That it is expedient to make provision by Act of Parliament with respect to the following matters: —
§ Resolution read a Second time.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I beg to move, in line 16, at the end, to insert the words:(5) there shall be published by the Treasury each month a, statement showing the total assets in gold and in foreign bills or currency or securities held in the fund.I base myself largely upon the report of the Macmillan Committee in moving this Amendment. During the last few years it has become the habit in this House for the Government to appoint expert committees to advise them on important matters of State policy as they arise. It is a habit that was indulged in, perhaps, to excess by the late Labour Government; and it is a habit which is 495 certainly being continued by the present Government. In certain technical and complicated matters like this it is no doubt a good habit; but I suggest that if we do appoint these expert committees, and if they come to unanimous conclusions, it is just as well that we pay a little attention from time to time to their reports and what they have to say. I should like to read a relevant passage in the unanimous report of the Macmillan Committee on this subject. It is paragraph 413 under the heading "Foreign Balances and Foreign Liquid Assets held in Sterling":We attach first-class importance to these figures being collected as comprehensively as possible and published. We recommend that the Bank of England should be charged with the duty of collecting these statistics to the best of its ability. We think that the figures are more likely to be accurate and complete if the returns for individual institutions are treated by the Bank of England as confidential, only the aggregated results being published. We attach importance to these results being made public at monthly intervals. In the long run the advantages to confidence and prestige of the figures being known will far outweigh any supposed advantages from suppression. We believe that a knowledge of the figures which we have collected relating to recent periods would have increased confidence if they had been known at the time. No doubt, if the amount of the gold reserve had not been published hitherto, some fears might be entertained as to the results of publication. So it may be in this case. But for those who would stand high in the world's estimation, the greatest candour and readiness to submit to publicity are now required. Moreover, it is exceedingly desirable that the principal data on which the Bank of England bases its decisions should be generally known.If that recommendation is not explicit, I do not know what is. There has been a very great deal too much secrecy and mystery in the past about the whole of the currency and monetary policy pursued by this country, which it is now becoming generally recognised is of vital importance, going to the very roots of our whole economic and social life. The Financial Secretary is now asking us to give him direct authority to borrow £150,000,000 for the purpose of managing the currency. He has told us he is unable to give us any information as to the policy he is going to pursue. He has told us explicitly that the management of this fund is to be entrusted to the Bank of 496 England. Some of us have not as much confidence in the wisdom of the Bank of England in these matters as others; but, in any case, to ask for a loan of £150,000,000 and to tell the House that it is to be handed over for management to the Bank of England and then, not only to give no information as to the general lines of the policy to be pursued, but no information about the state of the fund whatsoever, is rather a tall order. How is greater control by this House over public expenditure likely to be obtained if we give the Government authority to borrow £150,000,000 without requiring them even to give us information as to the state of the fund from time to time? It is of course undesirable to publish the day-to-day transactions of the exchange equalisation account. We do not even ask for a weekly report. But once this exchange equalisation account is set up, it absolutely nullifies any value that the weekly bank return may have hitherto had so far as giving information as to the balance of payments is concerned.
§ Mr. B00THBY
If the hon. Baronet read the Amendment—it is only a couple of lines, and if he applied his mind to it it would not take more than a minute—he would see exactly what I mean.
§ Mr. ALBERY
—and I do not think it is clear what the hon. Member requires. The Amendment says:there shall be published by the Treasury each month a statement showing the total assets in gold"—That appears to be one figure—and in foreign bills or currency or securities.That would appear to be another figure. It is not clear whether the hon. Member requires an aggregate figure to cover the lot, or two figures to cover gold and foreign securities, or five or six figures.
§ Mr. B00THBY
I thought that from the Amendment it would be clear that we would wish to see both. We want 497 to see the figures both in regard to gold and the other securities' named in the Amendment, and also, naturally, we should require to see the aggregate figures. We want to see, in fact, a monthly statement of the position of the fund, so that it will be clear to the traders and commercial people of the country, and everybody else concerned, including the House of Commons, what the position of the fund is from time to time. I do not see how we can ever know how the balance of payments of this country are going unless we had a statement of the kind. We are ready to agree to a quarterly, or even a biannual statement being made if the Government prefers. We adopted a monthly statement, because it was the specific period of time recommended by the Macmillan Committee.
