The CHAIRMAN (Sir Robert Young)
The first Amendment I call is the third on the Paper, the only Amendment not put forward from the Opposition side of the House. This raises the whole substance of Clause 3. Consequently I will allow a discussion of the whole Clause, 657 on the condition that there shall be a Division on the Amendment, and then a Division that the Clause stand part.
§ Mr. OLIVER BALDWIN
I beg to move, in page 3, line 11, to leave out the words "other than the City of London."
Some of us who were in the House at the introduction of the Bill must have been very interested to see how the business premises qualification was to be abolished in every single constituency in the country except when it referred to the City of London. We are used on this side to see the City of London ruling the Treasury but, when we find it interfering with the Home Office, it makes some of us a little apprehensive, and we wondered why it was that it should have been made an exception. The only excuse we had was one of tradition, expressed in rather an interesting fashion by the Home Secretary. But in this Clause there is something more important and, I think, more dangerous. In London to-day you have two Members representing a total electorate of 37,000. If you allow them to choose between the business qualification and a vote in their own homes, very likely a great many will choose their own homes, and that will bring down the total electorate to even less than it is to-day. I have tried to find out what the business vote is. I am told it is about 10,000 or more. If you cut that out you get 27,000 voters returning two Members to Parliament.
There is another point which seems to me to open a loophole which it will be equally difficult to close. Suppose a business man lives at Brighton, or some distance away from the City, and he has to choose, because he will only have one vote. I do not suggest that it will be done with any evil intent, but it will be very difficult to prevent him from voting twice—once in the City and once for his home. The only way you can prevent it is by the registrar in London communicating with the different registrars in every constituency in which business voters have their homes. That seems to me to be a loophole which certainly ought to be closed. I do not consider that there is any particular reason for making a long speech about this, because the business qualification seems to me to be a prerogative which is given without any bearing on the democratic idea of 658 the main part of the Bill. When it is a question of accepting tradition as a reason for the City of London keeping the business qualification, I was interested enough to look up and find out what this tradition was. I thought, Is it the tradition that there have always been two Members for the City of London or is it the tradition that the City of London is the oldest borough that has ever returned Members to Parliament?
I find that both are at fault. In the Parliaments of 1290, 1295 and 1296 no members for the City of London were returned at all, whereas there were members returned for any number of other boroughs, including five in Cornwall alone. In 1298 there came two London Members. It may be of interest to the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department that in the 1306 Parliament, when a certain gentleman called Ricardus Short was Member for Bath, there was no London Member. In 1322 there were four London Members returned. That was an interesting Parliament because it had in it a certain important man called Thomas de Shave as Member for Chichester. In 1396 there were four London Members, one of whom was Hugo Short, and in 1427 there were four London Members. If we are to rest upon tradition in regard to the number of Members, why do we not have four Members for the City of London instead of two? I cannot see that tradition in a democratic Bill is really the right way in which to appeal to this House to-day.
I was very much surprised at the speech made by the Home Secretary. If he is afraid to touch tradition which concerns the City of London which has been going on since 1298, he will find it much more difficult to touch the tradition of capitalism which has been going on a good deal longer. I have no reason to press the point, because I cannot see how anybody with any idea of logic or feeling for democracy can possibly allow the City of London to hold this extraordinary position. I hope that the Government will accept the Amendment, and, later on, if the Clause is not quite right in that respect, put the Clause upon a proper, sensible and democratic basis.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I beg to second the Amendment.
659 This Measure is contrary to the traditions of the House, and, that being the case, I do no see why there should be a special exception made in favour of the City of London. I know that one may talk about London being the greatest city in the world and say that its business representatives are very important individuals, but a great many of us in other parts of the country do not accept that estimate. If London is regarded as the greatest city in the world, some of us would like to put in an adjective and refer to it as the greatest parasitical city in the world. As representing a Division of no mean city where a great deal of useful work is carried on, I certainly do not intend being a party to giving exceptional treatment to the City of London. The fact has to be taken into account that the interests of the City of London are always in conflict with the main interests of the party which sits on these benches and is represented by the present Government. I remember the Prime Minister making a statement in America to the effect that there were a few men who could make the work of a Labour Government impossible and that he expected them to play the game. I think he was referring possibly to the representatives of those financial interests which are represented in the City of London. It may be said that the argument in favour of those financial interests having a certain amount of representation in this House is that they wield so much influence. I notice that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) evidently feels that that is a sound proposition.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I am sorry if I misinterpreted the action of the right hon. Gentleman, and I am glad to know that it was possibly something more in the nature of St. Vitus' dance than acceptance of the argument that I was putting forward. I did not suppose that the right hon. Gentleman would accept the argument. It may be said that because those financial interests are so great and have so powerful an influence upon Governments of all descriptions in this House, it is as well that there should be direct representation of them by the retention of this franchise. I do not 660 think so at all. I cannot understand how a Government representing Socialist interests in this country can for one minute on antiquarian, or any other ground, agree to this sort of thing. [An HON. MEMBER: "On Liberal grounds."] Liberal grounds are antiquarian grounds. I do not think that the qualification is necessary. I do not see why for antiquarian reasons we should have representatives in this House able to exercise an influence in preventing the Government of the day from carrying out the policy for which they had been elected. I hope that when the Division is taken the special treatment which it is proposed to give to the City of London will be rejected by the Committee, and that the business people in great industrial centres and the business people in the City of London will be put into exactly the same position. The business people in Glasgow, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, and other industrial centres are just as important members of the community and have just as much right to be consulted. They should be consulted as citizens having the ordinary franchise. I hope that the Amendment will be accepted, and that we are not going to have any great financial interests placed in a position of privilege. If the Committee accept the Amendment, it will be an indication that we are going to look forward to a franchise which will be equal for all citizens in the community.
§ Mr. E. C. GRENFELL
I do not know if there is universal dislike here of the City man or of the City of London, but we all have a grudge against the British climate, and, if Members of the Committee are unable to hear me, they must put it down to the same disease from which the Chancellor of the Exchequer and many others are suffering. Many things spoken by the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) at the first flush are sound and reasonable, but the present Government have given this matter careful thought, and I understand that the Cabinet, speaking as a Cabinet, were in favour of this Clause. We must realise that that means either a unanimous Cabinet or a majority of the Cabinet. We have heard in the last week not only the Secretary of State for War, but the Minister of Health and the Home Secretary, all speaking with an amount of sentiment which we should not have 661 expected perhaps from those three right hon. Members with their different natures. The Secretary of State for War specially spoke of the sentimental side. There is real reason why this House should think of the City of London with sentiment and with great feelings of gratitude.
No party in this House is as full of sentiment or as particular about tradition as the party to which hon. Members on the opposite side belong. I notice that the Home Secretary referred to very early times in the history of this Island. If we go back only three centuries to the time of the Stuarts, to the very picturesque story of the five members, I think we must feel that in those days, when kings were all-powerful, the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and the Common Council and the common people in the City of London all showed considerable pluck in the attitude that they adopted when the King went there. There was a great glamour about the King, and that particular King, especially, thought that he would "put it over" when he went down there. He must have been abnormally stupid, but when he heard the City talk to him, a King, as they did, he was—I think we know he was now—a fool as well as a knave not to take his lesson. But only 20 or 25 years afterwards when that King had been succeeded by the Great Protector, as he was called, who in his later years became a great oppressor, it was due to the City of London that Monk realised that the Rump, as the old Parliament here was called, was impossible and that the Army should no longer have the power to rule this country. It was the City that encouraged Monk here to reestablish Parliamentary Government. It was the great uncle of the late Minister of Education, Lord Macaulay, who said that it was the City that had saved England. It was the City again that saved Parliament after the Great Protector had died having failed in his duty. In the 18th century we find the same thing happening. Parliament was venial, and the City of London was the one place in the country that was powerful enough to stand up against the King and Parliament. It was the City of London alone which retained the great traditions of government in the Middle Ages and the honesty of municipal government. This Chamber or rather his predecessor was in the pay of one party or the other, it was 662 full of nominees, and yet the City of London held the standard higher and brighter than any other in public life. For these reasons I think the Cabinet to-day were justified in giving certain privileges to the City.
Then we pass to the last century and this. Perhaps they are too close to us for us really to visualise whether the conduct of great men and great institutions has all been to the good. I know that it has been said that certain people in the City have abused their trust. That has always been the case and that will always be the case, but I believe that those people have been very few. Nothing that has occurred in the scandals about which we have read in the newspapers in the last two years has persuaded me that the City of London has not got a very high average code of honesty. I do not think that hon. Members on the other side of the House will disbelieve that. If I may refer once again to the five members, we know what their record was before they went to take refuge in the City. They were men who played a great part in public life. They went to the City when they were in danger, and they were protected there.
I look at the hon. Members opposite who are the sponsors for the Amendment, the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. O. Baldwin), the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen), the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern), the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Brockway), the hon. Member for the Kirkdale Division of Liverpool (Mr. Sandham) and the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Beckett). They are what I may call a young body. They are men of a new party, a body of young men, animated, it may be, by the finest principles. If they are to advance those principles and they make mistakes they will pay for them. If a dictator, an autocrat from Whitehall comes here and demands their heads or their bodies, and they go to the City, and the City believes that there is something right in their thesis although they have nothing to do with it—I am not trying to bribe their party—I believe that the City would be as staunch in holding up to its old traditions as it was in the time of Charles I.
I would remind the House that the Corporation of the City, of which I am not a member, has managed the square mile 663 as well as any other municipality is managed, and that it sets a high standard of what the public life of a great city ought to be. In regard to that portion of the City which I represent, I admit that the hon. Member was justified in saying that our electors are very few in numbers, but if the voters I represent are few in number, it is the mistake of the arrangements at present in operation. I see that the hon. Member for Dudley agrees with that. The population of the City of London to-day is as great as in the time of Charles I and Charles II. A few years ago, I think in 1881, the last census before the last Reform Act, the population was about 250,000. It was about 350,000 at the time of the last census, and it is probably 400,000 to-day. There are 400,000 people working in the City in the day time, and possibly 40,000, 30,000 or 20,000 sleeping there. I can see no reason why the great interests of the City, which are your interests, and which employ 300,000 or 400,000 people every day in the City, should not be represented, and why those 400,000 people, working eight hours a day in the City, should not have a vote for those eight hours, just as would 400,000 people who sleep for eight hours in another constituency and travel to and from their constituency during the third eight hours of the day. I consider that the Government are doing a wise thing in leaving this vote in the City of London. Probably they cannot concede it to any other city, but if they are to give it to any city, I think the City of London is justified in retaining it.
§ Mr. CLYNES
It may be of some advantage to the Committee if I say a few words at this point to explain the views of the Government towards the City. We were not unmindful, as I indicated in what I said on the Second Reading of the Bill, of the historical considerations which have their roots in tradition when we had to decide our attitude on this matter. Our decision was reached also because we faced facts and realities, and the facts and realities as they are now, are these, that if this Amendment were carried, and we tried to treat the City, as is suggested by the Amendment, like other constituencies in the country, we should still leave the City unlike any other place in respect of our electoral system. If the Amendment were carried, 664 the City would be left in a position unlike that of any other city in the country, and so far as I can see, we could not put it right in this Bill. It was not so much a question of making a virtue of necessity as that we made an exception because of necessity.
We recognised what is behind the very moving speech which we have just heard from the hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. E. C. Grenfell). The City has its place in the Empire, and the prosperity and well-being of the City is very frequently reflected in the prosperity and well-being of the people. During the lifetime of the present Government, the City, consisting very largely of people who, in the main, differ profoundly from us, have shown their breadth of view by the welcome that they have extended even to the leaders of the Liberal party, and by the honour that they have conferred upon them, because they represent a tradition and sentiment and a very impartial and broadminded view.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I think the argument applies in the case of the Liberal party as in the case of the Conservative or the Labour party. The position that would be left if this Amendment were carried would be this, that you would have two constituencies in place of one, and in each of these Constituencies you would have only an electorate of about 5,000 persons. As the average electorate of the country runs to about 50,000, can it be said that there would be nothing anomalous if the Amendment were carried? It is necessary to preserve the business premises qualification in the City, otherwise the electorate would be confined to a few thousand shopkeepers and caretakers. But it would not be right to allow any voter in the City to vote in two places, or to vote twice in any sense of the term. That is not necessary for the purpose of maintaining definite City representation of the kind that has for so long persisted.
I said on the Second Reading as much as I desired to say on the broad ques- 665 tion of the evils and the inequalities of plural voting. I hope that that part of this Clause will not be lost sight of in the discussion which is to take place between now and half-past 10 to-night. We had to choose between evils, and we believe that we have chosen the lesser. It was not that we desired to place the City in a privileged position. It would be placed in a privileged position if this Amendment were carried. Having to choose, we have chosen what may be regarded as something inequitable. I admit that it is inequitable, but it is harmless, and it affords to the Government and to the Committee a lesser degree of trouble than the trouble that would accrue if the Committee passed the Amendment. In the view of the Government, in these circumstances and the facts which I have recited, it is essential to leave this matter to a free vote of the House, so that Members may have freedom to express whatever opinion they have formed from the arguments addressed to them during the course of the Debate.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. AMERY
The right hon. Gentleman began by saying that he was going to explain frankly the facts of the situation. He made no attempt whatever, even in his concluding sentence, to explain the inexplicable decision of the Government to leave to a free vote of the Committee a matter on which the Government has not only expressed its view so strongly but in regard to which it has shown that the result of the acceptance of the Amendment would be to produce an absurd and impossible situation. No Government ever has the right to leave to a free vote a matter in which the acceptance of an Amendment would produce an impossible situation. Indeed, in his speech on the Second Reading the Home Secretary said that it was inconceivable that the City should not be represented. Now, he thinks it perfectly logical to leave, to a free vote the question of whether an inconceivable thing should be carried out by the Government's own supporters. In view of the attitude of the Government in refusing a free vote on another subject yesterday, when opinion was much more divided, its readiness to run away from its own arguments and its own obligations is a lamentable indication of the fact, of which the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton 666 (Mr. W. J. Brown) reminded the House not long ago, that "they have not the guts to govern."
