 Amendments which have been put down. What is the use of treating a subject like this in that way? There are Clauses in this Bill which we know are to be carefully examined in a very hostile frame of mind. We know it perfectly well, and I say that those Clauses are regarded by the Opposition as objectionable Clauses. Without taking into account any one of these Clauses, 60 Amendments were put down to the first six Clauses. That was a declaration that this Bill—I do not know whether the word "obstruction" is Parliamentary. I will leave it blank for hon. Members to fill in the adjective which I should apply to it.
Does this House mean to say that the present Government, or any other Government, supposing they had been in 379 our place, with the limitations of time placed upon them which are placed upon us with regard to this Bill, would not accept that as a plain intimation that this Bill was not going to be discussed, but that it was going to be obstructed? This time table is necessary in consequence of that having taken place. We have put down, I may say, in anticipation of the detailed Amendments which the House will consider presently, a time table which we regard as a very reasonable allocation of time. Every Amendment has been carefully examined in relation to the subject matter of the Resolution and of the Clauses in the Bill. The time is very short, as I have said, but we wish to be reasonable in our allocation, and when we come to the details of the time table, I am prepared to accept, not exactly some of the Amendments, but the request that has been made from all parts of the House for a further extension of time. That time has got to be within the limits set down by what I said in the beginning. We find that we can give two extra days. [Interruption.] I am not at all sure what that cheer means, unless it is a cheer of welcome acceptance.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
If it is a cheer of welcome acceptance, I am very glad. If it is a cheer which indicates that my offer is not acceptable, I am perfectly willing to withdraw it. [Interruption.] We are very anxious in the time available that this Bill should be adequately discussed, and we believe that nobody can have any grievance whatever if two extra days are given to the discussion of the Bill, more particularly regarding the Clauses which deal with the land valuation taxation, and the new Clauses and the Schedules. For those two portions of the Bill I am prepared to make proposals, the sum total of the effect of which will be to add two further days to the Committee stage of the Bill. With those explanations, I beg to move the Resolution.
I beg be move, in line 1, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words:having regard to the nature and content" of the Finance Bill, this House declines to 380 assent to the arbitrary imposition of limits upon the discussion thereof.The Prime Minister delivered his speech in great embarrassment to himself. He found himself in the position of having to advocate a procedure, which, in an unguarded moment, he told us he detested, and he endeavoured to save himself, first by giving us a lurid picture of the straits in time to which the Government has brought this House, and afterwards by searching for a number of precedents in the past to justify an action which, in fact, he felt to be unjustifiable. With regard to past precedents, I myself do not take up the view that the Guillotine is in all circumstances and for all purposes unnecessary or undesirable. I have had occasion to make use of it myself in the past, and I hope to have occasion to make use of it again.
Although I have not in front of me the Debate upon the Local Government Bill to which the Prime Minister alluded, I have a pretty good memory of what took place on that occasion. What was the attitude at that time of those who now occupy the Treasury Bench? I remember that they denounced in the most violent terms the proposition to move any guillotine Resolution in respect of that Bill. The right hon. Gentleman who is now the Home Secretary was roused to quite an unusual vivacity. He told us that our procedure was turning Parliamentary legislation into a pantomime and a farce. The attitude of the Opposition of that day being what it was, the Prime Minister's argument today really amounts to this. "I may be inconsistent, I may be eating my own words, but in the old phrase of the first schoolboy in the first school, when another schoolboy said 'You are a fool,' he replied 'You are another.'" That is an argument which is more worthy of a schoolboy than of a Prime Minister.
I remember, too, that on that occasion I myself defended the introduction of the Guillotine. I defended it for a very obvious reason. The great Bill to which the Prime Minister has alluded provided for very important changes in local government, and those changes had to take place by a certain appointed day. It would have been impossible for us to have run the risk of so shortening the time open to the local authorities to 381 make the necessary preparations for carrying out those changes on the appointed day—it was impossible to take the risk of having that time shortened by undue Debate. That we were right in the attitude that we took up was proved by the actual nature of the discussions, even under the Guillotine, for the Opposition of that day took up nearly the whole time in discussing trivialities in order that they might have the satisfaction afterwards of passing important provisions of the Bill and saying that they had not been discussed.
So much for that argument. Let me now come for a moment to the argument that in this case we are tied by the provisions of the Bowles Act. I must say that I was unable to follow the dates which were given by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman takes 4th August as the date by which the provisions must be passed into law. If I remember aright, the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act of 1913 says that four months are to elapse after the Resolutions are expressed to take effect, and there is a passage in the Debate of 1914 which is very relevant. The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) then said:He has said that these taxes will come to an end on the 6th August. That is not what I am advised. … I am advised that it is not the 5th August but the 5th September which is the date."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st July, 1914; col. 395, Vol. 64.]Fifth August was three months from 5th May, which was the date when the Resolutions were introduced—the date of the introduction of the Budget. The right hon. Gentleman said it was four months, and that would mean 5th September. In the present case the Resolutions are dated 27th April, and four months from that date would be 27th August, and not 4th August. Perhaps if some other right hon. Gentleman is going to speak later from the Treasury Bench he will make it clear to us why it is stated that the date is 4th August and not 27th August, as would appear to be the case by the ordinary interpretation of the Act.
As to the rest of the considerations which the Prime Minister put before us, the necessity for emergency legislation on coal or on Unemployment Insurance, which must be provided for, I can only remark what a sorry state of things we have reached, what a sorry mess the 382 business of the House has been brought into by the Government when at this stage of the proceedings the right hon. Gentleman has to make a statement like that. I am reminded of an observation which was made a good many years ago by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs and which seems to be very pertinent to the present situation. In 1905 the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs said the fact was that the Prime Minister had got into the habit, first of all, of blundering into a certain position, and then calling it a Parliamentary emergency, and that the blunder ended in fixing upon the procedure of the House of Commons what he was afraid might become a permanent restriction of the liberty and freedom of Parliamentary Debate. That is exactly the position in which we find ourselves to-day.
I have said that I was not against the use of the Guillotine in certain circumstances. I remember that on the occasion to which the Leader of the House referred, when I was defending the Guillotine, I said that I thought it would be a valuable and useful part of our Parliamentary procedure, provided it was not abused. That statement remains in my memory because I was interrupted by some hon. Member opposite, who said, "That is just the point." That is just the point to-day. If the wording of my Amendment be examined, it will be seen that it is the nature and the contents of the Finance Bill which constitute the gravamen of our charge against the Government for bringing in a Guillotine Resolution to deal with this particular Finance Bill. What is the special character of this Finance Bill—a character which, so far as I know, differentiates it from any other Finance Bill within the recollection of most hon. Members? It is the fact that over 20 Clauses, two-thirds of the whole Bill, are concerned, not with finance at all, at any rate not with the finance of the year, but with a series of proposals which are mostly proposals for machinery and which deal with valuation, with assessment, with recoupment, with recovery, with exemptions and the other necessary parts of the procedure which is to be adopted in order to carry out the valuation and subsequently the taxation of land.
383 Those Clauses are no essential part of the Finance Bill at all. There is no reason why they should have been inserted in the Bill at all. The Government might perfectly well have put them into a separate Bill. They might have introduced that Bill months ago instead of one of the Bills which they have already put into the waste-paper basket, and on which they have wasted so many days of the time of the House. There is no reason even now, at this stage, why they should not be dropped out of the Finance Bill and put into a separate Bill. If that were done, we should be completely free from any difficulties or objections under the Bowles Act, and we should have plenty of time for discussing all that ought to be discussed in the Finance Bill.
With regard to the allocation of time we are not altogether surprised to hear that the Amendment on the Paper in the names of hon. Members of the Liberal party has found favour with the Government. But as we have ourselves an Amendment on the Paper on this matter, to come on later, I do not propose now to touch upon that subject further than to point out the enormous mass of important principles raised in these objectionable Clauses, dealing with questions which are fundamental to our notions of justice and fair play, which deal with the very foundations of the prosperity of the country in their effect upon industry and commerce, and which deal finally with the vital interests of housing and education and recreation. Those are matters which will be discussed later. But I do want to point to two particular reasons which seem to me to make it specially undesirable that a Guillotine should be applied on this occasion. The first is, what is going to happen to this Bill in another place? I do not know; I imagine, with respect to you, Mr. Speaker, that even you at this stage of the Bill would not be prepared to say whether or not this is to be certified as a money Bill. But at any rate we must envisage the possibility that when the Bill has passed its Third Reading, it may be certified as a money Bill. In that case, it cannot be discussed in detail in another place. Therefore, the whole responsibility for the working of these 384 Clauses, many of them extremely obscure and raising questions of a highly technical character, has to be worked out in this House at the penalty of making mistakes which certainly will not redound to the credit of right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen opposite. That seems to me to be a matter which is of very serious importance and one which certainly ought to be taken into account before introducing a Guillotine Resolution.
The second question is one which concerns hon. Members of the Liberal party. Nominally, they are a part of the Opposition, but, although they are standing on the trap door they have a very tight hold on the sleeves of the party opposite, who are not standing on the trap door. In fact, the position is this—that they are a part of the Government forces. Although we all know that to be the case, although they have become almost more royalist than the King, and there is nothing that the Government propose that they are not prepared to swallow, that is not yet formally recognised. For formal purposes, they are still considered to be part of the Opposition, and they are still entitled to claim that they shall be heard in due proportion as one of the three parties in the House. The fact is that the Opposition has only one voice against two voices in the discussion under the Guillotine, and that is a further handicap upon full, fair and proper discussion of this very highly contentious Bill.
That is all I wish to say. We are not under any illusions on this side of the House as to the power of the majority opposite to muzzle the Opposition—to use a phrase of which hon. Members opposite used to be very fond. But at any rate we have made our protest by moving the Amendment, and we shall go into the Lobby in support of it, because we believe that the procedure here indicated is not merely fatal to the proper and adequate discussion of the Bill, but is inimical to the reputation of this House.
§ Mr. DENMAN
I rise merely to elucidate a question of fact as to which hon. Members opposite seem to have grave doubt. That is the question as to the date on which it is necessary for the Finance Bill to leave this House, in order to satisfy the combined requirements of the Parliament Act and the 385 Bowles Act. The position is so clear upon this point that I am surprised that any doubt should have been expressed upon it and I venture to mention the facts to hon. Members opposite so that they, on their side, may express any further opinions which they may have to offer in the light of those facts. Under the Bowles Act it is perfectly plain that four months are required from the date on which a Resolution is expressed to take effect. Two of the Resolutions which were passed by the House on 27th April last dealing with Income Tax, were expressed to take effect in respect of the fiscal year 1931. As the fiscal year begins on 6th April four months after that date brings us to 5th August.
§ Mr. DENMAN
As I understand it, the Resolutions to which I refer took effect as from the 5th April and four months from that date brings us to 5th August. The right hon. Gentleman now attempts to substitute 5th September and I think I heard him in an interruption refer to 27th August. He has a great variety of dates, but he cannot have it all ways.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I referred to 5th September in 1914 because the Budget was brought in on 4th May in that year. I referred to 27th or 28th August this year, because the Budget was brought in on the 27th April this year.
§ Mr. DENMAN
If the Resolutions were expressed to take effect from 27th April—as indeed was the case with the hydrocarbon oils Resolution—I should agree with the right hon. Gentleman. That Resolution was expressed to take effect as from 28th April, but the right hon. Gentleman is omitting consideration of the Income Tax Resolutions. Then we have to take into account the effect of the Parliament Act. Now the Parliament Act makes it perfectly plain that the Bill has to go up to the Lords so as to give them one clear month before it can be certified as an Act. That one clear month means that you have to bring back the date from 5th August to 5th July and, therefore, this Bill will have to be got through within the time mentioned by the Prime Minister. I think that is perfectly plain and beyond any doubt. I am the more glad to make this point because 386 I recall very well that when the Bowles Act was passed the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) protested against the passage of that Act and prophesied that if the House of Commons passed it they would find, not that they were hustling the Government of the day but that the Government of the day was hustling them as a result of it. I think that the right hon. Gentleman's own party were very unwise to differ from him in those days but they did differ from him and now they find that he was right and that they were wrong. I rejoice that they are now being hustled as the result of an Act with which I personally disagreed.
§ Mr. DENMAN
He was not a very prominent supporter of the Liberal party—indeed he was a free lance, and he was supported by forces of which the right hon. Gentleman is aware. We come back, however, to the simple fact that we must have this Bill within the time mentioned by the Prime Minister, and, that being BO, is there any alternative to this time table? I confess I was sorry to hear the Prime Minister saying that he regretted introducing a time table. I was not in this House in 1928 when the Opposition of that day resisted the time tables introduced by the then Conservative Government, but I am profoundly convinced that an intelligent system of time tables is essential to the proper working of Parliament. I rejoice that this time table has been introduced in a sensible way and I hope that, in details, it will meet what is obviously the desire of all parties, namely, that there should be reasonable discussion of all the essential points of the Bill, Of course these Land Clauses are difficult and complicated. Of course there should be proper discussion of them. But I am convinced that we shall get better discussion under a wisely framed Guillotine Resolution, than we could possibly get under a system of all-night sittings and obstruction, and for those reasons I warmly support the Motion.
§ Mr. OSWALD LEWIS
It is broadly true to say that at any time a Government and its supporters are anxious to promote legislation, White the Opposition of the day are anxious to impede it. Consequently, from the nature of the problem it is difficult, if not impossible, to have proposals such as this discussed on their merits. I suppose that the only time when there would be any hope of this House discussing on its merits a pro-posal designed to limit discussion, would be on the eve of a General Election, when none of the speakers would know whether that proposal was in their favour or against them. Personally, I consider that, having regard to the somewhat unwieldy numbers of the House of Commons, it is to the credit of the House that our Standing Orders are so few, and that they contain, on the whole, so few provisions for limiting discussion. I suppose the reason is a double one—partly the common sense of the average Member of the House, and partly the fact that the Government of the day always have at the back of their minds the probability that they will be the Opposition of tomorrow.
To the eager reformer the procedure of this House must always seem tedious and slow. It is not an old complaint. I was reading the other day of a conversation between Queen' Elizabeth and one of your predecessors, Sir, in which Queen Elizabeth, being desirous of ascertaining what business was forward in this House at that time, said: "MR. Speaker, what has passed in the Lower House?" and the Speaker of that day replied: "If it please your Majesty, seven weeks." That seems to suggest that even in those days the proceedings' of this House' tended to he measured in time rather than in actual legislative accomplishment. When we come to consider the proposal which the Government have brought forward, and the Amendment which has been moved to it, I suppose that the first question, apart from that of precedent, which will occur to the ordinary Member, of whatever political persuasion, is "Have the present Government had reason to complain of unreasonable delay—of obstruction, if you like—in the conduct of the business of the House, since they have been in office." I am aware that there was some delay in connection with the Finance Bill of last year, but I think that many Members, and not on this side only, 388 would agree that the undue prolongation-of those proceedings was largely due to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whom we are So pleased to see back m his place to-day. If any supporter of the Government is inclined to think that we on these benches have unreasonably obstructed the business of this Government, I would advise him to consult the right hon. Gentleman who now occupies the position of Secretary of State for India, and to ask that right hon. Gentleman whether he considers that the present Conservative Opposition are skilled in the art of obstruction. I fancy the right hon. Gentleman would reply that, compared with obstruction as he knows it, we do not know our business at all in that respect.
The Prime Minister laid stress upon the congestion of business in the House but I think that the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of his Government, must accept a good deal of the responsibility for that congestion. Bills have been introduced and withdrawn and reintroduced in a manner which has wasted a great deal of Parliamentary time. We have had two Agricultural Marketing Bills, two Consumers' Council Bills, and three Education Bills and the third of those Bills, when it left this House included a provision that it was not to come into force until yet a fourth Bill had been passed. That is a state of affairs for which the Government are solely responsible. It is not the fault of back bench Members, either on this side or the other side. That state of affairs, naturally, has led to considerable congestion of business but I do not think that the Prime Minister is entitled to lay much stress upon that argument when he comes to the House with this Motion for the restriction of discussion.
The next question is, can a special case be made out in respect of this particular Bill? Is it a Bill for which these special powers ought to be asked? I do not know whether any spokesman of the Government would be prepared to deny that the real reason why the Government have felt it necessary, from their point of view, to bring forward this Motion is not because of the provisions of the Finance Bill properly so-called, but because of the fact that they have thought well to incorporate In this 389 year's Finance Bill another Measure. We are told that it is all important that this combined Measure should be passed by a certain date, and that there is very little time between now and that date for the Measure to be adequately discussed.
But I hold in my hand a document which is described as the Land Valuation Bill. It was presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, supported by three other Ministers, and on opening the Bill I see that it was ordered to be printed by this House on 6th June last year. If the Government had got so far in their land valuation proposals that they were prepared to ask the authority of the House to have a Bill printed 12 months ago, why have they not afforded us an opportunity between then and now to discuss these provisions? Why wait till the very last moment and push it into a Finance Bill towards the end of the Session, and then come and say, "We shall have so little time to discuss these things that we must apportion the time very strictly and restrict the total amount of time given"?
I should very much like to hear from; some Member of the Government a real description of the reasons that have induced them, Having had this Bill printed 12 months ago to do nothing further to promote these legislative proposals until this Finance Bill. The Government must know that we have been offered no explanation. The Prime Minister did not say a word' about it, and I would, like to hear from some spokesman of the Government an explanation of what, on the face of it, is ah extraordinary thing. The Prime Minister used the expression, "I cannot help myself." He was making an important speech, on an important occasion, and no doubt he chose his words with care. Did some power stronger than himself insist upon the inclusion of these proposals in the Finance Bill, to which they do not properly belong?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I hope, for the sake of the record, that the hon. Member will not take an observation that I made a propos of a totally different aspect of the question. I said that I could not help myself, in view of the time that was necessary to get the Bill through.
§ Mr. LEWIS
The Prime Minister said he could not help himself, as I understood him, in introducing this proposal, because of the shortness of time. What he meant was, as I understand, that the reason for his putting this Motion on the Paper to-day was the shortness of time still available for the passage of the Finance Bill. If it meant anything, it must have meant that. He did not want to bring forward this Motion, he looked at the calendar, and he came to the conclusion that the Bill must be passed by a certain day; and he could not help himself, therefore, in putting down the Motion. But what power insists, on his including these Clauses in the Finance Bull If he leaves them out, there is no necessity for his Motion at all; he can get his Finance Bill. I do not suppose he will tell us, but it would be very interesting to know what are those compelling causes that make him put into the Bill that which, in his judgment, would prevent the Bill being carried by the time at which it must be carried, without a Guillotine Motion. I hope the House will accept the Amendment.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I agree with the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. O. Lewis) in one remark that he allowed to fall, and that was in his strictures on his own side as obstructionists or as an Opposition. I entirely agree that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India could make rings round the present Opposition, in obstruction, but it is not owing to their merits in doing their work as an Opposition that this Guillotine is necessary. The right hon. Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain) said that we had got the business of the House into a sorry mess. That is absolutely unfair. I would remind him of what happened in the last Parliament. It is true that he got through his vast, inept, de-rating Bill, so-called—which has caused nothing but mischief ever since, and of which we are only now beginning to feel the full weight—under the Guillotine, but what happened to his own Government's legislative proposals?
Here was a Conservative Government, with ah overwhelming majority, the biggest Conservative majority for about' four generations, with a very small Opposition, of which I was a Member, and with complete control of Parliamentary 391 time. Conservative Governments are not here to legislate. They are here to keep things as they are, or to make them, if anything, a little worse. They are not here to bring in great constructive proposals, and the only signs of any constructive programme were a Widows' Pension Bill and the Bill to which the right hon Member for Edgbaston referred in his speech. Yet they themselves had to drop a Bill of the greatest importance, a Bill that was ready, that the then Homo Secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks, now Lord Brentford, wanted to bring in, because they had messed up their time table, as the right hon. Member for Edgbaston would say, but really because the machine beat them. And the machine would beat any Government. I refer to the Factories Bill in the last Parliament, which, owing to lack of time, the then Conservative Government, with their huge majority, had to drop, although they declared that they wished to bring it in. They broke a solemn pledge. They put the Bill in the King's Speech, but they could not find the time to carry it through.
Then how can the right hon. Gentleman accuse our Government, who are in a minority, who are in, if you like, an uneasy alliance with hon. Members below the Gangway opposite, of making a mess of our business? The fact is that this kind of thing, these Guillotine Motions to which everyone objects, which kill Parliamentary Debate—we all object to them and dislike them—are inevitable and will be bound to increase and to go on increasing, simply because the machinery is getting so out of date that we cannot make it work to carry through our necessary legislation. With a Labour Government that want to get things done and that have a large programme to carry out, these things are bound to happen, Hon. Members who read their papers this morning would see that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour had to defend the Government here before the nations of the world at Geneva for not having been able to proceed with the Bill for the ratification of the Washington Convention in regard to an eight hours day. Everyone knows that we want to bring it in, and that it is ardently desired by the supporters of the Government, but 392 simply through lack of Parliamentary time—not owing to the obstruction of the Opposition so much as to the nature of the machine—we cannot possibly get it through.
The fact is, and we may as well recognise it, that it is no good these accusations and counter-accusations being thrown across the Table by successive leaders of Governments. We have to recognise that the machinery is so hopelessly out of date that it has to be remedied and reformed. That is being done. A very able Committee is sitting upstairs on the reform of Parliamentary procedure, but my complaint is that it should have been set up long ago and that the necessary reforms should have been carried through immediately after the War. The small reforms that were carried then were not adequate to deal with the situation. The hon. Member for Colchester went back to the days of Elizabeth and what happened then. It was very typical of the mentality of hon. Members opposite in their interesting speeches. The position was entirely different then. As has been said by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, almost the only business of Parliament then was finance, and government was far less complex. Now the tentacles of the Government Departments stretch into every phase of domestic life in the country, into every important phase of Imperial, Colonial, or foreign affairs, and this House cannot possibly deal with them under present procedure if hon. Members in Committee of the Whole House are to examine Bills as they ought to be examined.
Therefore, the conclusion that I come to is that this Guillotine Motion is absolutely justified, not because of the reasons that have been already advanced entirely, but because the attempt to discuss complicated matters in Committee of the Whole House is absolutely hopeless and should not be made. May I remind the House of what the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) said on the last Finance Bill? There were no land taxes then, but because we were attempting to tighten up the procedure for collecting taxes, which was a departmental, non-party proposal, it so angered hon. Members opposite, with their tenderness for the Super-tax payers and the payers of Estate Duties, 393 that the right hon. Member for Epping, who was leading the Opposition on financial matters, boasted that we were not going to get our Bill under the Bowles Act. I always thought it was bad to boast until you had taken off your armour. We got our Bill, But the threat was made on a much less controversial Measure than these land taxes. My right hon. Friend called them objectionable, but he meant controversial. The fact that they are objectionable to the Opposition naturally commends them to us, knowing the Opposition. The Measures last year were far less controversial, admittedly, than these land taxes, and yet we had that boast in the early hours of the morning, and in a super-heated atmosphere—"You will not get your Bill under the Bowles Act; we will kill your Finance Bill for you!" That is why we have the Guillotine on this year's Finance Bill.
With reference to a remark of the right hon. Member for Edgbaston as to our allies below the Gangway, I rather think that he would have liked those allies himself, if they could have helped him to secure the fruits of office. Perhaps now that he cannot get that assistance, he looks upon the fruits of office as sour grapes, for the time being.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
It depends upon what part of the bunch. That is the answer to the so gallant remark of the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank). It is all very well to jeer at those whom you want to go along your path when they insist upon going along our path. I would welcome the help of all the hon. Members below the Gangway opposite, and I am sorry that one or two of them may be so misguided as to vote against this Motion. I would welcome the help of hon. Members opposite, if they should see the error of their ways and come into some sort of alliance with us, if they were sincere. I wish they would help the Government and accept the invitation of the Prime Minister, made at the beginning of this Parliament, to make this House of Commons into a Council of State. Let us all be in alliance and try to get the country out of its difficulties. Let us stop this bickering and this petty criticism, and agree upon an absolutely 394 necessary Measure to reform the whole of our Parliamentary procedure, which alone will enable us to get through the necessary legislation of the day.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MARJORIBANKS
The Prime Minister talked so much about the precedents for his action, that we are entitled to inquire a little more closely into their validity. He said that there were three precedents, although two of the occasions were not really precedents. Two were in 1910, the year of the two Finance Bills, and if we closely study the words of the then Prime Minister when he introduced the first Guillotine Motion—the House will appreciate that it was hedged with safeguards—we find that his speech was full of apology and contrition. This is what he said:It is without precedent in the history of the House of Commons, and I trust that it will not supply a precedent which will need to be followed hereafter. … It would not be possible for any Minister to justify such a Resolution as that which I am now proposing if in any serious or substantial respect there was any departure in the Bill founded upon the Resolutions, which in the course of the next few days will be submitted to the House, from the Bill which has been exhaustively considered by its predecessor."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th April, 1910; cols. 1730–2, Vol. 16.]The reason for that Motion was that that Bill had been discussed ad nauseam in the previous Parliament, and be did not wish to go through the whole weary business again. There was an answer to that argument, which was that since the General Election 100 Members of Parliament had been elected to oppose that very Budget, and it was a hard thing that they should be deprived of every opportunity of discussing it. In November, 1910, he had to introduce another Finance Bill. It was an entirely new Finance Bill and had never been discussed, and he was then even more apologetic when he introduced the Guillotine Motion for it. The reason which he gave for applying it was that the Government had decided on a General Election, and it was imperative that certain financial provisions should pass through the House, particularly, I think, in the interest of old age pensioners. The Prime Minister said on that occasion:It is novel in substance.395 in the 1909 Finance Billwe deliberately refrained from applying … this summary procedure, and, I think, wisely and' properly. I am strongly of the opinion that the House of Commons should not only maintain its exclusive control over finance, but should not be deprived of the opportunity, which from time immemorial it has enjoyed, of criticising these proposals at every stage and at the fullest possible length. Therefore, if I thought that the proposal I am now making would have the effect of depriving the House of that power, I should not only be very loth to make it, but I do not think I could bring myself to make it at all."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st November, 1910; col. 204, Vol. 20.]The House will notice the extreme note of apology in that statement of the Prime Minister at that time, and the concern of the Liberal leaders of that time to preserve the principle of the sanctity of finance above all other subjects. The Prime Minister to-day skilfully quoted Mr. Balfour in answer to that principle. He recalled that Mr. Balfour said that the finances in the modern State were no more important than any other social legislation; but Mr. Balfour was an enlightened Conservative with a practical eye to the situation of the time, and he was talking in 1910. He said that the idea that finance was sacrosanct dated from a long past period of Parliamentary practice when finance was the one important subject. It is true that in the time of Pym and Hampden taxes were manifold, as difficult to collect, and the country was poor and the middle classes were prepared to finance a national revolution rather than pay them. I doubt if the full implications of the Civil War are understood nowadays in this country as a revolt of the middle classes against taxation, and one wonders whether such an experiment will again be attempted in some less ambitious form.
The House will have noted that there is really no precedent in those two proposals at all for the present, because the Government had special reasons for introducing the Guillotine Motion. They could be said to be valid reasons for the particular occasions, not likely to be repeated, but they are not reasons which could possibly form a precedent for the present. Mr. Asquith so guarded himself that he said that if his action were to be regarded as a precedent, he would not have taken it. These were bold words, but, of course, he was a Liberal, 396 and one is sometimes tempted to wonder, having regard to what he said later in 1914, whether there is anything to be trusted in Liberalism even in its noblest, purest and most dignified manifestation as embodied in the personality of the late lamented Lord Oxford. He said this and I would ask the House to see the extraordinary contract with his words in 1910. It is true that at that time he was in difficulties with Sir Edward Carson and with Mr. Thomas Gibson Bowles.; he had the responsibility, yea or nay, of civil war: he was at his wits' end, but surely these were only difficulties of expediency, and there was no reason why he should have forgotten the principles which he had enunciated so clearly a few years before. He said on 7th April, 1914:I am satisfied … that it will be impossible for any Government in future to carry its Finance Bill through the House without some form of procedure Resolution for the allocation of time. I have no doubt that these words will be cited in future in support of far more serious encroachments upon the time of Members of the House than anything I am venturing to propose tonight. "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th July, 1914; col. 931, Vol. 64.]He was quite right in 1910. But he absolutely contradicted himself in 1914, and he was prepared to abandon those sacrosanct principles which he had accepted in 1910. The arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) were on an even lower scale in moral value. The only thing which he said in defence of the Guillotine was that he was advancing it in the interests of the personal health of the Liberal party which could never stand such a Budget as they have endured in 1909. He also ingeniously used the past precedents of the Budgets of Peel, Gladstone, Lowe and Harcourt when he said the Debates in those days did not last nearly so long. He forgot, however, that the procedure in this House was different in those days. The Budget was often re-cast four or five times, so that if the length of time taken up owing to the number of repetitions had been considered, he would have found that a considerably longer time than he thought was occupied in the discussions on the Budget in the early part of the last century.