§ Sir ARTHUR STEEL-MAITLAND
I rise only to ask for information, because some of us have not the Macmillan Committee's report by us. The hon. Member states that the recommendation of the Macmillan Committee was that balances in a fund like the Equalisation Fund should be made public; whereas in the memory of some of us who read the Macmillan report, it was that the balances held here by foreign institutions, such as the French balances which were held in sterling in London, the under-estimate of which was the cause of part of the trouble, should be ascertained. It has nothing to do with the balance of the Equalisation Account. The hon. Member will forgive me for interrupting him, but, speaking from memory, the Macmillan Committee referred to a different matter.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There is really nothing before the House yet. The hon. Member is only moving his Amendment, and hon. Members had better wait until the Amendment is moved before they make their speeches.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I feel more like being in the witness-box under severe cross-examination than speaking in the House of Commons. I read copiously from the Macmillan Committee's report, and I cannot very well read any more of it because if I do we might be here all night. But I would also refer hon. Members to paragraph 218, and to further paragraphs at a later stage dealing generally with the question of informa- 498 tion and publicity. I read paragraph 413 to apply to our holdings in foreign balances as well as to foreign balances in this country as information with regard to which, if we possess it, the maximum amount of publicity is desirable. I suggest that if there is one question upon which this report lays the greatest possible stress all through, and especially in its final recommendations in Part II, which are very comprehensive, it is upon the necessity and desirability of the maximum amount of publicity being given to all the figures of foreign balances, and that those statistics should be published from time to time by the Bank of England.
But to revert to my main argument, I would say that to come to this House and ask for a loan of £150,000,000 and to refuse to give any information whatsoever about the state of the Account of which this loan is to be the basis, is, I think, asking us to bite off rather more than we can be expected to chew. If the right hon. Gentleman is not prepared to accept the Amendment in favour of a monthly statement of the position of the Account in detail, and in the aggregate, I ask him to give us an assurance that we shall be given some information of some kind, not only as to the state of the Account from time to time, but as to the general policy which is being pursued. It cannot be emphasised sufficiently that this sum of £150,000,000 is a tremendously powerful instrument to place in the hands of the Treasury and the Bank. It might be used to carry through a policy of violent inflation or a policy of equally violent deflation. The right hon. Gentleman will be the first to admit that. I think he will also agree that, whether he can accept the actual terms of the Amendment or not, it is not unreasonable that this House before granting this vast sum of money with such infinite potentialities for good or bad, should have more information as to the use to which it is to be put than has hitherto been vouchsafed to us.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
My hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) and myself are rather disadvantaged to-night by the absence of that stern unbending economist the right hon and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) whose name appears in the principal position in con- 499 nection with the Amendment. He drafted the Amendment on the Floor of the House and asked us to give our names to it. It is an admirable Amendment in every way, and we both urge it. We do not apply to it the higher textual criticism which is so characteristic of the late Minister of Labour, a criticism which he has applied with singular success to the present Front Bench and to his immediate successors. It is no use in this Debate impinging ourselves on mere small points. On the whole, the Amendment is reasonable. I do not agree with my hon. Friend in saying that it is a moderate Amendment. I think it is too moderate in some respects.
What is the Government's justification for this obscurantist proposal? The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, in one of his most agreeable speeches, told us that the publication of regular statements would defeat the object of the Fund, and that it would give away our position to those who desire to operate against us. He also told us that the Government had a great strategic plan which led them to embark upon new practices and new methods of procedure. One feels rather doubtful when one hears Ministers talking about great strategic plans. It reminds one of what Disraeli said about a comprehensive plan of Mr. Peel. He said it was a sort of popkins plan. To a large extent this plan may be described, I will not say as a popkins plan, but as a plan of a name very similar to popkins. The Government flatter themselves that the technique they are adopting to prevent a rise in currency is new, but it is not new. It is a most aged and pedestrian procedure. It has been adopted by a lot of countries. It has been suggested by Socialist newspapers—not by the "Daily Herald" but the "Forward." The only thing one can say of it is that it is both pretentious and clumsy.