The defence of the City vote is based on two main considerations, one being the consideration which the Home Secretary advanced in his speech on Second Reading and which was strengthened by the moving and interesting speech of my hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. E. C. Grenfell), the argument that the City of London is a great historic community which has rendered services to Parliament and to the nation and which it is worth while preserving as a community and representing. That is an argument of immense weight. But the City of London is not the only historic community in this country. The hon. Member, who moved the Amendment, pointed out that there are other great boroughs in this country which were represented in Parliaments even earlier than the City of London. Certainly, I would suggest to the Committee that the great business centres, the great communities of business men in other parts of the country, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, groups of men to whose creative effort, to whose brain work and to whose industry is due the existence of the whole of the population of those centres—[interruption]. But for the brains of those men, the working-classes who live around them would never have come into existence. Those historic communities are just as much entitled to representation as the City of London. I should like to say a word about the great community which I have the honour to represent in Parliament.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is not necessary for the right hon. Member to go into the argument for extending the double-member constituency. Any arguments must be confined to the constituencies in the Schedule.
§ Mr. AMERY
No, I was not doing that. I was arguing for the retention of the business vote on the Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill." In that connection, I would point out that the city of Birmingham, ever since the days when its citizens rough-handled Rupert's Cavaliers 300 years ago, has had a great Parliamentary tradition, a tradition created and sus- 667 tained by the Birmingham business community.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
On a point of Order. Is not the Amendment referring to the City of London? Is it in order to deal with the whole country?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member was apparently not in the House when I pointed out that this Amendment relating to London raised the whole question of business representation, and, that being the subject of the Clause, we are going to discuss on it the whole Clause and take two votes.
§ Mr. AMERY
I was pointing out that Birmingham had this historic tradition and that it is the business men of Birmingham to whose initiative and energy is due the fact that Birmingham in the very earliest days stood in the forefront of municipal progress and life in this country. It is now proposed under this Clause that that community, whose whole life is interwoven with the city of Birmingham, whose activities are conducted in Birmingham and who contribute to make Birmingham what it is, should be deprived of their vote as citizens of Birmingham. The changes that have come about in our social life have led to the fact that most of them, while they carry on their active work and civic work within the confines of Birmingham, do sleep and spend their week-ends in the more outlying constituencies. They may sleep in Warwickshire or Worcestershire or further afield, but they are emphatically citizens of Birmingham, and it is as citizens of Birmingham that they are to be disfranchised by this Clause.
The other consideration which the Home Secretary pleaded to-day, now following it to its logical conclusion, was that the removal of the business franchise of the City of London would reduce it to an absurd constituency of a few thousand caretakers and charwomen. It would no longer be a residential, but purely a residual constituency, a con- 668 stituency without any meaning or purpose in its representation in this country. In a large measure the same would be true of the central business districts in our other great cities, where the whole character, the whole meaning of those constituencies would be altered if you took away the business vote, the votes of those whose energies give those constituencies their meaning. It is, after all, communities and interests that are represented in this House. This nation, of which Parliament should be the mirror, is something more than an aggregate of 20,000,000 odd electors grouped for convenience sake into a number of constituencies. It is something more; it is a complex structure organised in many ways, containing many interests, many individual communities, many historic communities, each of which has its own character, each of which has its contribution to make to Parliament. It is because that contribution is to be diminished by this Clause and by the Amendment now under discussion, that we object both to the Amendment and to the Clause itself.
The whole object with which our system of Parliament has been developed steadily and consistently was that all interests, all classes, should secure reasonable representation and have a reasonable voice and influence in this House, in order that it should be the true reflex and interpreter of the nation. That used to be secured fairly effectively in the latter half of the last century with one qualification, that at that time the working-class itself, the class of manual labour, a great and important element in the community, was not effectively represented. That was undoubtedly a defect, and that defect was fully remedied by recent extensions of the franchise. But, in providing a remedy, we have run into the grave risk of destroying the character of the system itself. Manual labour, important as it is, is after all only one element, one function in the life of the nation, and it would be entirely contrary to any true interpretation of democracy if that one element should by its numerical majority occupy a preponderating position in the House of Commons. That would not be democracy, but class rule. It would be a Government of privilege in the hands of a pure numerical majority.
669 It is essential that other interests should be represented. Unfortunately there is a grave danger that under present conditions, with the immense growth of urban aggregations and with the dispersal and dissemination of important elements of the community in other constituencies and with their relative numerical insignificance, there is a real danger that these vital elements in the nation may not be secured effective representation. In order to meet that danger, you must have some remedy, some alternative device other than the system of flat geographical representation, to prevent these elements being completely submerged. That was the point of view from which Parliament in 1918, with the consent of all parties, preserved to the business community the double vote given to those who were in possession of business premises. That vote does secure at any rate some measure of representation by function as well as by residence.
One of my hon. Friends pointed out on Second Reading that that is the problem which increasingly occupies the attention of students of the whole question of representation and which underlies both the system of government in Soviet Russia to-day and the new system of Parliamentary representation in Fascist Italy. I believe that the demand for such functional representation will increase. When the time for increasing it comes, we may no doubt be able to improve upon the mere rough and ready system of the vote by occupation of business premises. Until then it should be retained as a necessary corrective to the mere geographical vote, not as a mere survivor of a past era of privilege, but rather as a beginning of a future and more scientific system of election and representation in accordance with function and capacity as well as in accordance with geographical residence.
I know that right hon. and hon. Members object to anyone having more than one vote. With that I entirely and totally disagree. The Home Secretary said that this Clause, in particular, was the completion of a great process inaugurated a century ago by the Reform Act. The Reform Act and the whole of the process of development since never had as its object to give everyone, re- 670 gardless of function and qualifications, an equal voice. That is not true democracy. The true object of any Parliamentary system is to ensure that government shall be carried on efficiently and justly in the interests of the whole nation and of every class and with the consent and approval of every class and every section. To secure that, it is undoubtedly desirable that no important section shall be omitted. But that does not mean that everyone shall have an equal say.
The Home Secretary described the property qualification as an anomaly that cannot be justified on any reasonable grounds. I want to know on what reasonable grounds can anyone justify the anomaly that a great Empire, a great country, should be governed by the mere counting of noses. It can be governed only in the last resort by capacity, and human capacity will always be a thing of inequality. Men are not equal; they never will be equal, and they never ought to be equal. Variety and eminence are the essential conditions of all progress. That is a fundamental law of nature. From that point of view, I have no hesitation in saying that the only natural system of voting is one which, while assigning some voice, some right, in the affairs of the country to every citizen, will also give due consideration to differences of function exercised and differences of capacity to exercise them. So far from apologising for the plural vote, I believe in it, and I believe that we shall see it greatly extended in this country.
The Bill is based on a fundamental inconsistency. The object of this Clause, and the one which is to follow, is to wipe away all differences and reduce us to a flat numerical system of geographical constituencies, and yet the first Clause is an attempt to get away from the impossible and difficult situation in which that system may land us. It professes to make the attempt, but it is entirely unsuccessful. At any rate, the attempt there is to find a remedy, and no doubt it will have to be found. It may be that Proportional Representation will yet provide it, but I am inclined to believe that it may be found even more successfully by retaining our present system of election, and adding to that basis of purely geographical constituencies additional votes for special functions and for special pur- 671 poses. I have no doubt that we shall need to overhaul our electoral system, and it may have to be accompanied by an overhaul of our procedure in this House, but when it comes it will require far more serious consideration than has been given to it, in the present jumble of what an hon. Friend of mine called the worn-out records of an out-of-date gramophone.
There is one thing to which I should like to draw the attention of the Committee. In no speech made on the other side of the House during the Second Reading or to-day has there been any allusion to the background under which we are discussing this Measure. The object of the Clause and the Amendment, quite frankly, is to diminish the influence and voice of industry and commerce in the affairs of the nation, and this at a time when commerce and industry is in a more difficult position than it has ever been. Surely it is a time when we want more guidance from those who are running our commerce and finance, and for that reason I hope we shall reject the Clause and the Amendment.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
It is 100 years almost to the day since Lord John Russell introduced the great Reform Bill. It was hotly opposed, and if any of the spirits of those who were the opponents of that great Reform Bill still hover about this building, how cordial must the welcome have been to the speech which has just been delivered. We have had a speech, a whiff, not merely of the last generation—
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
But of the early nineteenth century. The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) says that we are not to be governed by the counting of noses. After all, each nose has a brain behind it. What does the right hon. Gentleman propose to count? He proposes to count business premises. That is to be the basis upon which this country is to be governed. He has discussed what is true democracy and has endeavoured to persuade the Committee that true democracy is precisely identical with class privilege. He claims, indeed, while he is repeating the shibboleths of the Toryism 672 of 100 years ago, that he is really the precursor of the new philosophy of the future, that of the Fascisti and the Soviets, who would base the whole of the electoral system on functions. They hold that we are no longer to base our electoral system upon geographical areas, but upon economic divisions and trade functions. So far as that new philosophy of politics is concerned I am in entire disagreement with it on the merits.
I do not think that elections or citizenship should be based upon merely one side of a man's life, his economic side, or that people should be divided according to their occupations as though that were the whole of their life. The man is more than his work, and it is as a human being, as a citizen, that he should vote, not merely as belonging to one occupation or another. But we are not concerned with that to-day. If we were now debating an entire recasting of our whole political system and basing it upon new constituencies, not upon areas or mere equal human citizenship but upon particular colleges of electors, consisting of the workmen of one trade and the workmen in another, professional men, or men in a commercial occupation, we could discuss that on its merits. But that is not the proposal. The proposal is that one particular function shall be selected—business—and that the business man shall be given two votes while others who may be of value to the State, who are professional men or working men, must have no such privilege.
The right hon. Gentleman who is one of the distinguished representatives of a great city, says that every day there are coming in and out business men who work in the city and live in a dormitory constituency outside; but they are not the only people who come in and out of the City of Birmingham. The workmen of Birmingham, do not they help to build up the greatness and the wealth of that community, and how is it possible to defend a law which will say that the business man coming and going in his first class carriage shall have two votes and the workman coming and going in the third class carriage is to have no such privilege? We have stood always for the principle of one man one vote and we shall cordially 673 support the Government at this stage, and at every stage, in defending that principle. There is before the Committee not only this large issue which affects some half-million privileged voters who now retain this special franchise, which should have been abolished generations ago—it is a most belated proposal—but there is also a minor and special case which we are discussing, the case of the City of London. With regard to that question plural voting does not arise.
If it were proposed that the electors of the City of London by retaining their special constituency should also retain the privilege of having two votes we should all strongly oppose it, but that is not the proposal. The proposal is that they should have one vote and shall have the right of choosing whether they would exercise it in the place where they reside or in the City. I have said that this is not a point to which we attach any strong feeling one way or the other, and if a free vote is granted to the Government party a free vote will also be exercised by members of the opposition party. For my own part I think there is a case to be made out on historical grounds and tradition for the City of London and its position in the long annals of this country. The Home Secretary said that the Labour Government was perhaps influenced by the further consideration, the broad mindedness shown by the City Corporation in granting the high honour of its freedom to the leaders of the present Government. I always suspected that perhaps the City took the Chancellor of the Exchequer to its bosom for fear of having him at its throat.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I need not say that the Government in their attitude on this Clause have not been influenced by what has been done by the City of London. I merely pointed it out as an instance of the broad-mindedness of the City in relation to all parties.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
The Government were influenced by the fact that the City was broad-minded, and its broad-mindedness was most happily shown by conferring the Freedom of the City on the leaders of the present Government. The City is remarkably broad-minded. Considering what was the attitude of the City towards the Prime Minister and 674 Chancellor of the Exchequer during the War and soon after, it is proof of the general tolerance of opinion, and especially that of the City, that they should have conferred their signal honour after so short en interval. I am not complaining of it. All these sentimental considerations may be allowed to enter if no substantial harm is done to the working of our electoral system and if no definite privilege is conferred upon any class of electors. For these reasons, although I confess not without considerable doubt, I shall vote in defence of this special pro vision. If the Amendment is carried and the City of London is omitted various consequential Amendments will have to be made in the Bill, but there will be time enough to consider them should the occasion arise.
§ Mr. ALPASS
A criticism has been levelled against this Bill which so far as my constituents are concerned is entirely unfounded. The statement has been made that no mandate has been given to the Government for this Measure. The issue of the plural vote was raised during the election campaign in my division because it affected many people in the division very vitally. Being a democrat I believe that this House should reflect the will of the people as perfectly as possible, combined with the efficient working of the Parliamentary machine. Under the present system, no one can suggest that that object is realised, and I desire to speak of the effect of the plural vote in my own division. I have the honour of representing in this House the business part of the large City of Bristol. It combines not only the business section, but also has very important industrial elements within its borders. What has happened in the Central Division of Bristol? I have figures which were sent to me by the Town Clerk the other day. We have 3,739 out-voters. That is a number in excess of the majority by which the late Member for the division was returned at two General Elections. It is fair to deduce from that that. the people who do not live in the division but simply carry on their business in the centre of the city and live elsewhere and vote there first, were able to over-ride and nullify the wishes of the people actually residing in the division.