However, there were sturdy Liberals at that time to protest against the iniquitous 397 proposal of the guillotine. The right hon. Member far Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones) was at that time in his vigorous youth, and he spoke out very clearly upon this subject. He said:Let us have all-night sittings. It is better to sit up late at night than to pass the Finance Bill without fully discussing any grievances that may arise. … I am confident that this practice will be quoted. Therefore I can be no party to imposing it on the House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th July, 1914; col. 940, Vol. 64.]These, again, were valiant words, and I studied the Division list to see if the right hon. Gentleman voted against the Motion against his party. I did not, however, find the name of the right hon. Gentleman among those who voted against it. Then I thought that he must have abstained. Not at all. I am afraid that the Master of Elibank must have seen him, for he voted in favour of the Motion. That was typical of a Liberal. It might well lead us to consider the moral and indeed almost metaphysical question whether at its boldest and bravest and most independent there is anything sincere in Parliamentary Liberalism. But there are others. I see in his place the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir D. Maclean). If I may make a personal reference he was the first right hon. Gentleman with whom I ever discussed politics and by his courtesy, when he occupied your high position, I was given the opportunity of listening frequently in this House to the Debates as a boy and a very young man. I listened with great interest to a lecture on Parliamentary procedure which he gave the House on the Estimates a year ago, when he said that the House in discussing financial matters was discussing by far the most important matter of State; not a moment could be lost or wasted in discussing the finances of the country, he said. He at least, I am sure, will not vote in favour of a Parliamentary bargain that is now being sanctioned by the other leaders of his party and of the Labour party. I hope that he at any rate will vote against the helots and allies which he usually supports on the Government benches.
For really there is no case to be made out for the guillotine at the present time, the circumstances are not comparable to any of the supposed precedents, because the Government have really wasted 398 in this Session such an enormous amount of Parliamentary time. We have had the Education Bill, which we knew could not pass for years until all sorts of conditions had been fulfilled. We have had the Trade Disputes Bill, which the Government knew perfectly well could never pass, so unjust and inequitable was it; they knew that it was only a gesture to satisfy the President of the Trades Union Congress, and that it would fail. Then we wasted allotted day after allotted day in discussions over a ridiculous electoral reform Bill. How can the Prime Minister stand up in his place and say that he is driven by necessity to ask for a curtailment of time in the discussion of national finance? If Mr. Balfour were alive to-day and were a Member of this House—I wish he were—he would reverse the opinion he held in 1910, because the situation has tragically changed. It could be said at that time that the finances of the country were not the most important matter under discussion. There was the great Irish question, a great constitutional question; the country was very rich and the Budget was £200,000,000—a mere fragment of the national wealth.
To-day, however, if we are not bankrupt, we are an the verge of bankruptcy, and once more in the age of Snowden and MacDonald [Interruption.] It is quite Parliamentary to talk of the age of Snowden and MacDonald. In this age, the finances are every bit as important as in the day of Pym and Hampden. Therefore finance should again come first; it should he the first concern of the House of Commons. This is the moment, however, when right hon. Gentlemen opposite wish to muzzle the House of Commons in order to placate their mercenary allies below the Gangway and to hide differences among themselves which must be patent to everybody to evade any real issue that is of interest to the country. But I am concerned that whether an election comes sooner or later, if there be any sense or justice in democracy, the Government will pay dearly for their shortsighted and tyrannical action this afternoon.
§ Captain BOURNE
The Prime Minister has come down as Leader of the House and has asked the House to give him a Guillotine Motion appealing, as 399 most Leaders have done before, to pressure of time as justification for asking the House to surrender its rights. There is only one thing in quoting the precedents which he omitted to mention, and it is a matter of some importance. My hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Marjoribanks) has dealt with the first precedent of 1909–10. In dealing with the precedent of 1914, the Prime Minister omitted to mention that the Bill of 1914 consisted of 18 Clauses all told. One of those Clauses was the re-imposition of the Tea Duty. Another was taken up by Income Tax and Super Tax, and the rest by the imposition and collection of Death Duties. There was not a single machinery Clause in that Bill; the machinery Clauses had been dropped out before the Time Table was set up, I believe in deference to expressions of opinion that were then made. This Bill is full of machinery Clauses. If you took out the machinery Clauses dealing with land valuation, the Bill would be very short. The machinery Clauses are in themselves matters of very great importance, because on the exact interpretation of those Clauses must depend the incidence of the tax, the exemptions from the tax and the rights of our fellow-citizens on whom we are imposing the tax. It is of great importance that those Clauses should be examined jealously line by line, and scrutinised with the utmost caution. The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) complained last year of the amount of time occupied by us in scrutinising Clauses dealing with the taxation of one-man companies. In spite of what he said we have no desire to assist any man to evade just taxation, but we were extremely anxious to see that nothing was put into those Clauses which would hamper private companies which were simply out to trade and had not been formed with any eye on the avoidance of taxation, and I believe that as a result of our careful examination those Clauses were very much improved.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I did not want to misrepresent the hon. and gallant Member, and I am certain that he is sincere in what he is saying, 400 but why did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) say he was going to kill the whole Finance Bill?
§ Captain BOURNE
I am certain the hon. and gallant Member will hardly hold me responsible for the utterances of the right hon. Member for Epping.
§ Captain BOURNE
I have a great admiration for the powers of debate and brilliance of expression of the right hon. Gentleman, but I would not claim to take responsibilty for or to be able to foresee what he may say at any moment. There is one reason why I think the application of the Guillotine to the Finance Bill is particularly objectionable. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain) said, it is we in this House who are responsible for the actual form in which the Clauses of the Finance Bill reach the Statute Book. It has never been the claim of another place—it was not claimed even in 1909—that they have any right to amend the Finance Bill. It was claimed that they might reject it or accept it, but not that they are entitled to amend it, and I hold that even the Government themselves are precluded from making amendments to the Finance Bill in another place; if they were to do so, it would be introducing a very undesirable precedent into the financial relations of the two Houses. That puts upon the Members of this House an extra responsibility to go through Clauses word by word and line by line, when they are complicated and difficult Clauses, in order to make perfectly certain that the intentions of the Government are clear and equitable, that they do not operate on lines that have not been foreseen when they were framed, and that there are no loose ends lying about in consequence of Amendments which have been accepted. That is a reason which differentiates the Finance Bill from any other Bill. The Prime Minister prayed in aid of this Motion the Eating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, and the Local Government Act, 1929, but in those cases, although certain Amendments moved in another place were privileged, nobody ever suggested that the other place could not suggest those Amendments to us, or 401 that we, if we thought fit, could not accept them. In the case of those Bills we had the advantage of another place acting as a revising chamber, which in the case of long and complicated machinery Clauses may be a very good thing. With a Finance Bill they have never claimed to exercise that power, and for that reason anything which unduly curtails discussion in this House is undesirable and may lead to trouble in the Law Courts.
There is another reason altogether why I regret the increasing use of the Guillotine. I am interested in the prestige of Parliament, and I believe that nothing does more to lower its prestige than the granting of arbitrary powers to the executive under the plea of pressure of time. It has been admitted by practically every person who has given evidence before the Select Committee on Parliamentary Procedure, which is now sitting, that whatever may have been the case in the past the House of Commons to-day has surrendered all control over expenditure. Up to now the House of Commons has managed to maintain a careful control over taxation. In the last Parliament certain proposals put forward by the right hon. Member for Epping were modified or dropped under strong pres sure from the House. Hitherto, that has always been possible with the Finance Bill, but, once we set up the Guillotine, the control of the executive becomes supreme. They know they have merely to sit tight on the Treasury Bench and say nothing, and that at the appointed hour the Guillotine will fall and their proposals will be incorporated in the Bill and nothing can change them.
The effect of these Guillotine Resolutions on either a Finance Bill or an ordinary Measure is to increase the tyranny of the Cabinet over the House and to weaken the position of the ordinary back bench Member, however good his case may be. It lowers the prestige of Parliament in the eyes of the country, and it gives a sense of complete unreality to our Debates. No matter what argument is put forward, no matter how good the argument may be, the Government have merely to sit tight and do nothing, because they will be in no danger under the Guillotine. At the appointed hour their supporters, who may not have listened to the Debate, will 402 come trooping into the Chamber and obediently follow the Whips into the Lobby. If any inconvenient Amendments are down it is quite possible for the Government to persuade some of their own supporters to talk at length on previous Amendments and thereby stave off discussion on the awkward point. Such proceedings must render our Debates futile. It must lower our prestige in the country when large Clauses are passed without discussion, being put through automatically under the Guillotine. I dislike and disapprove of these Guillotine Motions, not because they are not sometimes necessary, but because I believe they weaken the prestige of the House in the eyes of the outside world In the case of the Finance Bill, my objections are increased, because the Finance Bill represents the one control which this House has over the Cabinet. It has some power, if you like by obstruction, to persuade the Government to give way on proposals which may be recognised as not sound. Under the Guillotine the tyranny of the Cabinet and of the Minister in charge remains absolute, and I support the Amendment and trust the House will carry it.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
I am at some disadvantage in speaking against the Motion moved from the Government Bench, because I have heard only a part of the Debate. That was through no fault of my own, but because I am Chairman of the Select Committee on Procedure which has been sitting, and I am sure the House will accept that as a sufficient explanation of my absence. It is a curious thing that the only recent precedent for this Motion was established in 1914 at a time when the last Committee on Procedure was sitting, and it is unfortunate in view of the evidence given before the present Select Committee that that precedent should now be brought before the House again. The Prime Minister mentioned that there were three precedents, but I do not think that statement holds good in fact. The first time there was a Guillotine Resolution was on the re-introduction of a Budget that had been thrown out. The second time was in the November, on the eve of a dissolution, and the Prime Minister of the day said then:Repeating the undertaking given both by myself and by my right hon. Friend 403 the Chancellor of the Exchequer last Friday, if we are in a position to control the business of the new Parliament, we shall consider it a binding obligation upon us to give the new House a full opportunity, with ordinary latitude, to consider all those other matters before the end of the year."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st November, 1910; col. 205, Vol. 20.]I think that quotation disposes of the Prime Minister's claim that either of the first two resolutions had any relevance to this one. He is only right in saying that the Resolution of 7th July, 1914, was a precedent, and I would point out that this is not 7th July, but it is 4th June, a month earlier and, further, that Guillotine was not introduced at the beginning of the Committee stage of the Finance Bill but only after some days of discussion in Committee. The Prime Minister also said that if such Guillotines were in future to be set up it was a mistake and a misfortune that it should fall to the lot of the Government of the day to propose the allocation of time, and that it would be far better if the task could be delegated to some more independent and generally representative tribunal. That was what was said by Mr. Asquith when he created the precedent which has been prayed in aid of the present procedure.
It is with regret that I find myself speaking against the decision of my party. I have more than once voted against the decision of my party, though I have never before spoken against it, but, as a House of Commons man, and not merely as a Member of my party, I must do my best to make it clear to my fellow-Members and to those in the country whom my voice can reach why I regard the proposed procedure as a very grave departure. Whatever may be said of the precedent of 1914, no Government since the War has found it necessary to adopt this procedure, and I cannot see why it should be necessary to bring it in now. What are the issues involved? There are six issues, four minor and two major. The first is whether the length of time allotted is adequate for a full discussion. The second is whether the compartments are wisely devised. The third is whether the House ought to stultify itself, even if it limits the number of days, by closing the discussion at 10 o'clock, or whether a later hour should be selected, or even to take powers outside any definite hour 404 to determine the time of closure The fourth minor point is whether the Government wish to operate the Bill under the Parliament Act or whether they can give more time. I am under the great disadvantage of not knowing what the Prime Minister has said, but, speaking as a private Member, I cannot understand the dates 4th August and 4th July. I know this point was raised in connection with the Guillotine Resolution of July, 1914, but it was never cleared up. If hon. Members take the trouble to read that Debate, they will find that three times in the course of it, if my recollection carries me aright, the question was put to the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, as to whether the date was 5th August or 5th September. That was never answered in the course of the Debate.
I do not know on what authority the authorities told the Prime Minister that he must have these powers before August. There are two considerations. The major consideration is that the Government wish to operate the Finance Bill under the Parliament Act of 1911, and if it is to be operative it must go to the other House one month before the end of the Session. As far as I can find out, no date is fixed, and we may end the Session on 4th August, 4th September or 4th November, as far as the Parliament Act is concerned. Therefore, that argument is entirely irrelevant to the question of the date. Under the Bowles Act of 1913 it is laid down that four months and no more must elapse from the passing of the Resolution, and it is now argued that 5th August is the proper date. If, on the other hand, it is contended that what matters is the date of the presentation of the Income Tax Resolution. I should like to know what authority there is in law for that.
The Government should say what authority these unnamed authorities have for saying that this procedure must be got through by 5th August. [Interruption.] I am speaking with all the humility of a private Member who has done his best to understand the rules, and who has listened to other hon. Members who have spoken at length. I have always credited them with the motives which they claim for themselves. I speak with great deference on this sub. 405 ject I know that the Attorney-General is under no illusion about this matter and he knows that it is not so simple a subject as some hon. Members opposite seem to think. There is general doubt in the matter, and it may affect the votes of some of my hon. Friends below the Gangway if they are told that these proposals must go through by 4th July or else they will not be operative under the Parliament Act. I do not think the Government can show any justification for that statement. All that need be said about that statement now is that when we come to debate the allocation of time we can discuss that point. I do not think that any hon. Member, looking at the terms of this Resolution, will agree that eight Committee days are adequate for the discussion of the very far-reaching issues contained in the Finance Bill, and that is all I will say on that point at the moment.
With regard to compartments, I do not think any hon. Member who has appreciated the width of the issues involved can agree that those compartments have been wisely divided. Is the President of the Board of Trade prepared to say that less than three hours to discuss the application of the Land Tax to Scotland is sufficient, in view of the fact that the land system in Scotland is entirely different from the system in England, and more especially in view of the fact that we are receiving resolutions from all kinds of bodies, not protesting against the tax, but urging us to have the application of the tax to Scotland thoroughly examined at the very earliest possible moment. That is only one illustration, and I could give many others, urging that there should be a longer time allowed for the discussion of the Land Tax. In this connection I will quote from a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones) in 1914 against the Guillotine Resolution, although I regret to say that in the Division which followed my right hon. Friend voted for it, He said:Let us have all-night sittings. It is better to sit up late at night than to pass the Finance Bill … without fully discussing any grievance that may arise."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th July, 1914; col. 940, Vol. 64.]That expresses my own view, and the Prime Minister has no right to ask this 406 House to part with its one effective opportunity of fully discussing taxation, the excuse for making this proposal being that the right hon. Gentleman cannot control his own back bench Members and keep them here after midnight. That is his real trouble. I am willing to spend my time here after midnight when I am asked to do it, and the Government have no right to ask the House to part with its control over taxation and limit discussion when we all know that the real trouble is that, although hon. Members opposite profess a great devotion to the public weal, they are not prepared to stay here after midnight.
I will now deal with the major points. The first point is that if we vote for this Resolution in its present form there is a danger that we shall be increasing the general growing power of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue with regard to taxation. I do not think that any thoughtful Member of this House who has watched the growth of the power of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue will disagree with me when I say that in the interests of the public, and in the interests of the whole system of taxation, the maintaining of the loyalty of the taxpayer in certain circumstances is one of the difficulties which this House has to face if the taxpayer is tried too highly. I have an instance in mind. I had a dispute with the Treasury last summer as to whether they were right in taxing unemployment grants, and the Treasury said they were. I made my claim in the cases which I brought forward. No doubt at the time the House thought I was dealing with a mare's nest, but what happened? Fortunately the case went to the High Court, and it was proved there that the claim put forward by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, with the whole of the Inland Revenue Commissioners behind him, was wrong.
There is another subject which is exercising the minds and hearts and consciences of our people more than anything that has happened since the War. It is the way in which we are giving bodies like the Board of Inland Revenue powers, in terms of Acts of Parliament which we do not understand ourselves, to do practically what they like, and I say quite frankly that I am not willing to cast my vote in favour of restricting by 407 one hour the discussion of any proposals made on behalf of the Government of the day to give more power to the Board of Inland Revenue. The major issue is whether this House should part with its control over taxation and expenditure. My hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne) has already pointed out that before the Committee on Procedure witness after witness bore testimony to the fact that whatever we may say about the control of expenditure, this House is rapidly losing that control, and that is because the Government of the day are constantly making increasing demands on the time of private Members. Consequently this House is gradually losing control over expenditure.
Therefore, we are now dealing with one of the greatest issues that can possibly be raised. We are dealing with the control of the Ministry through taxation, and this is a question which goes to the root of the power of the Government. Where does this power spring from except the long struggles of the people to get control over expenditure in defiance of the efforts of the Executive of the day, whether they are monarchs or anything else? I feel sure that on this question the House is going for the first time to take a decision which may uproot Parliament, and if we get a dictator I hope the Government will not get the dictator they dislike. That is a vital issue, and we are taking the first step this afternoon on the road to lose control over taxation. A very distinguished authority, Sir Courtenay Ilbert, put the issue very forcibly when he wrote:As regards the control of expenditure, the House has achieved little success.And he added:On the other hand the control of the House of Commons over taxation is undeniably substantial and effective.Taxation, like expenditure, is always unpopular, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer may say, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." The Government, however, should recognise that any proposals they may bring forward in regard to taxation are sure to be met by vigilant well-informed criticisms, and by formidable opposition on the Floor of this House. The Chancellor of the Exchequer retains his conduct of and responsibility 408 for his Financial Resolutions, and the Bill founded on them from the beginning to the end of their Parliamentary career. He has to fight for them through the House as best he can and meet the criticisms which assail him from every quarter, and his proposals often undergo substantial transformation before they emerge in the form of law. And so, in my judgment, the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be compelled to continue to have to fight for his proposals to whatever party he may belong. The Finance Bill is exempt from the 11 o'clock Rule, and it is subject both to the Closure and the Kangaroo Closure, and what more does a Government want which claims to have respect for the very foundations of this House. This is the first time since the War that the Government have struck at the root of the tradition and influence of this House. That is a dangerous innovation, and the Government can let its supporters loose in order to burke any inconvenient discussion and prevent other issues being raised if it cares to let them so loose.
When these proposals for taxation have left this House, if they have not been discussed here, they cannot be discussed and amended in another place, and therefore this is the last chance the taxpayer has of having his views put forward before the Bill leaves the Floor of this House. When the Budget of this country was £40,000,000, we had unlimited liberty of discussion, but now the Budget amounts to over £800,000,000, and that is a terrible burden. The House may pass this Resolution after vehement protests, and if it does, this will be the first time since the War, and the second time in Parliamentary history, that it has passed a Resolution which undermines the power of the House of Commons over taxation. In these circumstances, I cannot support, and indeed I must oppose with all my power, this Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs has often spoken on this issue, and referring to Mr. Balfour when he was Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman said:The fact was that the Prime Minister had got into the habit, first of all, of blundering into a certain position, and then calling it a Parliamentary emergency. This blunder ended in fixing upon the procedure of the House of Commons what he 409 was afraid might become a permanent restriction upon the liberty and freedom of Parliamentary Debate.What was true then of Mr. Balfour is equally true of the present Prime Minister. May I point out that it is not the fault of the House that we have to consider this question in June? This is due to the mishandling of public business by the Government, and by the supporters of the Government, who have gone about the country shouting about their devotion to the people. That is the reason why this Motion is necessary to-day. I will add one other quotation, from Mr. Asquith, who said:I am strongly of opinion that the House of Commons should not only maintain its exclusive control over finance, but should not be deprived of the opportunity which from time immemorial it has enjoyed of criticising these proposals at every stage and at the fullest possible length."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st November, 1910: col. 204, Vol. 20.]I prefer that quotation to others which, I have no doubt, have been read in this House. I want to ask my fellow Liberals two questions. I ask them what they would have said of this proposal if it had been made in the last Parliament by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill)? Again, I would ask them to answer in their own conscience what will they say, whether inside or outside this House, in the future, if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain) should stand there as Chancellor of the Exchequer and bring in a long schedule of tariff taxes of all kinds? I ask them what they will say if the right hon. Gentleman should use the Guillotine based on this precedent, which can only be given by our votes—[Interruption]—to bring in new taxes of that kind, and the House is unable to discuss them; and I may also ask them what they will say supposing that the end of it all is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a Socialist with a majority, and brings in a whole series of penal Socialist taxes also under the Guillotine? What account then shall we give of our votes to-day? As far as I am concerned, I intend to cast my vote in the "No" Lobby to-night, and, as I go through the "No" Lobby, I shall look at that protestation of December, 1621—that tattered document which so vexed King James that he tore it out of the Journals of the House 410 because he objected to a resolution which imposed restrictions on his endeavours to tax the people. May I quote to my colleagues here, and to the House as a whole, the words of that resolution:In the handling and proceeding of such business "——that is to say, taxation—every Member of the House hath—and of right ought to have—freedom of speech to propound, treat, reason and bring to conclusion the same.That is the principle which the House used to affirm in regard to grants and aids to His Majesty. Let the House affirm that principle to-night, by its vote on this Amendment, to the present executive.
§ The ATTORNEY - GENERAL (Sir William Jowitt)
I am afraid that what I have to say will come to the House as a complete anti-climax after the vigorous and interesting speech to which we have just listened. I will not say that I am going to descend from the sublime to the ridiculous, because I hope that what I am going to say will at least have the merit of not being ridiculous, but I accept the invitation which the hon. Member extended to me. My hon. Friend the Member for Central Leeds (Mr. Denman) gave an explanation which I shall merely try in my own words to repeat. The question raised by the hon. Member really turns upon what has been nicknamed the Bowles Act, that is to say, the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1913. So far as I know—the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) may be able to check what I am going to say—the question which arises for decision here, under Subsection (2) of Section 1 of that Act, has always been present in the minds of the lawyers, and, so far as I know, none of my predecessors has ever taken a different view from that which I am going to expound. Section 1 of that Act provides that:The period for which a resolution shall have statutory force under this section shall be a period expiring at the end of four months after the date on which the resolution is expressed to take effect; or, if no such date is expressed, then after the date on which the resolution is passed.
The question, therefore, which emerges is what is meant by that phrase:
expressed to take effect.
If the resolution is not expressed to take effect at any date at all, then the date of the passing of the resolution is the critical date, and the four months start from that date. If, on the other hand, the resolution is expressed to take effect as from some earlier date, then that date marks the limit of time from which the four months have to run. On every occasion the resolution, so far as I know, has been in substantially the same terms. I will read a recent one:
That Income Tax for the year 1931–32 shall be charged "—
at a certain rate, and so on. Is that resolution expressed to take effect as from some date? The view that I believe to be the right one, and the view which hitherto, so far as I know, has always been taken, is that it is, and for this reason. Section 2 of the Income Tax Act, 1918—the Income Tax Act, 1918, is, as the House knows, as it were, an Income Tax Clauses Act, which is put into machinery by the Finance Act of the year—provide that:
Every assessment charged to tax shall be made for a year commencing on the sixth day of April and ending on the following fifth day of April, except "—
and then follow certain immaterial exceptions. Therefore, when you say that Income Tax for the year 1931–32 shall be this, that or the other, what you are in effect saying is that Income Tax for a year commencing on 6th April, and ending on the following 5th April, shall be at the rate of so-and-so. The view which I believe to be the right view, and which I am advised is the right view, and which so far as I know is the view that my predecessors have always taken, is that such a resolution comes within the words:
§ "A resolution expressed to take effect." It does operate to impose a new charge as from the 6th April. Section 2 of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act relates merely to the collection of taxes which have become due during the previous year. If I may give the House a simple illustration, the resolution in this case was passed on 27th April, and, if it does not relate back to 6th April, there is a hiatus from 6th to 27th, and there is no machinery, there is no obligation, there is no law which compels, for instance, any company paying a dividend to deduct from it tax between those 412 dates. That being so, the view which I believe to be the right one is that the four months start from 6th April, and not from the 27th.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I thought the argument was that it had to operate under the Parliament Act, but I understand that that has nothing to do with it.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
So far as I know, the Parliament Act has nothing to do with the fixing of the ultimate limit which is the 5th August, but having fixed that limit you then have to calculate back from it to fix the relevant date under the Parliament Act. Of course, the Bowles Act only applies to Customs and Excise Duties and Income Tax.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
If I understand the right hon. and learned Gentleman's view rightly, it is that every year the Finance Bill must of necessity become law by 5th August.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
As I am at present advised, that seems to me to be the right view, if the Income Tax is going to be continued. We must remember that it is a yearly tax imposed from year to year. If I am right in the view that I have indicated, that fixes the four months as ending on the 5th August. Then you have to consider the effect of the Parliament Act. Section 1 of the Parliament Act provides that if a Money Bill—and for the purpose of the discussion on this point we are assuming that this would be certified as a Money Bill—if a Money Bill has been passed by the House of Commons and sent to the House of Lords at least one month before the end of the Session, and if it is not passed by the House of Lords without amendment within one month after being sent to that House, the Bill shall, unless the House of Commons directs to the contrary, be presented to His Majesty. Consequently, having fixed your limit under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act—that limit being the 5th August—you then have to apply the Parliament Act to this limit, and you have to go back a month. That brings you back to the 5th July.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
As the right hon. and learned Gentlemen referred to me, may I just interpose to ask what is the law which says that the Session of Parliament must be ended on 5th August?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
There is, of course, none whatever. The limit of time, as I have endeavoured to point out, is fixed by the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, and that makes it necessary to have this Bill through by the 5th August. Having so fixed the limit, then we have to go a month back from that, and it is in that sense that I say that the 5th July is the date. I am not, of course, suggesting that there is any statutory requirement which would prevent the Session from continuing through August and September. That is the answer, to the best of my ability, to the question which the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) asked me, and I think he will find that for that reason the Prime Minister was right when he referred to the 5th August as the date.
There are two quite separate points at issue here. With regard to the first, I accept what the Attorney-General has said as representing the position, but I would like to quote some words used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), in speaking in the Debate on the Finance Bill on the 1st July, 1914, from which the Attorney-General will see that, while he is doubtless correct in saying that that is, if I may use the term, the instructed opinion to-day, apparently it was not the instructed opinion in 1914. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said, and it is very significant:He stated that these taxes will come to an end on the 5th August. That is not what I am advised. However, that is a legal question which I do not feel quite competent to discuss with a lawyer. I am advised that it is not the 5th of August, but the 5th of September which is the date. It is a legal matter which I do not wish to pursue."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st July, 1914; col. 395, Vol. 64.]I do not want to make a party point of it, but it is quite clear that in 1914 the high authorities who then advised the Government took the view that the relevant date was not 5th August, as we are told by the Attorney-General it must always be, because of the imposition of the tax on 5th April, but 5th September. With regard to the second point, which was so ably dealt with by the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon), the Prime Minister in his speech seemed to make an assumption which has become far too 414 common an assumption in recent years, namely, that there is almost a sacred reason why the Session should come to an end at the end of July. That has never been the Parliamentary practice in the past. In my long recollection of this House, whenever there has been some really urgent matter to be got through, it was never argued that it was essential that the House should rise in July, but, on the contrary, the Government if they had urgent reasons for passing a Measure, would specifically ask the House to sit later. Therefore, I hope it will not emerge from this Debate that it is now considered to be the established practice of this House always in all circumstances to rise at the end of July.
§ 6.0 p.m.
I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman has somewhat modified what, at any rate, seemed to be the impression that he gave. I only wanted it not to be thought that we accept as a principle that it is an excuse for a Motion of this kind that the House has to rise at the end of July. It is not in accordance with the previous practice of the House.
§ Mr. DENMAN
The Noble Lord is on the wrong tack. It has nothing to do with the end of the Session at all. The Parliament Act provides that a Bill cannot become an Act unless it has been in the hands of the Lords for at least a month. Let us suppose that it left this House in the middle of July. It could not become an Act before the middle of August. By that time the Income Tax ceases to have effect under the Bowles Act, and a hiatus of illegality arises.
I was not addressing myself to that particular point at the moment. I was addressing myself to the impression created by the right hon. Gentleman's speech, which he has now modified, that it was necessary that the House should always rise at the end of July. If it should be argued that it was necessary that the House should rise at the end of July in every Session, there would be justification for all sorts of Closure Motions, but that is not so.
I should now like to address myself to the matter in general from the point of 415 view of one who, save for yourself, Sir, and three other Members, has the longest record of service in the House—27 years—and I should like to show that in my judgment this use of the Guillotine Closure, and various other restrictions of debate, is slowly, perhaps almost imperceptibly, but surely eating into the vitals of the House as a deliberative assembly—becoming in fact a sort of cancer. I do not wish to adopt a merely partisan attitude. I certainly condemn the Government proposal. I condemn it not only on its merits but because, to my mind, it is part of a process which is most injurious to the House. I think it will be very pertinent to quote the original Closure Motion in the year 1882, and I should like to ask hon. Members when they have heard it if they do not agree with me that in the space of less than 50 years—not a very long time in the history of the House—there has been an enormous departure from what was the original intention when the Closure was brought in. This is the Resolution:That, when it shall appear to Mr. Speaker or to the Chairman of a Committee of the whole House during any Debate to be the evident sense of the House, or of the Committee, that the Question be now put, he may so inform the House or the Committee and, if a Motion be made that the Question be now put, Mr. Speaker, or the Chairman, shall forthwith put such Question and, if the same be decided in the affirmative, the question under discussion shall be put forthwith: Provided that the question shall not be decided in the affirmative if a Division be taken unless it shall appear to have been supported by more than 200 Members or unless it shall appear to have been opposed by less than 40 Members and supported by more than 100 Members.What a vast distance we have travelled from what our predecessors in 1882 thought was necessary to deal with obstruction far more cruel, far more devastating, far more injurious to the House than anything that has been known since. There has never been anything like it. Members who have come in since the War do not know what obstruction is. They have had no experience of it. My right hon. Friends on this bench who have come since the War do not know what it is. They should have been here in the old days of the Irish Parliamentary party. The original Closure Resolution was passed 416 to deal with a state of affairs which has never existed to-day. It was passed to stop the most flagrant, open and unashamed obstruction by a party which is now defunct, which was pledged as no party is to-day, and as no party has the slightest intention of doing to-day, to destroy the body and soul, so to speak, of the House. I maintain and emphasise that the cure has proved in many respects to be as deadly to the reputation of Parliament as the original disease.