The secrecy with which the Government desire to involve this plan is certainly not new. It is well within the recollection of the House that the Macmillan Committee, which the Government set up, at great public expense, and which has been blessed by a constant succession of Ministers, strongly recommended that certain statistical information should be available to the central 500 banks of the world, and yet this Government, who bore part of the responsibility for the setting up of the Macmillan Committee now proceed to scrap altogether the report of those gentleman who worked so long and so laboriously to supply them with facts in regard to finance and banking. It seems to me that this policy is an exact fulfilment of the very worst features of the obscurantist currency policy of the last 10 years. Nothing has done more harm to the Bank of England and the Treasury than the shroud of mystery with which they have enfolded the elementary secrets of their operations. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen has given us a learned quotation from the Macmillan Report. I will read a little from a newspaper with which the President of the Board of Trade has had some connection, the "Economist." In the current number, on 23rd April, the "Economist," commenting upon this report, said:While no one would wish to hamper the Bank in the ticklish business of attempting to restrain the vagaries of a free currency, there is an even greater danger to be feared from a policy of secrecy. Nothing has done more to undermine public confidence in the policy of the Bank than the air of mystery with which its proceedings hare frequently been surrounded. Whatever their charters may say, Central Banks are public institutions with a national responsibility. Our own Bank is far behind other leading central banks in the extent to which it takes the public into its confidence. If we are to have a managed currency for some time to come, it will only be possible for management to be effected successfully if market forces automatically come into play to correct fortuitous aberrations of the exchange. The system will never be successful or inspire confidence if a single performer who knows the facts plays a lone hand against the great mass of buyers and sellers of foreign exchange working in the dark. This question, which may seem to be a minor detail, is really of very far-reaching importance, and deserves very careful consideration by the authorities. It is admittedly not an easy matter to settle, but we sincerely hope that the Treasury and the Bank will consider what can be done—both from the point of view of enabling market forces to be a help and not a hindrance, and also as an example to the Central Banks of the world.If the Government will ponder over these words they will realise the retrograde policy to which they are committed by withholding this vital information not only from the traders of this country but from the central banks of the world. One 501 is brought back to the eloquent remarks of the Financial Secretary (having acknowledged the copyright of the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) when he talked about the sterling convoy. To-night he is asking us to put a dense fog around the sterling convoy to ensure that the rest of the ships will be lost in the depths of the ocean. We are asked to adopt a policy of refusing statistical information. To pretend that currency is such an involved subject that no one can understand it who has not been in the Cabinet for two generations or who is a high pundit in the City of London or a great scholar like the boo. Member for Farnham (Sir A. M. Samuel). And we are asked to commit ourselves to this policy on the authority of the august individuals who have directed our currency policy during the last 10 years. I do not want to say anything offensive about these gentlemen, but I must say that one requires a quotation from Swift to sum up their activities. They have had "the misfortune to be perpetually mistaken."
The policy of the gentlemen who have conducted our currency during the last 10 years is in striking contrast to that of one European statesman, who has carried through the greatest stabilisation policy which the world has seen in this century, M. Poincaré, who was faced with difficulties far greater than those with which our Front Bench are faced to-day. He authorised the Bank of France to publish in great detail the whole of their holdings in gold and devisen. If he had thought that that would encourage international speculation he would never have sanctioned the publication of the statistics. The Government would do well to follow the example he set. Secrecy is, to a large extent, the breeding-ground of speculation. If you wish to encourage speculation, you will wrap all your affairs in mystery. That is what the Government are doing. This is a friendly Amendment, and is so reasonable that I feel that the Financial Secretary, or whoever is going to reply on behalf of the Government, ought willingly to accept it. We do not want Great Britain to appear as a country which is doing its best to encourage that appalling economic aggression which is bringing the world into misery, if not into disaster. I appeal to the Financial Secretary to accept this very moderate Amendment. If the right 502 hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme were present, I feel sure that he would put up an admirable case on behalf of the Opposition for some concession of this kind in regard to these vital statistics.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
On general principles I agree with the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) that the more statistics are published and the fuller they are the better. I have refreshed my memory my looking at the Macmillan Committee's report and recommendations, and I find that Section 413 of that report says:We attach first-class importance to these figures"—that is various kinds of statistics—being collected as comprehensively as possible and published.The report goes on to say that as regards most of the British banks, figures are available, and, it adds:The most important omission is that of sterling bills held in their own portfolios by foreign institutions, whether located in London or abroad.In other words, the omission which they thought most important and the supply of which they regarded as most necessary was the amount of sterling bills held by foreign institutions, whether those sterling bills were held in London or abroad. I think it was regarded as common knowledge that the general amount of sterling bills held by foreign institutions and other starling obligations was something Eke £200,000,000 That was what was generally thought, but, part of the trouble which came upon this country was due to the fact that the actual figure was found to be very much higher than had been supposed. Consequently this is a particular omission, the supply of which is of the greatest importance because by that means it would be known how much of a drain there could be, at any moment, upon sterling.