That is an anomaly which this Clause, I rejoice to know, will remove completely. 675 The Clause will make it possible, for the first time in political history, for the will of the people living in my division, as declared at the polls, to be carried out faithfully. I never thought that I should listen to such a reactionary speech as that delivered by a right hon. Gentleman opposite. He seems to imagine that working people are valuable only in so far as they are able to produce wealth for others to enjoy, and he rather deprecated counting their noses at election times. I have never seen any dislike, on the part of the Tory party, of the counting of noses when those noses are on their side of the fence; then they are always pleased to welcome them. I know that the right hon. Gentleman is a very strong and courageous man who stands up to certain elements and institutions and individuals, and I was wondering whether he would be bold enough to go down and repeat that speech to a meeting of the working men in his own division and see what reception he has. I think his argument would be regarded, as we regard it, as entirely antiquated and out of date.
An argument advanced as justification for the plural vote is that business men have large financial interests at stake in their businesses. Large numbers of my constituents live in my Division but work daily at the docks at Avonmouth, three or four miles away, and in another Division. Hon. Members opposite do not suggest that because these working men carry on their daily occupation in another Division they should be given a second vote, or that their wives should have a second vote. If they did we might look forward to a change in the representation of Bristol West in the near future. The plural vote as given to business people is the last relic of the political privilege of the wealthy, and I sincerely trust that all of us who stand for political equality will be solid behind the Government in the attempt to remove this blot from the Statutes of the country.
§ Sir ROBERT HORNE
I have listened with attention to the last speech. I think the maker of it was in some error as to what the Clause really does. There is no question left of the plural voter at all. The idea of the Clause preserving the City of London in a unique position 676 is not to give to any person who votes in the City of London two votes, namely, for his residence and for his office, but is to preserve what one would like to see continued—an expression of opinion at an election by the people who are known throughout the world as the City of London. That is the whole point.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I want to be guided on this matter by the Chairman. I understand that the Chairman has ruled that the whole question of plural voting is to be discussed on this Clause. If the position is as the right hon. Gentleman is interpreting it, it would seem that the procedure so far has been somewhat irregular.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment is to be taken before the Clause, but we are discussing the Amendment and the Clause together.
§ Sir R. HORNE
I think that, even on the Ruling you have given, I am entitled to speak as I am doing. I am supporting the Clause. I wish to preserve the opportunity of the business men of the City of London to express their opinion. Let me say, at the outset, that there is no question of putting the citizens of the City of London in the privileged position of being allowed to give two votes. He can vote only once at an election—for his residence or for the City of London. The only thing that the Clause does is to preserve a constituency which has throughout the world a reputation that no other constituency in this country has. I say that with the deepest possible esteem and respect for the Central Division of Glasgow. There is no community in the Kingdom for which I have a higher regard, but the Central Division of Glasgow has no meaning throughout the world, as the City of London has.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Forgive me for interrupting, but that is a very serious slander on the City of Glasgow. When the right hon. Gentleman is given the Freedom of Glasgow I ask him to repeat that statement at the first opportunity to those who give it to him.
§ Sir HORNE
I shall be delighted to repeat it. I am certain that no sensible person in. Glasgow will take the slightest exception to what I am now saying. With great deference to my hon. Friend, the divisions of the City of Glasgow are not known throughout the world. Even the Gorbals Division is scarcely known outside the United Kingdom. St. George's, Westminster, may have a particular meaning for us at the present time, but there is no one in other parts of the world who cares at all what is happening there. When a speech is made by a representative of the City of London, either in this House or outside, it acquires a character throughout the world because of the international reputation which the City of London has. You cannot go to any part of the world without everyone that you meet knowing the particular characteristic of the City of London. What we are talking about I would like the Committee to consider in words more eloquent than mine:Great new countries have been opened up, very largely through the action of just this one square mile which surrounds the Mansion House. Just this little spot has had more to do as an instrument in developing these great new countries than any other spot under the sun. More solid and substantial wealth throughout the world has been built up very largely by the action of this great City.That is what we are talking about. The City has a unique character, which does not belong to any other town or community in this country or in any other part of the world. The words I have quoted are from a speech by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who has taken very many opportunities in the past of pouring out encomiums on the City of London and the great work which it has performed. What is this City of London in the eyes of the people abroad? It is a community of hankers, of discount houses, of brokers and of merchants whose attitude upon business matters has a special value. When people abroad read that the Member for the City of London has said something, they do not regard it as the expression of opinion of one who has, been chosen by anybody other than the experts whom they know to reside in that community. Accordingly from that point of view, from the consideration of our power in the world it is of great advantage to preserve the situation as it exists to-day.
678 But I go further. I read yesterday or this morning that my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs gave evidence before the Committee which is considering the practice and procedure of this House. One of the things that he commended was the setting up of some industrial organisation which could be available for consultation by the Government in all the great matters with which we are concerned in relation to our industries. In this particular branch of our activities, which is of vast importance to this country, you have already in existence a system by which at least you get some consultation with those who are carrying on the merchanting business of the world, because on all these matters you have in this House two Members who are the choice of those who conduct the business of the City of London. It is a matter of great moment that we should be able to have that advice in this House.
From the point of view of our welfare it would be worth while to preserve the unique connection between this House and the City. But there is much more than that to be said in favour of the unique position which the City occupies. I think I am not wrong in saying that at the present time approximately one-quarter of the Income Tax paid in this country is paid in the City of London, and that the rateable value of the City of London is approximately one-twenty-fifth of the whole rateable value of this country. Those two figures represent an influence and an importance worth consideration when we are dealing with the question of representation in this House. There is more than that. This would be the worst possible time for the House to indicate in any way to the world at large that the City of London is no longer to be regarded as having that importance in this House which it has possessed hitherto. This country profits more by the credit position which it holds in the world than by anything else.
Let me give an example. Those of the Committee who happen to have read the last report of the Board of Trade showing how the imports which we have bought have been paid for, will have seen among the items of our invisible exports a figure of I think £55,000,000, representing discounts and commissions earned in this country by those doing foreign 679 business, and performing services for people doing a foreign trade. That sum of £55,000,000, which was, I think, £68,000,000 last year And £65,000,000 the year before, is earned mainly in the City of London. Foreigners choose our money market here as being the best market in which they can make their payments owing to the credit which we enjoy, and once you do anything to diminish that powerful credit which we enjoy throughout the world, you are going to lose a very important and tangible business asset. It may be said that this is only high finance. I may be asked what is the benefit of it to the country?
§ Mr. MAXTON
Our question is not what the City of London has to do with high finance, but what high finance has to do with Parliamentary representation.
§ Sir R. HORNE
I thought I had indicated that, but I shall return to the point. As I say, this money is earned by reason of the credit which we enjoy throughout the world, and it performs an important function in paying a very large contribution to the Income Tax revenue of this country. It does more than that. It is very often thought that high finance has nothing to do with the industries of the country, but, in fact, it is one of the most material elements in our business, and when one reflects, the reasons for this are obvious. Foreign people keep large balances in the City of London.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am rather in a difficulty here. I imagine that a certain amount of discussion on this question is allowable, but at the same time I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should keep a little more closely to the question before the Committee.
§ Sir R. HORNE
I think one or two sentences will be sufficient to indicate my point. If you do anything at the present time, especially after some recent. events to which I do not refer in detail, to show that the House of Commons is disregarding the important position of the City of London in this country, the effect will be to decrease a valuable business which not merely returns a large Income Tax revenue, but also yields great benefits in the form of orders for our industries. These balances which exist in the City of London are not lying idle. They are loaned out to all the other countries of 680 the world. We are drawing from those foreign balances a considerable revenue, and the loans which we give ultimately go out in the shape of goods which are ordered from our factories. The financial position which the City of London occupies in the world is one of the most important factors in relation to the competitive market, and if you interfere with it, you will suffer unemployment to an extent which will be startling. Accordingly I say that, of all times, this would be the worst time at which to reflect in any way on the position of the City of London in Parliament. Anything you do to show your confidence in the City, to show the importance of its Parliamentary representation, will ultimately benefit the industry of this country. I am certain that London deserves the unique position which it occupies and deserves to be continued in that position; and when it is not sought by the Government to give any advantage to the voter in the City of London, in respect of an extra vote which others do not enjoy, but only to give him the privilege of saying whether he shall vote for his residence or for his premises in the City of London, it seems such a small matter that the Committee might well acquiesce in the proposal of the Government.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) has made a very interesting speech, but I do not think he has very much advanced the cause which he advocated. His observations were of the sort which will inspire other observations from hon. Members behind me, which will be equally irrelevant to the issue.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the hon. and learned Member anticipates a speech which is likely to be in order I cannot prevent him doing so.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
I happen to have been here most of the time, and to have heard certain observations from hon. Members behind me. I can understand the sore- 681 ness of the hon. Member for Leicester East (Mr. Wise) who is associated with certain rival financial interests, and I anticipate that if he has the opportunity, he will follow the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead on lines which, with great respect to both of them, are not relevant to the matter before the Committee. I speak on this matter with a certain amount of feeling myself because I happen to be one of those on these benches who have been admitted to the freedom of the City of London. I regard that honour with appreciation and I hope it may even yet fall to the lot of the hon. Member for Leicester. But we are not concerned here at all with the financial interests of the City of London. That is not the issue before us, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead is doing his cause a disservice by making a speech which will be construed outside as a defence of the financial interests of the City of London.
What we are concerned with here is whether or net the City of London should be placed in a special relationship to the legislation with which we are dealing and what is going to move many of my hon. Friends on this side is, I know, the feeling that there should not be such a discrimination in favour of the City of London. On that point they will perhaps allow me to make certain observations. The City of London has always stood in a very special relation to the House of Commons. The Mover of the Amendment, in a very interesting speech, gave some account of the representation of the City in Parliament in the past, and the Committee will remember that at various points there were no Members from the City of London in this House. Why was that? Because at various points in history, when the rights of the House of Commons and the citizens had to be stood up for against the reigning Sovereign, it was the City of London who carried on the fight.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
The constituency which we now know as the City of London is the descendant and representative of that great association of London citizens which carried out great fights for the liberties of the country in the past. For that reason the House of Commons has always regarded the City of London in 682 a special light. It is a sentimental reason. It is the sort of reason which moves a man to speak of the actions of his forebears. I would point to one incident connected with the relationship of the City of London to the House of Commons from which the political philosophy of my hon. Friends on this side has benefited more than any other philosophy in the world. I refer to the fight which resulted in the establishment of the right to record the Debates of the House of Commons. That was the result of a splendid stand by the City of London in protection of the printer who was actually arrested by the House of Commons. I suggest that the special reasons which have connected membership of the House of Commons with the City of London are reasons which should still weigh with hon. Members who are going to vote on this question.
I am not concerned with plural voting in any shape or form. I have fought against it as long as anybody on these benches—including the Treasury Bench—and my attitude towards it is that described by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel). I am not concerned with it at all, but I am concerned with the simple question of whether we should continue this exception in favour of the City of London. I ask the Committee to continue that exception for the particular reason which I have just given, namely, that the City of London is in a special relation to the House of Commons; as a community which stood for the liberties of the House of Commons and the people when no other community in the land would do so. There is another reason. I am recalling historical facts which should be within the knowledge of every informed Member of the Committee when I say that there is a special reason why those who sit on these benches should have a special regard for the City of London. What was the beginning of organised labour in this land? One would suppose that it started from some conference at Bradford or in some office in Queen Victoria Street or Smith Square. Nothing of the kind. The organisation of labour in this land began in the City of London with the train bands.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
If the hon. Member will go to the Library and check what I am saying he will find that it is true. Organised labour in this country began with the train bands of the city. It was the train bands of the city who stood for the rights of the citizens, when those rights were assailed by Sovereigns and other important personages in those days. I shall not detain the Committee by arguing on the point because every informed person here knows that what I say can be justified by reference to history. I merely suggest to hon. Members here with whom I am associated, that there are substantial reasons connected with the history of the country and of their own movement which should induce them to regard the City of London in a special light, not because it is a great financial centre, not because it has done things as a community with which some of us disagree, but because, in regard to the Franchise Acts, it has a relationship with this Assembly not enjoyed by any other corporation or any other area in the country. For that reason, which I frankly admit is a sentimental reason, I am going to support this Clause in its entirety.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Colonel Sir T. VANSITTART BOWATER
I think it is very gratifying—it certainly is to me—that we have had all sides of the Committee, including the Socialists and even the Liberals, supporting the City on this occasion, though there are a few of what is known as the left wing of the Treasury Bench who think otherwise, but, when it comes to the vote, I think they will find themselves very much in the cold, and that we shall be supported by the Government as a whole. The Home Secretary, in his speech, for which I am grateful, represented, I concluded, the Ministers in the Cabinet, and, if he did, why at the last moment should he turn away from his support and leave the question to the open vote of the Committee, as if he had not the courage of his own convictions? My hon. Friend the Member for the City (Mr. E. C. Grenfell) gave us a historical account of the City, and every Member who has spoken, even the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel), has represented that the City of London is quite an exceptional City, both in our country 684 and in any other part of the world. There is no city to compare with the City of London. I believe that every Member of this House is proud of the City of London, and, if that is so, why is it that some of them want to make the City of London less than a small borough? If some of the Socialists opposite were to have their own way, the City of London would be wiped out, and it would be the very worst thing that could happen to this country.