The original Closure was never intended to avoid the possibility or probability of prolixity in Debate or repetition of argument. It was never intended as a sort of tape measure to allot portions of Debate. It was intended to arm the Chair to stop the gross abuse of the rights of Debate, and yet in Resolutions such as this it is used as a wholly arbitrary allotment of time and of the opportunity, which is also the right, to debate at all. Slowly but surely the effect of the use of the Closure through these years, especially of this Closure by compartments, has turned this House from a deliberative assembly into a mere machine for passing legislation whether it is debated or not. This machine is obviously injuring the spirit of the House, and it may quite easily smash itself into pieces. All Governments think they have now made the machine so good that no one can kick against it. It does not matter whether people hear speeches. The Parliamentary machine and the party machine together will get legislation through. Is that really so? I hope it will never happen, but none of your compartment Closures of your Guillotine, and the vast powers that are given through the action of the House to the Speaker or Chairman of Committees, can prevent half-a-dozen resolute Members from smashing the whole machinery of the House by adopting what is known outside as a working-to-rule method of going on. They could insist on debating every private Bill. They could insist on debating such things as the issue of writs. The machine is not safe. Yet at the cost of the partial destruction of the House as a deliberative assembly, Governments have deliberately adopted this most infernal machine of the Closure over all these years.
417 The greatest evil of a Resolution such as this from the House of Commons point of view, though not from a party point of view, is the fact that it can be used as a precedent. While many references have been made to precedent in regard to the Closure of Finance Bills, we can say that there has been no Closure Resolution for a Finance Bill, in the technical sense of the term, put forward by this party. The possibility that the method which the Government are asking us to adopt may be used as a precedent by some future Government does not reconcile me to it at all. It will, doubtless, supply a condonation for our action, but it makes the wrongfulness of the original precedent even greater. To alter a well-known phrase, the freedom of this House is being slowly narrowed down from precedent to precedent. I agree with every word the hon. Member below the Gangway used. The rights of private Members are being gradually filched away year by year by the manner in which business is conducted in the House. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that a justification for a Motion of this kind was found in the fact that business was in a very congested state. That is a very dangerous justification to put forward. It is very dangerous to justify so fundamental a restriction of the right of Debate as we have in this Motion on the ground that Government business is congested. If I wanted to make a party point, I should say it is congested because it has been mishandled and overloaded. Whether that is so or not, is it not intolerable that we should be asked, when the state of public business is what it is at present, to pass a Finance Bill under the Closure because the rest of the time table is overloaded? Surely that is putting several carts before the horse. The most important thing to be discussed at present is finance. What are we told is the dominant question in the country? What is the dominant question in almost every country. The question of public finance. Yet the right hon. Gentleman uses as a justification for closuring the Finance Bill that the time table is congested in other directions.
Really it is so. That was almost a major basis of the right hon. Gentleman's argument. I was amazed to hear him refer to the late Lord Balfour and quote him in his support. I wish Lord Balfour was with us to-day. I should like to hear what he had to say about this proposal. I do not think he would have been found to agree with the right hon. Gentleman's line of argument. Nowadays a Government that is putting forward justifications for Closure Motions says in effect that the House is not a deliberative assembly any-longer, but a place where you have to get your business through somehow. That is what is doing so much mischief to the character of the House of Commons, and is so much resented outside. The ordinary stages of a Bill, especially in Committee and on Report, are a great test of the capacity of any Minister. A Minister in charge of a Bill in Committee must show tact and knowledge of his subject. If he does not, he will have a difficulty in getting his Bill through, because the general sense of the House or the Committee will be against him. He will soon realise it when he gets no cheers from his own supporters and hears in the Lobby that he has not been a success. Therefore it is a great testing time for Ministers. But none of this arises under a Guillotine. Under Closure, a most valuable right is taken away, not only from the Opposition but from the House as a whole, of moving—if the Minister, to put it somewhat vulgarly, has made a mess of things—to report Progress. A Minister may sit mum on the bench and refuse to make a speech, and a Bill may be passed. That does not make for the efficient working of the House or the efficiency of any Minister.
There is a third and very important point which was dealt with by previous speakers, namely, the opportunity which the Closure Resolution offers—I do not say that it is an unfair opportunity and that unfair advantage is taken of it—to the supporters of the Government by "delaying" tactics on an Amendment in order to keep off discussion on a later Amendment which not only the Opposition but the whole House may wish to discuss. Whatever party is in office, it is a strong argument against Guillotine Motions. Speaking from the experience of a quarter of a century or more, I submit that the great growth of democracy 419 both within and outside the House has not injured the House by alteration of personnel. On the contrary, I think it it has somewhat improved it. I believe that the forms of the House are as much respected as they were 27 years ago. Democracy in that sense has triumphed, but in its triumph and impatience it has destroyed its own passport, that is, the freedom of debate by its own representatives.
§ Mr. JAMES HUDSON
The Noble Lord has made a speech which certainly is worthy of respect not only because of its excellence, but because it reminds us that it is drawn from a very long experience of this House. When he spoke of the 27 years he had spent here, he reminded me of what, a quarter of a century ago, he and some of his friends used to do in this House. Those were the days when the prestige of the House of Commons was vastly different from what the Noble Lord has been suggesting. I should think that the rights of the House which have developed in the days since the Noble Lord and his friends used to carry on their escapades have not in the least taken away from the prestige of the House of Commons but added to it very considerably, and indeed given some of us an opportunity to respect the Noble Lord for the political work he is now able to do.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) has left his place, because I rose more particularly to speak about something that was said by the hon. Member. The hon. Member for Leith seemed entirely to have forgotten during the whole of his speech the protestations made time and time again by Liberal Members of Parliament against what was done by the Conservative Opposition in former years when the great Land Tax proposal was before the House. The hon. Member seemed to take it for granted that the prestige of the House of Commons could be retained even though at the same time one retained the power of an Opposition to introduce Amendments to such an extent that the House of Commons procedure might almost break down. I have heard in the past from Liberal platform after Liberal platform protests at what was done when the land proposals of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon 420 Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) were brought into this House. I have heard from Liberals, perhaps more than from any other political party, protests against the fatuousness—and even a stronger word than that has been used—of a system that would allow the introduction of Amendments and the continuance of debate to such a point that it was not possible to settle anything. We are living in times when the institution of Parliament is being carefully investigated and examined, not only in this country, but in all the countries of the world. In our own House of Commons we are being told thatour procedure, developing gradually year after year, cannot serve the needs of the moment.
When the hon. Member for Leith spoke about the prestige of the House of Commons and the unwillingness of Members on these benches to stop here late at night discussing the financial issues that were brought before us, surely he did not mean to suggest that discussions carried on night after night, as they were last year and as they have been on several occasions, right through the hours of the night into the morning, add greatly to the prestige of the House of Commons? Does he imagine—and he says that he will go through the "No" Lobby to-night and will look at the old declaration of the duties of Parliament in the matter of taxation—that by means of the power of the Opposition to continue obstructive discussion until two, three or four o'clock in the morning, results can be obtained in Parliament which will add to the prestige of Parliament and to the dignity of this House? Is it not clear to all of us from our experience, however short that experience may be, that one of the great needs of the House of Commons is to take a reasonable and sensible view of its opportunities?
We should try, if possible, by agreement to divide up the time of the House of Commons so that issues can be discussed to the best possible advantage, and if agreement cannot be obtained we should proceed in the way in which the Prime Minister has suggested in the Resolution he has put before us. Is there anything intrinsically unreasonable in an offer of eight full days to discuss the terms of the Finance Bill, particularly when the Prima Minister has told us that he is willing if submissions are made, 421 no matter from what part of the House they may come, to extend the period even to 10 full days. Surely there is nothing in the Bill—there can be nothing in any Bill that comes before the House of Commons—which necessitates the spending of time to the extent suggested. I ask the House not to treat this matter as, indeed, some hon. Members opposite have been treating it", as an issue out of which ultimately we are going to wreck the domain and the rights of Parliament, but rather to consider it as a proposal by which, if it is given a fair trial, we shall establish for Parliament in the future a safer and firmer foundation based upon an allowance to Members of a reasonable amount of time to discuss the most delicate and difficult proposals that come before them. Unless Members opposite can show that with regard to the scheduled time table associated with the proposals now before the House adequate time is not being allowed for the discussion of those issues, I submit that they are wasting the time of the House at the present moment, and are not adding to the dignity of which they have spoken.
§ Captain CROOKSHANK
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. J. Hudson) really begs the question when he uses the words "reasonable time." It is exactly in regard to what is reasonable time that we find ourselves in opposition to-day. There was one remark in the speech of my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winter-ton) which I should like to emphasise. He said that one of the disadvantages of this kind of Motion was that we could not test the capacity of a Minister as was the case when we were debating rather more freely. That is true, but, as a matter of fact, we do not require any test of the capacity of our present Ministers, for we know how incompetent they are. What we are up against today, and the Debate has shown it—we have had very few contributions from the other side—is the fundamental issue as to whether Parliament is to be a deliberative assembly or merely the machine for legislation more or less by decree. It so happens at the moment that there are committees sitting on both these aspects, and this fact makes it all the more undesirable that the Government should come down and create the 422 precedent—for no matter what the right hon. Gentleman has said, it is a precedent—of guillotining the Finance Bill. One Committee is sitting with regard to the powers of Ministers, and a Select Committee of this House is discussing our Procedure, and surely, before we make these revolutionary changes, it would be only deecent to await the report of one or both of those Committees. I would remind the Prime Minister of the wording of our Amendment:This House declines to assent to the arbitrary imposition of limits upon the discussion.He has given his case away. We argue that his proposals are arbitrary, and he comes down and says, "You can have two more days." Is that not proof of their arbitrariness? If the right hon. Gentleman is so pressed for time as he indicated in his speech, there would be no two days to give away. The Prime Minister has been upon weak ground all day. What has been interesting—and I hope that the House as a whole will notice it—has been the absence of the two chief actors in the position. The chief Government Whip has not attended the Debate to-day. [HON. MEMBERS: "He has!"] He has walked in and walked out. He has not sat upon this bench one tithe of the time that I have sat upon this bench. He, as Patronage Secretary, is responsible to the Prime Minister to see that business is got through. The other most notable absentee is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). There is no doubt that he has had a good deal to do with the proposals represented here, but we have not seen him, and even the right hon. Member for Darven (Sir H. Samuel) has not contributed to our discussion.
The Prime Minister's speech reminded me of something I read in the "Times" of yesterday concerning what the Prime Minister said to an audience at Blackpool the day before. He said that he was not going to face a General Election in a "hoity toity and jazz heart." I am not quite sure what is a hoity toity and jazz heart, but it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman in his cavalier treatment of the House has come here in something approaching that spirit. He is not going to face a General Election. This proposal is one of the many devices to avoid 423 a General Election. Only last week he told a Press correspondent in Lossiemouth that it was very nice up there, because he was free from pests. My first impression on seeing those words was that he felt that at any rate up there he was free from his Cabinet colleagues, but now it seems that the word "pest" was meant for the Opposition. He now proposes that the Opposition shall be deprived of any opportunity to take part in free Debate of the financial proposals of the year. He quoted so-called precedents. Although be did not call them precedents, they were illustrations to show that the Guillotine was in operation in connection with the Local Government Bill and the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Bill. Were those Money Bills? Was the other place deprived of any opportunity of making Amendments, even as regards drafting? They are not comparable. He says that on the first day he saw 60 Amendments on the Order Paper. That frightened him so much that he thought he must use the Guillotine. We all know that the Prime Minister has not had any military experience. If he had had such experience, or if his advisers had had any military experience, he would know that there are such things as smoke screens. Amendments might be put down, but hon. Members would not necessarily move them, or they might be ruled out of order. The mere fact that there were 60 Amendments down is an irrelevant reason for coming here and asking us to do a thing which the House has never assented to in regard to a Finance Measure.
Hon. Members do not seem to realise to the full the great power which exists in the Closure itself. The Closure should be sufficient in the hands of any efficient Administration to give them the power to get through their Finance Bill. The Prime Minister has not produced one argument to show that eight days in Committee—only two days more than was allowed on the Electoral Reform Bill, which is capable of being amended in another place—is sufficient to enable us to discuss the important issues raised by the Finance Bill; issues which are now only beginning to be realised by the great mass of the people. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman has received a docu 424 ment from the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society within the last few days, showing the alarm felt by the friendly societies at the proposals in the Finance Bill. Hon. Members who get a communication of that kind are placed in the position of having to say that they do not even know whether they will be able to put the grievances of the friendly societies before the House of Commons, and there will be no opportunity of putting the case before the other place. Unless the Prime Minister comes to a very different frame of mind they do not even know whether there will be a single chance of discussing the effect of these proposals upon these great organisations. Whatever the Prime Minister may say about the occupiers and owners of land, the friendly societies are certainly not such as his right hon. Friend would classify among the dukes.
As one of the ordinary back benchers, I protest against one more attempt on the part of the Government to deprive us of an opportunity of debate upon matters which vitally affect all our constituents. Many of the Bills that come before the House are sectional and affect only certain classes of people, but the Finance Bill is the one Measure which affects every single person, for good or evil. The Finance Bill gives an opportunity to the Government of the day to make constructive proposals and to outline a policy of reforms with regard to health, the relief of unemployment and other matters, but this Finance Bill does nothing of the kind. It will, however, lay great burdens upon millions of our fellow-countrymen, and it is nothing less than a Parliamentary outrage that the Prime Minister should make the proposal that he has done.
§ Sir GODFREY COLLINS
I regret that the Government have tabled this Resolution. They have made out a case according to the Bowles Act and the Parliament Act, but there is something much larger than the mere question of dates. We have to consider the interests of the taxpayers of Great Britain. The Finance Bill affects every one of His Majesty's subjects. I am sure the Prime Minister will agree with me when I say that while the taxes levied in this country are the highest, they are paid with goodwill and consent. We have an Income Tax which is the admiration of the whole world, and many other countries would like, if they 425 could, to follow our example in that respect. If we carry the Resolution, the taxpayers of Great Britain will know that the Commons of Great Britain will be unable to exercise free and unfettered discussion in regard to the taxes levied on His Majesty's subjects. That is a new principle introduced into this House. When our taxes are so high and when our finances are so great, is the Prime Minister well advised in choosing this time to curtail the liberty of free discussion? He must know that under the Guillotine Resolution discussion is stifled and that there can be no free play in debates which takes place across the Floor of the House when there is a Guillotine Resolution in operation.
I remember a very strange incident happening in this House, five years ago, during the Second Reading of the Finance Bill of 1925. Hon. Friends associated with me at that time felt very strongly that your predecessor, Mr. Speaker, in accepting the Closure after one day's Debate on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill had interfered unduly with the free discussion of that Measure, and they took a very extreme step, one of the most extreme steps ever taken by any party in this House, when they tabled a Motion censuring your predecessor's conduct for accepting that Closure Motion. Times have changed, and some of my Friends on these benches appear to have turned their backs on that policy of 1925 and are prepared to follow the Government in their proposal to restrict the free and unfettered discussion of the finances of this year. I should have thought that a minority Government who, I am sure the Prime Minister will agree, have been well treated by the House of Commons, because there has been no scientific opposition such as that we knew before the War——. The Prime Minister may smile.
§ Sir G. COLLINS
I was sure that the right hon. Gentleman would agree with me. Therefore, is it wise, is it fair, is it right to the House of Commons, when a minority Government have been treated with such fairness by the Opposition and by the House of Commons as a whole, that before the Committee stage starts they should try to limit the opportunities of discussion. 426 I noted very carefully the speech of the right hon. Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain). He was careful not to take exception to the principle of the Resolution, but I felt that while he has not taken exception to the principle he had in mind, it may be a year, five years or 10 years hence, bringing in a tariff and being able to cite the authority of the Prime Minister in favour of a stiff Guillotine Resolution. I imagine that he was thinking of taxing innumerable articles under an emergency tariff, imposing fresh burdens on every citizen of Great Britain and citing the authority of the Prime Minister of a Labour Government for his action. I feel sure that that was in his mind when he did not take exception to the principle of the Resolution. I do take exception to the principle. It seems to me grossly wrong, after the House of Commons has been so generous, after the public have been so generous, after they have poured out their money so freely to every Government since 1918, that the Government to-day, after the taxpayers have paid so liberally and so freely to the Exchequer, should come to the House and ask for these very stiff restrictions upon the discussion of the finances of the year. I regret therefore that I shall have to oppose at every stage the proposal that has been made.
§ Mr. W. J. BROWN
I rise to explain briefly why as an independent Member I shall support the Government in the Division Lobby. I do not propose to waste much time in dealing with the precedents which have been raised. My own experience is that this Debate resembles a great many other Debates in this respect, that everything that has been said from the Opposition Front Bench can be answered by reference to what they themselves were saying about four years ago, and everything that has been said from the Government Front Bench can equally be answered by what they were saying when they occupied the Opposition Front Bench. This is not a question of precedents but of plain horse sense. The idea that eight or 10 full parliamentary days are not sufficient to discuss the merits or demerits of the Finance Bill is humbug. Eight or 10 days are more than sufficient to discuss its merits or demerits. Before I deal with the Budget and attempt to show 427 that 10 days are quite adequate I should like to show that the case for extending the time limit is very largely destroyed by reference to the quarters from which it comes. We have had a speech from the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) in which he pleaded for more time to enable him to deal with the merits of the Budget. If there is one Member of this House who exercises the forms of Parliamentary procedure to the very limit in putting across his point of view, it is the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough, and he should be the last person to be asking for longer time to discuss the merits of the Budget. What applies to the hon. and gallant Member applies to the Conservative Opposition as a whole.
I have looked up the discussion on the last Budget and I find that in one all-night sitting, one of many days which were devoted to the Budget of last year, 24 columns of the OFFICIAL REPORT were occupied by reports of speeches on motions to report Progress—24 columns of what I should describe as plain obstruction. Four more columns were occupied by motions from the Front Opposition Bench to move the Chairman out of the Chair. Therefore, 28 columns in a single day's proceedings were devoted, not to serious discussion of the merits of the Bill, but for the purpose of time wasting. A Conservative Opposition which docs that kind of thing is in no moral position to argue that 10 days is not adequate for a discussion of the Budget. The hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) whose speech I very much admired, argued that what was at stake was the right of the House of Commons to control discussion upon taxation. I ask myself this question: What is there in the present Budget, as compared with previous Budgets, which makes an extended discussion from a House of Commons point of view necessary. With great respect, I can only find one difference in principle—there are minor differences in detail—between this Budget and earlier Budgets adopted by this House, and that difference is the machinery for the taxation of land value and the proposal to tax land value. So far as the rest of the Budget is concerned it is precisely 428 the same as the Budget we discussed last year. If this was a revolutionary. Budget, if this House had to address itself to the problem of raising £800,000,000, and how best to raise it, if there was in the Budget a new vital principle which struck at the root of all pre-existing practice in regard to taxation, there might be more strength in the case of the Opposition than there is but in fact there is only one respect in which this Budget substantially differs from the Budgets of previous years and that difference is in relation to the taxation of land value——
§ Mr. BROWN
For my argument it does not matter how many Clauses there are. If the House of Commons would occupy itself more with principles instead of Clauses it would be much better. But in relation to that particular item in the Budget, what is that the Conservative Opposition wants to discuss? The revenue from that part of the Budget will not affect us until 1934, and if they are so confident of the result of the next election as they say they are, they will be on this side of the House. Therefore, their anxiety about that particular item of the Budget is completely misplaced. In my view, the Debates on this Budget, are going to be sham fights.
§ Mr. BROWN
Yes, it is the concession the Budget contains to the uneasy opinion inside the Labour party, and put in with the knowledge that in all human probability it will never become effective. What we are going to see in these Budget Debates is an elaborate sham fight on the land taxation proposals, which will probably never become operative, to the practical exclusion of the two real issues which face the House of Commons; one, that if you have to raise £800,000,000, how, justly, to raise it, and, secondly, whether we need spend £800,000,000 at all. These two issues will be passed over in complete silence while a sham fight takes place upon the land tax Clauses. If the House of Commons does not find eight or 10 days adequate for that sham fight my vote will not go in favour of giving any more. 429 We have heard about the progress of democracy from the Noble Lord and of the invasion of this place by the democracy. I wonder what democracy would think of this Debate if they could listen to it. Here is the Conservative Opposition thinking that it is not getting enough time and wasting a whole day discussing whether they have enough time or not. If democracy could hear this Debate it would not express itself in the sense which the Noble Lord imagines nor, indeed, in the sense imagined by some hon. Members on this side of the House. Democracy would say, as it is beginning to say, "a plague on both your Houses," because it cannot see any
§ real relation between what we are doing and the real needs of the community at the present time. For these reasons, and without prejudice to my comments at a later stage on the character of the Budget, but on the simple issue before us as to whether eight or 10 days is adequate for the discussion of the Budget, such as it is, my vote will be in the Government Lobby,
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the second word 'the,' in line 1, stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 274; Noes, 222.433
|Division No. 270.]||AYES.||[6.53 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Dukes, C.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Duncan, Charles||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Ede, James Chuter||Kelly, W. T.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Edmunds, J. E.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Alpass, J. H.||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.|
|Amnion, Charles George||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Kinley, J.|
|Angeli, Sir Norman||Egan, W. H.||Kirkwood, D.|
|Arnolt, John||Elmley, Viscount||Knight, Holford|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Freeman, Peter||Lang, Gordon|
|Attire, Clement Richard||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Law, Albert (Bolton)|
|Ayles, Walter||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Law, A. (Rossendale)|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)||Lawrence, Susan|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)|
|Barnes, Alfred John||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)|
|Batey, Joseph||Glbbins, Joseph||Leach, W.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwel), Peckham)||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Lee, Prank (Derby, N. E.)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Gill, T. H.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Gillett, George M.||Lees, J.|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Glassey, A. E.||Leonard, W.|
|Benton, G.||Gossling, A. G.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Gould, F.||Lindley, Fred W.|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Bowen, J. W.||Gray, Mliner||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Coine)||Longden, F.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Lunn, William|
|Bromfieid, William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Macdonalrt, Gordon (Ince)|
|Bromley, J.||Groves, Thomas E.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Brooke, W.||Grundy, Thomas W.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Brothers, M.||Hall, G. H. (Marthyr Tydvil)||McElwee, A.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||McEntee, V. L.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)|
|Buchanan, G.||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||McKinlay, A.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Harbord, A.||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Eiland)||Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||MacNeill-Weir, L.|
|Caine, Hall-, Derwent||Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||McShane, John James|
|Cameron, A. G.||Harris, Percy A.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Cape, Thomas||Haycock, A. W.||Mender, Geoffrey le H.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Hayes, John Henry||Manning, E. L.|
|Chater, Daniel||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Mansfield, W.|
|Church, Major A. G.||Henderson, Thomat (Glasgow)||March, S.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Marcus, M.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Herriotts, J.||Markham, S. F.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Hicks, Ernest George||Marley, J.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Marshall, Fred|
|Compton, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Mathers, George|
|Cove, William G.||Hollins, A.||Matters, L. W.|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Hopkin, Daniel||Maxton, James|
|Daggar, George||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Messer, Fred|
|Dallas, George||Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Middleton, G.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Isaacs, George||Mliner, Major J.|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Jenkins, Sir William||Montague, Frederick|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Mortey, Ralph|
|Day, Harry||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Mort, D. L.||Sandham, E.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Muff, G.||Sawyer, G. F.||Tillett, Ben|
|Muggeridge, H. T.||Scurr, John||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Naylor, T. E.||Sexton, Sir James||Tout, W. J.|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Townend, A. E.|
|Noel Baker, p. J.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Sherwood, G. H.||Vaughan, David|
|Oldfield, J. R.||Shield, George William||Viant, S. P.|
|Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Shleis, Dr. Drummond||Walkden, A. G.|
|Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Shillaker, J. F.||Walker, J.|
|Paling, Wilfrid||Shinwell, E.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Palmer, E. T.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Simmons, C. J.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Perry, S. F.||Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Sinkinson, George||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Pole, Major D. G.||Sitch, Charles H.||West, F. R.|
|Potts, John S.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Price, M. P.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||White, H. G|
|Quibell, D. J. K.||Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H. B. (Keighley)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Raynes, W. R.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Ritson, J.||Sorensen, R.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Stamford, Thomas W.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Romeril, H. G.||Stephen, Campbell||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Strauss, G. R.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Rowson, Guy||Sullivan, J.||Wise, E. F.|
|Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Sutton, J. E.||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Salter, Dr. Alfred||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Sanders, W. S.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Charleton and Mr. Thurtle.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)||Grace, John|
|Albery, Irving James||Chapman, Sir S.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Christie, J. A.||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Atkinson, C.||Colfox, Major William Philip||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Colman, N. C. D.||Hamilton, Sir George (llford)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Colville, Major D. J.||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Balniel, Lord||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnet)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Cranborne, Viscount||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hore-Bellsha, Leslis|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Crott||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Bracken, B.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Dawson, Sir Philip||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Lane Fox. Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Broadbent, Colonel J.||Dixey, A. C.||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro & Whitby)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Duckworth, G. A. V.||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Eden, Captain Anthony||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Buchan, John||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Liewellin, Major J. J.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Everard, W. Lindsay||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Ferguson, Sir John||Long, Major Hon. Eric|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Fermoy, Lord||Lymington, Viscount|
|Campbell, E. T.||Fleiden, E. B.||McConneil, Sir Joseph|
|Carver, Major W. H||Flson, F. G. Clavering||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Ford, Sir P. J.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||Maltland, A. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Margesson, Captain H. D.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Marjorlbanks, Edward|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsay & Otlsy)||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.|
|Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Meiler, R. J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Gower, Sir Robert||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Millar, J. D.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Thompson, Luke|
|Milne, Wardlaw., J. S.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lana (Streatham)||Ross, Ronald D.||Thomson, Mitchell., Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Rothschild, J. de||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Ruggtes-Brise, Colonel E.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Train, J.|
|Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cireacester)||Salmon, Major I.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Muirhead, A. J.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)||Savery, S. S.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|O'Connor, T. J.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Slmms, Major-General J.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Peake, Capt. Osbert||Simen, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Williame, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Penny, Sir George||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kine'dine, C.)||Windsor-Cilve, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Smithers, Waldron||Withers, Sir John James|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Somerville, D. G. (Wlliesden, East)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Reid, David D. (County Down)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Reiner, John R.||Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Commander Sir B. Eyres Monsell and Major Sir George Hennessy.|
|Reynolds, Col. Sir James||Sueter Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
I beg to move, in line I, to leave out the words, "the Report stage, and Third Reading."
The reason for moving this Amendment is quite clear, particularly after the Prime Minister's announcement earlier this afternoon. I gathered from his speech that it is probable that the Committee stage may be lengthened to 10 days, during which the House will be tied very closely to a table of procedure which will limit its discussion of many points. Those of us who have spent some time in this Chamber realise that during the Committee stage of a Bill there are often great developments and that it is almost impossible to say beforehand what time is needed for the Report stage and Third Reading. In the interests of proper and efficient discussion on the Report stage, the Prime Minister should confine this Resolution entirely to the Committee stage. The Prime Minister referred to the state of business of the House and to the necessity of getting the Budget through in a given time. I am not disputing that, but if we can have 10 days for Committee, surely we can arrange the Report stage—not necessarily making it longer—so that we can deal almost entirely with those complicated points which are omitted in the Committee stage. I do not say it is necessary to have a time table at all, but, when you are placing a time table before the House on finance, one of the great questions of the day, and when you have little indication as to what lines these Debates will take, it is fairer to the House to confine 434 it, in the first place, to the Committee stage.
Another thing which the Prime Minister might consider very carefully is the position of an official Opposition. Their position is always difficult and is one in which any Government may find themselves in a short time. If the Prime Minister would make this concession to us now, be might conceivably find it of very great value in the future. He might then be in the position of the official Opposition to-day, when we have only a third of the allotted time in which to discuss these matters. When the time of the House is being taken to discuss a great Measure of this kind and one realises the great diversity of interests to be discussed, surely it is a little difficult for the Prime Minister to justify a rigorous time table for the whole proceedings before he has any knowledge how it will work out.
Let the Prime Minister also consider a further point. I have noticed, when there is a time table that it does not reflect very much credit on the House of Commons itself and still less credit on the Leader of the House. It shows a lack of quality in the House of Commons and a lack of leadership. I ask the Prime Minister whether, instead of looking ahead with fear and trepidation about his leadership, he might not consider if the House of Commons would not respond better to his leadership if he made a real concession on this matter by confining the Resolution to the first stage, 435 which is always the most difficult and fighting stage of a Bill. On an occasion such as this, when you are dealing with one of the greatest Budgets in the world, and one that has had tacked on to it what many of us consider to be legislation and not strict finance, would not the Prime Minister be better advised to truest the House of Commons in this matter? Would he not be upholding his own dignity as Leader of the House and the dignity of the House of Commons itself by giving us this concession and limiting the time table to the Committee stage and saying, "Let us see if you will accept this and use it in the best possible way and then we shall be in a position to know where we are"? If he will do that he will be doing a great service to his own party. I ask him to accept this Amendment in the interests of the House and not turn it down in narrow party interests.
§ Major GEORGE DAVIES
I beg to second this Amendment.