That, however, does not at all prove the case of the hon. Member for East Aberdeen with regard to publication of a very different kind, namely the publication of the amount in the Equalisation Fund at any moment. If I may refer to the precedent quoted by the hon. Member for North Paddington (Mr. Bracken) as to the final stabilisation of the French exchange by M. Poincaré, I do not think that it supports his con- 503 tention either. I think it is a. matter of tolerably common knowledge that the operations needed to keep the French exchange steady, involved comparatively small amounts in themselves. It was probably the psychological effect upon the people who might have wanted to operate on the exchange, which was most important. If that is so, there is a real case for the amount of money in the Equalisation Fund not necessarily being published at any given moment. I do not think, therefore, that the Macmillan Committee lends weight to his contention, and the history of what happened with the French exchange makes it likely that it would be better for the amount in the Equalisation Fund not to be made public. If I have misrepresented him, perhaps he will correct me.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
Of course, the right hon. Gentleman will understand that the Macmillan Committee could not have referred to the Exchange Equalisation Account, because it was not then in being. I was basing myself upon the general plea, which seemed to me very forcible, and the argument in favour of it was the maximum amount of statistical information being made available. I would ask my right hon. Friend to refer also to paragraph 218 of that Report, and most of all to paragraph 425, which is a really formidable plea for information of every sort or kind.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
On general principles, that, I think, is perfectly true. On general principles the fuller statistical information there is, probably the better it is for everyone. Of course, the Macmillan Committee wrote before our experience of the present troubles, but they put their finger on the danger that there might be, a danger which in fact proved very great; but it does not follow, because it is as well to know the amount of the danger that confronts you, that thereby you ought to make public the whole of your resources which might be used to meet that danger. I can well imagine that the commander of an army might like to know precisely the amount of danger confronting him, but it does not follow that if he has to try to meet that danger, he necessarily wants to make the whole of his resources at every point public, I think that is the real answer 504 to what I think the hon. Member for East Aberdeen has said. What we want is a fund to meet the danger if it arises. From that point of view, I should have thought that the less publicity given to it the better. It is true that there may be an engine put into the hands of the Government at any moment which may be an engine of vast power. On the other hand, if the object of the Government is to keep the exchange steady, then it will stand to be judged and condemned most severely if it uses its power unwisely, either so that while it means to keep the exchange steady, it does not do it, or if it uses it contrary to the trust imposed on it, either to inflate or deflate when steadiness would be the best policy.
§ Mr. GEOFFREY ELLIS
During the last two or three days, from an orthodox point of view, there has been such a harlequinade of financial heresies running through this House that some of us who have lived in the normal course of the business of exchange and banking would like one or two simple assurances from the Minister who is going to reply who, I understand, is to be the President of the Board of Trade. The expression "management of the currency" has been repeatedly used. We were under the impression that so far as inflation or deflation of the currency was concerned— that is, the internal currency—that was already provided for strictly under the existing Acts, and we were also under the impression—and this is what we should like an assurance on—that this management is a management of the exchanges primarily to meet the temporary difficulties from which the country is suffering, that the Government probably, like any other Government, looks to the recovery of trade in the future as in itself settling a great many of these problems, and therefore that we are dealing to-day with a financial expedient which is to meet exceptional circumstances.
If I am right in assuming that, the question takes on a very different aspect from that which has been put forward by my two hon. Friends behind me. For long enough it is obvious that the Treasury and the Bank of England have been working together. Everyone has 505 known that during the War and ever since the War, and it is obvious from the conditions that exist to-day that that joint management has to go on even to a greater extent. It has now been, through the action of the Government, announced to the whole world that this position is regularised. Not only is the position regularised in order to prevent the speculation which is committing such havoc with our exchange and upsetting our trade, but the Government has announced that it will at any moment take, if necessary, a credit up to £150,000,000.
I submit to the Government that the whole of this question is so difficult and intricate that to make a regular announcement of what they are going to do will probably greatly affect what they desire to do. Every business man dealing with a question of this sort would regard it as a matter in which the utmost secrecy has to be preserved throughout. It is true that if you wish for an annual statement you can have it, and ought to have it, but do my hon. Friends appreciate that if they are given a report one morning of what happened during the last month, it will be a return of the last day, which will be just as effective on that day as if you had a daily return of that day. The Government should take their courage in both hands and say to the country, "Trust us, let us do our things in our own way, and judge us by the result."