The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. O. Baldwin), who moved the Amendment, was quite wrong. Someone said he was wrong in his facts, but he cannot be wrong in his facts, because if they are facts, they are facts. The first Member of Parliament of the City of London dates back to 1284, and the City has had Members practically ever since. It used to have more than two Members, but some previous Parliaments considered two were sufficient, and I consider that those two should still represent the City and that the City should not be divided. If you took away the Alternative Vote—it is only the Alternative Vote for which we are asking—the City would have practically no voters at all, and what does the City represent? The hon. Member for Dudley stated that we Members here represent the financiers of the City, but I should like to tell him, what he must know, that there are more great merchants in the City of London than possibly in any other city in this country, and we represent, not only the financiers, if hon. Members like to call them so, but the great merchants of the City.
I do not think the question needs elaborating. We have heard extremely good speeches, and I think that all those hon. Members who are opposed to the Clause, owing to some little quibble in their own minds, if they could only dispel that quibble would come round and support instead of opposing their own Front Bench. I conclude that the only reason the Home Secretary is putting this question to a free vote of the Committee is that he thought that if the Government put on their Whips there might be some other quibbles among his own party. I hope the Government will be sufficiently strong minded to go into the Lobby with us and see that we carry the Clause and reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. NAYLOR
I have spent the whole of my working days within the shadow of St. Paul s, though probably, in this connection, I should say the shadow of the Mansion House, and although I have not yet received the freedom of the City, nor do I expect it, nor do I wish for it—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—I say that without any disrespect to the City—I am to-night opposing the Amendment and supporting the Clause as it stands, not for the reasons advanced by the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne), nor for those given by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight). I do not think we need study the traditions of the City or consider its long history in this connection. It is not a question of whether the City shall have two representatives or one. If that were the question before us, I might be in favour of reducing the representation of the City from two to one, but all that is before us is the question whether the present system of electing two Parliamentary representatives for the one Division of the City should remain, or whether we should put the City to the trouble of dividing itself into two parts and compelling the City to send two representatives to represent two separate parts.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member evidently has not been here, or he would know that Clause 2 is disposed of and that we are now on Clause 3, which deals with the business qualification.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment does not raise the question of breaking the City into two constituencies.
§ Mr. NAYLOR
In that case, I must bow to your Ruling and leave the discussion to other hon. Members.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
I support the Clause as it stands, and I join with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne), and, with all deference to the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight), I am rather surprised that, with his knowledge of the City of London, he was not to a large extent in accord with my right hon. and learned Friend. There are 44,000 electors, in round figures, in 686 the City of London, and a very large number of them who carry on business in the City are, owing to the position of the law, debarred from taking part in an election in support of either one or other of the candidates. A large number of the businesses in the City of London are conducted under what is known as the limited liability system, under which members of those firms have no voting power at all. The City of London has a unique position, and it is generally recognised by all parties, not only as the capital of the Empire to which we belong, but as the capital of the world.
At the present time those who are living in the City and those who are doing business there and are able to obtain a vote have the opportunity of recording their vote in the City of London just as they have of recording it elsewhere. I happen to be one of those who have worked in the City of London ever since the days when I left school, and anyone who has studied the history of the City of London knows that it goes back for hundreds of years and that they have established various guilds to enable people to learn their various businesses, under the apprenticeship system. They have done everything they could, particularly with regard to labour in the various industries, and I should have thought that if the question were looked at from a sympathetic point of view, and if one remembered the schools and other institutions that have been set up there, one would agree that they are entitled to some special consideration.
I was very glad when I saw in the Bill that the Government proposed that those who were resident or working in the City of London should have the opportunity of recording their second vote, but I was a little astounded when I found the Home Secretary, who must have been fully seized of the necessity of giving those resident or engaged in the City of London a second vote—
Sir F. HALL
I meant to say that I was surprised that he should have given them the opportunity of having their vote in the City of London and then more or less whittled it down. He seemed to 687 say, "Having made up my mind that that is advisable, nevertheless, instead of asking the support of the whole Committee I am going to leave it to a free vote because of an Amendment which has been put upon the Order Paper." The Government must have been fairly convinced in their own minds, after weighing the arguments for and against, that the vast interests in the City of London referred to by my right hon. and learned Friend, such as the banking interests, the great merchants, and the insurance interests—the City is the great home of insurance in this country—needed consideration, and they should have received consideration.
I hope the change that has come over the Home Secretary will not affect the general feeling of the Committee on this question. I hope hon. Members will remember the desire that has always been shown by those closely allied with the City of London, those freemen of the City of London, of which I am proud to be one—it is one of those privileges that I prize very much indeed, and I cannot help thinking that there are many hon. Members opposite who, if the freedom of the City were offered to them, would take it. I agree that they have ideas with regard to the City that are not the same as those of the hon. Member for South East Southwark (Mr. Naylor), but I believe they would not be like that hon. Member, but that they would value that freedom.
§ Mr. NAYLOR
The hon. Baronet represents me as having said that I did not value the freedom of the City. What I said was that I did not wish for the freedom of the City, which, I submit, is quite another matter.
Sir F. HALL
I accept the statement of the hon. Member in the fullest possible manner, and I am only too delighted to do so, for the sake of the many years during which I have known him, because it was surprising to me, from my personal knowledge of him, to understand what he said in the way in which I have indicated. I hope the time is not far distant when the hon. Member will be offered and will gladly accept the freedom of the City of London. This is not a party question at all, and there should not be any feeling in the matter, when 688 we look at the records of the City, of which we are all proud. The City of London is a spring which is the source of an enormous amount of labour—not the work that is actually done in the City, but the work that follows from the activities of the merchants, and of the great shipping, banking, and financial interests. They are all interwoven with the question of labour. I trust that, notwithstanding the Amendment on the Paper, the Government, having come to their decision, will take courage in their hands, and that the great majority of Members of all parties will follow the advice that was tendered in Clause 3 and will support the proposal as it was brought before the House.
Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON, Junr.
I support the Amendment on grounds different from those which have been advanced by those responsible for it. I make no apology for expressing my complete agreement with the enconiums that have been passed on the City of London. It is an undoubted fact that the prestige of the City is unrivalled throughout the civilised world, and in my fairly extensive travels in other countries I have found the greatest respect and trust in the solid financial foundations and the integrity of those who are responsible for carrying out the affairs of the City of London. I cannot see the connection between the great financial and economic position of the City and the change that would be embodied in the Bill if this Amendment were carried. There is no suggestion that the City of London should no longer have representatives in this House. The effect of the Amendment would merely be to change the basis of the electorate. No person would be entitled to vote unless he or she had the qualification which is contained in the Representation of the People Act, 1918, that is to say, a residential qualification. It would still be possible for the City of London to have representatives in this House.
I doubt whether it can really be maintained that there is anything very special in the fact that the City of London has two representatives in this House, and that the whole world waits with great interest and expectation the views that they express. I say it without offence, but the rare occasions on 689 which one of those hon. Members speaks, and the extremely rare occasions on which the other one speaks, make the value of that argument very small. To some of us it is a question of principle. We believe that there should be one man one vote, and one woman one vote, and that the qualification should be on a residential basis. We have had many experiences during the past hundred years of qualifications that have been otherwise than on a residential basis. We have rid ourselves of the rotten borough system; we have gradually destroyed or removed the property qualification, and we hope to move the last vestige which remains when this Bill becomes law. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spark-brook (Mr. Amery) made a passionate appeal on behalf of what he called sectional class representation. I would have been prepared to go a long way with him if he had developed his argument in favour of giving sectional representation to those who do not enjoy it now, but as he developed his argument it was perfectly clear that his main intention was to retain sectional representation on behalf of those who enjoy it at the present time.
I would like to remind the Committee of an illustration which I gave during the Second Reading Debate, because it is a clear example of the abuses which have crept into the present system. There are 500,000 business votes in the country at the moment. The qualification for a business vote is the occupation of premises for the purposes of the trade, business, or profession of the person seeking to be registered. In the ordinary case no objection could be taken to that, apart from the principle involved, but take the case of limited liability companies, to which the hon. and gallant Member for Dulwich (Sir F. Hall) referred. He said that in the City there were many limited liability companies, and that under the law they had no right to vote. That is true, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman might have pointed out that the directors of those companies have the right to vote, provided they occupy premises for the purpose of their business. On Second Reading, I cited a case which caused great interest two or three days ago. In the City of London there was a firm which carried on a printing business; it was a very small busi- 690 ness employing 20 or 30 workpeople, and was carried on in one large warehouse. At one end of the warehouse a number of cubicles had been erected, in each of which certain office furniture had been placed. Each cubicle was at the disposal of one of the directors, of whom there were four. Each director signed what purported to be a temporary agreement, in which he agreed to pay his own company £20 a year by way of rent. The case was eventually taken to the Court of Appeal. One of the parties argued that the directors occupied their rooms for the purposes of the business of the company. The other side argued that each director occupied his room for the purpose of his own business as a director. To ordinary people that would seem to be a distinction without a difference. But the Court of Appeal by a majority of two decided that each of those directors occupied his room for the purposes of his business as a director, and not for the purpose of the company's business. The votes were upheld, but it did not stop there, because three of the directors were married, so that in addition to the four directors being placed upon the register, three wives were placed upon the register. There were therefore seven votes in respect of one business premises.
I hope that the hon. and gallant Gentleman does not believe that to be the case. There is nothing to prevent a woman over 21, who has the necessary qualifications, from voting.
It is quite permissible, so long as it is not in the same constituency. I am sure that these directors were not resident in the City of London, and would have residential qualifications in some more salubrious spot. The point I am making is that seven voters were registered in respect of one warehouse. No doubt four of them spent their daily lives in that particular locality, but I doubt very much whether the three wives spent very much of their time in the City of London. The staff of that firm comprised 20 or 30 workpeople, but not a single one of them was entitled to a vote in respect of those 691 premises. That is a situation we are seeking to remedy by this Bill, and I am sure that hon. Members on this side of the House and hon. Members below the Gangway opposite will cast their votes in favour of the abolition of the business vote.
I happen to represent the business centre of Cardiff, and in my own constituency there are 600 business voters on the register. It is calculated that 60 or 70 per cent. of them reside outside the constituency, living in other parts of Cardiff, and we have the strange position that these business men and their wives are able to give two votes whenever there is an election in all three divisions of the city. So far as the City of London is concerned, I hope it will not be suggested that because some of us feel that we must support this Amendment we have not a proper regard for the prestige of the City of London.
§ Colonel Sir JAMES REYNOLDS
I intend to vote against the Amendment. I am absolutely at one with my party in thinking that it would be a disaster to this country if the City of London qua the City of London were disfranchised. While I think her interests are quite safe, however, I feel rather more concerned about my own constituency. I happen to be one of those who will feel a very bad draught if this Bill becomes law, as my constituency, the Exchange division of Liverpool, is in part a business constituency and in part a residential constituency, and the loss of the business vote will probably see the end of my Parliamentary existence. That is in itself a very minor matter, but I feel that to take away from business communities their right to have a direct voice in this House is a bad and a retrograde thing. Business communities stand for an enormous interest in this country, and their representation here should be welcomed. Apart from that, I feel very strongly against this Clause, because this deal—as it obviously is—between the two parties sets up a dangerous precedent.
It is a bad thing that parties should proceed to rearrange the electoral system in order that they may have a better chance of securing an increased majority. It is an act which will bring about great retaliation in the future; it will not rest here. I have looked 692 through the list of Conservative business men who represent business constituencies. There are 24 seats which may probably be lost. On the basis of the Alternative Vote, the parties opposite expect to gain so many seats, I do not know how many, but one might suggest 30, and by the elimination of the university vote 11 Members go. Therefore, it is quite probable that between 50 and 100 seats may be gained by the Socialist and Liberal parties through this alteration in the electoral system. The incentive for this Bill is perfectly clear, therefore, and I regret it very much. Changes of this kind ought to be undertaken by an impartial tribunal, with the Speaker of the House of Commons in the chair, and all classes of the community represented.
A further objection which I have to this Bill leads me to use almost the same phrase as my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery). I feel that democracy has gone a great deal too far when it carries us to "One man, one vote." That is not a business slogan for this country. I would prefer another maxim: "The man who pays the piper calls the tune." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members opposite may say "Hear, hear," but what is in my mind is that most of the business men whose representation in this House is likely to be ended are partners with the Government in their business. They pay a very large portion of their income in Income Tax, and a great deal of their capital is taken from them for the benefit of the State when they die. It has come about that out of 29,000,000 electors fewer than 2,000,000 are direct taxpayers. I consider that those direct taxpayers who are finding one-half of the whole income of the State are entitled to some protection, and should at least be given a business vote, because I take it that most of their income is derived from their business. I look upon this proposal as only one more step to eventual economic disaster in this country, and it is with those feelings that I protest against it.
§ Mr. WISE
We have listened to speeches some of which have been full of badinage and some full of bad economics, and some a combination of 693 both. It would be quite easy to make the same case for a dozen historic cities in England as has been made for the City of London. If I had the time I could deliver a most learned historical lecture on the claims of the city of Leicester or of my native town of Bury St. Edmunds, both of which have sheltered refugees from Parliament in their time, to special representation in this House. To attempt in these days to settle issues by sentiment and rather doubtful historical associations seems to be ridiculous. It is equally ridiculous, if I may say so with respect, for the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) to attempt to scare us with terrible stories of what will happen to the business prestige of the City of London if this special representation is withdrawn, and if two strangers to the Treasury Bench cease to sit upon it, upon special occasions, wearing top hats. He entirely and most disgracefully misrepresents the basis of the credit and the prestige of the City of London. If they really rest upon that basis the City of London must be in a very poor way.