It has already been decided that we must have this Guillotine time table. In many Measures the Report stage is often a pro forma stage, and the important stages are the Committee stage and Third Heading. It is clear, however, that, if we are to curtail our Debates on this important Bill, there are a large number of subjects which will receive scant attention on Committee stage. If that is so, the Report stage here becomes all the more important, because on that stage it is possible to bring forward Amendments which have not received attention in the previous stage. We are proposing, under the Prime Minister's Resolution, to plan in advance for all the stages of this Measure without being able to know the exact position of the Measure when we reach the Report stage. There is no doubt that the intention of a fairly thought-out Guillotine time table is to divide the Measure into compartments, so that the points which are important in the opinion of the Government receive adequate discussion.
No Government can control the time given to the Clauses and Amendments in any section of the time-table. It is not unknown for certain comparatively unimportant Amendments to be dealt with at inordinate length with the tactical 436 object of baulking the discussion on certain other Amendments which may not be altogether convenient to the Government of the day. In those conditions, the Report stage is very often a very present help in time of trouble. It gives this House a second innings and another opportunity of making up what may have been lost through nobody's fault on the Committee stage. It is for that reason that we have moved this Amendment—in order that we may have one more bite at the cherry. We would first have the Committee stage, and then the Government would be able, if necessary, to allot, with the support of the Liberal party, the necessary time for the Report stage. I suggest that, with the vital situation that this Bill brings before the House and the country, it will be desirable to go one step at a time and confine our action to-day to a time-table dealing solely with the Committee stage, so that the Report stage may be dealt with in the light of the discussions that the Measure has had in its preliminary stages.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. William Graham)
The effect of the Amendment would be to leave out of the Guillotine Resolution the Report and Third Reading of the Bill. On the basis of the offer which the Prime Minister made this afternoon the position would be that we should take eight days, assuming that a later Amendment is carried, for the Committee stage, and then have rather an indefinite arrangement, or no arrangement at all, regarding Report and Third Reading of the Bill. With great regret I can add nothing to what has been argued on both sides this afternoon. The Prime Minister made it plain that he is not in love with the course proposed. That is also my attitude, but I am satisfied that if the House is to embark on a Guillotine it must be a Guillotine applicable to the whole Bill. We cannot rely on the hypothesis that there will be substantial agreement on the Report stage. There might be very prolonged Debate, and later some new form of Guillotine applicable to that part of the Bill might become necessary, and that would involve Parliamentary time. Accordingly, I think it better on this Amendment to indicate that, apart from the concession which has been 437 already mentioned in advance, I am afraid we must hold to the rest of the programme.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I am very sorry to have that answer from the President of the Board of Trade. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has really met the case presented. While i accept his decision—I am bound to do so—as to the inability of the Government to give a greater number of days than three to the Report stage, I think it regrettable that they should determine in advance how many days they propose to allot to Report. Assuming that only three days are to be given, the right hon. Gentleman has not attempted to meet the question which has been put, which is, why should we here and now determine how those three days are to be allocated? Everyone knows that the Bill contains new and extremely complicated provisions. The Solicitor-General and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury who are to be responsible for defending its details, I am sure cannot be looking forward to their task with any great pleasure, because they know that the discussions are bound to reveal that the Bill will require amendment, very probably large amendment, in numerous directions. That occurs in the case of every Finance Bill, but still more will it be the case with this Bill. In those circumstances it is unreasonable to determine in advance how the three days are to be allocated.
In the course of the working of the Guillotine in compartments, I have often known occasions arise when the Government, during the Committee discussions, have been themselves compelled to bring forward large numbers of Amendments, some of which may be resisted by the Opposition. Often the only method of resistance is by dividing against the Amendments. I have seen it happen that practically the whole of one of the closure compartment under the Guillotine has been occupied with such Amendments. On the Home Rule Bill that happened; the whole of the time between 7.30 and the end of the sitting had to be occupied in dividing against Government Amendments because so many had been introduced. It may very well be that there will be a large number of Government Amendments on this Bill, and that something of material importance 438 will be squeezed out of one compartment. It will be very much wiser if we could postpone the allocation of time for Report stage until we see how we get on in the Committee stage and what parts are and what are not discussed.
It is no use saying that it rests with the Opposition to determine the matter. It does not rest with this Opposition, because there are in fact three oppositions; there is the Wing of the right hon. Gentleman's own party, there are two sections of the Liberal party, and there is His Majesty's Opposition on the Conservative benches. It may well be that things of first-class importance will escape discussion, the only chance of discussion which will ever be effective. The only reason put forward by the President of the Board of Trade is that our proposal would take more Parliamentary time and that another Guillotine Motion for the allocation of time on Report may be necessary. We are anxious to be as reasonable as possible, and I will make an offer. If within the limits of whatever time he may think is necessary for the Report stage, the right hon. Gentleman will put down a Guillotine Motion allocating time, and will take the allocation of time out of this Motion, we will undertake that discussion on that Motion shall not be unduly prolonged. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. If he would put it down as first Motion on a Supply day, we will undertake that the discussion on it shall not be prolonged. We will facilitate the Government getting a Motion which will permit them to take it as first Order on a Supply day, and the Government will not then be losing any time at all.
§ Sir BASIL PETO
I would mention one thing that so far has not been referred to. It is one thing to propose a Guillotine Motion which imposes a time limit for the Committee stage, a stage when there is no limit to the number of speeches that any hon. Member can make on any particular matter, but it appears to me to be altogether a different question for the first time to have a Guillotine time table on a Finance Bill and to make the proposal applicable to that portion of our proceedings in the House when you, Mr. Speaker, are in the Chair. At such a time there are other methods for the curtailment of Debate, such as the selection of Amendments for the discussion 439 of matters that have not been adequately discussed in Committee. When we have a Finance Bill discussion without the restriction of a Guillotine, the conditions are such as to give a fair opportunity to the Opposition to bring forward the views held throughout the country on each of the financial proposals of the Government. The moment you have the whole of the financial proposals of this Bill, leaving out the Land Tax proposals, confined on Report stage to a single day ending at 10.30, Government supporters are absolutely free to make speeches of any length. They know that automatically and mechanically, under the Guillotine, their Government will get the Measure.
If the whole of the taxation proposals are to come into one day on Report, and if there are five or six burning questions that are arousing very strong opposition thoughout the country, what could be more simple under the proposal of the Government than for their supporters to occupy the whole of those few hours upon Items 1 and 2, and to leave without discussion Items 3, 4, 5 and 6 which have never been adequately considered in Committee? It really is an abuse of Government power to insist now, before they have ever tried this abnormal experiment on the Committee stage, not only to fetter the discussion in Committee when the Chairman of Ways and Means is conducting the proceedings, but to say in effect that you, Mr. Speaker, are not competent to conduct the proceedings on the Finance Bill of the year when that Bill is before the House on Report. The Government have been ill-advised in not accepting the advice tendered from the Opposition Front Bench.
§ Mr. HOLFORD KNIGHT
The hon. Baronet takes full opportunity of the advantages offered under the ordinary procedure of the House, and it may well be that the proposal now under discussion may curtail the opportunities which he usually enjoys. The real answer to the right hon. Gentleman is the case presented by the Prime Minister which rests upon a review of the Government time available between now and the expected date of the rising of the House. The Prime Minister said that in that period we had to contemplate the possibility of special emergency legislation. 440 If the Government were to leave those matters out of account, the first to object to that omission would be the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his friends. Therefore, in reviewing the time available we have to take into account that matters relating to coal, unemployment insurance, and other emergency matters may arise.
The Prime Minister suggests that all the available time required for the Finance Bill is covered by the allotment of days which is the subject of this Motion and I must be guided in this matter by the advice of the Leader of the House. Therefore I start with the proposition that the time available for the discussion of the Finance Bill is restricted to the number of days which the Prime Minister proposes. That being so, the time available for the whole of the discussion of the Finance Bill must be divided up, so as to cover the several stages, and we then come to this special matter of whether or not three days are sufficient for the Report stage. I merely express an opinion under the guidance which I have received, but I have tried to correct that opinion by my observation of the movement of public opinion outside. Frankly, I think that the time provided under this scheme will suffice to satisfy public opinion outside that the finance of the country is being properly discussed.
I recognise that finance is the principal business of this House and I listened with astonishment to a quotation from some observations by the late Mr. Balfour—whom I very much admired—which appeared to be in a sense contrary to that view. I submit that finance is the instrument for the redress of grievances. The constitutional method applied by this House has been refusal to grant Supply until grievances are redressed, and the financial proposals of the year are vital to the proper exercise of the functions of the House. If I thought that this Motion restricted that right of the House of Commons, I should not support it, because I realise the vital necessity of securing that there shall be ample discussion of these matters and ample opportunity for the review of grievances. Looking at the matter in a practical way, the substitute proposals put forward in connection with the 441 Finance Bill are very few in number, and this Motion need not result in the curtailment of discussion on the major proposals of the Finance Bill. It may curtail discussion on such matters as the drafting of the major proposals and on suggestions of various methods, either to give effect to those major proposals in a particular way, or to avoid doing so. But, in the main, these will be discussions on subordinate matters and there will be ample opportunity, under this time table, to discuss the major proposals of the Finance Bill. I repeat, that if I thought that this Motion involved any serious diminution of the historic rights of this House to review the financial proposals of the year I should resist it, but I am satisfied, on the statement of the Leader of the House, that it is a proposal which should command our support and therefore I oppose the Amendment.
§ Captain BOURNE
I would not have intervened in this Debate, had it not been for the speech of the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight). Listening to that speech I wondered whether the hon. and learned Member had listened to the earlier Debate. My right hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson) although he admitted that we do not regard three days as sufficient, said to the Government that what we would really like to do would be to leave the allocation of time within those three days, to be considered after the completion of the Committee stage. He went further and made the Government this offer—that if they agreed to that suggestion, we, on this side, would undertake to let them have the Resolution allocating the time on the Report stage, in such a form as not to interfere with their other arrangements regarding the business of the House. I support my right hon. Friend's suggestion and I hope that the Government will consider it seriously.
It will be within the recollection of the House, in connection with the last Guillotine Resolution—on the Representation of the People Bill—that an alteration was made in the Bill during the Committee stage which was not anticipated by the Government and which threw out of balance the arrangements made under the Guillotine Resolution 442 for the Report stage. I do not say that the Government will suffer an equal misfortune—from their point of view—on this Bill, but it is likely that serious Amendments will be made in the Bill during the Committee stage, and what may now appear to be a reasonable allotment of time for the Report stage may prove to be quite unreasonable when the Bill has been reprinted after leaving Committee. I think that the Government might well consider my right hon. Friend's suggestion. We do not ask for more time—at least we do not press that point at the moment-but we ask for the opportunity of allotting the time when we know how the Bill has emerged from Committee. No one knows how a complicated Bill of this character may be altered, and when it has passed through Committee we may find that more time will be required on the Report stage for the discussion of certain Clauses which have been undiscussed, or only scantily discussed in the Committee stage.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Philip Snowden)
We are very anxious to meet the Opposition as far as possible. The Opposition, I understand, do not ask more than three days for the Report stage, and I take the view that when the amount of time has been allocated, then the wishes of the Opposition in regard to the division of that time should be considered. I am afraid we could not accept the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Croydon (Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson) that further time should be given to the discussion of an amended time table for the Report stage, but I throw out this suggestion for the consideration of the Opposition—that we should not allocate the time for the Report stage in divisions; that we should simply allocate three days to the Report stage, and then leave the Opposition to decide among themselves as to the division of that time. I regret that I cannot meet the right hon. Gentleman in regard to the postponement of the tame table on the Report stage until the Committee stage has been concluded, because we could not afford the time that would be occupied in discussing a new time table for the Report stage. I accept without reservation the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that the Opposition would try to keep 443 the discussion upon an amended time table for the Report stage within reasonable limits, and I am sure that the Opposition Front Bench would honourably carry out that undertaking, but we know that a Front Bench—and this applies to all parties—cannot always control all the Members who sit behind them.
I do not know whether it would not destroy a Supply day, but I would ask the Opposition to consider my suggestion that we should not make a time table on the Report stage; that we should allocate the three days for Report, and that the Opposition themselves should then arrange their own time table. I am quite anxious that within the limits of the time assigned to the Report stage the allocation should be left as far as possible to the Opposition.
I am sure that we appreciate very much the general tone of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks and his evident desire to meet us upon this point, but we too have a difficulty which may not have been present to his mind. We are not the only party to be considered in this matter. There are others over whom we have no control whatever and over whom the right hon. Gentleman's control is somewhat limited. If we have no time table at all, there is' nothing to ensure that we shall get the discussion of those particular parts of the Bill which we may, in the light of the Committee discussions, desire to emphasise. Therefore, it would really suit us much better to have a time table, although we feel that that time table cannot properly be settled until we have had information as to what has taken place in Committee. I venture to hope that the right hon. Gentleman will further consider my right hon. Friend's suggestion. I assure him that there is no catch in it. It is a bona fide, genuine offer, and I believe the suggestion that the further time table proposals might be taken on a Supply day completely gets over the difficulty which the right hon. Gentleman foresaw that there might be more 444 garrulity on the back benches than would be altogether countenanced by the Front Bench on that particular occasion. I do not think that there would be any danger in meeting my right hon. Friend's suggestion.
There is just one other point. The right hon. Gentleman said that he understood that we did not raise any objection to the total of three days. We did not quite say that, but we said we were not emphasising that point at this moment. We must reserve to ourselves the right to put in a claim for more than three days, but we do not say now that we shall do so. That will defend on what happens in Committee. We may feel that what happens in Committee will make it necessary to have more than three days. However, although we might desire to put forward our claim, we would not drag out the discussion on that subject to undue length and when we had put forward our claim we should accept the decision of the House as to whether three days was sufficient or not, and it could then be settled how the three days were to be allocated.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The proposal, I understand, is that there should not be a globular three days, but that each day should be allocated according to the Opposition's own convenience?
§ Lord ERSKINE
I think that right hon. Gentlemen opposite might possibly give some further answer to the point raised by my right hon. Friend on this side. I know that the Prime Minister has only just come into the House again and he probably is not yet fully seized of what has happened. No Opposition has ever made a fairer offer to a Government than the offer just made from the Front Opposition Bench. We say that we want the Report stage in compartments. We cannot agree at present that those compartments are properly staged, because we do not know how the Bill will emerge from the Committee stage. Therefore, we are asking the Government not to allocate that time now, but to Wait until the Committee 445 stage in finished, when we may see which will be a proper, fair, and better allocation of time. We also say that when that Motion is brought forward again, not only shall we undertake that there shall be no undue waste of time in getting this new Guillotine Motion passed, but my right Bon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson) actually made the Government the offer that we would allow that Motion to be taken on a Supply day. The necessary Motion could be put down immediately after questions, so that the Government would not lose their Supply day, and if they took that Motion for the first Order on a Supply day, no time would be lost to the Government.
In my short experience of this House I do not think I have ever heard any fairer offer made to the Government. They will lose no time whatever. It will certainly be for the convenience of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that things slurred over in Committee can be properly discussed on the Report stage, and therefore, if the Government could meet us, it would not only meet our convenience but would also redound to the credit of the House in general, because the whole House desires that the Finance Bill should be properly discussed. We do not agree that there should be a Guillotice Motion on the Finance Bill at all, but as there has been passed a Motion applying that closure, all that we are trying to do now is to see that at any rate on the Report stage proper things shall be discussed, and to see that, if certain things have come up against the Closure and' have not been discussed, or if there have been certain drafting Amendment's so that the Bill may have been left incomplete, on the Report stage those Amendments should be able to be put right and that there should be proper discussion at that time. We have also made the offer that there shall not, if this procedure is adopted, be any loss of Government time.
§ Sir BOYD MERRIMAN
Oh a point of Order. May I ask, Mr. Speaker, if you can assure us in this matter that there really will be no loss of time to the Government by the procedure which has been suggested by my right bon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir W. Mitfihell-Thomson) I The point that is exercising the Chancellor of the Exchequer 446 appears to be whether postponing the Motion for the allocation of time to a Supply day is permissible, and, if not permissible, whether it will involve any loss of time to the Government. If it is permissible, the question of loss of time cannot really arise, because the actual form that the discussion takes on a Supply day depends on the Opposition. Therefore, may I ask you whether the procedure suggested is in fact permissible?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I understand that the point of Order asked me is as to whether this particular Motion could be taken on a Supply day without destroying that Supply day as one of the allotted days. There is no reason why it should not be done, so far as I can see. A Motion by a Minister of the Crown could easily put that right, and the allotted Supply day would not be lost.
§ Mr. P. SNOWDEN
May I make this further suggestion, that we should leave the Report stage proposal in the form in which it is at present, and that the Government should give an undertaking—I quite appreciate the weight of the argument put forward by the Opposition that the House might be in a better position to allocate time for the Report stage when they see in what form the Bill emerges from the Committee—that if we leave it in the form in which it appears now, we will give an opportunity for the discussion of a revised time table on the Report stage, if the Opposition so desire, on the further condition that it is not taken out of Government time. [Interruption.]
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Let us understand the substance of the agreement rather than the letter of it. Between the end of the Committee stage and the beginning of the Report stage there will be, let us say, three days. It may be necessary for us to take on those days one or other of the emergency pieces of legislation which I indicated in moving this Resolution, but we give our pledge that should something or other like that arise, we will come to an agreement with the Opposition as to how the time table is to be amended, if there is any desire for an Amendment to be made. It is only that we might not be pinned down to verbal technicalities that I am making this suggestion: I quite accept the intention, and we will carry it out.
I appreciate very much the offer that has been made by the Government, and on behalf of my hon. Friends I think I can say that we shall be glad to accept it, assuming, of course, that we can amend the time table.
§ Captain BOURNE
On a point of Order. Assuming that the House passes this Resolution containing the time table dealing with the Report stage in its present form, under what power can the matter be reopened in order to amend the table once it has been passed as a Resolution of the House? Can that be done, or will it be necessary to omit the table for the Report stage and afterwards move a new one?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think it is an unusual procedure to pass a Resolution on one day and to amend it on another day in the same Session. Although I have not had the time to look into the question, yet difficulties would obviously arise, and I do not think it could be done.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
On the other hand, if we leave out these provisions now, I think the other parts of the Resolution may not be proper. I am afraid we must get some words in there which will enable us to make any variation. The lawyers are always very helpful on these occasions. The point is that if we pass a time table for the Report stage now, it ought to be passed in words which will contemplate a variation later on, and in that way I think the House ought to be put in a position to make that variation.
§ Sir B. MERRIMAN
May I suggest that the matter can be dealt with in this way? The Government will get their Resolution allotting the three days to the Report stage, but when it comes to line 41 of the Resolution, those words can be left out for the moment, because those are the detailed application of the three days, and at some subsequent time, as indicated by the Prime Minister, appropriate words can there be put in. Would that not get over the difficulty which would follow if we passed these words now and they became the Resolution of the House, and we had to strike them out subsequently?
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
If the understanding is that I should withdraw the Amendment now and, when we come to my next Amendment, to leave out lines 39 to 58, instead of moving it in that way, I should move, in line 41, to leave out from the word "Bill" to the end of the Report stage table, I will withdraw this Amendment.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The understanding is quite clear, but the technical difficulties on the spur of the moment to give effect to it are considerable. The Amendment now before the House is to a very early part of the Resolution, but the actual Amendment as to the three days for the Report stage is towards the bottom of the Amendment Paper. In the meantime, we shall have to consider the allocation of the Committee stage time, and, if the Amendment which is now before us is withdrawn, the time taken up in considering the Committee stage might be used by two or three who are expert in these things to draft a form of words which will carry out the arrangement.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
On that understanding, I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment, and I thank the right hon. Gentleman very much for the way in which he has met us.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir DENNIS HERBERT
I beg to move, in line 2, to leave out the word "including," and to insert instead thereof the word "excluding."
The object of the Amendment is to exclude from this time table the Financial Resolutions. I cannot help wondering whether it is not by an oversight that these Financial Resolutions have been included in the time table, and I very much hope that the Prime Minister and the Government will come to the conclusion that the House ought to proceed to except the Financial Resolutions from this procedure. I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer and indeed all the leading Members of the Government realise the importance of the financial procedure which makes Financial Resolutions necessary before certain proposals come before the House. Let me draw attention to the first of the three Financial Resolutions which are concerned. According to the time table as it is at 449 present drawn, the Clause with which it is concerned is the last part of the proceedings on one day. The earlier part of the proceedings are on the contentious Clauses 14 to 18. It is a practical certainty that if the time table stands in that way, it means that that Financial Resolution will not be discussed in Committee of the House at all. I have suggested that no Member of the House would wish to get rid of the Financial Resolutions altogether, and if that be the case, quite clearly they ought to be excluded from this time table. There is no practical reason why the Government should not agree to this because a Financial Resolution is quite a different thing from a Bill with a number of clauses, and if an inordinate amount of time is taken up in discussing a Financial Resolution, the House has the obvious remedy in its hands of the ordinary Closure. We have here three Financial Resolutions which presumably would be taken separately, and if there were too much talk about them, or any real obstruction, the matter could be dealt with perfectly easily by the Closure.
The proceedings on these Financial Resolutions with the weapon of the Closure in reserve if necessary, could be taken after 10.30 after the completion of the proceedings under the Guillotine. I suggest, therefore, that the Government could give what I am asking without in any way interfering with their time table and the needs by which they consider they are bound. The first of these Financial Resolutions relates to expenses of the valuation for the purposes of the Land Value Tax. It would be entirely without precedent in this House if a matter like the authorisation of the expenditure of this valuation were to be
§ taken for all intents and purposes without any Financial Resolution. That is practically certain to happen if this Guillotine Resolution stands in its present form. Therefore I hope that this will be regarded as a serious Amendment by the Government, as a reasonable Amendment, and as one which they can accept without any disadvantage to themselves. If they accept it, they will show some measure of a desire to abide by some of the most honoured traditions of this House regarding financial procedure.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence)
I regret that the Government are unable to accept this Amendment. We feel that the offer made by the Prime Minister to extend the Committee stage goes as far as we can in meeting the wishes of the Opposition for an extension of discussion. These Financial Resolutions are really an integral part of the proposals, and we consider that they will be adequately discussed in the places to which they have been allocated in the time table. There does not seem any special reason why they should be taken out of the time table in order to have additional time allocated to them. After all, they are not essentially different matters. They are essentially part of the subject matter of these Clauses. Therefore, in those circumstances, we regret that we are unable to make the further concession for which the hon. Member asks.
§ Question put, "That the word 'including' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 267; Noes, 163.453
|Division No. 271.]||AYES.||[8.6 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Benson, G.||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Charleton, H. C.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Birkett, W. Norman||Chater, Daniel|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Church, Major A. G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Bowen, J. W.||Clarke, J. S.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Cluse, W. S.|
|Amnion, Charles George||Broad, Francis Alfred||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.|
|Angeli, Sir Norman||Bromfield, William||Cocks, Frederick Seymour|
|Arnott, John||Bromley, J.||Compton, Joseph|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Brooke, W.||Ccve, William G.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Brothers, M.||Cripps, Sir Stafford|
|Ayles, Walter||Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Daggar, George|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Buchanan, Q.||Dallas, George|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Burgess, F. G.||Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)|
|Batey, Joseph||Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Eiland)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Caine, Hall-, Derwent||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Cameron, A. O.||Dukes, C.|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Cape, Thomas||Duncan, Charles|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Samuel, At. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lees, J.||Sanders, W. f.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Leonard, W.||Sandham, E.|
|Edwards, E. (Merpath)||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Egan, W. H.||Lindley, Fred W.||Scurr, John|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Sexton, Sir James|
|Freeman, Peter||Logan, David Gilbert||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Longbottom, A. W.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Longden, F.||Sherwood, G. H.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shield, George William|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Luan, William||Shiels, Dr. Drunwnond|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Macdonald, Gordon (Incs)||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs. Mossley)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Shinwell, E.|
|Gill, T. H.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Glassey, A. E.||McElwee, A.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gossling, A. G.||McEntee, V. L.||Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)|
|Gould, F.||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||McKinlay, A.||Sinkinson, George|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||MacLaren, Andrew||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Gray, Mliner||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H. B. (Keighley)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||McShane, John James||Smith, Renale (Penlstose)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Malone, C L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Manning, E. L.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Grundy, Thomas W||Mansfield, W.||Snowdan, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||March, S.||Sorensen, R.|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Marcus, M.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C)||Marshall, Fred||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Mathers, George||Strauss, G. R.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Matters, L. W.||Sullivan, J.|
|Harbord, A.||Maxton, James||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hardie, David (Ruthergien)||Messer, Fred||Taylor R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||Middleton, G.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Harris, Percy A.||M liner, Major J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Montague, Frederick||Thorne, W. (West Ham. Plalstow)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Morley, Ralph||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Tillett, Ben|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Mort, D. L.||Toole, Joseph|
|Herriotts, J.||Muff, G.||Tout, W. J.|
|Hicks, Ernest George||Muggeridge, H. T.||Townend, A. E.|
|Hirst, G. H. (York, W. R., Wentworth)||Naylor, T. E.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Vaugban, David|
|Hollins, A.||Noel Baker, P. J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Walkden, A. G.|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfleld)||Oldfield, J. R.||Walker, J.|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Isaacs, Georgs||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Palmer, E. T.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Parkinson, John Alles (Wigan)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Perry, S. F.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Pethick-Lawrenee, F. W.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||West, F. R.|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Pole, Major D. G.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)||Potts, John S.||White, H. G.|
|Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Pybus, Percy John||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Kinley, J.||Raynes, W. R.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Richardson, R. (Hougbton-le-Spring)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Knight, Holford||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Lang, Gordon||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Ritson, J.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Law, Albert (Bolton)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Law, A. (Rossendale)||Romeril, H. G.||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Rowson, Guy|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Leach, W||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Paling.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bird, Ernest Roy||Campbell, E. T.|
|Albery, Irving James||Boothby, R. J. G.||Carver, Major W. H.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Castle Stewart, Earl of|
|Atkinson, C.||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Bracken, B.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herat. R. (Prtsmth, S.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Brass, Captain Sir William||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Broadbent, Colonel J.||Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton|
|Balniel, Lord||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Buchan, John||Chapman, Sir S.|
|Birchall, Major Sir Jota Dearmar||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Christie, J. A.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hurd, Percy A.||Ruggies-Brlse, Colonel E.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir Georgs||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Colvilla, Major D. J.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Sandaman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Savery, S. S.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. Georgs R.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)||Simms, Major-General J.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kine'dine, C.)|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Liewellin, Major J. J.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Long, Major Hon. Eric||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Maedonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Edmondscn, Major A. J.||Macquisten, F. A.||Thompson, Luke|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Favershans)||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Mangessan, Captain H. D.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Fleiden, E. B.||Marjoribanks, Edward||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Fison, F. G. Clavering||Meller, R. J.||Train, J.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||Milne, Wardlaw-, J. S.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Galbralth, J. F. W.||Monself, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Muirhead, A. J.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||O'Connor, T. J.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Oman, Sir diaries William C.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Peake, Captain Osbert||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Perkins, W. R. D.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Ramsbotham, H.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Hemer, John R.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Reynolds, Col. Sir James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Captain Sir George Bowyer and Sir George Penny.|
|Hore-Bellsha, Leslis||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Ross, Ronald D.|
§ Captain BOURNE
I beg to move, in line 5, to leave out the word "Eight."
I understand that the Government are prepared to delete the word "Eight," and I beg formally to move this Amendment before moving my further Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Captain BOURNE
I beg to move, in line 5, at the beginning, to insert the word "Fourteen."
The effect of this Amendment would be to allow 14 days for discussion in Committee. This is a very long Bill, and it is not easy to allot the days so that there is a reasonable amount of discussion on the different Clauses and a reasonable discussion of the Amendments which will be moved on important points. The Government are proposing that we should take the Financial Resolution on the same day as we consider certain Clauses of the Bill. The Financial Resolution 454 covers the expenses of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, advances to the Road Fund and, thirdly, Savings Certificates. I do not think the Savings Certificates are likely to produce very much discussion, but the position is different with regard to the expenses of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, and it is probable that this Financial Resolution, either on the Committee stage or the Report stage, will provide the only opportunity of raising questions upon that point, and it is very nearly certain that the only opportunity we shall have of discussing Road Fund questions will come on the Financial Resolution. It is hard that we should have to take this important Financial Resolution and one or two Clauses in the course of one evening.
We of the Opposition have endeavoured to draw up a time table which would give adequate time for discussion. Clause 9 is a very important one, and we propose to give it a day. Clauses 10 and 11 are also important. I understand that Clauses 14 to 16 present considerable legal difficulties which will require elucidation, 455 and will take a considerable amount of time if they are to be discussed adequately. By the courtesy of the Government, I have a copy of their proposals, which I would venture to criticise. Two long and difficult Clauses which they propose to be taken in one evening are Clauses 26 and 27. They are Clauses which contain definitions, which are of vast importance in such a Measure, because on those definitions will depend whether any given individual is within or without the scope of the tax which the Government propose. Half a day is hopelessly insufficient time for dealing with points of that magnitude, the more so when they are joined to a discussion of the Financial Resolution.
We want rather more time than the 10 days which are given, and in the allotment of that time the greatest care should be taken that important Clauses come on at the beginning of a sitting. A Clause to which very little time has been given is Clause 23, which the Solicitor-General will remember was one of the most controversial among the proposals of 1909–10. It was repealed in 1922. That is the Clause which requires that all leases for seven years or over and all transfers shall be communicated to the Commissioners. That was one of the Clauses which gave rise to violent opposition under the scheme of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). It puts a heavy burden on all property transactions; it is only when the transfer takes place that the burden arises. That Clause deserves a, large amount of time for discussion. Another important Clause is Clause 22. These important Clauses are lumped together by the Government, and half a day is really inadequate time for their discussion.