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)
The intervention of my hon. Friend in this Debate has been a real service to the House. He has drawn from his own practical experience in the simple exposition which he has given of the matters which appear to be so complicated to the rest of us. He has made it quite clear that if the desire of my two hon. Friends were met by the Government, and we were once a month to publish the figures of this Exchange Account, we would in fact be giving a daily return for one day in the month. That may sound a very small matter, but when you are dealing with sums which may run up to £175,000,000, and when you are well aware of the fact that there is not a single fluctuation in exchange in this country which is not of the most extreme concern to every financial centre in the world, to every bank 506 and to exery exchange speculator, it is obvious that that information which you give, say, on the 30th of the month, will be of value to them and will help them in their speculations at the very time when we want to do everything we can to eliminate speculation altogether. In these circumstances, I feel sure that even my hon. Friends will admit that that will be carrying candour a little too far.
The next point which I would put to them is this. Pushing the exchanges up and down is a matter of vital concern not only to the bankers but to the editors of the financial papers. The hon. Member attributed to me the ownership of a paper; I do not know whether he was referring to the fishing page of "The Field," but I cannot satisfy him with any guidance on these matters from any of those great pundits. I can say quite emphatically, however, that if we were to show in our account that there was a large holding of foreign currency in this country, and if at the same time there appeared to be a rising exchange, you would have speculators coming in at once to take advantage of a further rise. Exactly the opposite would happen in the reverse circumstances. The fluctuation would work both ways. We should be giving guidance to the speculator, and the honest trader would suffer in order that the speculator might flourish. I am sure my hon. Friends have no intention of that sort and have no desire to allow the market to be used to the detriment of British industry and commerce.
Perhaps the House will allow me to say a word about the general working of this scheme, which appears to many of us to be the most important feature of the whole Budget. It is certainly a most novel scheme, but although it is novel that does not necessarily mean that it is going to be a reckless experiment. It has sound reasoning behind it, and that sound reasoning is based, to some extent, on past experience. This is not the first time that the British Government have found it necessary to look after their interests in foreign currency. It had to be done during the War, and after the close of the War. If we had not taken steps then, this country would undoubtedly have suffered to an enormous extent. It has so happened in the last 12 months that our foreign exchanges have once more been put in a condition of great 507 oscillation. There was an enormously heavy trade balance against us which became apparent last autumn, but which we have now, to a considerable extent, regularised. There was grave danger there that we were losing the very backbone on which a good sound exchange could be built up. As we have restored that strength, we must look in other directions to deal with currency problems.
Our exchange troubles became more marked when we went off gold. Do not let us, when talking about the exchanges, mix them up, as my hon. Friend did to-day and some hon. Members did during the last discussion, with the problem of inflation and deflation. As I see it, there is only one way in which this transaction would be likely to have an inflation or deflation effect. If the Government were to go in for borrowing heavily on Ways and Means, that might quite easily mean a great deal of inflation, but I cannot imagine that the Government and the Bank of England are going to reverse their policy. It is hardly likely that they would do otherwise than borrow on Treasury bills or by special loans. I cannot say definitely what line would be taken, but, speaking as one who is not a member of the Treasury Board, I can only say, as an outsider, I should guess they would be much more likely to borrow by way of Treasury bills than in any other way. Borrowing by Treasury bills is not inflation when you use the proceeds of these bills in order to purchase foreign exchanges which have a definite value. That is undoubtedly a different thing from the Government going to the Bank of England and borrowing on Ways and Means, which simply means that the Government are increasing their overdraft, with all the disastrous results which flow from that.
I would like to point out to the House that there is really no new departure in the secrecy which is incumbent on the Treasury if they are to deal with this matter efficiently. It is not the only case in which it has. been found necessary not to make regular returns, but to make returns over a fairly long period. For instance, the investment of the funds of the Post Office and the Trustee Savings Banks is in the hands of the 508 National Debt Commissioners and particulars of the investments are published, but they are dated a long time after the actual date to which they refer. It would be quite impracticable to publish weekly returns of stocks held, and publication annually has always been accepted by this House and its predecessors as a reasonable arrangement. I suggest that publishing the particulars of the operations of this Account a long time after the Account is the utmost the House should ask for—the utmost; and even that ought to be done with very great caution. It is not as though we could act without acquainting the whole world of what is being done. There is no form of publicity which is so great as that which is given to money values. You "B.B.C." important facts all over the world the moment you publish them in some of those invaluable financial organs in the City, or in the House of Commons by way of question and answer. The really essential thing is that the House and the country should believe that the trust which has been put in the Government has not been abused, has not been misused, and that in the very great trust placed in them the Treasury have acted with discretion as well as with honour.