I suggest that the Lord Mayor's coachman is much better known throughout the civilised world, and much more attention would be attracted to the fact that, in deference to the campaign for economy, he is going to be pensioned off than to the transfer of the two hon. Members who sit for the City of London from a seat on the Treasury Bench to somewhere else. It is not as if the Tory party had not got pocket boroughs waiting for them. At the present moment they cannot find a candidate for St. George's. Here is an admirable opportunity of finding employment for one of those very distinguished Members. We should like to retain them in the House. It is a good thing, sometimes, for hon. Members who speak with such knowledge of the banking interest to show how unwilling they are to tell us in this House what is really going on. One of our main difficulties is to discover whom to hold responsible for various misfortunes which a right hon. Member on the Front Bench opposite ascribed recently to the mistakes of the City of London. It seems to me to be absolutely impossible to defend the perpetuation of this relic of mediaevalism of the separate representation of the City of London. When it 694 is said that the representatives of the City of London represent business interests of the train bands, may I point out that the population of the City of London has completely changed since that period. In the days when the City of London did perform those ancient duties it was not the kind of place that it is now, and the train bands were not composed of stockbrokers and bullion merchants. At that time the City was the centre of industry not only of merchants but of the workers and craftsmen in industry and trade. If we were to analyse the opinions of the members of those bands at that time, I should think we should find that they represented the beginnings of the Labour party.
Everybody knows that the business centre of London is rapidly moving over a wider area, and to pretend that the City of London at the present time represents any really substantial part of the business interests of the country is simply an abuse of words. The only justification for the continued representation of the City is that it is associated with certain festive occasions, and I do not think a question of this kind ought to be determined upon such reasons as that. I am not able to understand by what logic or reason the Government propose to withdraw university representation and refuse to continue the representation of learning and yet give special representation to the City of London. I have not been impressed by the difficulties and intricacies of drafting to which the Home Secretary drew attention. As was pointed out by the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) it would be easy by consequential Amendments to straighten things out and put the City of London in the same position as any other city. If it is still the case that the City of London with one Member has more than its share of representation, we can decide without any undue damage to the Constitution or the prestige of this country whether the City of London should be attached to White-chapel or Piccadilly.
§ Mr. WISE
I do not wish to underestimate the merits or the standing of the distinguished bankers who now represent the City of London, but I hope that the House will straighten out this anomaly, 695 and put the City of London in a position neither more nor less favourable than any other city in the Kingdom.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
We have just listened to a speech remarkable for its sarcasm, and ridiculing one of the greatest cities in the world. I maintain that the City of London does a great service to the country, and the only argument which the hon. Member for East Leicester (Mr. Wise) can use in regard to those services is one of ridicule and sarcasm. I claim to know something about the inner working of the City of London. The position of that city is unique in the whole world. I ask hon. Members to recollect that, although some manufacturers and industrial concerns have their premises away from the centre of the City, most of those businesses are conducted and initiated in the City of London. It is a common thing in this House to hear finance decried and ridiculed. I would like to give as an illustration the case of the Avonmouth Docks at Bristol. When Bristol desired to develop those docks, where did they go to get the money? They went to the City of London, and they could not have got the money anywhere else. It is because of the financial credit and the organisation of business in the City of London that it is the only place where undertakings of the kind I have mentioned can get the money to carry out their schemes.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
I was pointing out that for the reasons I have given it is ridiculous to say that the Members for the City of London should not be elected by the people who are carrying out great enterprises of national importance. I would remind the Committee of the fact that the whole Empire has been developed by money raised through the organisation of the City of London, and of the kind of fundamental business that is carried on in the City. This Clause, if carried, while it will not do away altogether with the power of the electors in the City who represent these great businesses to vote for the Members for the City, will at any rate diminish that representation. I think that few people 696 realise what an enormous amount of business is concentrated in that small area. There is, of course, in the first place, the great partner of the Government itself, the Bank of England—the adviser to the Government on all its financial operations, and the banker to the Government. Then there are Lloyd's, the Stock Exchange, Mincing Lane, the Baltic, and all the big commercial houses which manage the merchandise of the Empire, and, indeed, of the world, and through which all the finance and bills of exchange pass.
Last year, the recently published accounts for the country's imports and exports showed a difference of 360,000,000 between our imports and our exports. I would go a step further than my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne), who referred to the £55,000,000 of those invisible exports which was supplied by bills of exchange, and I would say that the earning of the great proportion of that £360,000,000 of exports is initiated either through or by the City of London. I can understand that some of our extreme Friends opposite are very glad to have a cut at the City of London, because they think it is a capitalist institution, but I would point out to them that any harm done to the City of London is harm done to their best friend. That £360,000,000 was earned for the country, and enabled a Socialist Government to spend what they did last year on social services, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and so on. [Interruption.] The City of London is indeed unique, not only in England but throughout the world, and I want to support the claim that the electors of the City of London should have the power to vote for representatives of the City of London as well as in their own constituencies.
Several speakers opposite, and especially the hon. Member for East Leicester (Mr. Wise), have decried sentiment and tradition. In this country—and I speak with knowledge—the business of the City depends to a much larger extent than many people suppose upon sentiment and tradition. A great deal of the business that comes to the City of London comes there because of the character of the people who do the business there, and because of the old and honoured names of those who are still conducting its business. Whatever the 697 hon. Member for East Leicester may say, it is a sentimental asset when you have an institution in the City where even Princes and Ambassadors are proud to be guests, and where, every year, the Lord Mayor's banquet is made the occasion for a statement by the Prime Minister of the day. For all these reasons, I claim that the City of London is in a unique position, and should have proper and full representation, not only of the caretakers and shopkeepers, but of the men who conduct the business of the City.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Only two points of any substance have been raised in connection with the City of London and the retention in the Bill of the provision with regard to it. One was that the City of London is a very important centre, well known throughout the entire world, and that to abolish its representation would weaken the financial edifice of this country. The second argument was that mentioned by the Home Secretary, though, to be fair to him, he did not attempt to use that line of argument, and I am perfectly certain that even the present Labour Government would not attempt to defend this Clause on that ground. The sort of argument that appeals to us is not that which has been addressed to us by the Conservatives. That argument can only appeal to the Conservative-minded; it cannot make any appeal to what I may call Liberal-minded persons, or to Labour people or Socialists. The argument that the City of London should be retained because it has finance, because it has wealth, because it has the power that wealth can give, cannot make any appeal either to Socialists or to Liberals on a ground that is fundamental both to Socialism and to Liberalism, namely, the right to a free vote.
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) was cynical in his support of the retention of the City of London. He said that it is more important than the City of Glasgow, but it all depends upon what is meant by the City of London. His argument is unanswerable if it means the docks. Whitechapel, Battersea—the East, the West and the centre. That is the City of London. But, when the right hon. Gentleman talks about the City of London, he only means a few 698 select rich people in the centre. I say that the City of London is important if you consider it from its poorest part right throughout its length and breadth, but that the City of London as a centre of rich people makes no appeal to the great mass of the population either in this or in any other country.
I disagree partly with the hon. Member for East Leicester (Mr. Wise). To the great masses of the people, the City of London represents wealth and power, but, far from its representing progressive, liberating ideas, to them it represents oppression in its worst and most cruel form. It is argued in favour of the City of London that it has been a liberating force, and that in future it would stand for those liberating forces. That argument was used by the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. E, C. Grenfell), and I think I am entitled to controvert that idea. What are the facts to-day? What are we faced with in Britain? The great battleground in this House of Commons, so far as the rich and the poor are concerned, is the battleground of money, of finance. The poor people are poor because they have no income; the rich people are rich because they have an income and the only way to make poor people rich is by giving them an income. The battleground for the Labour movement is a battleground of finance. What keeps the poor poor? It is typified by its two representatives, who, in every Parliament in which they can, stand for the most remorseless, brutal treatment of the poor people of this community.
If we travel along those lines, we shall get away altogether from the subject before the Committee, which is the nature of the qualification to apply in the City of London. We cannot have a discussion on the respective merits of Capitalism or Socialism by one side or the other on this occasion.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I think you will agree, Sir, that it has been the unwritten custom, when once an argument has been allowed, that, without undue Debate, it can be replied to, and that is all that I am seeking to do. The argument was used that it was a liberating force and would be used again. I sought, with the same terseness of argument but perhaps 699 not with the same ability as the right hon. Gentleman, to reply to it. I pass from it, but I wish to emphasise that, as as a liberating force now, it is from the point of view of the large masses the extreme opposite.
The other argument is that, if the vote were abolished, it would create an anomaly. I hope the Home Secretary will not think that I am personal, but the case he put was that for the City of London to return two Members with 5,000 votes in each case would be an anomaly, and it could not be put right in the Bill, and, because it was an anomaly, it must continue for all time. I do not deny that it is an anomaly now, but this is the only opportunity we shall have to alter the law for many years. If you had a Redistribution Bill, you could not go into the merits of the question then, because it would be decided by this Bill. Great new cities are springing up, and there must be a Redistribution Bill in the next few years, and what appears to be an anomaly is no anomaly at all. The mere fact that redistribution is absolutely and vitally necessary destroys the only argument against this Amendment.
I make no complaint against those who have accepted honours from the City of London, and I give them credit for whatever honesty they have in accepting them, but they must give us the same credit for honesty that they wish conceded to themselves. It is no question of sour grapes. I appeal to Liberal Members. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) only said, "With some misgivings I will support it." The only thing is its past tradition, What is its tradition? Is it greater to Liberals than Manchester, with its connection with Chartism? Why should not Manchester have the vote far more than the City of London? What is there in this Clause to appeal to Liberal ideas, particularly in view of the fact that their leader only a few weeks ago ridiculed it? It has no claim to any treatment of this kind. It is hanging on to its privileges and fighting to retain them. It means two seats for reaction, two seats in order to suppress the poor. I hope every lover of the common people will range himself on 700 their side and take this meagre step for their liberation.
§ Sir CHARLES OMAN
I feel called upon to speak on this topic because, if this iniquitous Bill passes, many of my own constituents are going to be in exactly the same position as the citizens of the City of London. That is to say that quantities of them will be obliged to vote in the country districts Where they happen to sleep and not in the districts where they do their work, where they have their being and where they are occupied from morn till eve. I do not grudge the citizens of London in the least their double vote. I cannot see in the slightest why it should be taken from them. The point I would like to make is that we are to be sacrificed like the citizens of the City of London to a slogan. The slogan is "One man one vote." I have no doubt that it is a very good slogan. It sounds extremely well. One man one boot would sound particularly well also. But when considered, "One man one vote" is an absurdity. It is based on the theory that all men are equal, and it is obvious that no two men are equal. In what sense is the Leader of the Opposition equal to the Prime Minister. In what sense is the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour) equal to the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones)? No two men are equal. Therefore, a view resting on the claim that all men are equal must obviously be absurd.
The point I would make is as follows. I happen to be acquainted with three people, all of whom have a single vote at present. Perhaps two of them are going to be deprived of their votes if this Bill passes. One has governed 15,000,000 people successfully for many years and has been honoured with every honour short of a peerage that the Crown can confer. The second is intermittently in a lunatic asylum, and the third is a skilled artisan who chooses to lose every position which is offered to him through an unfortunate addiction to betting. These three men have the same amount of voting value. It is absurd that the lunatic, and the wastrel living on the dole should have a power of voting equal to the man [Interruption.] I do not know why hon. Members accuse me of being out of order. 701 I am merely trying to demonstrate that no two voters are of exactly equal value. That voters in the City of London should have two votes does not pain me in the least.
The simple fact is that the ideal of democracy is not "one man one vote," not that the semi-idiot and the genius should have the same amount of vote power. It is clear that the vote of the person who has administered with success 15,000,000 souls is of enormously more value than that of the gentleman in the lunatic asylum. I do not wish to protect the City of London because money is there, but I wish to protect the double vote wherever it is left—in the City of London and the Universities—because I adhere to the notion of value in votes. No two men are equal, and it is clear that a good citizen should have more power to advise the nation and more power to settle the governance of the realm than the poorest brain which just keeps its owner out of a lunatic asylum. We must give everybody a vote, but why should not some people have more than one vote? I would not base it on the value of money in the slightest. A genius, a good citizen, one of the greatest assets to the realm, might be a very poor man indeed, and I would put vote-power upon deserts and upon value. I cannot see why the last attempt to keep any extra vote-power for brains and good citizenship should be ended. Of course, I am more interested in the university vote than in the City of London, but I look upon the City of London vote—
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order. I put it to you, Mr. Dunnico, that the hon. Member for Oxford University (Sir C. Oman) is abusing the rights of the Committee in order to make a speech on university franchise when dealing with the City of London.
§ Mr. HANNON
The hon. Member is merely giving an illustration from one of the universities in support of the position of the City of London.
The hon. Member was strictly in Order in debating whether it was right and proper that one man should have only one vote. It is true that he made a slight passing reference to the university vote. Had he developed that argument, I should certainly have pulled him up, but he did not do so. 702 I think that hon. Members may trust me to deal with these matters. I am following the Debate.
§ Sir C. OMAN
I was only saying that I wish to protect the City of London in every way possible, because of a fellow feeling, as the representative of a constituency, which, like the City of London, is threatened by what I regard as a most unwise and iniquitous Bill. And therewith I conclude what, after my wont, is, I think, a very short trespass on the time of the House.