Another long Clause for which a great deal of time is required is Clause 15, which deals with the recoupment of the tax to leaseholders; and there is also the Clause preceding it, which deals with the question of the assessment and recovery of tax, and requires careful consideration. A very long Clause indeed, 11, deals with appeals against valuations. These are matters of the very greatest importance to the taxpayer. It has always been our boast that every person who is aggrieved has a right to go to the Law Courts and to make out his case. 456 Under the proposals of the Government certain rights of the subject are rather curtailed so far as going to the courts are concerned. These are matters of very great importance to the individual who is aggrieved, and it is also important that we should arrange that the cost of appeals should be kept as low as possible, so that everybody who is aggrieved by a valuation can feel that he will get an impartial hearing, the cheapest possible hearing and a prompt hearing. Obviously it will take a great deal of time to deal with these Clauses, without any effort at obstruction on the part of anybody. It often happens that Amendments which at first sight do not appear to be of very great importance reveal quite unexpected points.
One last point I would urge in favour of an extension of the time is that in this Bill we are dealing with the imposition of taxes, and, in consequence, there may be considerable difficulty in moving certain Amendments on the Report stage. Actually we are covered so far as the Committee stage is concerned by the Financial Resolution passed by the House imposing a tax of one penny in the pound on every land unit. Land taxation is a wide subject, and the Land Tax proposals will give scope for a considerable number of Amendments. When we come to the Report stage the position is not quite the same. It sometimes happens that an Amendment may relieve a number of taxpayers, but there may be a number of persons affected by that Amendment upon whom a burden may be placed. Amendments of that kind cannot be moved on the Report stage, and consequently the greater part of the time must be spent in Committee. Sometimes Amendments moved by the Government necessitate the recommittal of the Bill. I would, therefore, plead that the Government should give to us every moment they can for the Committee stage and allocate more time to the Land Clauses in order to give a more ample opportunity for dealing with them.
There is another matter to which I should like to draw the attention of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, or any other representative of the Government who may reply to this Amendment. An important part of the land taxation proposals is contained in the Schedules, and I think further time should be given 457 to them in order to guarantee that they will come under discussion. I do not remember a Finance Bill in regard to which the new Clauses alone did not cover many pages of the Amendment Paper, and under the Guillotine Resolution it is quite possible that the new Clauses may cut out discussion of the Schedules. As the Schedules are very important, I hope the Government will give further attention to this point so as to ensure that they will come under discussion.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I beg to second the Amendment.
I would like to support the argument used by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne) regarding the necessity for giving more time for the consideration of the Finance Bill. The Finance Bill is a Measure which affects every constituency in the country, and it affects constituencies in different ways. I agree that, as far as Debate is concerned, probably we shall need more time for the discussion of the Land Clauses than the other Clauses of the Bill, and we shall need a great deal more time for the discussion of those Clauses than the Government propose to allow. I am greatly interested in many matters which are likely to arise out of the land tax proposals. I am interested in the way in which the Land Values Tax will affect boys' and girls' clubs, whose interests I have taken up. I am interested in the boy scouts and girl guides, all of whom will be adversely affected by this Bill if it goes through as it is now designed. I am also interested in the effect which the Land Values Tax will have upon playing fields, playing grounds, and open spaces. On those points, I have no doubt many hon. Members are anxious to air their views, and, if the Resolution goes through as it is drawn, a great injustice will be inflicted upon those who own playing fields and open spaces.
There is also the way in which our schools and universities will be affected. That is a matter which we cannot allow to go by without full consideration. I do not think that even 14 days is enough for the Committee stage. Since the Land Values Tax was introduced I have received a great many communications from people from all over the country 458 who know my peculiarities and my interest in sports generally, and they have asked me to help them. I could spend a whole day passing on the complaints which I have received against the Government in regard to the proposals contained in the Finance Bill, and the majority of those complaints would come under the Clauses dealing with the Land Values Tax. My own views are already well known to the Financial Secretary, but whatever he may know officially it-is my duty to tell him in the House of Commons the views of people outside, because no constituency believes in a Member of Parliament going "behind the Chair"; they like to see in black and white what their representative says and what reply he gets, if any. For these reasons. I am very pleased to second this Amendment.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "Fourteen" and to insert instead thereof the word "Ten."
As has already been foreshadowed by the Prime Minister in moving this Resolution, the Government are not prepared to accept the substitution of 14 days for eight days for the Committee stage, but they are prepared to give an extension of time to 10 days for the Committee stage. At a later stage, I shall, on behalf of the Government, move a revised time table which I understand has already been circulated for the benefit of Members of the House. It will be proposed to give an extra half-day for the discussion of Clauses 7 and 8. According to the time table on the Order Paper, the time allotted for those Clauses is one and a-half days, and, instead of one and a-half days, it is proposed to give two days. Then, with regard to Clauses 9 to 13, it is proposed to give an extra half-day to these Clauses, so that the time allotted, instead of being half a day as is provided in the time table on the Order Paper will be a whole day. With regard to Clause 30 and the Report stage of Financial Resolutions, for which half a day on the seventh day has been put down, it is proposed, in place of the half-day, to give a whole day. Finally, for the new Clauses, Schedules, etc., to bring the Committee stage to an end, it is proposed 459 to give an additional half-day, making altogether one and a-half days instead of one day.
The hon. and gallant Member who moved the Amendment drew particular attention to Clause 11, which deals with appeals, and he expressed the desire that more time should be available for the discussion of that Clause. The House will realise that that Clause forms part of the block of Clauses 9 to 13, for which an extra half-day is being provided in the new time table which will be moved on behalf of the Government later on. With regard to Clauses 19 and 20, to which the hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Campbell) referred, I would remind him that the Government already recognise the importance of those Clauses, as they propose to allot a whole day to the discussion of them, and it has already been announced that the Government will consider sympathetically reasonable Amendments—and I am sure that the hon. Member for Bromley would be inclined to formulate reasonable Amendments. Accordingly, we think that in these circumstances one day will be ample for the discussion of those Clauses. The question was raised, I think by the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown), of the inadequacy of the half-day given to the application of the Bill to Scotland. That is Clause 30, and the hon. Member, no doubt, has already noticed that it is in one of the Sections to which the Government now propose to devote an extra half-day, so that I hope his wishes in that respect are being met by the proposals which the Government are making.
Finally, the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne) pointed out, quite truly, the importance of the Schedules, but there are two things to say with regard to that. In the first place, we are allocating an additional half-day to the new Clauses and Schedules, and it will not, of course, have escaped the hon. and gallant Member that, important as the Schedules are, their substance will really have been mainly dealt with in the discussion on the Clauses of the Bill to which the Schedules are attached. Therefore, I think that on both these counts his criticism will be largely met. He also 460 pointed out that the Report stage, in some respects, would not be so valuable as the Committee stage, because, as we are all aware in this House, on the Report stage we are limited in ways in which we are not limited daring the Committee stage. It is for that reason that the Government have chosen the course, which I think is favourable to the Opposdtion, of allotting additional time to the Committee rather than to the Report stage. It might have been easier for them to take the opposite course, but they have done what I think is really better for the Opposition by giving such additional time as they feel able to give to the Committee stage. I trust that in that form the additional allocation of two days which the Government are proposing to grant will meet with the approval of the House generally.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
Could the hon. Gentleman arrange that the Amendments which he tells us the Government are themselves going to bring in in the case of Clauses 19 and 20 shall be on the Order Paper as soon as possible, because there is very great difficulty for all these various associations who are so much interested in this matter in getting together and discussing them? Perhaps I might inform the hon. Gentleman that there is to be a big meeting of a great number of associations, and, if we had the Government Amendments before us then, we should be able to discuss them straight away, and that might save a great deal of time. I am not speaking for myself only, but for all the associations interested.
I quite appreciate the point which the hon. Member has raised, and I think I can promise that such Amendments as the Government intend to propose will be put down at the earliest possible moment. I cannot say, however, when it will be.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I cannot give a date. We shall endeavour to put them down, probably, on Monday night, but I cannot give any definite promise. At any rate they will be put down at an early date. Of course, these Clauses are among the later Clauses of the Bill, and, under the new time table, they will come 461 on the sixth day. Therefore, they will not be reached before the week after next. At any rate, we will put down the Amendments as early next week as we can. As I have said, I hope that this allocation will at any rate meet with the general approval of the House. No doubt the Opposition will not be entirely satisfied with our proposals, but at any rate we have gone a considerable way to meet them. [Interruption.] I am afraid we cannot go any further. We have gone a considerable way to meet them, and I am confident that the majority of the House will accept that concession.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Gentleman's hope, though I do not think it can have been a very lively hope that he entertained. Of course, we feel bound to resist this Amendment to the proposed Amendment. We take the view that even a period of 14 days is an inadequate allowance, and, therefore, a fortiori, we are bound to resist the proposal that the period should be 10 days. When we say that a period of 14 days is wholly inadequate, we base that statement on past experience. We know quite well the sort of complications into which you get when you start to discuss the question of the taxation of land values. [Interruption.] If hon. Gentlemen opposite, who seem rather prepared to indicate some doubts on the matter, will either refer to past Debates or consult those who took part in them, they wall begin to realise the sort of thing they are letting themselves in for. [Interruption.] I may be right or I may be wrong as regards prophesying, but I will venture to say I am confident that, as the Committee stage proceeds, hon. Gentlemen will begin to realise the flood of difficulties and complaints which they are going to let loose upon themselves from every part of the country with regard to these proposals. That was the experience in the case of the last proposals, and I confidently prophesy that a similar experience awaits them now.
Of course, we do not regard 14 days as adequate in the circumstances, and stall less do we regard 10 days as adequate, but, as the hon. Gentleman has put forward the proposal as to 10 days, let me point out to the House one or two of the things which, under the 462 Government's proposals, we are expected to discuss, and the sort of time it is proposed to give in which to discuss them. We are given two days for the discussion of Clauses 7 and 8. Clause 7, of course, is the main taxing Clause, and I agree that, whale it is short, it embodies the whole principle of the tax. Therefore, a very large measure of discussion is open upon that Clause. Then, if any hon. Member will take the trouble to refer to Clause 8, he will find that he will have to read it with a wet towel round his head before he appreciates exactly what it means. It has cost me many hours of very anxious thought, and even now I am by no means certain that I am even imperfectly informed as to what it means. Two days for the discussion of one Clause which raises the whole question of the principle of the tax, and a second Clause which imposes the main part of the basis on which the tax is to be collected, is an extremely inadequate allowance of time. It is manifest already that there will be many Amendments of the most substantial importance which will stand no chance whatever of ever coming under discussion. Clauses 9 to 13, which are given one day, are somewhat complicated. They involve the division of units, the question of registers and the extremely important subject of appeals. All that is to be dismissed in one day.
Clauses 14 to 18 are even more complicated. I do not understand them at all. They deal with assessment and recovery and with the enormously complicated question of passing back, and tacked on to the same single day is the Committee stage of the Financial Resolution for the expenses of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, involving the whole question of the cost of valuation, which is one of the most important points that we have to discuss. It is obvious that the cost of valuation stands no chance whatever of being reached at all. The Government have, indeed, recognised that, because they go on to provide one day, the sixth day, for the discussion of exemptions and reliefs. It will be found that one day will be wholly insufficient for even hon. Members opposite to raise all the cases of exemptions and reliefs which they desire to raise. In addition there is Clause 20. The Government recognise that it is hopeless to expect to touch the question of costs
upon the fifth day, because they have put down the Report stage of the Financial Resolution as the first Order on the seventh day. That is the first effective opportunity the House is likely to have of discussing the question of the cost of valuation, one of the most important things we shall have to discuss and one of the points which, in the matter of taxation, ought to be considered as of some importance both by the Government, the House, and the taxpayer in general. That is the first opportunity that we shall have of doing that, and we have half a day, from the beginning of the House until 7.30. On that half day, by way of an extra titbit thrown in, we have Clauses 21 to 25. We begin with the cost of the valuation and we go on with Clauses 21 to 25. That may not sound anything particular, but let me read Clause 21:
Where by any lease granted before the passing of this Act provision is made that any taxes or other impositions shall be payable by the lessee, that provision shall not apply in respect of the tax.
§ In other words, here for the first time in a proposed Act of Parliament is a Clause which tears up every existing contract that has ever been made. That is thrown in as an adjunct upon the first half day on which we have our first opportunity of discussing the cost of valuation.
§ On the second half of the seventh day we begin with the Committee stage of the Financial Resolution about the Road Fund, and Currency Savings Certificates, which have to be put in from 7.30 to 10.30, and after that we proceed with Clauses 26 to 29. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) said with great truth the other day that, in a Bill for the taxation of land values, the definitions are seven-tenths of the whole matter. These are definition Clauses. They comprise the definition of owners and ownership, which takes two pages itself, the definition of agricultural land, agricultural purposes, minerals, roads, and works. To expect to tackle these definition Clauses between 7.30 and 10.30, after we have already tackled the Committee stage of the Financial Resolution about the Road Fund and Currency Savings Certificates, is asking the House to attempt something that is perfectly ludicrous. On the eighth day we come to 464 Scotland. I have a vivid recollection of the days we occupied in debating the application of a previous Act to Scotland. Clauses 31 to 37, which are to be disposed of in half a day, deal with the whole question of the position of collectors of taxes. A few weeks ago the newspapers were full of this subject. I shall be very surprised if it is found that it is capable of being dealt with between 4 o'clock and 7.30. Under the circumstances, the hon. Gentleman cannot be surprised if we do not accept his offer with glee and alacrity and still feel compelled to go to a Division against the Amendment that he proposes to our Amendment.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
The sense of self-satisfaction with which the hon. Gentleman put forward his suggestion only shows the depths to which the Government have descended and their extraordinary ignorance of what they are doing. My hon. Friends are very much occupied with that extraordinary and horrid excrescence on the Bill which deals with the Land Values Taxes. It has nothing whatever to do with the finance of the year, and, strictly speaking, ought not to be there at all. My right hon. Friend has not referred to the rest of the Bill, which deals with the finance of the year and consist of 18 Clauses. Under these proposals we are going to be allowed the extraordinary-time of 2½ days on the Committee stage of the Finance Bill for the year. Does anyone on that side suggest that some two or even three days are sufficient time to deal with the finance of the year in Committee? [Interruption.] An hon. Member nods his head. I have a word to say to the Solicitor-General upon this matter in the absence of the Attorney-General. The time which is allowed under the original scheme and which is not altered by the amended one for Clauses 3 to 6 is 3½ hours. Clauses 3 to 6 include Clause 5 dealing with what is known as the Hamilton case. The Solicitor-General knows something about that even if the Financial Secretary does not, but whether he understands it is another matter. There are two Clauses to be discussed before we come to Clause 5, and if those Clauses take, as they may well do, some three hours to discuss, it will mean that Clause 5 will not be discussed in Committee at all.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I should like to point out that that is the precise amount of time allotted in the proposed Opposition Amendment.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
May I point out to the hon. Member that if he had read the Order Paper carefully he would have seen an Amendment in my name to alter it. I put down an Amendment for the, express purpose of getting Clause 5 at the beginning of a compartment. The hon. Member should really try some other objection to my argument. This is the point to which I wish to draw the attention of the Solicitor-General: What is the view of the senior Law Officer of the Crown as to the discussion of this Clause in Committee? It was discussed to some extent on the Financial Resolution, and these are the actual words of the Attorney-General in reference to it:The House, of course, will have ample opportunity, when we come to the Clauses of the Bill, to consider the details of this matter, which I will then expound more fully,"——There it is, and they are not going to give him a chance to do it—but I forbear from doing so at the present stage."—[OFFICIAL RETORT, 5th May, 1931; col. 356, Vol. 2.52.]The Attorney-General forbore explaining fully to the House the meaning of that Clause after he had already spoken four columns of the OFFICIAL REPORT about it. This really is an outrage upon all the proceedings of the House. I do not believe that the Solicitor-General himself understands the meaning and effect of this Clause. It is the undoubted intention of this Clause to take away from the courts of the land the right of deciding a case which is actually pending.
§ The SOLICITOR - GENERAL (Sir Stafford Cripps)
The hon. Gentleman is wrong. It has been decided by the Court of Appeal in favour of the Crown, and there is no appeal.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
The learned Solicitor-General knows as well as anybody in this House that Mr. Hamilton has six months within which to appeal to the House of Lords. He knew that all the time. The Solicitor-General may not know this, but I know it and have it from Mr. Hamilton personally, that he is still considering the question of an appeal to the House of Lords. [HON. MEMBERS: 466 "Withdraw!"] Will the hon. Member opposite who insists upon repeating that cry say what it is he wishes me to withdraw?
Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Robert Young)
It was from hon. Members on ray left that the cry came. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, it was on the other side!"] The cry which came from two hon. Members above the Gangway on my left was that the Solicitor-General should withdraw, and then the cry was repeated by hon. Members on the opposite side below the Gangway. [Interruption.] I distinctly heard two hon. Gentlemen on my left. It was not directed to the hon. and learned Gentleman addressing the House.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
I believe that I was one of those who said "Withdraw!" Am I to understand that your Ruling is that the cries of hon. Members on the other side are parrot cries?
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
I am glad to notice, at any rate, there is nothing particular to be withdrawn, and that the cries to which I thought it necessary for me to pay some courteous attention were merely, for once in a way, an echo of something which came from this side. This is really a serious matter. It has become the more serious by reason of the interruption of the Solicitor-General just now in which he told me that the matter was no longer pending before the court. I tell him this, and I ask the Government to take note of it, and, as I have said, I have Mr. Hamilton's authority for saying it, he not only has the right to appeal, but he is still considering the advisability of appealing; and may I say, as no doubt the Solicitor-General has read the letter which appeared in the "Times" last Friday, that this is later than the date of that letter. He is still considering the matter, but it is true that he is, not unnaturally, partly deterred from doing so by the apparent proposal of the Government to ask Parliament—mind you, it depends upon Parliament—to take away from the House of Lords the power to decide the question of what the law was at the time that Mr. Hamilton's liability for tax is alleged to have arisen.
I ask the Government to consider very carefully whether it is not essential that they should take care that on some occasion 467 during the passage of this Bill ample time is given for the discussion, not merely of the complicated wording of the Clause and the effect of it in some respects, but for the discussion of the great principle involved in it of taking away the right of the subject to appeal to the court and overriding it by Parliament. I base the appeal to the Government to give time for that not merely on the ground of what is right and wrong, but on the strength of what the Attorney-General himself said. If the Attorney-General, speaking in Committee in this House with all the responsibility of his position, emphasises the great importance of this Clause and the complexity of it, and if four columns of the OFFICIAL REPORT are not a sufficient explanation of it, and he gives what amounts to a pledge that the House will have ample opportunity, when we come to the Clauses of the Bill, to consider the details of the matter which he forbore at the time to explain more fully as was required to be done—in those circumstances there is really need for the Government to pay some attention to this matter.
Let me come back to the general principle of the time which the Government propose to allow for the discussion in Committee of what is the real Finance Bill of the year. Something less than three days is to be allowed for the Committee stage of that Bill of 18 Clauses, including the Financial Resolution. There is certainly no precedent for that. The Government have shown either their idea that we are ignorant on this side or their own ignorance in regard to matters of Parliamentary procedure, by suggesting that they are bound by time and cannot help themselves in regard to the time available. If the Government will accept a Motion for an instruction to the Committee to divide the Finance Bill into two parts, there will not be the slightest difficulty in getting the Finance Bill of the year through and giving full time for the discussion of it within the time limits that they have set themselves.
I wish to call attention to one argument from the Government benches in regard to the question of time limit, as showing a lack of acquaintance with the details of Parliamentary procedure. I am not sure that it is not an unwarrantable assumption as to what is likely to 468 be the conduct of Mr. Speaker in regard to the Finance Bill. I am not sure whether it was stated by the Prime Minister, but reference was made by several speakers to the necessity, in dealing with this Finance Bill, of complying with Section 1 of the Parliament Act.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
What I am anxious to put to the Government is that they have, within the limits which they are obliged to meet in regard to the time table, an opportunity of giving us 14 days. That is the point with which I am dealing. The Government have stated that they cannot give us as much time as we want. They say that they cannot give more than 10 days, and they have advanced as one of their reasons the terms of Section 1 of the Parliament Act. It was with that that I was dealing. Clause 1 of the Parliament Act deals with a Money Bill and says that a Money Bill, having been passed by the House of Commons and sent up to the House of Lords at least one month before the end of the Session, may be passed by this House. The Solicitor-General knows perfectly well, and I think the Financial Secretary also knows perfectly well, that whether this is a Finance Bill or not is not a matter for a private Member or the Government to decide. It is not a matter that they are entitled to speculate upon or ask questions about in Debate, as to whether it is or is not a Money Bill. I think I am right in saying that very few Finance Bills since the Parliament Act was passed in 1911 have been Money Bills.
Whether this is a Money Bill or not does not matter in the least. The time limits with which the Government have to deal are the limits imposed by what is known as the Bowles Act and they require the passing of the legislation within four months of the date mentioned in the original Resolution. For all these reasons, I protest that in the discussion of this Amendment the Government have shown absolute disregard of the right of the House of Commons to adequate time to discuss what is properly the Finance Bill of the year. In these circumstances, I strongly oppose the reduction of the 14 days to 10 days, and I seriously ask the Government to consider whether they ought not at least to split the difference. 469 If they allow 12 days on the Committee stage and alter the time table accordingly, they would give a reasonable opportunity for the discussion of Clause 5.
§ Major GLYN
I should like to reinforce what has been said by my hon. Friend and to urge upon the Government the real importance, in view of unexpected or half expected circumstances which may arise to take up the time of the House, of the advisability of splitting the Bill so as to ensure that the proper Finance Bill of the year shall be dealt with in all its stages and that the revenue of the country shall not be held up. Time could then be given to the taxes which concern the country and which cannot be discussed adequately within the time table suggested by the Government. I fully appreciate the danger of the situation if urgent legislation has to be dealt with and the Finance Bill cannot pass through its stages in proper time. It would be well for the Government to deal with Parts I and II of the Finance Bill, which are the true finances of the current year. Not one penny of the land taxes will help the revenue this year, even if they are passed.
A serious situation may arise overseas or in Europe and we may find ourselves considering proposals of the most vital importance. Many people who study international affairs know that very urgent matters may come up for the consideration of the House, and the whole of the time table may be blown to smithereens in view of the urgency of the questions then to be considered. In the circumstances it would be very desirable for Parts I and II of the Finance Bill to be put into a compartment by themselves. Only two and a-half days are to be allowed for discussing the taxing of the subject and the alteration of the incidence of taxation, apart from the Land Values Tax. In view of the warning of the Prime Minister, it is vital that the time table should be so arranged that the matters of real importance for revenue purposes can be considered, and the Government could afterwards get through their legislation for the taxation of land values.
§ Major ELLIOT
I have been waiting for some definition of the Government's proposals with regard to Scotland, 470 but no such definition has been offered. It has been thrown out in a casual way by the Financial Secretary that a day is to be given for the discussion of the land taxation Clauses as they apply to Scotland. We are waiting for the' proposals in regard to Scotland, but there has been no Scottish Minister and no Scottish Law Officer present to throw any light upon the matter. No pronouncement has been made by any responsible Minister, not even by the Secretary of State for Scotland, and even Members who sit for Scottish seats, like the President of the Board of Trade, are all absent. It was reasonable to suppose that at some stage the intentions of the Government in regard to Scotland would be explained. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury made a statement—he got it all wrong—that a day is to be given to the consideration of the Scottish Application Clause. A day is not to be given, because there are two important Resolutions to be considered as well on that day, and if there is any discussion at all it must correspondingly curtail the discussion on the Scottish Application Clause.
One day is proposed for Scotland. Do Members of the Government remember the Local Government (Scotland) Bill passing through this House. On that occasion, in addition to the 13 days given to the English Bill alone eight days were given to the Committee stage of the Scottish Bill, nearly as long as the Government propose to give to the whole Committee stage of the Budget. We added an extra day in response to the appeal of the Oppsition, making it nine days for the Committee stage of the Scottish Bill, and then the Opposition got up and with shrieks and screams protested that the time was insufficient. We are asking that 12 days should be given for the consideration of the Budget of the year. Do hon. Members opposite realise what they asked for when the Local Government (Scotland) Bill was under consideration? They asked for 20 days for the Scottish Bill and for 20 more days for the English Bill; 40 days in all for the two Bills, and they now grudge us 12 or 14 days for the consideration of the main financial business of the year and a complete overturn of the accepted land system of 471 Scotland. The Liberal party asked for the same thing, and the same party, through the mouth of the second Moses, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) were urging upon us only a few days ago on Scottish Estimates the necessity for more interest being taken in Scottish affairs, and that the Secretary of State for Scotland should give longer and due consideration to Scottish matters and make more active efforts on behalf of Scot land. Where are they now? Not a single Scottish Member on the Liberal benches, and, with the exception of two, there is not a single Scottish Member on the Government Bench. There is the Chief Whip, who by tradition is not allowed to talk at all——
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. T. Kennedy)
§ Major ELLIOT
That is the Chief Whip all over. He brings forward a Resolution under which he means to defend these proposals sitting. Hon. Members opposite have merely to sit until the clock goes round and the hour strikes when the Government proposals become law. Let me give the House some of the gems of oratory which the party opposite launched against the last Administration when it brought forward a Guillotine Resolution allowing for nine days in Committee on the Local Government (Scotland) Bill. The Home Secretary gave us one of his characteristic speeches, and the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown), to his credit, protested then as he has protested to-night, and he carried his protest to the Division Lobby. But far more people than that spoke on that occasion. The present Lord Privy Seal spoke vehemently against the proposal to allot nine days for Scotland and the present Secretary of State for India got quite excited about it. He said:Just fancy a Finance Bill with any number of Clauses being put in one Question as is provided for in this Guillotine Motion. Just imagine a Chairman being able to put five or six or 10 taxing Clauses in one question and everybody being compelled to vote 'Aye' or 'No.' "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 472 11th December, 1928: col. 197.5, Vol. 223.]Here is a proposal brought forward by his own Administration, and the right hon. Gentleman is absent. He is going obediently into the Lobby in order that a Chairman may have the power to put five or six or 10 taxing Clauses in one Question and everybody being compelled to vote Aye or No. The right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) was very fierce, and the present Minister of Mines extremely angry with the proposal. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetlinds (Sir R. Hamilton), who was then opposing, not supporting the Government, said:Only eight days have been allotted for the Scottish Bill, and not a Member for Scotland will not agree that this is entirely inadequate. We ought to have 10, and probably 12, days in order to discuss the Bill properly, and I ask every Scottish Member who speaks to do his best to see that the Scottish Bill has a fair allowance of time."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 11th December, 1928; col. 1894, Vol. 223.]The hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. G. Hardie) was also extremely excited, and the senior Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour) became quite hysterical. He said:To me this whole thing is a fiasco. It is undermining the strength of the claim to democratic representation in this House. You might just as well put forward a Bill and tell us it is going through in two or three days as in the number of days spoken of now. In Scotland you are tearing up by the very roots old established localised government. … To say now that Scotland is to be favoured with another day, as the Secretary of State tells us in his most gracious manner, is enough to daze the people of Scotland. "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1928; col. 2002, Vol. 22.3.]The present Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said:While I recognise that the Secretary of State for Scotland has made some small concession, I say quite frankly that we have nothing really for which to thank him. It is altogether inadequate."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1928; col. 2001, Vol. 223.]The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) of course said the action was mean and petty, and the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) said:There is all this gathering force of opinion, and so I believe that the Guillotine Motion is an attempt to stifle the legitimate protest of Members on the other side of the House.—[OTFICFAL REPORT, 11th December, 1928; col. 2010, Vol. 223.]473 The greatest gem however came from the hon. Member for St. Helens (Sir J. Sexton) who said:This time the S.O.S. is to be a red herring. As a matter of fact, their record proves that they have so over-loaded the ship of State that her scuppers are awash, to-day there are even signs of the crew mutinying, and some of the rats are leaving the ship."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1928; col. 1990, Vol. 223.]These were some of the opinions of the Opposition of that day on the proposals which we brought forward. We have not yet succeeded in obtaining any explanation from the Government as to how they propose to apply these proposals in the case of Scotland and why it is that one single day is enough for the consideration of these complicated proposals. In 1906 a special Committee of this House was set up on the taxation of land value and its application to the Scottish Feuing system. On the land Clauses of the Budget of 1909–10 there was a Debate on the specific Scottish point which was pro longed for days. Since the present Bill was brought in the novelty of the proposals is such that the League for the Taxation of Land Value in Glasgow has sent me a memorandum protesting most vehemently against the proposals, saying that they are utterly incomprehensible and have nothing to do with any system of the taxation of land value. The Church of Scotland which is compelled by a Statute of 1844 to invest——
The hon. and gallant Member is now discussing the question of the Land Value Tax.
§ Major ELLIOT
I do not desire to discuss the taxation of land value, but it is a question as to whether an organisation which has been compelled by Statute to make certain investments is not entitled to special consideration when the House of Commons has to decide whether an extra tax of 1s. 8d. in the £ is to be applied to revenues in which the organisation has been compelled by Statute to invest. It may be a good or bad thing; I do not say, for the moment for discussing that will come, but the Church of Scotland, which is compelled to make certain investments, has a right to ask the House of Commons to think most seriously before it determines to make a special levy of 1s. 8d. in the £.