I would only point out in conclusion that this matter is far from being one which is of no vital concern to the industries of the country. We are suffering at the present time very great difficulty in our manufacturing businesses, in the course of commerce and in the manipulation of our shipping by the immense fluctuations which are taking place all over the world. We are in such a plight now that with these continual oscillations going on in every hemisphere, in every financial centre and in every port, no man managing ships can tell beforehand what amount he will actually have to provide out of the earnings of the ships for the payment of dues. No merchant can tell exactly what he is going to receive for goods which he may have sold at any one time when the exchange may have fluctuated in the course of a single week by 10, 12 or 15 per cent. No manufacturer is able to make up his costs until he knows definitely the actual amount he has to provide in hard cash for the planting out not only of his labour and the purchase of his raw materials, 509 but also for his selling costs when he sends his goods abroad. These are all requirements of the very first moment to industry and commerce. They are not merely a matter for pundits discussing what they mean by currency problems. It is not a matter to be discussed under the head of "Money." It is the very means of livelihood of British industry and commerce. It is because the Government were alive to the interests of the case that they embarked on this new departure, and I trust the House, in sanctioning this new departure, will put full trust in those whose policy they really approve of, and into whose methods they must not inquire with too much publicity.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I think the Government are making an extraordinary demand upon the confidence of the House. That appeal may fall readily on the ears of their loyal supporters, but it leaves me, as a member of the Opposition, completely cold. The cry is "Trust the Government." I wish to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Ellis) on having so readily and so easily received the approbation of the Government. One saw the smile of beatific pleasure dawning on the face of the President of the Board of Trade when the hon. Member finished his very "brief speech, in which he did not use any of the technical knowledge which we all know he possesses, but which finished up with the peroration "Trust the Government." The right hon. Gentleman has finished with the same peroration. There is only one way of answering that. Governments do not live for ever, not even the present one. They have not got eternal life, and the present Government seem to be setting up in what seems to me to be an international book-making business. That is the meaning of this loan. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, on the last occasion when we discussed this subject, twitted me with not having acquainted myself fully with the facts. At that point I had acquainted myself with all the facts that were available, except the speech which the right hon. Gentleman made that day, and since then I have acquainted myself with what additional facts there were on this subject. Now I know exactly as much as the Government know as to how they are going to operate this scheme. As I understand 510 it, they are going to adopt a job which is carried through by every bookmaker in this country. They are going to try to square the book periodically, and they are going to see how all the bets are lying all over the world and then they will take odds or lay odds according to what the squaring of the book seems to demand.
The Conservative party, and the supporters of the Government generally, may readily respond to the appeal to trust the Government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the President of the Board of Trade, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Lord President of the Council are making the book. I have already said that this Government is not going to last for ever, and I can imagine another Government coming in. Imagine the hon. Member for Shettlestone (Mr. McGovern), the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and myself gambling away with £150,000,000. [Interruption.] An hon. Member says that that would be too awful to contemplate, but I do not think so. It is not so very long ago since the present Prime Minister and the present Lord Privy Seal were in a more insignificant minority in this House than we are. I remember that in 1918 they were vacated entirely from the House of Commons, and it was only a matter of five years after that we were occupying these seats. It may be so again. The £150,000,000 may not all have been drawn by then and there is no knowing what might happen. I believe that the real credit and stability of the nation would be much safer in the hands of people like ourselves than the people who are at present occupying the Treasury Bench. I say that with perfectly genuine sincerity, because we happen to know precisely what we want to do, and I am quite sure that the Government do not know.