§ Mr. EDE
The hon. Member for Oxford University (Sir C. Oman) said that he was in favour of giving the best citizens the most votes. I have no doubt that that is a point of view which most of us would take up, because I find that on polling day we are apt to think that the best citizens are going to vote for us. I would like to see a schedule to an Act of Parliament which decided the number and the variety of votes the different citizens were to have. Let us be clear upon this matter. There is no proposal in front of the Committee in regard to this Clause which affects anything except giving more than one vote to the representatives of wealth. If there were something in the Clause to say that the highly-skilled artisan might have as many votes as a highly-skilled company promoter, there would be some justification for it. I cannot imagine why, after we were appealed to yesterday to preserve the simple franchise because it would be so difficult for people to give an alternative vote, we should be asked to-day to give a very complicated franchise in which people receive definite numbers of votes upon satisfying some person or other of their definite value as citizens.
We have been asked by certain hon. Members opposite to believe that this discussion and its result are being awaited with terror by people abroad who have foreign investments in the City of London, and that if to-night this Committee decide that the electoral roll of the City of London is to be placed upon a basis different from the present basis, they will immediately wire for all their money to be transferred back to them, because it will not be safe, owing to the fact that some slight may have been caused to the City of London. After all, the business franchise does not merely enfran- 703 chise the bankers and the financiers, but it enfranchises my hon. Friend the Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) and other people who have chambers in the Temple and elsewhere. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I have no doubt that it is thought to be a good thing on the opposite side of the Committee, because few lawyers find the straight and narrow path to the Labour party. I cannot help thinking that if the votes of lawyers were cast as a rule for this party rather than for one or other of the parties opposite, it might be felt that their votes were not quite as good as they are regarded at the moment.
My hon. Friend below me used an extraordinary argument. He thinks that somewhere in the remote times of antiquity the Labour party had its origin in the City of London. Therefore, inasmuch as it is our cradle, and I suppose that Gog and Magog rocked the cradle, we ought to retain the double representation of the City. So far as I know, the thing of which the City is proudest is the representation of the dagger on its coat of arms with which Walworth stabbed Wat Tyler. I should have liked to hear the hon. Member develop his argument a little further, so that he might have told us at what point of time and under what circumstances the Labour party had its origin in the City of London. We have had various appeals to support the City of London becuase of the famous afternoon when King Charles I entered the House, which was then St. Stephen's Hall, and the City of London received the five Members to its bosom. That is a long time ago. I doubt if there was an attempt made to arrest five Members of the Liberal party at the present time—
§ Mr. EDE
There are five Members of the Liberal party here now. I doubt if they would receive the same hospitality in the City of London that John Hampden and his colleagues received. Are we to give Middlesex special representation because it returned John Wilkes on several occasions? Are we to preserve Wendover because it returned John Hampden?
§ Mr. EDE
I am glad that I have got sufficiently near to the pronunciation for the hon. Member to recognise the place to which I was referring. Are we to continue two Members for that borough, the name of which the hon. Member can pronounce, because it returned Peter Wentworth? We have to deal with the facts of to-day and we have to make an electoral system which is based on the facts of to-day. The main reason why the City welcomed the five Members was because they were fighting a King that was attempting to tax the City rather more heavily than they thought they ought to be taxed. That is why, perhaps, the City might be prepared more readily to welcome five Members from the bench above the Gangway than they would be to welcome five Members from below the Gangway opposite, if it came to a case of saving people from arrest to-day.
We all agree that in the fight for political liberty in this country the City of London played a great and distinguished part, and all honour to them, but that is no reason why under the altered conditions, when the merchants of London no longer live over their shop premises, when their apprentices no longer live with them, that we should continue the double representation of the City. When one thinks of the way in which that high tradition has been departed from in recent years, we are entitled to say: "A mountain stream that ends in mud, methinks is melancholy."
Sir HILTON YOUNG
The hon. Member who has just spoken should not attempt to confuse the Committee. Yesterday we were contending for a simple system of electing and representatives and to-day we are pleading for variety in the interests to be represented. There is all the difference in the world between the two things. As regards the method by which we meet Members of Parliament there cannot be too much simplicity, but as regards the interests which those Members represent 705 there cannot be too great a variety. It is difficult in the speeches of hon. Members opposite to find anything except a positive rage for destruction. It is as if those hon. Members who have sat here for two years without effect are now saying to themselves: "We cannot construct anything but, at any rate, we can pull something down." It is always very much easier to pull down than to construct. It would be possible to attach some reason to the arguments that me have heard from the other side if in the country at the present time we had a system of absolute equality of representation, one man one vote in complete equivalence all over the country; but it is not so. That never has been the accepted system of the country and it is not so to-day.
Our existing system of representation is based upon representation of the locality; the representation of special interests in the separate localities. There is very great difference in the equivalence of votes in the various localities. Again, our system of representation is based upon the representation of special interests. It is so in the fact of representation of rural parts on the, one hand and the towns upon the other. No attempt has ever been made in our law to draw an absolute equivalent between the two, because it is recognised that if you are to get a healthy constitution in Parliament you must have these distinct parts of the country separately represented. If we were proceeding upon the basis of the strict equivalence of votes which hon. Members opposite are assuming, there would be something in their arguments, but there is nothing in their arguments under the present conditions.
Under the present conditions it is absolutely logical and in accordance with our existing system of representation that there should be a continuance of the representation by special means, very moderate means, of the business interests. If we had a Socialist system, if there was no capital in private hands, it would be reasonable to adopt the Resolution which is to be put to the House, but it is not so; we are still living, much to the regret of hon. Members opposite, under an individualist and capitalist system.
I have had to rule one hon. Member out of order, for dealing with the respective merits of the financial system, and I am afraid that I cannot permit the hon. Member to discuss the capitalist system as opposed to the Socialist.
Sir H. YOUNG
I will content myself with observing that so long as there is capitalism in the country there should be some special weight given to the factor of business in the economic equation. Is it not a fact that at the present time doubts are arising in the minds of people not only in this country but all over the world as to whether equalitarian democracy is the best way of governing a country? Equalitarian democracy governs by the simple counting of heads. I cannot argue so wide a question tonight, but since it is possible that in the near future in order to get more effective government we should be looking forward to some means of getting a more reasonable basis for democracy than the mere counting as equal of heads which providence did not make equal, is it wise at the present time to root out of our existing system of representation every seed of variety for the future? The present seeds of variety are very few. There is university representation. Another most important seed of possible future variety is in the special representation of business interests. When we are still in so much doubt as to what the future evolution of democracy may be, it is wise to keep those possibilities of variation, and not to eliminate them. If we do, we are going to make healthy evolution harder for the future.
A word about the City of London. It would be a most extraordinary thing, it would be showing a strange blindness to the history of this House, if such a Motion as we are shortly to vote upon were to be passed, and this House were practically to doom to extinction—because it is nothing less than that—the special weight of the City of London in our councils, without words being said to signify the grave sense of the extraordinary departure from all the traditions and historical memories most cherished by this House involved in such a course. The hon. Member who has just spoken challenged us to show how the Labour party had sprung from the support of the City.
Sir H. YOUNG
If the hon. Member will accept me as a temporary substitute, let me attempt to address myself to the very interesting question which he has raised. It does astonish me that hon. Members opposite, cherishing, as I suppose they do, the people's cause, should show so little regard for the association of the City of London with that cause. On three separate occasions in our history has the cause of the people depended for its existence on the influence in our councils of the City of London. The first was at the time of the great rebellion when the cause of Parliament in its first struggle with the Executive was cherished and maintained in existence by the support given to it by the City of London. The second occasion was when that all-too-adventurous pilot, the first Lord Shaftesbury, was organising the Green Ribbon Clubs, and introducing for the first time in our history the organisation of popular party government. He was then dependent for the very existence of that epoch-making development of the democratic cause on the City of London. The third occasion was that alluded to by the hon. Member himself in his reference to John Wilkes. John Wilkes did not depend for his influence on the county of Middlesex which returned him. He was supported and maintained in the struggle by the City of London. That was the last great struggle which occurred in this House between the cause of the people and the forces seeking to reestablish personal monarchical government.
One need not hesitate to refer to tradition. Tradition is not simply a barren memory. It is something from which we may learn important lessons as to what is wholesome for our nation's future. I am astonished that hon. Members opposite should be so indifferent to all the lessons which may be learned from the past as to the forces in our councils which fight for the people. Those forces are still alive. It is important to retain in our councils this great independent force of the City, so strong that it need consider neither Government nor any other overmastering power—no overmastering power whether of the wage-earners, the executive or any other power 708 at all. The power of the City of London will always stand as an independent force.
I do not fear to refer to the power of finance. It is important to consider it in our councils, so long as we have an individualist and capitalist system, as we still have. Adequate weight should be given to the various economic factors that make up that system. The City of London stands for that strong factor which is not otherwise represented here. At the risk of raising a derisive cheer I do not hesitate to say that the factor of finance deserves special weight in representation. The argument advanced by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) is not true. It was that stress is laid by us upon the City as the representative of wealth and power. That is not so. We support its representation because it performs high services to the community, that are not performed anywhere else, neither here nor indeed in any other country in the world. We owe much of our wealth and influence as a nation to the structure of international banking, trade and finance, which is maintained in the City of London. It is the world's centre of banking, shipping, and the source of our re-export industries. Believe me, if by this rage for destruction, this desire for dead uniformity, you succeed in injuring these great fruitful forces which work in the City of London, you will gravely impoverish this country. You will make unemployment go up even faster than it is.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I believe that I am one of the few Members of this House who have sat through the whole course of the Debate, only missing one speech. The thing which has interested me in the course of the discussion has been that though speaker after speaker has spoken in support of the maintenance of special interest representation in this House, each one has shown a difference in his special interest. It has been entirely different from the constituencies they happen to represent. The right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for the City of London (Sir V. Bowater) gave a very delightful historical and antiquarian speech which might have come quite fitly from hon. Members for the Universities. The hon. Member for Oxford University (Sir C. Oman) made a speech which, I think, might fitly have come from the gutter. The financial speeches were made 709 by the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Smithers) who sits for a delightful rural area, and by the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne), who sits for a fashionable West End residential quarter of the City of Glasgow. All that seems to me to support the view that a plain democratic system of elections on a geographical basis secures that in this House there shall be an adequate representation of all the various interests who claim to be represented.
I am not interested seriously in the arguments of hon. Members opposite. They are, to use a current slang expression, "doing their stuff" in the appropriate style. They are endeavouring to maintain the special political powers and influence they have always had in the political affairs of this country. They are not content with having a special Chamber of their own at the other end, but most of them have special representation kept for them in this House. I am not concerned about that. It is their business to do it, and it is quite according to the necessities of the political struggle. I walked with hon. Gentlemen opposite into that Lobby last night because I recognised that the struggle that they are putting up to-day is a plain struggle, and, in my view, it will be a struggle a l'outrance, or to the bitter end. Therefore, I want a voting system that is plain and direct. I do not want a voting system that clouds the issues. To me, the reason why this country is hesitant about going forward with development, and has failed to solve the problems, is simply because we are evading the class issue. We are dodging the necessity for a fight between the rising working-classes and vested interests.
I would be foolish if, having the opportunity to cast my vote, I refrained from casting it against any attempt to continue the prestige of the City of London, to continue its political influence, because to me its influence—and I make all the necessary apologies to the hon. Gentlemen who represent it here—is definitely against the interests of the large mass of the community. It has been a vicious influence in the whole life of the present Government. It laid down its terms and conditions at the beginning of the Labour Government as has been done in every other country in the world 710 where Labour began seeing itself getting power. In Norway, the bankers threw out the Government after 10 days, because it declared itself Socialist. The bankers are trying to dictate to the Labour Government in Australia, and I asked here by the Labour Government to give special representation to that vicious financial interest.
I am interested in history in an academic way, and I hope I am sufficiently interested to draw lessons from the past. I know that the parallels used to-day to justify the historical exploits on the part of the City of London for political freedom were in regard to incidents drawn from the period when the commercial and financial forces were fighting a despotic monarchy and feudalism. The fight is not now between financial interests and feudalism, but between the working-classes and capitalism, and in the conditions of capitalism in which we are in to-day—
I cannot permit a discussion of the respective financial systems, or a Debate might develop as between Socialism and Capitalism. I cannot allow that to take place on this Amendment.
§ Mr. MAXTON
As has been said by speaker after speaker in the course of this Debate, the City of London is the key centre of finance and capitalism, not merely here, but throughout the world. The Labour Government, through the Home Secretary, asks me to cast my vote against the Amendment, because if we do not put in this Clause it will leave an anomalous position, an anomalous position in which the City of London may send two Members to this House with something like 5,000 votes only behind them. But the Clause, as drafted, does that; it creates that anomaly. If all the persons who work in the City of London through the day decide to cast their votes in the place where they live, the City of London will have 5,000 people represented by two Members in this House. That anomaly is there now, and that anomaly will remain.
There are a dozen ways in which it can be partly rectified by consequential Amendments in this Bill, and can be fully rectified in the subsequent redistribution legislation that must be 711 introduced before very long. I hope that every Labour Member in this House will realise the energy with which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have defended the position as against the interests of their own constituencies, as against the rights of their own constituencies. They are not talking about special representation for Huntingdon, which, as a constituency, has great historical associations for this House; they are not talking in terms of Oliver Cromwell's past history receiving special representation; they are not talking in terms of special recognition of Simon de Montfort. I say that if the City of London is to have two Members, then Huntingdon ought to have 10, and Leicester ought to have 20.
Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen may use the past to back up their argument, but they want the special representation of the City of London, because it is the key centre of world finance and capitalism. Therefore, I propose to cast my vote to take away what special power they have got politically in this House, knowing that their power outside at this juncture is absolutely unlimited. I say, further, to those who are asking for special votes because they have got money—that argument has been used right throughout the Debate; Members on the Front Bench have said we must not have democracy merely by counting noses. We of the Labour movement are not counting noses but brains behind the noses, and we are prepared to carry on a fair, straight fight with others on the basis of brains, on the basis of intelligence, on the basis of political equality. But the representatives of the classes opposite are not prepared to meet us on that ground. They say, "You must give special weight to our political influence because we have got money"—not brains, but money—"because we have got property, because we have got position, because we have got university distinctions you have to give us special political power." I say they are frightened to face the working classes man to man on equal political ground. We are going to vote for this Amendment. Not even in the City of London are there to be special privileges to the wealthy classes of this country if our votes are able to prevent them.
§ Lord E. PERCY
We have just heard from the hon. Member a characteristic speech to which I may return later. At this moment, I would only say that we are discussing a new situation for this country, and not the hon. Member's pet game of class war. We have to approach this Amendment from the point of view of the constitution under which it is best for this country to be governed at the present moment. We have heard a great deal, especially from the back benches opposite, about making the House of Commons a more businesslike assembly, and this Debate is an example of the fact that the House of Commons, however much it restricts its debating powers, however much it restricts the time which it spends on debate, can never be businesslike as long as it is led by a Government which refuse to be businesslike. I have great sympathy with hon. Members opposite in the difficulty in which they have been placed when I look at the choice put before the Committee to-night. The Government have begun by introducing a Bill very narrowly drawn.
That was clever. Having drawn their Bill so narrow, they have made it impossible for hon. Members who have moved this Amendment to do what they want to do. They wish to abolish the representation of the City of London. The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. O. Baldwin) says that they do not. Then we understand that they wish to leave one Member for the City of London representing a population variously estimated at from 5,000 to 10,000. That is the position of the House—that nothing that they can do with this Bill will produce from their point of view a decent or tolerable solution of the problem of the City of London. Into that position the Government have led us. Having led us into that position, where the only choice before us is to accept what they ask us to accept or to make nonsense of this Bill—to act like a lot of naughty little boys breaking the windows of a schoolmaster whom they do not like—having reduced us to that position, the Government run away and allow a free vote. The Government refuse even to prevent the House making a fool of itself. They have prevented this House doing a business job; they have prevented this House dealing with the question of the representation of the people in a way 713 worthy of the dignity of the House. It has prevented the House doing that, and then it turns round to ask—
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
On a point of Order. What relation has the question that the Noble Lord is discussing to the City of London, in view of your previous ruling when other speakers were speaking, particularly on this side of the Committee. I would like to know the connection of the Noble Lord's remarks with the Amendment.
I think it better to ignore the implied suggestion that I have simply called to order Members on one side of the Committee. I have pulled up Members on both sides. I am not prepared to permit any insinuation of that kind again. I was following the Noble Lord's speech. The Noble Lord was trying to prove that the Amendment would not secure what he assumed was the object of the Movers, because the Bill had been so tightly drawn. In so far as he was trying to demonstrate that, he was perfectly in order.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On that point of Order. Ts it not a fact that the Noble Lord was devoting a fair portion of his time to a discussion of the question whether or not the Whips should be put on. I have no objection to the Noble Lord doing that.
If any hon. Member keeps within the Rules of Order, how he uses his time is no concern of mine.
§ Lord E. PERCY
I was just coming to the end of that part of my argument and I was going to wind it up in this way: There have been many references to history. Perhaps the Committee will allow me to quote one remark made by Charles James Fox about the war policy of the younger Pitt, which he described as "little piddling wars of half a million." This Bill, instead of being a Bill that could be dealt with by this House in order to make a proper reform of the representation of the people, is the sort of Bill, the only sort of Bill that this Government can introduce, a little piddling Bill dealing with one or two minor matters. It is a thoroughly characteristic old gang Bill, and I do not wonder that the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. 714 Maxton) is angry with the Government. The Bill bears all the marks of what has come to be known as the old gang.
As to the allies of the Government Front Bench, allies both in their cleverness and in their cowardice, that strange combination, I understand that the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel), whose speech I am sorry that I missed, twitted my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) for making a speech which might have been made 100 or 200 years ago. I do not wonder at the right hon. Gentleman's indignation. No one could ever suspect him of making in this House a speech which he could have made even 10 years ago. It was true that the speech to which I refer was made almost 14 years ago. The right hon. Member for Darwen, in addressing the House on 22nd May, 1917, made this remark:I have believed always that there was an absolute justification for both a business vote and a residential vote. … I believe that the dual vote, the business vote and the residential vote, represents an absolutely logical demand, and I do not think any objection can be taken to that"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd May, 1917; col. 2184; Vol. 93.]
§ Lord E. PERCY
22nd May, 1917. I hope I have not done any injustice to the right hon. Member. If so, he can correct me. I may, perhaps, for the purpose of comparison, remind the Committee of what the right hon. Gentleman said on 2nd February last:It is indefensible in our view, that this business premises qualification should continue. The Government have, in the kindness of their hearts, saved the separate identity of the City of London. We do not quarrel with such measures as they may think necessary, but that also must be regarded as a serious anomaly."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd February, 1931; cols. 1504 and 1505; Vol. 247.]I understand that to-day the right hon. Gentleman has decided that, in spite of that serious anomaly, he will support the Government Front Bench in the Lobby. Let me now address myself to those who are the real and enthusiastic supporters of the Amendment. It is fortunate, I think, that we are discussing in one Debate the whole question of the business premises qualification and the special case of the City of London. The case of 715 the City of London is the crucial test and I am going to deal with the case of the City of London in that light. The very hon. Members who have put their names to this Amendment are those who feel most strongly on that side of the Committee, though certainly not more strongly than many of us, that the chief need of this country is that the Government of the country and the House of Commons should have an active, positive industrial policy. We may differ as to the lines which that policy should take, but we are all agreed that the House of Commons should be in a position to evolve, and under the leadership of a strong Government to carry through, a positive industrial policy. For that purpose it is necessary that the House of Commons ought to be to-day, what it was in its early origin, representative not only of population numerically, not only of geographical areas, but of the chief sources of national power economic and otherwise.
What gave the House of Commons its power at every time when it was strong? I am not going back to the days of Simon de Montfort but what gave the House of Commons its power at those times was that it represented, not necessarily a large numerical total of the population but the chief sources of national power. When the House of Commons became weak and discredited it was always at a time when it had got out of touch with those sources of power. A great deal has been said about the history of the City of London. It is true, certainly, that in the 18th century it was the influence of the City of London behind Chatham which ended that bad corrupt system of Parliamentary group government, invented and conducted by the Pelhams, but later, when Parliament again became weak and unable to cope with the situation of the country, when it became discredited in public opinion, immediately before the 1832 Reform Bill, it was not because it had a number of rotten boroughs, it was not because it represented only a small portion of the population. No. What, above all, made that Parliament weak was that it did not represent the great and growing centres of industrialism in the Midlands and the North. The same is true to-day. The House of Commons is becoming weak 716 and discredited—and no one has said that more openly and more repeatedly than the hon. Members who have moved and supported this Amendment—because it is increasingly out of touch with the chief industrial powers of the nation. A lot has been said about the question of the representation of the City of London as though it were a question of the right of the City of London to something which the City of London would lose if it were not represented here. The question has been argued as if the issue here was whether or not the City of London should retain its financial powers, or whether it would be prejudiced or harmed by losing its representation in the House of Commons. That is not the question at all. The City of London has no right to representation in the House of Commons which the House of Commons cannot override. The House of Commons has the right, or at any rate Parliament has the right to lay down the conditions upon which Members of the House of Commons shall be elected and if it pleases to say that the City of London shall not be represented, if it pleases to say that no director of a public company shall sit in the House of Commons, if it pleases to say that no official in the pay of a trade union shall sit in the House of Commons, it has a perfect right to do so and none of those interests has any right to protest or object. But the question here is very different. As the hon. Member for East Leicester (Mr. Wise) said, the financial and economic power of the City of London will not be lessened by the fact that the City of London is not represented in this House. No. But the House of Commons will be, by just so much, out of touch with the manner in which that power is exercised.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
The Noble Lord was good enough to say that if he did me any injustice, in a quotation which he made just now, I might interrupt him. He certainly has done me an injustice, quite unwittingly I am sure. He gave a most effective quotation, which was received with loud cheers from hon. Members behind him, from a speech in which, it was alleged, I said that I strongly approved of the system of both business and residential qualifications. I have looked up the report, and I find that the Noble Lord's quotation was textually 717 quite accurate, and that the context does not affect the passage at all. The only matter that does affect it somewhat is that the hon. Member who made that speech was not myself. I was amazed when I heard the quotation given as having come from my lips. But I am not at all surprised that it should have come from the lips of a very distinguished and well known Member of the Conservative party, Sir Harry Samuel.
§ Lord E. PERCY
I need hardly tell the right hon. Gentleman that I apologise to him sincerely for the wrong which I have done him. I did not look up the quotation myself; it was handed to me.
§ Lord E. PERCY
It was handed to me, not by any official outside this House, but by a Member of this House, and it is only another instance, or which I sincerely apologise, of the danger of ever making a quotation unless one has verified it first. I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman. This unfortunate contretemps came at the moment when I was pursuing my argument, and I was making this point, that the question raised by this Amendment is not whether the City of London has any right to representation in this House, but whether this House will not be gravely harmed if it cuts itself off and excludes representation of the chief sources of power in this country. Already steadily this House is enjoying less and less prestige with those who have the responsibility for the use of economic power—[Interruption]—both on behalf of the employers in industry and on behalf of the workers.
We have long been accustomed to the fact that many of the chief trade union leaders would rather not be Members of this House, because they have more power and influence outside, and they prefer to leave representation in this House to subordinate officials of their unions. In the same way, the administrators and managers of economic power in this country are increasingly regarding this House as not worth while taking into account. They find that they consult more effectively with the Government of this country direct, and not through this House, that it is better to short-circuit this House, to enter into extra-constitutional, direct communication with the 718 Government of the day, than to have anything to do with this House; and if this House wants to know why they take that attitude, they take it for the very reason of that kind of speech which we have heard from the benches opposite to-day. [Interruption.] It is because the House of Commons thinks of national policy in that way, because it refuses increasingly to regard itself as representing anything but the dull, average level of mediocrity of the—[Interruption.]
Order. Hon. Members must have some regard to and respect for the dignity of this House, and if hon. Members will not, I shall have to intervene and enforce it.
§ Lord E. PERCY
May I remind hon. Members that we have listened calmly to the grossest accusations of self-interest from hon. Members opposite, and they might at least, having imposed the Guillotine on this Debate, give a decent opportunity of reply. I say that, because this House is increasingly impatient of any point of view except that the individual man or woman should be represented as such, quite apart from his professional or his business or his trade union interest, because they will not listen to any attempt to make this House the representative of the interests of this country in a good sense—the sources of power of this country—because they will have nothing to do with any proposal which tends really to harness Parliament to the economic and industrial life of this country, because they consistently take that point of view, because they talk increasingly in terms of Continental democracy, because they use precisely that language of Continental democracy which has created all the dictatorships of Europe, because they insist on taking that line, therefore this House is steadily drifting away from any power or any influence over industrial policy in the country.
I have listened to this Debate, I have seen hon. Members opposite who are elected for the purpose of evolving industrial policy, if ever a party was, I have seemed to see that party steadily engaged in sawing off the branch of the tree on which they are sitting—
§ Lord E. PERCY
One final word. Hon. Members opposite have been talking exactly as I remember for years listening to American progressive reformers talking, trying to attack the financial power of the city of New York. They have succeeded in making Congress and in making every Legislature in America a very uncomfortable place for anyone who represents the money power in New York, but have they by that means lessened the power of New York over the economic life of the country? No; they have only cut themselves off from all prospect of influencing it, from all prospect of effecting any real economic reform in the United States; and that is what hon. Members opposite, by their arguments, are doing to-day. Whatever the Government may do, when we go into the Lobby we shall go not as representing the right of any constituency in this country to send representatives to the House of Commons, but as representing apparently the only party in the State which is determined to have an active industrial policy—[Interruption]—and is determined that this House of Commons shall not be absolutely and permanently cut off from all those sources of information and advice, from all those opportunities of consultation, on which alone an industrial policy can be founded.
§ Mr. SHORT
We have had a most interesting discussion upon the two issues involved in the consideration of this Clause. The merits and demerits of excepting the City of London have been canvassed from both points of view, and I would remind the Committee that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary explained fully and clearly in his Second Reading speech, and in his speech to-night, the grounds upon which this exception was made in the Clause, and indicated the attitude and the policy of the Government in relation to it. There is one point only which I would emphasise, because I have observed some misunderstanding running through some of the speeches. Reference has been made to the electors in the City of London, if this Bill passes in its present 720 form, as possessing two votes. An elector in the City of London who exercises his vote in the City at a General Election will not be able to vote elsewhere. I make that clear, because I noted a misunderstanding in some of the speeches.