§ Major ELLIOT
I am more than willing that these matters should arise in the proper course, but I do say that if we are to have a single day only to discuss the application of these Clauses to Scotland, it at least demands the presence and explanation of a Scottish Minister and a Scottish Law Officer. I do not complain of the learned Solicitor-General, but I am sure he will be the last to contend that he is a deep authority on the complicated system of land and conveyance in Scotland.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
May I point out that in the Amendment moved from the hon. and gallant Gentleman's own side, one day only is given to Clause 30.
§ Major ELLIOT
It was the idea of the Government that one day only was given for Scotland, and does the hon. and learned Gentleman suggest there was any possibility of our getting more? We were making a most reasonable demand.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
I was suggesting that although two more days were allotted, neither of them was given to Scotland.
§ Major ELLIOT
I do not quite understand the point which the hon. and learned Member is making. He spoke with a great flourish of trumpets of allocating an extra half-day for Scotland.
§ Major ELLIOT
Then he made no reference to it at all. This is the first time it has come to his mind. Of course, he does not know anything about it, and it is not to be expected. The legal system of Scotland is in the charge of other Law Officers, and we have a right to demand their presence. It is not of the Solicitor-General we have asked for instructions about the law of Scotland. We do not expect the Solicitor-General to interpret that law.
The question of interpreting the law of Scotland does not arise on this particular Amendment.
§ Major ELLIOT
I do not wish to stress the point as to the absence of Ministers of the Crown, but so far no defence has 475 been made of the proposal to allocate only one day to Scotland, and it is an insult to our country that the paid officers of Scotland should not be here to discuss the application of the Finance Bill to Scotland. I am perfectly content to leave it at that.
§ Mr. BROCKWAY
I desire to express a view which is different from that which has been so far advanced. I shall support the proposal of the Government, but I confess, without any enthusiasm. I shall support it because I regard the proposals of the Finance Bill as so miserable and inadequate that the sooner they are disposed of the better. If the Opposition were likely to make any proposals for the improvement of the Bill, I should welcome further discussion, but the Opposition are likely to make proposals which will make the Bill worse. As far as this side of the House is concerned, the laws of the House prevent us from proposing any Amendment to the Finance Bill which will increase the taxation of the rich and increase the social services. For this reason, I shall support any suggestion which makes the discussion of the Bill as short, concise and concrete as possible.
I want to suggest also, that we should support the time table to make the discussion of this Bill as short as possible, because the attention of the House should be turned to the really vital questions which exist in the country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I do not understand those cheers, because hon. Members on the benches opposite want to continue the discussion upon a Finance Bill which has no relation at all to the position of unemployment, reduced wages and the industrial collapse. As far as I am concerned, I will support proposals which will relieve this House from giving time to discuss this utterly inadequate Measure, so that the House may begin to turn its attention to the real problems facing the country and Parliament. Those problems are unemployment, wage reductions and the industrial collapse. I want to appeal to the Front Government Bench to secure modifications of the time of this House by these Guillotine Resolutions, and to use the rest of this Session to deal with the really grave position in the country, the desperate position of the unemployed, and the 3,000,000 workers 476 now threatened with wage reductions and the industrial collapse, and to come forward with some proposals which are adequate to that situation. If the Government come forward with proposals of that kind, they will have the enthusiastic support of hon. Members who sit on these benches.
§ Sir KINGSLEY WOOD
There would be a good deal to be said for the point of view expressed by the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken if he would translate his speeches into much more vigorous action than he has hitherto shown. I want, however, to refer to the question put by the hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot). I was about to move the Adjournment of the House, owing to the absence of any Scottish Minister, but now that the Lord Advocate is present, perhaps he will explain to us how he proposes the position of Scotland should be adequately dealt with in the time allowed in the Government programme? If he will do that there is no need for me to go further. As the hon. and learned Gentleman does not show any desire to do so, I shall formally move "That the Debate be now adjourned," owing to no Scottish Minister being willing or able to reply to the point which has been raised.
On a point of Order. Is it not always the prerogative of the Opposition to move the Adjournment of the Debate if no Minister is present to listen to the speeches made from this Front Bench on the subject of the Department for which he is responsible in the House?
§ Major ELLIOT
On a point of Order. The peculiar position of the Scottish legal system is recognised by the fact that there are Law Officers in this House appointed to deal with it. Surely we are not making any exaggerated demand when we ask that some explanation of those laws should be given by the Scottish Law Officers of the Crown. I do not 477 wish to delay the House, but surely it is not an unreasonable demand which is being made?
§ Mr. MUGGERIDGE
Is not the point under discussion whether the time should be 10 days or 14 days, and is is not a fact that that has no bearing whatever on the Scottish question?
The point is that I do not accept a Motion for the Adjournment. It is not for me to state a reason for my refusal.
Would you state whether, under the Rules of the House, there is any means by which an Opposition can protest against the refusal of a Minister of the Crown, who is responsible for the subject under discussion, to address the House? I ask you whether you will accept a Motion that you now leave the Chair.
As far as I can understand, hon. Members have been protesting for half an hour that the Minister concerned was not here, and the Minister has now arrived.
§ Major ELLIOT
Our protest was not that the Minister was not present. We desired that the Minister should be here in order to make some remarks, from the Scottish point of view, on this Resolution. Under the other Guillotine Motion the Secretary of State himself was present and defended the Motion so far as it applied to Scottish Members.
§ Sir SAMUEL CHAPMAN
I think the Lord Advocate has been absent from the House for such a considerable time that he does not realise what has happened. The hon. and gallant Member for Kelvin grove (Major Elliot)——
On a point of Order. May I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to permit me to move that you now leave the Chair?
§ Mr. SMITHERS
Yes. I wish respectfully to point out that Clause 30 of the Bill, for which we are asking more time, 478 covers three and a-half pages. The Clause deals entirely with Scotland, and it is acknowledged by all parties that the land law of Scotland is entirely different from the land law of England.
§ Sir S. CHAPMAN
I only desire to say that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot) put the case of Scotland in a most lucid way, and appealed to the Lord Advocate to be good enough to listen to the plea which we from Scotland made. We are getting many petitions from public bodies in Scotland—the Lord Advocate knows it—from most responsible bodies, 20 or 30 of them, and my hon. and gallant Friend asked the Lord Advocate's opinion as to whether he considered the short time which the Government propose as adequate for us to discuse all these matters. The Lord Advocate is not treating Scottish Members with that courtesy which we all know is at the bottom of his character. Why is he sitting there and not treating us, as he has always done, as colleagues? The Lord Advocate has always treated us on all sides of the House as if we were his colleagues. He knows that the public bodies of Scotland are terribly anxious about this Bill. The Church of Scotland itself, Heriot's Trust, and all the others are anxious. All that my hon. and gallant Friend did was to ask the Lord Advocate to use his influence with the Government to give us adequate time for placing our case before the House.
I appeal to the Lord Advocate's good nature. I mean it. We all like the Lord Advocate. Why docs he sit there, and not exercise his rightful position as Lord Advocate of Scotland? Why does he play second fiddle to the Solicitor-General? Yesterday, a, man who represents an English constituency was talking about the Thistle. Will the Lord Advocate show that the Thistle pricks him now? If it does not prick him in the right place, then his conscience ought to prick him. Let him get up. Let him stand up for the public bodies; of Scotland, and get us extra time for the discussion of Scottish matters.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Craigie Aitchison)
Since I entered the House 479 10 minutes ago, I have been anxiously awaiting some subsidence of the disturbance in order that I might rise and answer the question which was put to me. Now that the outbreak has subsided I can indicate in a very few words indeed what is my view regarding the matter. I say, first of all, that we Scottish Members welcome this anxiety that Scotland should get a larger share of Parliamentary time. It is a new experience to most of the Scottish Members in this House. I am bound to say that we would appreciate it more if the anxiety had not been associated, as it appears to be, with a desire to impede as far as possible the progress of the particular business with which the House is concerned. I may say that the adequacy of the time which the Government propose should be allotted to this part of the Finance Bill, so far as it affects Scotland, has been very carefully considered, and I have no hesitation in stating that in my view, as a Scottish Law Officer, the time is adequate. The House will, of course appreciate that by the time Clause 30 is reached, the principle of the tax, so far as applicable in England, will have been very fully discussed and explored, and the House will agree that it is undesirable that we should apply in Scotland a different principle from the principle that is to be applied in England.
It is no doubt true, as the hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot) has reminded the House, that in Scotland we have our own system of land tenure, which is not on all-fours with the system of land tenure prevailing in England. It is therefore a perfectly legitimate point that, when we come to the provisions affecting Scotland, they will require to be not merely a paraphrase of the English provisions, but something in the nature of an adaptation. I am willing to concede that point, but, having considered the matter, we are clearly of opinion that adequate discussion of these matters, as they affect interests in Scotland, can be had within the limits of one day of Parliamentary time. As I have already said, the principle of the tax will have been decided before Clause 30 is reached, and it will merely be a matter of adapting it to the 480 peculiar conditions of land tenure applicable in Scotland.
I venture to say that the Debate will gain rather than suffer by the curtailment of time, because it will mean that Members will be compelled to observe a wise economy in the matter of the time occupied in speeches and, accordingly, we shall look forward to hearing from the benches opposite speeches of a much more relevant kind than we have been experiencing. I have no doubt that the hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove will be able to say all that he can say against the tax and its relation to Scotland within the compass of 10 minutes, if he will only take the trouble to be relevant. [Interruption.] I am referring to the speech which he is going to make against the application of the Clause to Scotland. I have no hesitation in assuring the House that, as far as Scotland is concerned, one day is enough and more than enough, for the proper discussion of the matter when it arises.
§ Mr. ROSS
If any further argument were required in support of the plea put forward from this side it is supplied by the incomparable lameness of the speech which we have just heard from the Lord Advocate. He prefaced his remarks by saying that enough time was not given to the discussion of Scottish affairs, but he continued his argument by saying that one day would be too much for the discussion of this subject. Apparently the time given to the discussion of Scottish affairs seems short to the hon. and learned Gentleman. It seems very long to other Members of the House and yet in this case it is desired to give a longer time than is proposed by the Government, to this important aspect of the Finance Bill, namely, its application to Scotland. If there is one outstanding feature of the Scottish Members, taking them without distinction of party and regarding the matter on a purely national basis, it is surely their incomparable loquacity. They come from a country noted for silence and brevity of speech, but I am amazed and almost horrified to find that the Scottish—from whom I am proud to be descended—have now developed a loquacity which it is 481 difficult to equal and impossible to surpass. Yet we have here the Lord Advocate who says he is the representative of Scotland. Oh Scotland, Scotland! Does the hon. and learned Gentleman really represent the feeling of that great country? No, he does not when he demands, not that Scottish Members should be given more time to speak, but that they should be given less. When we have such an astounding suggestion in a Finance Bill as that "easement" means "servitude," can we accept it straight away? Must it not be debated in full. Cannot the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) help us there, and tell us why "casement" means "servitude"?
§ Mr. ROSS
I would like to hear more about that and I hope that the hon. Member will some time have an opportunity of being better able to expound his views on that subject than he now has. We have any number of complicated questions arising on the Bill in reference to Scotland. What is an "Act of Sederunt," for instance? Does it mean sitting on something? With the best will in the world to help our brethren from the other side of the Tweed, we cannot deal with these matters unless sufficient rein is given to them to express their views on such important issues. As for the speech of the Lord Advocate I deprecate that an hon. and learned Gentleman holding his responsible position should have not only compromised, but thrown away the rights of the great people to whom he has the honour to belong.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
I really do not know what to make of the observations which we have heard from the Government Front Bench on this matter. We began with an explanation from the Financial Secretary as to why 10 days were considered adequate; we then had some perfectly infantile observations from a Law Officer of the Crown and finally we have had the amazing speech of the Lord Advocate. Apparently the Lord Advocate must have read the time-table and, as I understand it, under the new form of time-table, giving 10 days, Clause 30 which is the Scottish Clause will be 482 reached on the eighth day along with the consideration of the Financial Resolution, advances to the Road Fund and the currency of War Saving Certificates. All these things are to be taken on that day. It is true that the Scottish Clause comes first, but from what we have heard this evening it seems highly improbable that there will be any opportunity of discussing these other important matters.
The Lord Advocate has done what he often does in this House, namely, given away the Government case. One of his colleagues has been equally irrelevant and gloriously inaccurate. He said that the time given here was no more than that demanded in our proposal, I presume he was referring to an Amendment on the Paper in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson) but under that Amendment a whole day is allowed for Clause 30. We have now this position—that we are going to discuss the new Land Clauses in the space of about eight days, leaving only two days for the discussion of the whole of the rest of the financial arrangements and the taxation of the people of this country. It is all very well for the Liberal party to ask for two days more. Why do they not show some real courage and ask for five or six days more? Then we should get a real discussion on some parts of the Bill. The fact is that there is an agreement, and a couple of days are thrown in as a sop to the Liberal party.
It is a gross iniquity that the Government should endeavour to force the House of Commons to pass, without adequate discussion, legislation of this kind, which will deliberately throw hundreds of thousands of people out of work in all probability. How, under the Government's proposals, shall we have time in which to discuss Clause 20, which deals with the whole question of relief? Then on one day we have to deal with the whole question of the division, of units and matters of that kind, and with the question of the Commissioners. When it is realised that we are dealing with a far more complicated system than we have to deal with in an ordinary annual Budget, and this shortened period is given to us in which to do it, it will be seen that there is no intention on the part of the Government to pass well-considered or well-discussed legislation. 483 Their intention is to shovel something on to the Statute Book, absolutely regardless of what harm and injury they will do to the country as a whole.
§ Question put, "That the word 'Fourteen' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 170; Noes, 266.485
|Division No. 272.]||AYES.||[9.59 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Albery, Irving James||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||O'Connor, T. J.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Atholl, Duchese of||Ferguson, Sir John||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Atkinson, C.||Fleiden, E. B.||Penny, Sir George|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Flson, F. G. Clavering||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Balfour, George (Himpstead)||Ford, Sir P. J.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Balniel, Lord||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Ganronl, Sir John||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Remer, John R.|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Gower, Sir Robert||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bracken, B.||Hamilton, Sir George (llford)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hammersley, S. S.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Broadbent, Colonel J.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Savery, S. S.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hartington, Marquess of||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Buchan, John||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Smithers, Waldron|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hurd, Percy A.||Somervllie, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Thompson, Luke|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Christie, J. A.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Train, J.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Lelghton, Major B. E. P.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Liewellin, Major J. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Long, Major Hon. Eric||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Macquisten, F. A.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertlord)||Marjorlbanks, Edward||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Meiler, R. J.||Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Captain Wallace and Sir Victor Warrender.|
|Eomondson, Major A. J.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Broad, Francis Alfred|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Brockway, A. Fenner|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Barnes, Alfred John||Bromfield, William|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Batey, Joseph||Bromley, J.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Brooke, W.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Brothers, M.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)|
|Angeli, Sir Norman||Benson, G.||Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)|
|Arnott, John||Birkett, W. Norman||Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Buchanan, G.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Bowen, J. W.||Burgess, F. G.|
|Ayles, Walter||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Burgin, Dr. E. L.|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Eiland)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Caine, Hall-, Derwent||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M||Ritson, J.|
|Camaron, A. G.||Kinley, J.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Cape, Thomas||Kirkwood, D.||Romeril, H. G.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Knight, Holford||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lang, Gordon||Rowson, Guy|
|Chater, Daniel||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Church, Major A. G.||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Clarke, J. S.||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Sanders, W. S.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Sandham, E.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Compton, Joseph||Leach, W.||Scurr, John|
|Cove, William G.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Sexton, Sir James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lees, J.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Daggar, George||Leonard, W.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Dallas, George||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Lindley, Fred W.||Shield, George William|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Logan, David Gilbert||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Dukes, C.||Longbottom, A. W.||Shinwell, E.|
|Duncan, Charles||Longden, F.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lunn, William||Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Egan, W. H.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Sinkinson, George|
|Elmley, Viscount||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassstlaw)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Freeman, Peter||McElwee, A.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||McEntee, V. L.||Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H. B. (Keighley)|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)||Smith, Rennle (Penlstone)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McKinlay, A.||Smith, Tom (Pontetract)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||MacLaren, Andrew||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||McShane, John James||Sorensen, R.|
|Gill, T. H.||Malcne, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Glassey, A. E.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Gossling, A. G.||Manning, E. L.||Strauss, G. R.|
|Gould, F.||Mansfield, W.||Sullivan, J.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||March, S.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Marcus, M.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Gray, Mliner||Marley, J.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne).||Marshall, Fred||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mathers, George||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Matters, L. W.||Tillett, Ben|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maxton, James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Messer, Fred||Toole, Joseph|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Middleton, G.||Tout, W. J.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mills, J. E.||Townend, A. E.|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Miliner, Major J.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Montague, Frederick||Vaughan, David|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Morley, Ralph||Viant, S. P.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Walkden, A. G.|
|Harbord, A.||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Walker, J.|
|Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||Mort, D. L.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||Muff, G.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Muggeridge, H. T.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Naylor, T. E.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hayes, John Henry||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Noel Baker, P. J.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Noef-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||West, F. R.|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Oldfield, J. R.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Herriotts, J.||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||White, H. G.|
|Hicks, Ernest George||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Paling, Wilfrid||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Hirst, W. (Bradlord, South)||Palmer, E. T.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Hollins, A.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Perry, S. F.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Isaacs, George||Pole, Major D. G.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Potts, John S.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Price, M. P.||Wise, E. F.|
|Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Pybus, Percy John||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Quibell, D. J. K.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon F. W.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)||Raynes, W. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. B. Smith.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
Question, "That the word 'Ten' be there inserted in the proposed Amendment," put, and agreed to.
§ Word "-Ten" there inserted in the Main Question.487
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
I beg to move, to leave out from the beginning of line 18 to the end of line 38, and to insert instead thereof the words:
|Second||Clauses 7 and 8||—|
|Third||Clauses 7 and 8||10.30|
|Fourth||Clauses 9 to 13||10.30|
|Fifth||Clauses 14 to 18 and Committee stage of Financial Resolution (Expenses of Commissioners of Inland Revenue).||10.30|
|Sixth||Clauses 19 and 20||10.30|
|Seventh||Report stage of Financial Resolution (Expenses of Commissioners of Inland Revenue) and Clauses 21 to 25.||7.30|
|Committee stage of Financial Resolutions (Advances to Road Fund and Currency of Savings Certificates) and Clauses 26 to 29.||10.30|
|Eighth||Clause 30 and Report stage of Financial Resolutions (Advances to Road Fund and Currency of Savings Certificates).||10.30|
|Ninth||Clauses 31 to 37||7.30|
|New Clauses, Schedules, New Schedules and any other matter necessary to bring the Committee stage to a conclusion.||—|
|Tenth||New Clauses, Schedules, New Schedules and any other matter necessary to bring the Committee stage to a conclusion.||10.30|
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ Mr. SMITHERS
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 2, to leave out "10.30" and to insert instead thereof "12.0."
I am really moving this Amendment to the proposed Amendment as a test case. If my Amendment is carried—and I am sure that it will be—the effect will be that in this new table the 10.30 of each day will become 12 midnight. I venture to press the Amendment, because we have tried to get a time table for 14 days. That 14 days was moved really to help the Government, because we felt it was the very minimum in which we could discuss 488 some of the main points of the Bill. The Solicitor-General said that we devoted only one day to Scotland, but he must not take it for granted that we consider one day for Scotland is sufficient. If we tried to extend the time table to 14 days, it was not because we thought 14 days was in any way sufficient for the proper consideration of this Bill. I want to remind the Prime Minister that the financial business is exempted business, and why have they put down 10.30 in their time table when, in the ordinary way, business runs on to 11 o'clock, and financial business is exempted. Through their own fault the Government are in difficulties as to time, but we must try and get the business through, and this is a most reasonable Amendment to ask them to allow the business to go on to 12 o'clock.
The hon. Member for Watford (Sir D. Herbert) mentioned the Hamilton case. I moved an Amendment which dealt with the Hamilton case on the Budget Resolution. The Attorney-General then distinctly said he would only speak shortly on the Hamilton case because he would find time in the Committee stage to deal with it more fully. We took that as a pledge. Clauses 3 to 6, which include the Hamilton case Clause, is allowed only half a day. It requires more time, and I am sure the Attorney-General will agree with me, and disagree with what the Solicitor-General said a little while ago. When the Attorney-General moved the Budget Resolution, the Hamilton case was on its way from one court to another, and now he is insisting on confirming that decision by Act of Parliament when it is open to Mr. Hamilton still to appeal to the House of Lords, but as I understood him, the Solicitor-General denied that that was the case, and refused to withdraw.
I also ask for further time up to 12 o'clock each day because the true financial provisions of the Bill are confined to two and a half or three days, and the main part of the true Budget comes in the first six Clauses. We are justified in asking that the Debate on the first six Clauses should run up to 12 o'clock. Another reason why the Debate should go on until 12 o'clock is this, that I understand it is unusual to put the Committee stage and the Report stage of Financial Resolutions into the middle of a Budget. A good deal has 489 been said from the Government aide about having to put on the Guillotine because of the fear of undue delay, and I believe the word "obstruction" has been used, but the Government themselves are taking power to obstruct.
On the 7th day they have been careful to put the Committee stage of the Financial Resolutions which deal with the Road Fund and the Currency of Savings Certificates first on the second half of the day. I do not want to impute base motives to the Chief Whip of the Government, but Clauses 26 to 29, which come on that day, are, in our opinion, some of the most important Clauses. Clause 26 defines owners, and takes nearly two pages to do it. Clause 27 contains the other definitions, and occupies two and a half pages. The opinion of the House on what those definitions are or are not to be will materially affect the whole Bill, yet the Government have been careful to put down the Committee stage of those Financial Resolutions first on that half day, and have only to say to some of their own Members, "Now, look here, comrades, get up and talk on those Financial Resolutions," to ensure our not having any time to discuss Clauses 26 to 29.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
They have also put down the Report stage of the Financial Resolutions before Clauses 21 to 25. Though they have moved this Guillotine Resolution to try to stop obstruction, they are putting the power to obstruct in their own hands. Clauses 21 to 25 are very important Clauses. More serious suggestions for Amendments have come to me with regard to Clauses 21, 22 and 23 than almost any other minor Clauses of the Bill. I beg the Government to give us an extension of time till 12 o'clock. If we judge by the number of really serious representations which have been made to us regarding Clause 19, which is the exemption Clause, the very minimum time which ought to be allowed for it is three days, yet we are asked to take Clauses 19 and 20 on one day. I would like to give the names of a few of the bodies taken at random from among the number which have come to me, and who wish their views to be represented upon Clause 19.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
I wish to show why I want another one and a-half hours on the seventh day, and I want to give the names of a few of those bodies, because they represent big and important people in this country whose views ought to be represented in this House.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
All I wish to say on that point is that they are most important bodies representing millions of subjects, including friendly societies who have asked that their views should be represented in the House of Commons. All I am asking is that as much time as possible should be given in order that their views may be stated in the House of Commons.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is in order to state the views of important bodies in the country who say that they are damnified by the proposals of this Resolution, and I think that, through their representatives in Parliament, they should be allowed an opportunity of stating their case. I submit to you most respectfully, Mr. Speaker, that it is not out of order in discussing a Guillotine Resolution to point out that the points of view of important sections of the community will not be able to be voiced in this House.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
And for which I thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to call the attention of the House to the half day which is given on the seventh day. I have already pointed out the danger which would arise after Clause 29 is Guillotined at 10.30. Clause 29 is the first Financial Clause printed in italics which deals with provisions as to expenses. On that Clause could be discussed the whole principle of the Bill and the whole cost—our estimate of what it would cost and the Government estimate 491 varies by millions—and that Clause will be squeezed out because it comes at the end of the half day already assigned to the Committee stage and the Financial Eesolutions, and Clauses 26, 27 and 28—all important Clauses—have to be taken before it.
There is another reason why I ask for further time. The Government have indeed realised, in part, the importance of this point, by giving a day and a-half on the ninth and tenth days to the new Clauses and Schedules. The points which have been sent to us to raise in this House, and which can only be raised in the form of new Clauses, are very numerous. Those bodies of which I spoke just now, and which I will not name again, have sent us many points which cannot be got into the body of the Bill, but can only be raised as new Clauses Therefore, I consider that a day and a-half for new Clauses and Schedules is utterly inadequate, and it would be some relief if the Government would give us an hour and a-half extra on those days. After all, the Government represent a party which advocates the right of free speech. We have acceded in the kindest way to their 10 days' programme, and I would ask them if they will not consider the advisability of substituting 12 o'clock for 10.30, so that the House will be able to adjourn at 25 minutes or half-past 12, and Members may be able to catch their trains. The object of this Amendment is not vindictive; it is intended to study the convenience of Members.
§ Captain BOURNE
I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.
I do not wish to pursue the observations of my hon. Friend, but there are one or two points which I think are worth bringing to the notice of the House. In the first place, in the case of the precedent quoted by the Prime Minister, namely, the Guillotine Resolution in 1914, the hour for the Guillotine was put on specially, I think, from 11 to 11.30. It was realised in those days that, if you guillotine the Finance Bill, it is obviously desirable to give a rather longer extension of time than in the case of ordinary Bills. I need not remind the Prime Minister that, but for this Resolution, this Bill would be exempted business. I remember that in the case of the first 492 Finance Bill of this Government, in 1924, we frequently sat till after one o'clock in the morning, and during the time of the last Government we sometimes sat late, though rarely later than 12 o'clock, while last year the discussions generally ran to that hour. From that point of view it is obvious that, in the case of a Bill which is normally exempted business, somewhat more than the ordinary latitude should be given on a Guillotine Resolution.
In the second place, the Prime Minister said that he could not afford more than 10 days for this Bill, owing to the pressure of Government business, and to that the House has agreed, but I would point out that under this Amendment several Clauses are being put into compartments between 7.30 and 10.30. It has been my lot to conduct from the lower Chair the business on a guillotined Bill, and, therefore, I have some knowledge as to how long it takes. The Guillotine falls at 7.30, and, very possibly, two Clauses and also some Government Amendments remain undiscussed. The Divisions take from 7.30 to 8.10 or 8.15, and the Guillotine again falls at 10.30, so that there are only two hours for what are admittedly very important Clauses of this Bill An extension of time to 12 o'clock, or even 11.30, would give a more reasonable time for dealing with these rather long Clauses. I should prefer 12 o'clock myself. I think it must be admitted that the Government have tried to meet the situation by allowing 10 days, but this is a rather long and complicated Bill, and the only possible chance of getting these parts of it discussed is to lengthen the second half of the compartments. From 7.30 to 10.30 is a short enough time in any case, but when you have to deal with four Clauses and the Committee stages of Resolutions it becomes extremely scanty, especially when, out of those three hours, half-an-hour, or possibly three-quarters of an hour, will be occupied by Divisions. I would ask the Government to see whether they cannot follow Mr. Asquith's precedent of 1914 and allow some further extension?
§ Sir JOHN SANDEMAN ALLEN
I should like to point out how entirely inadequate is the time allowed for the ordinary part of the Finance Bill. No opportunity of proper discussion was 493 given us on the Second Reading, and we now feel that questions involving business matters of serious importance are being crushed into a couple of days. We fear that the Government, I do not say intentionally, are trifling with serious questions affecting business interests throughout the country. We have been spending weeks over things which a large number of people feel are absolutely useless and worthless. Now we come to what affects the whole trade of the country and the interests and the life of the people, and we are allowed two miserable days, or two and a-half, to discuss these vital matters. Generally speaking, business men have realised—whether rightly or wrongly in the actions that have been taken—that the desire of the Government has been to help to promote trade, but when you come to the Finance Bill, which is gathering together these various matters for the year, and you have a paltry two days, and even then it is limited to 10.30, it is utterly preposterous to every business man.
This may suit Parliamentary proceedings to-day, but it does not seem to me to improve the status or the dignity of Parliament, whose particular charge is the finance of the country, to crowd it into two or two and a half days. I should say five minutes was enough to discuss the rest of it if I had my way, but that is another matter. We have to take these land questions seriously. We are taking eight, or seven and a half, days on a problematical question which most of us believe, will be most injurious to the country, at any rate on some new-fangied idea, whereas matters which affect the trade of the country to-day, and not four years hence, are to be crowded into two days without any fair opportunity for people who know what they are talking about to speak. The Front Bench people on either side may talk for a considerable time, but those who are most interested in these things have very little opportunity of saying a word. In common fairness, we should have reasonable and proper time to discuss these matters, which are well worthy of discussion, instead of these vital things being driven through the House by a machine.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
I have listened with very great care to the three speeches that have been made in support of this 494 Amendment to the proposed Amendment. We are now dealing with the schedule of time to be devoted to the Committee stage of the Bill. The effect of the Amendment would be to alter the time from 10.30 to midnight each night. Although I have no desire to stress the point, the House is aware that, in practice, in these matters the proceedings do not close, as a rule, at half-past 10. There are always a number of points to put and Divisions to be taken beyond that period. But it is common form, in Resolutions of this kind, to specify that hour. I must ask Members in all parts of the House to bear in mind the concessions that we have already made to meet legitimate criticism this afternoon. The Prime Minister, in his introductory speech, pointed out very clearly indeed the limitations of all these Guillotine Clauses, and there is not the least doubt that Where are disadvantages and difficulties attending every one of them. First of all, we have extended the number of days from eight to 10, and, in the second place, we have indicated a little later that we are willing to accept an Amendment, which, while it confines the Report stage to three days, leaves open for subsequent decision the allocation of that time, so that we can make better use of it after we have reviewed the Committee proceedings.