To take up the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend quite seriously, I wish to say that they have argued the case quite well. The Government are regarding this £150,000,000 Exchange Equalisation Loan as a weapon against foreign countries. My hon. Friends, in asking for world publicity, are regarding it as an instrument for world equalisation in currency matters, for open and fair dealing as between nation and nation, and not for the nations of the world trying secretly to get a financial 511 advantage over other nations. The proposal here is: "We want to have something up our sleeve to gamble with against the gambling of other nations." That is not the need of the world to-day. The need of the world in financial matters is open, fair and square dealing between nation and nation, putting your cards and your currency on the table before the eyes of all men. As long as you are afraid to do that, you will not have that confidence of the world which hon. and right hon. Members on the Front Bench say is necessary for the solution of the world's problems. I do not believe that any solution of the currency question is to be obtained along those lines.
The Government themselves, having thrown overboard, I suppose with the full assent of the Bank of England, their particular form of Gold Standard worship, are out, as they say, with the intention of extending as far as possible the sterling area of the world. [Interruption.] I am willing to appreciate the faintest touch of humour from any quarter of the House, but I do not think that the interjection of "Russia," which is always made whenever any one of us is speaking, is sufficiently up to date to justify even a smile. You have a number of people in the sterling area now. The policy of the Government is to extend it. What intelligent nation is going to come in and anchor its financial difficulties to Britain's if as a nation we have some secret hoard, some secret game of our own, which we are working, keeping all information about our resources secret from everyone else. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman that the request of my hon. Friends for full publicity—and the difficulties of it are not so great as the President of the Board of Trade tries to make out—should be accepted, and that Great Britain
§ should cease the attempt on which it is now embarking to become the 'cute, clever gambler that is going to outwit all the other nations with which it proposes to trade.
§ Mr. HOROBIN
In asking the Government to reconsider this matter before it is too late, I want to say that no supporter of the Government can feel indifferent to the plea that the publication of information of this sort would be contrary to public policy; but the very power of that plea puts a great responsibility on those who make it. The information which is now asked for is given week by week by every central bank in Europe. Is it pretended that the Bank of England is weaker than the Reichsbank or the Bank of France? This Fund is similar to the Exchange Standard Reserve of the rupee, which is published. It is impossible for the Government to pretend that to give this information is going to bring sterling to the ground. This Amendment cannot be pressed to a Division now, but I ask the Government to consider the matter very carefully, and, before it is too late, to see whether at an early date they cannot give this information, which is asked for, not only by many Members of this House, but by the most responsible investigation which has yet taken place into the financial future and policy of this country.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
As the Proposer and Seconder of this Amendment have not a clear majority to-night, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 43; Noes, 277.515
|Division No. 166.]||AYES.||[11.11p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Batey, Joseph||Groves, Thomas E.||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Bracken, Brendan||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hicks, Ernest George||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Hirst, George Henry||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Jenkins, Sir William||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llaneily)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lunn, William|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Buchanan and Mr. McGovern.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Fox, Sir Gifford||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Albery, Irving James||Ganzonl, Sir John||Morris, John Patrick (Sallord, N.)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Gibson, Charles Granville||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Gillett, Sir George Marterman||Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)|
|Apsley, Lord||Gledhill, Gilbert||Morrison, William Shephard|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mulrhead, Major A. J.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Goff, Sir Park||Munro, Patrick|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Goldie, Noel B.||Nail, Sir Joseph|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Nicholson, O. W. (Westminster)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Normand, Wilfrid Guild|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Grimston, R. V.||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Bernays, Robert||Gunston, Captain D. W.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.)||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Ormiston, Thomas|
|Blindell, James||Hales, Harold K.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hanbury, Cecil||Peat, Charles U.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Hanley, Dennis A.||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Petherick, M.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Harbord, Arthur||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hartland, George A.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Briant, Frank||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Potter, John|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Brown, Col. D. c. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Holdsworth, Herbert||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Ramsden, E.|
|Burghley, Lord||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hornby, Frank||Ray, Sir William|
|Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Howard, Tom Forrest||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Howltt, Dr. Alfred B.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Cayzer, sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Reiner, John R.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.|
|Christie, James Archibald||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||James Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Jamieson, Douglas||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Robinson, John Roland|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Colville, John||Ker, J. Campbell||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Kimball, Lawrence||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Croft, Brigadier-General 8ir H.||Leckle, J. A.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Russell. Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Levy, Thomas||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Curry, A. C.||Liddall, Walter S.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunlifle-||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Llewellin, Major John J.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Donner, P. W.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Scone, Lord|