I am amazed at the remarkable speeches which have been delivered from the Tory benches, particularly that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy), and that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery). The Noble Lord seemed to complain that this Bill had been narrowly drawn. One would have thought there never had been a Tory Government, or a Bill introduced by any Tory Minister drawn as narrowly as this, which seriously affected the opportunities of the Opposition. He said that the Clause was full of fiddling things. He seemed, however, to engender a great deal of heat. He proceeded to suggest that it was desirable that Parliament should be harnessed to the economic life of the nation. We have pleaded for that, and it is due to the existence of the Parliamentary Labour party that Parliament is being compelled to be harnessed with the economic life of the country, and it ill becomes the right hon. Gentleman to talk to-day in the manner in which he does. Then he made references to Parliament becoming discredited, but we find no evidence of it in the minds of the people.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook made a most reactionary and antiquated speech. I never heard a more reactionary speech from those benches. I doubted whether the right hon. Gentleman represented the views of the Tory party and of those who sit behind him, but I had not to wait long before he was quickly repudiated, first by the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir It Horne) who, I understand, is tipped by political tipsters as a likely successor to the right hon. Gentleman's leader; and then by the hon. and gallant Member for Dulwich (Sir F. Hall). I was also interested in the speech of the right hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir H. Young). He seemed to have some doubts, and said they were growing doubts, as to the wisdom of extending what he termed the equality of 721 democratic representation. I move about a great deal in my constituency, and I am familiar with the course of polities, and I find no such doubts, but a growing demand, expressing itself in clear and. precise language, for an extension of the basis of our democratic representation such as is particularly contained in the Clause which we are considering to-night.
If the right hon. Member for Hastings and the right hon. Member for Sevenoaks wanted to assist the cause of the City of London here they went about it in a curious way when they talked about the power of the City of London. That was not likely to influence many hon. Members on this side of the House. The Clause not merely makes the exception to which I have referred, but it abolishes the business premises qualification. [Interruption.] It makes no difference; I have to speak, as far as I know, until half-past ten. I was saying that this is not only a necessary step in the process of improving and increasing our democratic representation but, as the right hon. Gentleman for Darwen said, it is a step long overdue. As far back as 1832 the words "the representation of the people" appeared in an Act. I have no doubt it was regarded as a very novel idea in those days, but we have made great progress since then. Various Acts of Parliament have been passed since 1832, and the Act of 1918 gave substantial effect to the extension of the suffrage. [Interruption.] I shall come to that if the-Noble Lady will wait.
§ Mr. SHORT
I was referring to the Act of 1928. Plural voting and the business qualification have always given rise to great argument and opposition, and on occasions to acrimony. It is a remarkable thing that, as far back as 1913, a Bill to abolish plural voting was passed by the then House of Commons, Only to be rejected by another place. [Interruption.] History may repeat itself, and I have no doubt that if the hon. Member who interrupted me had his way it would be repeated to-night. Hon. Members opposite do not rely upon their own intelligence. In order to defeat the democratic tendency of our time, they rely upon the Members of another place. In 1914 another Bill dealing with this question was passed by this House, and rejected by another place, and had it not been for the War this pernicious anomaly would have been removed before now.
This anomaly cannot be justified on the ground of reason or justice in the democratic times in which we live. The law now assumes the right of every adult person, whether man or woman, to have a voice in the affairs of the country and only one vote. That is what we propose, as far as the Clause which we are considering is concerned. With a voting strength of 29,000,000 there is only half a million entitled to a vote on the business qualification. I will conclude by saying that the removal of this anomaly is long overdue. It is a fantastic anomaly, and I am surprised to see right hon. Gentlemen opposite rise in their places and plead on its behalf. On this particular issue, at any rate, I look for the supports of my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne).
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 283; Noes, 206.725
|Division No. 184.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut-Colonel||Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Beaumont, M. W.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Aske, Sir Robert||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Astor, Viscountess||Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood|
|Albery, Irving James||Atholl, Duchess of||Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Atkinson, C.||Berry, Sir George|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Betterton, Sir Henry B.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)|
|Allan, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman|
|Allen, W. E. D. (Belfast, W.)||Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Bird, Ernest Roy|
|Amery, Bt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Bainiel, Lord||Birkett, W. Norman|
|Blindell, James||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne).||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Purbrick, R.|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Pybus, Percy John|
|Boyce, Leslie||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Bracken, B.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Bran, Captain Sir William||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Remer, John R.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Rentoul, Sir Gerva[...]s S.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Hammersley, S. S.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Buchan, John||Hartington, Marquess of||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Haslam, Henry C.||Rothschild, J. de|
|Butler, R. A.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur p.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cadogan. Major Hon. Edward||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Salmo[...], Major I.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney. N.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Samuel, Samuet (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hurd, Percy A.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Cazalet, Captain victor A.||Inskip, Sir Thomas||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Iveagh, Countess of||Savery, S. S.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Christie, J. A.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Knight, Holford||Simms, Major-General J.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Skel[...]ton, A. N.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Leigh, Sir John (Ciapham)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Little, Sir Ernest Graham-||smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Courtauld, Major J S.||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Smithers, Waldron|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Somerset, Thomas|
|Cowan, D. M.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cranbourne, Viscount||Long, Major Hon. Eric||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lymington, Viscount||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Stanley, Hon. O (Westmorland)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Dallas, George||Macquisten, F. A.||Sueter Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Marjoribanks, Edward||Thornton, Sir F.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Mathers, George||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Dixey, A. C.||Mel[...]ler, R. J.||Train, J.|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Millar, J. D.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Dugdale. Capt. T. L.||Milner, Major J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Mitchell. Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Moore, Lieut-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|England, Colonel A.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.M.)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Faile, Sir Bertram G.||Muirhead, A. J.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fermoy, Lord||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fielden, E. B.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Fison, F. G. Clavering||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrs[...]'ld)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Womersley, W. J.|
|Foresti[...]er-Walker, Sir L.||O'Connor, T. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||O'Neill, Sir H.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Major the Marquess of Titchfield|
|Grace, John||Peake, Capt. Osbert||and Sir Victor Warrender.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Penny, Sir George|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Phillips, Dr. Mar[...]ion|
|Alpass, J. H.||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Picton-Turbervill, Edith|
|Ammon, Charles George||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Pole, Major D. G.|
|Arnott, John||Herriotts, J.||Potts, John S.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Price, M. P.|
|Ayles, Walter||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hoffman, P. C.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Raynes, W. R.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Richards, R.|
|Barr, James.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Batey, Joseph||Isaacs, George||Ritson, J.|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Jenkins, Sir William||Romer[...]l, H. G.|
|Benson, G.||Johnston, Thomas||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Rowson, Guy|
|Bowen, J. W.||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Kelly, W. T.||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Bromley, J.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Brooke, W.||Lang, Gordon||Scurr, John|
|Brothers, M.||Lathan, G.||Sexton, Sir James|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Law, A. (Rossend[...]le)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawrence, Susan||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Shield, George William|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Lawson, John James||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Cameron, A. G.||Lawther W. (Barnard Castle)||Shinwell, E.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Leach, W.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Chater, Daniel||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Clarke, J. S.||Lees, J.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Logan, David Gilbert||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Compton, Joseph||Longbottom, A. W.||Sorensen. R.|
|Cove, William G.||Longden, F.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Daggar, George||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dalton, Hugh||McElwee, A.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Day, Harry||McEntee, V. L||Strauss, G. R.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)||Su[...]van, J.|
|Devlin, Joseph||MacLaren, Andrew||Sutton, J. E.|
|Dukes, C.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Duncan, Charles||McShane, John James||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Tillett, Ben|
|Egan, W. H.||Manning, E. L.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mansfield, W.||Toole, Joseph|
|Foot, Isaac.||March, S.||Townend, A. E.|
|Freeman, Peter||Marcus, M.||Vaughan, David|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Marley, J.||V[...]ant, S. P.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Marshall, Fred||Walkden, A. G.|
|Gill, T. H.||Matters, L. W.||Walker, J.|
|Glassey, A. E.||Maxton, James||Wallace, H. W.|
|Gossling, A. G.||Melville, Sir James||Watkins, F. C.|
|Gould, F.||Messer, Fred||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Graham. D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Middleton, G.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Granville, E.||Mills, J. E.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Gray, Milner||Montague, Frederick||West, F. R.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morley, Ralph||Westwood, Joseph|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wh[...]teley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mort, D. L.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Muff, G.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Muggeridge, H. T.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanally)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Murnin, Hugh||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Naylor, T. E.||Wilson, c. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Noel Baker, P. J.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Oldfield, J. R.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Harbord, A.||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Wise, E. F.|
|Hardie, George D.||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Palin, John Henry.|
|Haycock, A. W.||Paling, Wilfri[...]d||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hayday, Arthur||Palmer, E. T.||Mr. Kinley and Mr. Brockway.|
|Hayes, John Henry||Perry, S. F.|
§ It being after Half-past Ten of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 3rd March, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at this day's sitting.726
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 271; Noes, 228.731
|Division No. 185.]||AYES.||[10.44 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Mort, D. L.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harbord, A.||Muff, G.|
|Angell, Sir Norman||Hardle, George D.||Muggeridge, H. T.|
|Arnott, John||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Murnin, Hugh|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Haycock, A. W.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hayday, Arthur||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Ayles, Walter||Hayes, John Henry||Noel Baker, P. J.|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Barr, James||Herr[...]otts, J.||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Westworth)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Palin, John Henry|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Hoffman, P. C.||Paling, Wilfrid|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Hors-Bellsha, Leslie.||Palmer. E. T.|
|Benson, G.||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Perry, S. F.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Isaacs, George||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Blindell, James||Jenkins, Sir William||Phillips, Dr. Marion|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Johnston, Thomas||Picton-Turbervill, Edith|
|Bowen, J. W.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Led (Camborne)||Pole, Major D. G.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Potts, John S.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Price, M. P.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Bromley, J.||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Brooke, W.||Kelly, W. T.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Brothers, M.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Raynes, W. R.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Richards, R.|
|Buchanan, G.||Kinley, J.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Burgess, F. G.||Knight, Holford||Ritson, J.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Lang, Gordon||Romerll, H. G.|
|B[...]xton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Calne, Derwent Hall-||Lathan, G.||Rothschild, J. de|
|Cameron, A. G.||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Rowson, Guy|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras. S.W.)||Law, A. (Rottendale)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawrence, Susan||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Chater, Daniel||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)|
|Clarke, J. S.||Lawson, John James||Sanders, W. S.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Leach. W.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)||Scurr, John|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Sexton, Sir James|
|Compton, Joseph||Lees, J.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Cove, William G.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Logan, David Gilbert||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Daggar, George||Longbottom, A. W.||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Dallas, George||Longden, F.||Shield, George William|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Davies, Rhye John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Day, Harry||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Shinwell, E.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Devlin, Joseph||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Dukes, C.||Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Duncan, Charles||McElwee, A.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Ede, James Chuter||McEntee, V. L.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Edmunds, J. E.||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Egan, W. H.||MacLaren, Andrew||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Smith, Rennle (Penistone)|
|England, Colonel A.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Foot, Isaac||McShane, John James||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Freeman, Peter||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Snell, Harry|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Manning, E. L.||Sorensen, R.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Mansfield, W.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Gill, T. H.||March, S.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Glassey, A. E.||Marcus, M.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Gossling, A. G.||Marley, J.||Strauss, G. R.|
|Gould, F.||Marshall, Fred||Sullivan, J.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mathers, George||Sutton, J. E.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Matters, L. W.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Granville, E.||Maxton, James||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Gray, Milner||Melville, Sir James||Thorne, W. (West Ham. Plaistow)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Messer, Fred||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Middleton, G.||Tillett, Ben|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Millar, J. D.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mills, J. E.||Toole, Joseph|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Milner, Major J.||Townend, A. E.|
|Brandy, Thomas W.||Montague, Frederick||Vaughan, David|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Morley, Ralph||Viant, S. P.|
|Walkden, A. G.||Westwood, Joseph||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Walker, [...]||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)||Wise, E. F.|
|Wallace, H. W.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Watkins, F. C.||William, David (Swansea, East)||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Watson, W. M. (Duntermline)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Wellock, Wilfred||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Welsh, James (Paisley)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards.|
|Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|West, F. R.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Marjorlbanks, Edward|
|Albery, Irving James||Dawson, Sir Philip||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.|
|Alexander, Sir Win. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Dixey, A. C.||Meller, R. J.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Duckworth, G. A. V.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Allen, W. E. D. (Belfast, W.)||Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Eden, Captain Anthony||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Atkinson, C.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Ferguson, Sir John||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G. (Ptrsf'ld)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fermoy, Lord||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Fleiden, E. B.||O'Connor, T. J.|
|Balniel, Lord||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Ford, Sir P. J.||O'Neill, Sir H.|
|Bellaira, Commander Carlyon||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Ganzonl, Sir John||Penny, Sir George|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Gauit, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Gower, Sir Robert||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Grace, John||Purbrick, R.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Boyce, Leslie||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Remer, John R.|
|Bracken, B.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.|
|Braithwalte, Major A. N.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Roberts. Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. sir F. (Dulwich)||Ruggles-Briss, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Buchan, John||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Hammersley, S. S.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Butler, R. A.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hartington, Marquess of||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Campbell, E. T.||Haslam, Henry C.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Savery, S. S.|
|Cattle Stewart, Earl of||Hennessy. Major Sir G. R. J.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Simms, Major-General J.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hoars, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfst)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth, S.)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n a Kinc'dle, C.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Hurd, Percy A.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Inskip, Sir Thomas||Somerset, Thomas|
|Christie, J. A.||Iveagh, Countess of||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Cobb, sir Cyril||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Little, Sir Ernest Graham-||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Llewellin. Major J. J.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Long, Major Hon. Eric||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Lymington, Viscount||Train, J.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, Watt)||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Macquisten. F. A.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Wayland, Sir William A.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Wells, Sydney R.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)||Womersley, W. J.||Major the Marquess of Titchfield|
|and Sir Victor Warrender.|
§ Resolved, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—[Mr. T. Kennedy.]
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.732
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.