There is another point worth mentioning. It is true that we are working to a time table, but, after all, in our experience of these guillotine Resolutions, we have seen that in many cases, if they are rightly used, they lead to a better employment of the time. There is nothing to hinder hon. Members in any part of the House being ahead of the guillotine at any stage. What they cannot do is to be behind the guillotine. So that up to a point they have the remedy, to some extent, in their own hands. I am afraid that I cannot offer a more complete reply, but I must have regard to the moving personal appeal made by the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Smithers). It is entirely in his interest, in view of the very intricate and technical tasks he is undertaking in connection with this Bill, that he should have adequate rest, and, that being so, I respectfully suggest that the House will be well advised to terminate its proceedings at 10.30.
I think that the House must have listened with some astonishment to the speech which has just been addressed to us by the President of the Board of Trade. He has treated a very serious Amendment in a spirit of frivolity which I hardly expected from him on this occasion. He has given two reasons for refusing to accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend. The first one was that concessions have already been made, but may I point out to the right hon. Gentleman, the concessions have not been made to this side of the House, but to his own friends. So that there is no reason to express gratitude. The second reason was that he had regard to the rest which he thinks is necessary for my hon. Friend. That really discloses the genuine reason for the right hon. Gentleman's refusal to accept the Amendment. It is pure laziness. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite are paid to come here and do the business of the nation. They are asked to give an hour and a-half of extra time for seven nights—[Interruption.] I am still hopeful that the House, even at 20 minutes to 11, may be brought back to some sense of the seriousness of the position. The right hon. Gentleman must find a more serious answer to the very moderate and reasonable suggestion of my hon. Friend. I am astonished at the moderation of the Amendment. We might just as well have put down 12.30 or 1 o'clock, but the consideration which has been present to the mind of my hon. Friend has been the well-known and persistent objection on the part of hon. Members opposite to sit in this House after 12.30 or 12.45 at night. It is in order that it should not be said that we are trying to force them to undergo excessive inconvenience that the Amendment is confined to the hour of 12 o'clock.
If we examine the particular parts of the Bill which would come under the operation of the Amendment, it will be seen that they contain some of the most difficult, and complicated and most important questions. Take the third day, Clauses 7 and 8. These are the most important Clauses in the Bill. They are the Clauses which impose the charge and which provide for the valuation of the 496 land. The right hon. Gentleman has given us two days for that. We think that 2½ days would have been an inadequate time. It is obvious that if adequate time is to be given to the earlier parts of Clause 8, which are very complicated and very difficult to understand, because they contain that double negative which makes everything so eon-fusing, we are liable to have the last part of the Clause altogether shirked. When we come to the fourth day, Clauses 9 to 13, we are dealing with the apportionment of the values, one of the most difficult things to understand in the Bill and one which will require the most careful examination. We have to deal with the subject of appeals which will be of vital interest to all who will be affected by the tax, and will desire to see that they are protected in every respect. It is not right that those Clauses should be compressed into a period of time so short as we are given.
When we come to the sixth day we have to deal with Clauses 19 and 20. Clause 19 deals with exemptions. Even as it stands, there is very ample material in the Clause for an extended discussion. Anyone who listened to the Debate on the Second Beading will be aware that the exemptions cannot stand as they are in Clause 19. It will be necessary to consider a whole series of cases which have strong claims for exemption and will have to be discussed at length. The result will be that there will be no time to discuss Clause 20. Clause 20 contains the provision which exempts those whose tax does not exceed 10s. a year. I am wondering whether there is not some sinister design in putting Clause 20 at the end of the day, when it is obvious that it will have to go through without any discussion. The seventh day is the one on which the discussion is to be split up into two separate parts. The division of the first part curtails the discussion of the second part until there will not be more than 2½ hours instead of the three hours that would appear from the figures in the time-table.
There we have most important Clauses to consider. We have Clause 28 which deals with Crown lands and Clause 29, which provides for expenses. I submit that as the two definition Clauses have to be discussed in the latter part of the day that two hours and a half is altogether inadequate. Finally, when we 497 come to the eighth day we have the question of Scotland, which has already given rise to a somewhat heated discussion. I cannot see any adequate reason for the Government refusing to accept this Amendment. To be told that because certain concessions have been made elsewhere we are not to be allowed to discuss these Clauses for one and a half hours is trifling with the House. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman is entirely inadequate and I hope that we may have some further answer from a member of the Government.
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
May I endorse what the right hon. Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain) has said. The President of the Board of Trade did not venture to address any serious argument to the point that has been raised. However much we may disagree with the Government's point of view there may be a case for saying that you cannot take overmuch Parliamentary time over the Bill, but, if hon. Members are prepared to sit up late in order to ensure a fuller discussion, it comes ill from the Government, who are enjoying the amenities of office, to say that they will not permit the Opposition to sit up late if they so desire, in order that matters may be more thoroughly discussed. I am much obliged to the President of the Board of Trade for having disclosed to us what this Guillotine Resolution means It is a resolution to preserve the amenities of the Labour party. This is a matter in which the responsibility rests entirely with the Government Front Bench. They cannot blame the Civil Servants, they cannot take their orders from the permanent officials. This is a matter of the procedure of this House, which they have personally in their control. By disregarding the proposal which comes from this side of the House, which involves no increase in the Parliamentary time table and no further expenditure of time, the Government are saying that we shall not be allowed to use our energies in a way which we think more advantageous for the discussion of this Bill, and it shows conclusively the callous disregard for ordinary Parliamentary discussion on the part of the Government which we have all along suspected.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
Before the Prime Minister leaves the House may I 498 put one question to him? Am I right in understanding that the Prime Minister is refusing to allow the House to continue the Budget discussions to the hours which have been habitual in the case of every Budget since I have been a Member of the House? Debates in Committee of Ways and Means are not subject to the 11 o'Clock Rule, and it has been customary not merely to have a full Parliamentary day, which ends at 11 o'clock, but some extra hour in addition, without, of course, a suspension of the 11 o'Clock Rule. Now I understand that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to cut short the discussion before the normal hour of closing business at 11 o'clock, and he does that when he himself to-day, in reply to my right hon. Friend's question on business, announced that he proposed to use the time of which he is thus depriving us on the discussion of the Budget to give to other Government business. Does the right hon. Gentleman think it decent to cut short the normal hours of discussion on the Budget in order to take other Government business? If so, what becomes of the amenities of his hon. Friends behind him of which he was so careful to speak?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The right hon. Gentleman was not here when my right hon. Friend addressed the House, and when the point was adequately answered.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I was replying to what the right hon. Gentleman said before he came to that point. He knows perfectly well that he himself, in moving a previous Guillotine Resolution on a Money Bill, did precisely the same thing. When the Safeguarding Bill came from Committee of Ways and Means, it was not subject to the 11 o'Clock Rule, and his own party and he himself put precisely the ordinary Guillotine limitation upon the sittings of the House.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am very glad the right hon. Gentleman confesses 499 that he cannot look after himself, and requires the Opposition to look after them. The Guillotine Resolution now before the House is just the ordinary Resolution finishing at 10.30. The right hon. Gentleman must be reminded of his own sins. The fact remains that he was a Member of a Government which produced precisely the same Resolution preventing the House of Commons from discussing a Money Bill to any hour of the night or morning it cared. My right hon. Friend replied to this point and showed that by finishing at 10.30, if the time is adequately used, the time table will certainly enable the House to discuss every point which the House requires. I simply dropped in to this discussion; my right hon. Friend is in charge of this part of the proceedings, and the reply which he gave was really quite adequate to the ease put so ably and so delightfully by the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Smithers).
§ Mr. TURTON
The Prime Minister said that if we use the time adequately, we can get through all the business by 10.30, but I want to draw attention to the fifth day, for which he has put down five Clauses to be discussed in six hours. Those Clauses, 14 to 18, first of all deal with the very difficult problem of horizontal apportionment in the case of flats. It is a difficult question which will raise many points, and I do not know how long they will take. But when you leave that question, you come to the question of mortgagees in possession. A great number of legal arguments would develop on that under the Land Valuation Bill, and, after that, there will be a number of Amendments on cultivation value as regards the agricultural value of land. Members representing agricultural constituencies will be at pains to make clear what is and what is not the cultivation value of land, and how it is affected by Sub-section (2) of Clause 14. From that you came to the question of appeals, and there will he numerous arguments affecting appeals to the High Court or the less expensive process in the county court, and of more appeals coming within the purview of the county court from the High Court.
After that, we have Clause 15. I would lay great stress on Sub-section (1) of the 500 Clause. I for one am most anxious to hear the learned Attorney-General in justification and explanation of a system under which the person charged can recoup himself from the reversioner by one-twelfth of the amount of the tax paid on 1st January of each year. The matter is not clear in the Clause and many Amendments will be required to make it clear. Yet on this fifth day the Clause is put well down m the list. But that is no the end of the fifth day. After that we have Clause 16, on which there are one or two legal points of very great moment that will arise. Then in Clauses 17 and 18 we have the incidence of taxes amongst leaseholders. On this one day there are several very difficult problems, some of them very difficult legal problems, that will require amendment and adequate discussion.
We have been told by the Prime Minister that on each day by 10.30 we can have sufficient discussion. I do entreat the Government to let us have more time for discussion of the very numerous Amendments affecting very many poor people throughout the country. The proposals affecting ground rents are causing great horror to those who have invested the savings of their life work in ground rents. Unless amended, the proposals of the Government will mean bankruptcy or penury to a number of people who are now just managing to struggle along on the investment of their savings. I ask the Government to concede this extra one and a-half hours. It is not much to ask. To their allies the Liberals the Government have given way, and the only justification the President of the Board of Trade has for the refusal of this Amendment is that he has given so much of his largesse to his allies, that that he has nothing to spare for the people of England represented by the Opposition.
Last year the right hon. Gentleman 6poke after 10.30 and I noticed that his brain was active, and that he spoke with acumen and ready repartee. I feel sure that after 10.30 this year he will again be able to deal with the arguments brought forward. Similarly, the learned Attorney-General will be able to deal with legal arguments after 10.30. Last yea there was no inconvenience when we argued on the Budget until four or five 501 is the morning. [An HON. MEMBER: "Doing nothing."] I noticed that at four or five in the morning some hon. Members opposite appeared to be somewhat dull in repartee and somewhat loud in their laughter and protestations. Here we have a reasonable proposal involving only one half-hour after the normal time of the rising of the House at night. I ask for the Government to reconsider their decision, and in this instance, to give way to the people of England.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Major COLVILLE
I wish to eater my protest against the disinclination of the Government to work overtime in the interest of the country. For years, many of us have suspected the political sincerity of the Members of the Labour party. To-night we have confirmation of our worst suspicions. For years, they have been suggesting that they would teach the older parties how to work, and now when we suggest a mere extra half-hour, they resist it most sternly. We have come to the conclusion that in the party which has assumed the name of the Labour party, the very idea of work is abhorrent. I wish to direct attention particularly to one day of this time table, and to one Clause of the Bill. I refer to the Clause affecting Scotland which is to be considered on the eighth day. We have already had some discussion on that question and I was amazed to hear the Lord Advocate suggest that not even one whole day but part of a day was sufficient to deal with the affairs of Scotland in that respect.
Recently, Members representing Scottish constituencies were approached by a certain section of the Scottish Press on the question of Scottish Home Bule, and all the Scottish Members opposite signed in favour of Home Rule for Scotland. If any of them did not do so, I shall be glad to hear their denial. I would ask them this question. If a Parliament were set up in Edinburgh, and if it were dealing with a similar question, would they consider a paltry two or three hours sufficient time in which to consider an alteration of the whole law of Scotland in regard to this matter? The Lord Advocate admitted that the law of Scotland in regard to land was quite different, and, in Borne respects better than the law of England, and he agreed that 502 the application of the Bill to Scotland would have to be carefully considered. Clause 30 occupies four pages and 200 closely printed lines. Yet we are to despatch it in a couple of hours. It is a monstrous suggestion. The Lord Advocate went further, and suggested that the application of the Bill to Scotland would be a paraphrase of what suited England. This is not a paraphrase; it is a doxology, dismissing the affairs of Scotland with scant consideration in a few hours, and those of us who sit for Scottish constituencies will see that the matter is not lost sight of in Scotland.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I wish to support the Amendment. I am used to long hours. I am one of the workpeople, and I cannot understand the Members of a Government who pride themselves on representing labour, shirking the duty which it is now sought to place upon them. It has to be remembered that when the Clauses of this Bill have been passed automatically, under the Guillotine we shall have no further opportunity of discussing them. As the Attorney-General has told us they will not be discussed in another place. These Clauses will never be discussed again and, it is therefore in the interests of the taxpayers that we should devote as much time as we can to them, when we have the opportunity. There is another point to remember and for which we really need a great deal more time than has been allocated. In the unfortunate absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer his deputies on the Front Bench will have necessarily on every occasion to refer our speeches and suggestions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We know that in the original stages of the Finance Bill, when suggestions were made from this side, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the President of the Board of Trade, the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General all replied in a half sympathetic mood, but were bound to refer the matter back to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to hear what his opinion was. That will cause a great deal of delay, and it is therefore in the interests not only of the Opposition but of the Government themselves that they should give as much time as possible for the consideration of every Clause. Therefore, this extra hour and a half in the evening would possibly suffice, to a certain 503 extent at any rate, to help the Government in their very difficult task of piloting this Bill through the House of Commons.
As a back bencher, I should like to add that in my experience, and more especially, possibly, of Guillotine Motions, the majority of the speeches are made by Front Benchers, and it is very seldom that the back benchers, on all sides of the House, because hon. Members opposite have the same difficulties, have any opportunity of expressing their views. Just now my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said that on previous occasions we had spent many hours and gone late into the night in discussing Budget Resolutions, and an hon. Member opposite said that we were doing nothing. In this case, we are in any case preventing the Government from doing the taxpayers an injury. We are sent here to look after the interests of the taxpayers, and we should be given ample time, each one of us, to express our views and those of our constituents. Therefore, I support the Amendment, and I am quite sure that when it gets about the country that the Socialists have refused to do another hour and a half" work, which the whole of the rest of the House want to do—because I am sure we shall be supported by the few Liberals still in the House—it will not be in the interests of the (Socialist party.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
I have always been struck by the courtesy of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, and it is a painful duty to criticise the speech with which, a short time ago, he met the various objections put forward from various parts of the House. We ought to consider the President's argument about the Civil Service, because in essence it was a grave attack on that service. The Minister hinted that civil servants could not wait up to transact the public business which is required at this time. That is a remarkable argument, because we know that the Home Secretary has a number of State servants who are at this time of the evening very active; and it is a very odd thing that the President of the Board of Trade should want to shelter himself behind the Civil Service on the question of a Guillotine Motion.
504 There are some of us who do not think so badly of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget, and we feel that this attempt to stifle discussion will do the greatest harm to the Chancellor and lose him some of his friends. This attempt to stifle debate will bring the House of Commons into contempt. Here we are striving and fighting over one-and-a-half hours in the evening. Surely, with all the grave problems in the country, we ought to give up an hour-and-a-half extra at the end of the day to consider them. The Government are anxious to preserve the old traditions of the House of Commons, and when Ministers shelter themselves behind the Civil Service, and calmly speak about the amenities of their party, and insist on finishing their day at 10.30, there can be only one result, which will be that people will say that politicians are doing their best not to serve the State but to do it grave harm. I appeal to the Government to grant this extra hour-and-a-half, and I am sure that hon. Members opposite will join us in asking them to give this short time. Judging from the observations I hear from hon. Members opposite, I have secured an ample amount of support from them, and I will ask the Financial Secretary to give us this slight concession.
§ Commander SOUTHBY
I should like to protest against the churlish refusal of the Government to accept a reasonable Amendment supported in reasonable terms by hon. Members on this side, and to appeal again to the hon. Gentleman opposite, if he cannot see his way to grant the whole loaf, to give us half a loaf and make the time 11.30. It should not be lost sight of that under the Guillotine, which will curtail discussion we are really going to have less time for debating these important matters than we should have under the normal procedure of the sittings of the House. I would remind the back bench Members opposite that, although the Guillotine presses hardly on all Members, it presses more hardly on back bench Members. They get as many suggestions sent them by letter from various interests asking that their views shall be given some reasonable utterance in this House on matters of importance, as Members on the Front Bench, but 505 the back bench Members will have less opportunity under the Guillotine than anybody else.
I would like to call attention to Clauses 10 and 20, which will be taken on the sixth day. These Clauses will probably necessitate as much discussion as almost any other part of the Bill. My hon. and learned Friend who spoke just now pointed out the legal aspects which would arise, and which would require a considerable amount of discussion; and this presumably would be confined to a large extent to hon. and learned Members on both sides. These Clauses interest the ordinary back bench Members particularly. Clause 19 deals with exemptions and relief, and this is the only place where Amendments can be moved asking that exemption or relief shall be extended to such bodies as sports clubs or orphanages owning playing fields, and expression can be given to the views and suggestions which they have asked should be placed before Parliament. The following Clause dealing with relief of tax in certain cases is also one on which there is bound to be considerable discussion; yet these two Clauses are to be taken on one day, and, obviously, there will not be time for adequate discussion.
As has been said before, hon. Members are paid to come here to do the country's work. I do not know whether it is the desire of some hon. Members that time and a-half should be paid for overtime. I may observe that the Prime Minister and the President of the Board of Trade have already taken advantage of these proposals in advance and have left the House. They have "knocked-off" before the bell has gone. I appeal once more to the hon. Gentleman opposite to give us up to 11.30 on each day, so that we may have some chance of putting before the House the views that are represented to us.
§ Captain CROOKSHANK
We really cannot let this Debate end without some further remarks from the Treasury Bench. The Prime Minister has gone, and so have the President of the Board of Trade and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chief Whip shakes his head. Will he indicate to me where they are sitting. [Interruption.] They ought to be here. Some responsible person connected with the Measure ought to be present to hear the remaining stages of 506 the discussion. All we have had from the Government has been a short and unconvincing speech, an idle speech, from the President of the Board of Trade, and an ill-tempered effusion from the Prime Minister, who has Safeguarding so much on the brain that all he could do was to go back to something that happened in 1921, with which most of us who are concerned with this proposal had nothing to do. For the benefit of those Members who were not present I will remind the House of what the President of the Board of Trade said. His first argument for resisting the Amendment was that 10.30 was the common practice, but our case is that it is not the common practice to have the Guillotine for a Finance Bill, and it is no good drawing a parallel between this case and a ridiculous Measure like the Electoral Reform Bill. This sets a precedent. Further, it is the normal proceeding that financial business is treated as exempted business, and it is on that basis that our proposal ought to be considered.
His second argument was that concessions had already been made and therefore there was no occasion to extend the time till midnight. But the con-cessions were not made to us., and only concern the number of days, and what we are proposing is a fuller use of the time on those days. The hon. and gallant Member for Oxford City (Captain Bourne) speaking with the knowledge of one who has sat in the Chair, pointed out that under the Guillotine Divisions take place after 7.30 and the time occupied by those Divisions has to be deducted from the time in the second compartment of the day's programme. In the first compartment, beginning, roughly, at 4 o'clock, we get 3½ hours—from 4 to "7.30; but in the second compartment we do not get three hours, because out of the three hours between 7.30 and 10.30 comes the time occupied by the Divisions arising out of the first compartment Everybody knows that the Questions which are put from the Chair when the Guillotine falls are Government Amendments, and I suppose that the assumption of the Government is that they will put down a lot of Amendments which are agreeable to the House. That, however, is a big assumption. We have to assume that there will be Divisions from 507 half-past seven up to eight o'clock every time the Guillotine falls. If hon. Gentlemen opposite are not prepared to sit here each night until 12 o'clock would they consider the alternative that three and a half hours is a reasonable time to discuss each compartment? The second part of the day should run on for three hours and a-half after the last Division has been called. That time could then be devoted to discussion, and the time taken up by Divisions would be saved. I think that that is a reasonable proposition, and it goes a little way towards meeting our case. I apologise for making that suggestion, because it is the kind of thing that generally comes from the Liberal benches. I hope that my suggestion will be considered and that the Government will make a concession on this point.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
I intervene because nobody on the Front Bench has risen to reply When my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) referred to the fact that there was no responsible Minister present I noticed gestures from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury which seemed to indicate that he was a responsible Minister and had authority to deal with these matters. I ask the Financial Secretary whether, if some reasonable suggestion or a new suggestion is made, he has any authority to consider it, or has he to say "No." This Debate has shown one thing above everything else. The Government came down to the House this afternoon prepared to make certain concessions, which, to all intents and purposes, they had agreed to make. The Government throughout the whole of this very important Debate on a proposal which, in spite of anything which has been said, is absolutely without precedent, have in effect taken no notice whatever of speeches from this side of the House, and, at the time when many proposals were being made from this side, there has not been on the Front Bench a Member who had the responsibility to enable him to deal with them. I ask the Financial Secretary to reply to the request made just now by my hon. and gallant Friend, and I ask him, if he replies to it in the negative, to say whether he has any power whatever to give any reply to it except a negative.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
In response to the requests which have been made by hon. Members who have spoken in the latter part of the Debate on this Amendment, I rise to say a few words. The Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade save both dealt with this Amendment, and have given a perfectly straightforward answer. It is to this effect, that we have already made considerable concessions on the time table. The hon. Member for Watford (Sir D. Herbert) says that we settled this concession in advance, and that in fact it was already printed. Actually that is so. We had before us all the Amendments put down by hon. Members opposite, we saw what their proposals were, we considered the position, and we decided to give two extra days—a very considerable concession. I remember that, when I was sitting on the other side of the House, the Government on this side refused to meet us at all in regard to an extension of time.
My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, when he was replying to this Amendment, pointed oat that, in view of that concession, he was not prepared to make any further concession with regard to the actual time table for individual days. He is only out of the House for a few minutes. He has been sitting here for nearly the whole day, and it is quite reasonable that he should absent himself for a few minutes. If any important proposal had been put forward which seemed to me to merit a reference to him, I should certainly have put it before him, but I think it is perfectly clear to the House that the suggestions which have been made have been only very slight variants of the Amendment which he and the Prime Minister had duly considered. When the hon. Member for Watford says that we have not listened to the speeches or given any attention, he forgets that earlier in the evening—I do not say it is a very big point—we listened most carefully to one proposal that was put forward, and conceded practically the whole request of the Opposition. I claim no particular merit for that, bat it is in contradiction of the statement of the hon. Member for Watford. The position is that we do not 509 feel able to make an advance on the concession which the Amendment that we ourselves are proposing embodies.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
May I ask the hon. Gentleman to answer my perfectly plain question, whether he has authority to consider and to give independently on his responsibility an answer to the new suggestions made by my hon. and gallant Friend?
§ Mr. S. BALDWIN
I am very glad the hon. Gentleman has risen at last to intervene in the Debate, for though I have not been able to be present during the whole of it, as I sat here contemplating the Front Bench opposite, it reminded me very much of an article that was advertised some years ago the attachment of which enabled heavy furniture to be moved. They were called "domes of silence." We have heard from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury a statement which, in the absence of any Cabinet Minister in charge of the Debate, we have to accept. I think the Government are very short-sighted in refusing to give way and let us have this Amendment. It shows quite clearly that they are prepared to consider Amendments from the section of their party which sits on the benches below the Gangway, but to refuse any Amendments which come from the official Opposition. As one who is somewhat jealous of the quality of the work done by this House, I regret extremely that they have refused to accept this Amendment. Hon. Members opposite who have not made a
§ special study of the matters contained in the Finance Bill, or who were not Members of Parliament in 1909., can have no conception of the intricacies of this form of valuation. They can have no conception of the number of legal cases that will arise in any case, and which will arise in a thousand times the number of cases if the Bill is not most carefully scrutinised, examined, altered or rectified. If I may speak as a mere politician, I rejoice in what they have done for two reasons. It is giving us a perfect precedent for the day when we bring in our tariff. Secondly, the worse the drafting of this Bill when it becomes an Act of Parliament the greater the discontent in the country. These Clauses are not going to be, as hon. Members think, a winner. I have seen Valuation Bills go through this House. I know the feeling in the country when some 30,000,000 forms fall like manna from the heavens. They take a great deal of explaining. I heard the warning from the Liberal Benches. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must make no concessions. If he makes exceptions he will lose his revenue. That may be, but if you do not make exceptions you are going to hit everyone in the country—every friendly society, every cricket club, every football club, every sports club. What that may be worth you will know a great deal better when you have time to reflect on the way the Government have treated the Opposition to-night.
§ Question put, "That '10.30' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 236; Noes, 140.513
|Division No. 273.]||AYES.||[11.36 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Bowen, J. W.||Cocks, Frederick Seymour|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Compton, Joseph|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Broad, Frances Alfred||Cove, William G.|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Brockway, A. Fenner||Cripps, Sir Stafford|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Bromfield, William||Daggar, George|
|Alpass, J. H.||Bromley, J.||Dallas, George|
|Ammon, Charles George||Brooke, W.||Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)|
|Angeli, Sir Norman||Brothers, M.||Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)|
|Arnott, John||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhougton)|
|Asks, Sir Robert||Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Dukes, C.|
|Ayles, Walter||Buchanan, G.||Duncan, Charles|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Burgess, F. G.||Ede, James Chuter|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Edmunds, J. E.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Calne, Hall-, Derwent||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)|
|Batey, Joseph||Cameron, A. G.||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Egan, W. H.|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Charleton, H. C.||Elmley, Viscount|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Chater, Daniel||Freeman, Peter|
|Benson, G.||Clarke, J. S.||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Cluse, W. S.||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Leonard, W.||Sanders, W. S.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Sandham, E.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Lindley, Fred W.||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Scurr, John|
|Gill, T. H.||Logan, David Gilbert||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Glassey, A. E.||Longbottom, A. W.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Gossling, A. G.||Longden, F.||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Gould, F.||Lovat-Frater, J. A.||Shield, George William|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lunn, William||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gray, Mliner||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sinkinson, George|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||McElwee, A.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||McEntee, V. L||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||McKinlay, A.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||McShane, John James||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Hall, J. H. (Whltechapel)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Sorensen, R.|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Manning, E. L.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Harbord, A.||Mansfield, W.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||Marcus, M.||Strauss, G. R.|
|Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||Markham, S. F.||Sullivan, J.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Marley, J.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Marshall, Fred||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Mathers, George||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Matters, L. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Maxton, James||Toole, Joseph|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Messer, Fred||Tout, W. J.|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Middleton, G.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Herriotts, J.||Mills, J. E.||Vaughan, David|
|Hicks, Ernest George||Milner, Major J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Montague, Frederick||Walkden, A. G.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Morley, Ralph||Walker, J.|
|Hollins, A.||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Mort, D. L.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Muff, G.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Naylor, T. E.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Oldfield, J. R.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||West, F. R.|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Palmer, E. T.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||White, H. G.|
|Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Potts, John S.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Price, M. P.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Klniey, J.||Pybus, Percy John||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Williams Dr. J. H. (Llaneily)|
|Lang, Gordon||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Rathbone, Eleanor||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Law, Albert (Bolton)||Raynes, W. R.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Law, A. (Rossendale)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Wise, E. F.|
|Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Ritson, J.||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Romeril, H. G.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Leach, W.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Rowson, Guy||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Mr. Paling and Mr. Thurtle.|
|Lees, J.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Campbell, E. T.||Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Albery, Irvinn James||Carver, Major W. H.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Castle Stewart, Earl of||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)|
|Atkinson, C.||Cayzer, Maj, Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Duckworth, G. A. V.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Elliot, Major Walter E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Christie, J. A.||Ferguson, Sir John|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Fermoy, Lord|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Fleiden, E. B.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Colfox, Major William Philip||Flson, F. G. Clavering|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Colville, Major D. J.||Ford, Sir P. J.|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Cooper, A. Duff||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Boyce, Leslie||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Bracken, B.||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Cranbourne, Viscount||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Broadbent, Colonel J.||Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Croom-Johnson, H. P.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Hamilton, Sir George (llford)|
|Harmon, Patrick Joseph Henry||O'Connor, T. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Ormeby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Penny, Sir George||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Kindersley, Major G. M.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Power, Sir John Cecil||Train, J.|
|Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Ramsbotham, H.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement.|
|Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Remer, John R.||Vauahan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Reynolds, Col. Sir James||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Liewellin, Major J. J.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir Jamal Rennell||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Long, Major Hon. Eric||Rose, Ronald D.||Way land, Sir William A.|
|McConnell, Sir Joseph||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Margesson, Captain H. D.||Salmon, Major I.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Marjorlbanks, Edward||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Savery, S. S.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Muirhead, A. J.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)||Major Sir George Hennessy and Sir Victor Warrender.|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
§ Proposed words there inserted in the Main Question.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
I beg to move, in line 41, to leave out from the word "be", to the end of line 54, and to insert instead thereof the words:such, and, if not previously brought to a conclusion shall be brought to a conclusion at such times on those days as the House may hereafter by Resolution determine.This Amendment will, I think, commend itself to the House. It relates to the proceedings on Report stage and is in keeping with the promise that has been given by the Government. The effect of it is to wipe out the arrangement with regard to the Report stage and to leave the question of the allocation of time of the three days to be approved later by the House.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
I feel, in common courtesy, that I must thank the right hon. Gentleman for the concession which I think will meet with the approval of hon. Members opposite.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Captain BOURNE
I beg to move, in line 56, after the word "day," to insert the words "not being a Friday".
§ This Amendment means that the Third Reading could not be taken on a Friday I suggest that on a Bill of this importance it is very undesirable that the Third Reading should be taken on what is a short Parliamentary day. If you look back to the precedent of 1914, a very much shorter and less complicated measure than the present Bill, it will be found that four days 514 were given to the Second Reading—on this occasion we are to have one—and I am convinced that after this Measure has been dealt with in Committee we shall not fully deal with it in one day on the Third Reading. This Measure proposes to bring in a form of land tax which is rather different in many of its aspects from that proposed in 1909. It is based on a different principle. Not only that; we are dealing with a ease which is quite unique in the history of our finance, and that is the imposition of a tax in the Finance Bill which is not to take effect for several years after the Bill has received the Royal Assent. In a matter of this kind which is breaking completely new ground one day is inadequate for the Third Reading, and the least the Government can do is to give us one full day.
§ Friday, by general consent, is not a very convenient day, either for the Government or for the Opposition. Under the pressure of modern conditions many Members have to travel to their constituencies on that day and they do not find it easy to be here the whole of the day. On such an occasion as this the Front Bench Members may be expected to occupy a considerable amount of the available time, but this is a Bill which touches every back bench Member, for whatever constituency he may sit. We are not yet clear as to how far these new land taxes will reach, or precisely what classes of citizens they will affect. I have already received many protests against the proposed taxes. This will be the last opportunity that Members will have to 515 discuss the proposals of the Government. Moreover, this Finance Bill is not like any ordinary Bill which may be amended at the other end of the corridor and return to us with the Lords Amendments, or that we can have another opportunity of considering the opinion that we have already expressed. When this Bill leaves us it will leave us for good, so far as amendment is concerned. Therefore on this last day we ought to have a full day for discussion. I urge the Government not to put down the Third Reading for a Friday. There are many hon. Members who will wish to take part in the discussion, and their observations are likely to be useful to the House and the country. For those who have their work to do at the Bar and other hon. Members who have to earn their livelihood or have engagements, Friday is the most difficult day on which to attend the House. The Government should give them the utmost opportunity to take part in the Debate, and Friday does not provide that opportunity.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
During the debate on the last two Amendments the Financial Secretary made great play with what he called "concessions' that the Government had made to the House. The House should realise that there have been no concessions at all. When a Government puts down eight days for a stage of a Bill it is usually expected that they will give a bit more. The mere fact that the ten days schedule is already printed in strict accordance with the proposal of the Liberal party, shows that the giving of ten days was a foregone conclusion. The Financial Secretary also made great play with the fact that the Government had graciously allowed us to allot our own time on the Report stage while not giving us a single minute more. Therefore, we ask that the Third Reading should not be taken—I would be grateful if the Financial Secretary would take my point seriously and not giggle at it—on a Friday. No one deplores more than I do the ill-health of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is far the most efficient debater on that bench. We might have done with less
§ time if he could have been present but, with the second rate or, rather, the less efficient debaters that we shall have, we shall certainly want more time. As no concessions have been given us to-night, I demand that the Third Reading shall not be on a Friday.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
Remembering the rebuke I received earlier this evening from the right hon. Member for Edg-baston (Mr. Chamberlain), I must treat this Amendment—as it deserves to be treated—very seriously indeed. It must be plain to the House that the most important stages of the Bill are the Committee stage and the Report stage. Looking back over twelve or thirteen years in this House including very important financial Measures, I can remember that their Third Reading has been put down very frequently by our predecessors on a Friday. I recognise the force of many of the arguments addressed to the House to-night. We ourselves realise that there are inevitably parts of this scheme which we do not like. As the scheme is drawn, it leaves it quite open when the Third Reading would be taken, but I am bound to say that it will in all probability be taken on a Friday. There will be very adequate discussion on the previous stages, and the House can hardly dispute that the Third Reading of the Finance Bill is not an occasion for a detailed analysis but for a general review of the relation of the Bill as a whole to existing financial and industrial conditions. That, at any rate, has been my experience of these debates, in many of which I have participated in this House. I must have regard also to the whole programme of the Government in the two months before we separate for the summer vacation. Every hour of that period is already fully occupied, and accordingly, with the best will in the world, I am not able to accept this Amendment. I must therefore ask the House to reject it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 118; Noes, 217.519
|Division No. 274.]||AYES.||[12.8 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Balniel, Lord||Bird, Ernest Roy|
|Albery, Irving James||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Boothby, R. J. G.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Boyce, Leslie|
|Bracken, B.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Broadbent, Colonel J.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hartington, Marquess of||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Cattle Stewart, Earl of||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hartford)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Christie, J. A.||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Liewellin, Major J. J.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Train, J.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Cnnrthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Marjoribanks, Edward||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Muirhead, A. J.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||O'Connor, T. J.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blacklty)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Perkins, W. R. D.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Fermoy, Lord||Ramsbotham, H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Fison, F. G. Clavering||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Major Sir George Hennessy and Sir George Penny.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Remer, John R.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hollins, A.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Dukes, C.||Hopkin, Daniel|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Duncan, Charles||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Ede, James Chuter||Hunter, Dr. Joseph|
|Alpass, J. H.||Edmunds, J. E.||Jenkins, Sir William|
|Amnion, Charles George||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Angeli, Sir Norman||Egan, W. H.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Arnott, John||Elmley, Viscount||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Freeman, Peter||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Ayles, Walter||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Kinley, J.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lang, Gordon|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Gibbins, Joseph||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Law, A. (Rossendale)|
|Benson, G.||Gill, T. H.||Lawrence, Susan|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Glassey, A. E.||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)|
|Bowen, J. W.||Gossling, A. G.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Gould, F.||Leach, W.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)|
|Brockway, A. Fanner||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)|
|Bromfield, William||Gray, Mliner||Lees, J.|
|Bromley, J.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Brothers, M.||Granted, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Lindley, Fred W.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Brawn, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Groves, Thomas E.||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Longden, F.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapet)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Halt, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Lunn, William|
|Caine, Half-, Derwent||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Cameron, A. G.||Harbord, A.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||MaeDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||McElwee, A.|
|Chater, Daniel||Harris, Percy A.||McEntee, V. L.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Haycock, A. W.||McKinlay, A.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hayes, John Henry||McShane, John James|
|Compton, Joseph||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Daggar, George||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Manning, E. L.|
|Dallas, George||Herriotts, J.||Mansfield, W.|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Hicks, Ernest George||Marcus, M.|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Markham, S. F.|
|Marley, J.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|M art hall, Fred||Rowson, Guy||Toole, Joseph|
|Mathers, George||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Tout, W. J.|
|Matters, L. W.||Sanders, W. S.||Vaughan, David|
|Maxton, James||Sandham, E.||Viant, S. P.|
|M ester, Fred||Sawyer, G. F.||Walker, J.|
|Middleton, G.||Scurr, John||Wallace, H. W.|
|Mille, J. E.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Milner, Major J.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Montague, Frederick||Sherwood, G. H.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Morley, Ralph||Shield, George William||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Mort, D. L.||Shillaker, J. F.||West, F. R.|
|Muff, G.||Simmons, C. J.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Naylor, T. E.||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Oldfield, J. R.||Sinkinton, George||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Palmer, E. T.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Potts, John S.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Williame, T. (York. Don Valley)|
|Price, M. P.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Willon, J. (Oldham)|
|Pybus, Percy John||Sorensen, R.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Quibell, D. J. K.||Stephen, Campbell||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Strauss, G. R.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Raynes, W. R.||Sullivan, J.|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Sutton, J. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Riley, Ben (Dewtbury)||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Paling.|
|Ritson, J.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Romeril, H. G.||Thurtle, Ernest|
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, in line 68, at the end, to insert the words:Upon any allotted day no Standing Committee, Private Bill Committee, or other Committee of the House shall sit or remain in session after the conclusion of Questions, and the Chairman of such Committee shall at that time declare the Committee to be adjourned without Question put.This is so reasonable an Amendment that I flatter myself that, in spite of the misfortunes of my companions, I have really succeeded in framing a proposal which will give the Government pleasure to accept and thus conclude our proceedings in greater harmony than that in which they have been conducted; and I am encouraged the more in the hope because this makes no alteration to the time table, affects in no way the sitting of the House during the operation of the time table, and is in itself so proper, when the House is considering a Bill of the importance of the Finance Bill of the year or any similar measure, that the Prime Minister accepted the same proposal when he moved his last Guillotine Resolution, I think it was, on the Representation of the People Bill. I believe that I am right in saying on this matter that in the course of his evidence which he gave to the Committee on Parliamentary procedure, he indicated the view that it was not proper that important committees of this House should be sitting simultaneously with the House itself. It has been a common observation, which I have heard from several friends in the House of late, that our debates attract less attention in the 520 country and excite less interest than was formerly the case. I am afraid that it is true, and I profoundly regret it, and I think it is an evil omen for our Parliamentary system.
There is another view which we who sit in the House have more constantly before our eyes. Our Debates are less well attended by Members themselves than at any time within my recollection. That is due to a great number of causes, but I am sure that one of the causes which operates to produce that most unfortunate result is the immense strain which is now imposed upon Members in an attempt to fulfil their obligations to this House. I was speaking to-day to an hon. friend of mine, who has to sit from ten to four on two days a week when the House is sitting, and who in addition has to attend a Committee on at least one afternoon a week during the sittings of the House. I venture to say that when the guillotine is applied to a Measure which includes provisions which are entirely novel or unknown to our system, or are comparable only to the provisions of the Act of 1909, so long Debate, so much amended, and so shortly thereafter repealed as having irreparably failed—when the House is considering proposals of that kind, it is proper that every Member of the House should be able to attend its deliberations and to take part in them as far as the hours allotted to us allow, and that he should not be called upon to absent himself from discussions of that importance and to deprive himself of the advantage 521 either of contributing to them or of profiting by them by reason of the fact that his services are required on a Committee elsewhere. Therefore, in the interests of the Finance Bill and its proper consideration, in the interests of the House, and in the hope that this Bill may secure the full attendance of Members during its passage which its importance deserves, I have the honour to move this Amendment.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
Hon. Members in all parts of the House must have considerable sympathy with the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman. Undoubtedly it is desirable that hon. Members should be free, as far as possible, to attend and to take part in the discussions on Finance Bills, but the effect of this Amendment, if accepted, would be to make it impossible to have a meeting of a committee for any purpose whatever on an allotted day, after we had embarked, round about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, on the discussion of the Finance Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has recalled that when the Guillotine was applied to the Representation of the People Bill the Prime Minister gave, not an undertaking or pledge, but a qualified undertaking to the effect that every effort would be made to avoid meetings of Standing Committees or other Committees of the House while that Bill was under discussion; but that, of course, took place at a rather earlier period of the Session, and now we have only two months, or rather less, before the House separates for the summer vacation. During that two months we have a heavy programme of work both on the Floor of the House and in Committee upstairs, and accordingly, while I am entirely with the right hon. Gentleman in spirit, I must make it clear that it is impossible for the Government to accept the Amendment.
However, I do not want to leave the position there. I cannot give an undertaking, or even a qualified undertaking, but I can say this—that so far as it is within our power, and, of course, so far as it is consistent with overtaking the programme which we must conclude before the end of July the Government will make every effort to see that Standing Committees are not called together or kept together while Finance Bill discussions are in progress. I appreciate that 522 hon. Members opposite will say, "Well, but that is nothing more than you habitually put to us—something quite genuine in character but containing no definite promise." I can only plead the great pressure of our legislative programme for the remainder of the Session. In asking the House to reject the Amendment I cannot go beyond the very qualified promise which I have given on the present occasion.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, may I not ask whether the object of the Opposition, to secure a better attendance of hon. Members at the Debates, would not be better secured if the smoking rooms and bars of this House were closed when this important Measure is under discussion?
§ Sir H. CROFT
Every day it is becoming clearer that the land tax proposals will affect many more people than was originally supposed, and the House will suffer in the opinion of the country if it becomes known that a matter which concerns so closely so many millions of people is to be rushed through under the Guillotine, and that many Members occupied with other business of the House will be unable to take part in these Budget Debates. When this legislation was first disclosed few people had the smallest conception of the vast issues involved. I myself did not realise at first, as I do now, that the whole of the great friendly societies in this country feel that this is something which vitally affects their interest. So it is also with the building societies, churches, hospitals, and universities. In my own constituency, literally, I have discovered that thousands of persons are going to be affected—practically the whole of my constituents. Hon. Gentlemen say "Hear, hear." I have just as large a proportion of working-class citizens, certainly as large a number as any hon. Gentleman sitting opposite. Not only have we departed from any precedent in passing this Resolution to-day with regard to the Guillotine, but we are now told the Government will not see to it that the House itself has the opportunity of taking part in the discussions on the Bill. In years gone by it was the exception for Committees to sit after four o'clock. More and more we have seen 523 this practice of sitting later growing up. More and more we see the benches in this House empty, very largely on account of there being so many Committees sitting upstairs. There is an hon. Member opposite who does not consider that this proposal is of a revolutionary character, but so important is it that it has completely changed the attitude of the hon. Gentlemen who sit below the Gangway who regarded the Government as incompetent and everything futile and footling. This proposition is of great magnitude, whether wise or unwise, and I urge that the Government should not let it go out to the country that we are to allow legislation to be rushed forward in this manner; that we are not going to give Members the opportunity to take part in the Debates of this House when the whole of the country is to be so closely affected. I hope the Government are reconsidering their view that Committees should sit after 3.45.
§ Major-General Sir ROBERT HUTCHISON
I am glad to be able to reinforce what my right hon. Friend said in moving this Amendment. Again and again I have raised, not only on the Floor of the House but in Committee upstairs, my objection to setting on Committees, while the House is sitting. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture is present. He knows how often he asked us to sit in the afternoon on the Agricultural Marketing Bill. There are Members who are interested, from their constituents' point of view, in the amendment of this Finance Bill who will have to be on Committees upstairs. It is physically impossible for Members to attend in two places at once. The evidence given by the Prime Minister which was referred to is of great substance. He says he is for no Committees sitting while the House is sitting. I do beg the Government to consider the interests of the various people of the country. They send to us various points in which they are interested, and with which this Finance Bill deals. If we are not here, we are called to account when we try to explain we were not in the House because we were on a Committee upstairs. It is difficult to make them understand that the House is sitting at the same time as Committees. It is wrong; it is unfair to Members of Parliament; it is 524 unfair to our constituents in the country; and I hope that the Government will give way and agree to the Amendment. I for one will have great pleasure in voting for it.
§ Sir B. PETO
I must say that I felt shocked at the speech of the President of the Board of Trade. He gave only two reasons for not accepting my right hon. Friend's Amendment. In the first place he seemed to think it a grievance that the Opposition should propose that the Government should not have the opportunity of carrying on its legislation in the Committees upstairs, as a normal state of affairs, at the same time as Members are asked to attend here to the important business of the Finance Bill. The only other reason he gave was that whereas perhaps it would have been reasonable a month ago to accept such an Amendment, we were now getting rather late in the Session, and therefore, although the Finance Bill is left thus late, other Government business must be crammed through at the same time upstairs. To anyone who has been any time in the House, it is astonishing to hear those two reasons put forward.
This is entirely a recent innovation; it is in contradiction of everything that debate in this House means; it demands that Members shall come down from upstairs to vote in Divisions on subjects of the Debate on which they have not heard one word; and to make that the normal procedure and force it upon Members seems to me to be absolutely shocking. I believe I was on the Committee in 1912 which first sat, as a great concession to the Government, on one or two occasion during Question Time in the afternoon, commencing at two o'clock. [Interruption.] I did not make the precedent; it was made by the Liberal Government of that day. It was, in fact, Lord Reading, who was then Attorney-General, who appealed to Members of the Committee, in extraordinary and exceptional circumstances, to do this strange and new thing and sit for two hours after the ordinary adjournment at one o'clock. From that, little by little, it has come to this, that the President of the Board of Trade seems to quote it now as the normal state of affairs.
I would call attention to a point which has not been made in this debate, namely, that for 10 days the House is going to 525 be in Committee on the Finance Bill, under a strict time table and guillotine, which will mean that the Debates on each Amendment will necessarily be short; very often there will be only one speech from each side and then a Division—there will be no time for more, and then everyone who is upstairs on these Committees will have to come downstairs and go through the Division Lobby, the proceedings upstairs will be interrupted, and Members will barely have time to get back again before being called downstairs once more to vote. If that is conducting the business of the House, it is ridiculous.
I am on the Procedure Committee. Not only the Prime Minister, but every important witness we have had before us, is agreed that double sittings, upstairs and in the House at the same time, are an abuse of which we ought to find some means of preventing. This is the first time that the Finance Bill Debates have had to be conducted under a Guillotine Resolution. The Amendment that has been moved by my right hon. Friend is one that is obviously necessary, and clearly ought to be accepted by the Government. They have had their way with the House and have got their Guillotine Resolution. They have got our Debates reduced into little compartments, only to last for 10 days at the outside. All we ask is that Members should have the opportunity of knowing what is going on down here.
The Government may think that some Members of the House can be dispensed with, but I would point out that hon. Members who sit on Committees are not the most idle and useless, but are those who are most interested in the business. It is an injustice to them to ask them to undertake this additional work, which often begins, as my own day has done, at eleven o'clock in the morning and ends at twelve or one the next morning, and then to say that on this most important of Bills, the most important of the Bills that have to be debated during the whole year, they are to be deprived of any possibility of taking part in the Debates and of knowing what is going on. If the public outside are ceasing to some extent to take an interest in the proceedings of the House of Commons, it is because they see, because of the very thing that the President of the Board of Trade considers normal procedure, that we are becoming 526 a voting machine. It may be bad, if hon. Members are simply absent from the House for their own pleasure, but so to conduct, by rule, the proceedings of the House of Commons, that hon. Members cannot get here, owing to having to attend to other public business, is absolutely wrong, and with regard to this Finance Bill ought to be stopped entirely now, by the acceptance of the Amendment.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
The President of the Board of Trade made a remarkable reply to my right hon. Friend. In his usually astute manner, he endeavoured to persuade us that the Amendment was unnecessary, because he was prepared to give what he described as a qualified promise that, so far as possible, no Committee should sit after Four of the Clock. What is the reason that he could not do more than give us that sort of pious expression? Because of the tremendous amount of legislative work lying before the Government. If that prevents the Government from accepting this Amendment, what is the value of that pious expression of hope? It is absolutely meaningless, and is nothing less than trifling with the House. To plead in one sentence that the Government are so busy that they cannot dispense with the sitting of Committees after Four o'Clock, and in the next to say that they will dispense with them as much as possible, is merely to insult the intelligence of hon. Members.
The real objection of the Government is that their legislative programme, of which the Finance Bill is the most important part, is crowded. What does that mean? It means that the Government have made up their minds that, when they have mapped out a programme, that programme is to go through by Government decree, and that, if there is no time for the Parliament of this country to discuss it, it must go through without discussion. There are few of us who, in future, will be able to attach importance to any protestations, made by responsible members of the Labour party, of their wish to preserve the constitutional rights of Members of Parliament, when they persist, in the most extravagant degree, in their present course of refusing to allow us the opportunity for reasonable discussion. Reference has been made to what, it has been suggested, is a waste of time in sitting up late at night. 527 [Interruption.] The hon. Member who said that does not favour us very much with his opinions on the Floor of the House by standing up.
On a point of Order. Are we to be subjected to that sort of insulting observation? I call your attention, Sir, to the fact that the hon. Member for the Kirkdale Division (Mr. Sandham) said he objected to this "blether," and that that is an offensive observation from an hon. Member who supports the Government.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I object to any of these interruptions, but I really did not understand what the hon. Member said.
I call your attention, Sir, to the fact that the hon. Member used the phrase that he objected to this "blether," and that I ask him to withdraw the word.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member referred to any hon. Member of this House, as "blethering," he must certainly withdraw it. [HON. MEMBERS: Withdraw!"] Does the hon. Member withdraw his remark?
§ Mr. BENSON
I understood the hon. Member for Kirkdale (Mr. Sandham) to say that the reason why he did not get up and speak was that he objected to blether.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
To whomsoever the remark was made, it must be withdrawn. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"] If the hon. Member does not withdraw, I shall have to ask him to leave the House.
§ Mr. BROCKWAY
On a point of Order. I think I am within the recollection of those who heard the hon. Member, in saying that his remark was that he 528 objected to blether. He did not use the words that the noble lord (Earl Winter-ton) has mentioned.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There seems to be a very slight distinction between the two interpretations. If the hon. Member used the word "blether" alone, he must withdraw it at once, or leave the House.
§ The hon. Member for the Kirkdale Division of Liverpool withdrew accordingly from the House.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
After that interlude, I have very little more to say. I was really coming to my last sentence, when I was interrupted, not by the hon. Member who has left the House, but by an hon. Member whom I distinctly heard make a remark. If he has so much to say, and he is still sitting on his seat, it would be better if he would take the opportunity of rising to his feet. My concluding word on the subject was that when we are discussing this particularly important Finance Bill, about which so much has been said in the Debate, it is hardly a case in which any Minister or any hon. Member supporting the Government, can ever venture to claim that he respects or desires to preserve the position of this House as a responsible discussing body. The proposed legislation under discussion is to be cut short simply and solely to allow a Government which has been a conspicuous failure in carrying through their Measure, to get the legislation through with as little discussion as possible. The Government are going further and further on the rake's progress towards establishing all the tradition and precedent they can for making the government of this country Government by the Executive body without freedom of discussion by the elected representatives.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
I only want to make plain the position of the Prime Minister. It has been most noticeable that the Prime Minister has, been absent during the whole of this Debate. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
Mr. Speaker, is it right for any hon. Member to utter words that are absolutely untrue. Everybody knows that the Prime Minister has been on these benches a long time.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
At least the hon. Member should have waited to the end of the sentence, when he would have heard that the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) referred to the Debate on this Amendment.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
If any hon. Member imagines I was accusing the Prime Minister of not having been here during the whole day's Debate, there was nothing further from my mind. [Interruption.] What I intended to say was that during the Debate on this Amendment the Prime Minister has been absent, I think, the whole of the time. And the Prime Minister only last year, before the Committee on Hours and Procedure on 13th April—part of the quotation has been given, but not the most important part—said:I think it is very undesirable, as a rule, that important Committees—Standing Committees—should sit when the House is sitting, because the effect of that is to divide the House into sections, and I am all for keeping the unity of the House.The Prime Minister believed in these words when he uttered them, and, knowing that this Debate was coming forward, knowing it was to be brought forward by the right hon. Member for West
§ Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), surely the Prime Minister should have come here, and, if he had been here, out of his wisdom he would have given just that additional advice to the Members of the Front Bench which would have enabled them to accept the Amendment, which does nothing so far as the Finance Bill is concerned, but does prevent many of us being in the difficult position—I am appealing for private Members on all sides of the House—of not knowing what to do. They may be on a Committee upstairs, and they may have important matters both upstairs and down. It is wrong in every respect that Standing Committees should be sitting upstairs when the House is discussing the Finance Bill down below. I know there are hon. Members opposite who care nothing for the Leader of the House, but in the interests of the Government the Prime Minister would have done well to have been present and have given advice to the House that this Amendment should be accepted in the interests of the dignity of the whole House.
§ Question put: "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 101; Noes, 190.531
|Division No. 275.]||AYES.||[12.46 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Duckworth, G. A. V.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Albery, Irving James||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Remer, John R.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopard C. M. S.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Balniel, Lord||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Ferguton, Sir John||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Fermoy, Lord||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Russell, Alexander West (Tyntmouth)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Ford, Sir P. J.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Boyce, Leslie||Ganzoni, Sir John||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Bracken, B.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Sheppenon, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglae H.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Smithers, Waldron|
|Buchan, Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hartington, Marquess of||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Hennetty, Major Sir G. R. J.||Thomton, Mitchell., Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Broadbent, Colonel J.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Train, J.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hutchiton, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Campbell, E. T.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)||Liewellin, Major J. J.||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Horntey)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Christie, J. A.||Margetton, Captain H. D.||Waterhoute, Captain Charles|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Marjoribanks, Edward||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Muirhead, A. J.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||O'Connor, T. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Colverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Peto, Sir Basll E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Power, Sir John Cecil||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Perkins, W. R. D. Ramsbotham, H.||Sir George Penny and Sir Victor Warrender.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Muff, G.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Hamilton, Mary Agnee (Blackburn)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||Paling, Wilfrid|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Harris, Percy A.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Amnion, Charles George||Haycock, A. W.||Potts, John S.|
|Arnott, John||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Price, M. P.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Ayles, Walter||Herriotts, J.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Hicks, Ernest George||Raynes, W. R.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Hollins, A.||Ritson, J.|
|Benson, G.||Hopkin, Daniel||Romeril, H. G.|
|Bevan, Anenrin (Ebbw Vale)||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Jenkins, Sir William||Roweon, Guy|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Broekway, A. Fenner||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Bromfield, William||Jowitt, Rt. Hen. Sir W. A. (Preston)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Brothers, M.||Kelly, W. T.||Scurr, John|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Klniey, J.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Lang, Gordon||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Shield, George William|
|Caine, Hall., Derwent||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Cameron, A. G.||Lawrence, Susan||Simmons, C. J.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Sinkinson, George|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Chater, Daniel||Leach, W.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Clarke, J. S.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Smith, Tom (Pontelract)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Cocke, Frederick Seymour||Lees, J.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Compton, Joseph||Lewls, T. (Southampton)||Sorensen, R.|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lindley, Fred W.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Daggar, George||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Strauss, G. R.|
|Dallas, George||Logan, David Gilbert||Sullivan, J.|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Longden, F.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lpvat-Frater, J. A.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lunn, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dukes, C.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Toole, Joseph|
|Duncan, Charles||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Tout, W. J.|
|Ede, James Chuter||MacDonaid, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Vaughan, David|
|Edmunds, J. E.||McElwee, A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||McEntee, V. L.||Walker, J.|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||McKinlay, A.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Egan, W. H.||McShane, John James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Welsh, James (Palsley)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Manning, E. L.||Welsh, Jamos C. (Coatbridge)|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mosstey)||Mansfield, W.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Gill, T. H.||Marcus, M.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Glassey, A. E.||Markham, S. F.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Gossling, A. G.||Marley, J.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gould, F.||Marshall, Fred||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mathers, George||Williams Dr. J. H. (Llaneily)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Matters, L. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gray, Mliner||Maxton, James||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Middleton, G.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mills, J. E.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Griffith, F. Kingtley (Middletbro' W.)||Milner, Major J.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Morley, Ralph|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Mort, D. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Hayes and Mr. Thurtle.|
§ Main Question, as amended, put.532
§ The House divided: Ayes, 191; Noes, 98.535
|Division No. 276.]||AYES.||[12.55 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Burgess, F. G.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Burgin, Dr. E. L.|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Benson, G.||Caine, Hall-, Derwent|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Cameron, A. G.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Bowen, J. W.||Carter, W. (St. Paneras, S. W.)|
|Amnion, Charles George||Broad, Francis Alfred||Charleton, H. C.|
|Arnott, John||Broekway, A. Fenner||Chater, Daniel|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Bromfleid, William||Clarke, J. S.|
|Attles, Clement Richard||Brothers, M.||Cluse, W. S.|
|Ayles, Walter||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Cocks, Frederick Seymour|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Compton, Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lang, Gordon||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Daggar, Gaorge||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. Georgs||Ritson, J.|
|Dallas, George||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Lawrence, Susan||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Rowson, Guy|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Dukes, C.||Leach, W.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Duncan, Charles||Lee, Frank (Darby, N. E.)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Scurr, John|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lees, J.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Lindley, Fred W.||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Egan, W. H.||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Shield, George William|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Logan, David Gilbert||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Longden, F.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Sinkinson, George|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Lunn, William||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Gill, T. H.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Glaney, A. E.||MaeDonald, Rt. Hon. J. N. (Seaham)||Smith, Tom (pontefract)|
|Gossling, A. G.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Gould, F.||McElwee, A.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||McEntes, V. L.||Sorensen, R.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||McKinlay, A.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Gray, Mliner||McShane, John James||Strauss, G. R.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Malone, C. L'Eatrange (N'thampton)||Sullivan, J.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middleebro' W.)||Manning, E. L.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Mansfield, W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Marcus, M.||Toole, Joseph|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Markham, S. F.||Tout, W. J.|
|Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Marley, J.||Vaughan, David|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Marshall, Fred||Viant, S. P.|
|Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||Mathers, George||Walker, J.|
|Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||Matters, L. W.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Maxton, James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Middieton, G.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Mills, J. E.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Mliner, Major J.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Morley, Ralph||Westwood, Joseph|
|Harriotts, J.||Mort, D. L.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Hicks, Ernest George||Muff, G.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Hirst, G. H. (York W. U. Wentworth)||Oldfield, J. R.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackiey)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Hollins, A.||Paling, Wilfrid||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Parkinson, John Allan (Wigan)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Price, M. P.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Pybus, Percy John||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||TELLERS FOB THE AYES.—|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Raynes, W. R.||Mr. Hayes and Mr. Thurtle.|
|Kinley, J.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Margesson, Captain H. D.|
|Albery, Irving James||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Marjorlbanks, Edward|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Monsell, Eyrss, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Balniel, Lord||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Duckworth, G. A. V.||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holboro)||Elliot, Major Walter E.||O'Connor, T. J.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Everard, W. Lindsay||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir Georgs E. W.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Boyce, Leslie||Ferguson, Sir John||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Bracken, B.||Fermoy, Lord||Raid, David D. (County Down)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Flson, F. G. Clavering||Remer, John R.|
|Broadbent, Colonel J.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Chamberlain Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Hartington, Marquess of||Salmon, Major I.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Christie, J. A.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Smlthers, Waldron|
|Gourthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Liewellin, Major J. J.||Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lackwood, Captain J. H.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Train, J.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wayland, Sir William A.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Turton, Robert Hugh||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES. —|
|Wallace, Capt. O. E. (Homey)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)||Sir George Penny and Sir Victor Warrender.|
|Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|