|Drewe, Cedric||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Selley, Harry R.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||MacAndrew, Maj. C. G. (Partick)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Dunglass, Lord||McCorquodale, M. S.||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Eady, George H.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||McKie, John Hamilton||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||McLean, Major Alan||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Ellis, Robert Geoffrey||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Stanley, Hon. 0. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Millar, Sir James Duncan||Stevenson, James|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Stones, James|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Storey, Samuel|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Milne, Charles||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George|
|Sutcliffe, Harold||Ward. Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Tate, Mavis Constance||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Templeton, William P.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Wells, Sydney Richard||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Train, John||Wills, Wilfrid D.||Sir George Penny and Major|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)||George Davies.|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyen||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I beg to move, in line 16, at the end, to insert the words:(5) the appointment of a committee representative of all sections engaged in industry to advise the Treasury as to the control of the said fund.The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has stressed the importance of the fund to the industry of this country and the extraordinarily important effects it may have upon industrial life. The Financial Secretary, when he was speaking on Monday last upon the matter, said:This fund, which is closely connected with the House of Commons, is a fund about which the House will have a great deal more to say than it has had to say in the past regarding other things which were specifically removed from its purview by Statute"—That, I presume, was the control of the Issue Department of the Bank—but if and when it becomes possible to have a superior committee to the Governors of the Bank of England, then we shall all be very pleased to see it, but, as far as we can see at present, such a commitee amounts to a miniature House of Commons".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th April, 1932; col. 152, Vol. 265]—and, therefore would not be desirable. We do not appreciate why, if this Committee is so desirable, it is not practicable at the present moment. The Government are setting up, as the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has said, a machine which has been tried in other places but which, as far as this country is concerned, is entirely new. It is specifically stated in the Resolution that the Treasury intends to maintain the complete control of the fund. That is to say, that although it will be administered by the Bank of England, as we understand the policy, the ultimate control will reside in the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the Cabinet and so in the House. In view of the vital interest which industry must take in the policy which is followed out in the management of the fund, it is only fair and proper that the Treasury should be able to have 516 the advantage of the advice, in consultation on matters of policy—not, of course, on day-to-day administration, which will be in the hands of the Bank of England—of some of those who are concerned with industry.
It is a proposition which has received already a very considerable support in the House. The right hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) said that he warmly welcomed the suggestion and that it was eminently desirable and practicable, when he spoke in the House on Monday night. Criticism of the Bank in regard to their management during the last few years of the exchange position has been voiced by a number of Members, including the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Wardlaw-Milne) and the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), who spoke the other evening. I could not see any reason in the speech of the Financial Secretary the other night why such a committee should not be set up. I could understand him saying that it would not be practicable for such a committee to administer the Fund. That is not the suggestion. Everyone who has come into contact with people in the industrial world has become familiar, toy direct talk and through articles in the Press, with the very general complaint, and in some cases distrust of the wisdom of the Bank of England in administering these matters. Our suggestion is that in this matter, where industry has complained so bitterly during the last 10 years, it would be a wise policy for the Government to show that they are concerned not merely to assist the financial interests of the country, but that they are determined to assist the industrial interests, and that they will seek their advice and opinions on these matters which affect them so vitally. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will tell us that he is prepared to accept the Amendment and incorporate in the Finance Bill some provision for setting up such a committee.
§ Major ELLIOT
When I said to the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) that if we could see a better Committee than the Governors of the Bank of England we should be delighted, I meant what I said; but I do not think that we have got one here, nor the suggestion of one. If the hon. and learned Member were given the task of drafting the terms of reference for such a committee and he selected the personnel of the committee, I wonder whether, when he had completed the task, he would not tear up the list, and say: "This is not a committee that I could reasonably recommend to the House of Commons." I am sure that he would do that. I should be very interested if, between now and the drafting of a Clause in the Bill, he would bring forward such a committee as the one he has in mind, examine it from the purely personal point of view, and say whether he thought it would be superior to the Committee which is managing these affairs.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
If the right hon. Gentleman will put the Clause in the Bill, I will certainly do what he asks.
§ Major ELLIOT
We have heard of buying a pig in a poke, but to buy a clause which does not even contain a pig is asking too much on trust, even from a private Member, let alone the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. I can assure him that it would lead to my instant dismissal from my office by the Lords of the Treasury, who are scattered about this Front Bench. It seems to me that the position in which the fund stands is not fully appreciated. The House of Commons through its officers, the Lords of the Treasury, is already closely connected with the general policy of this fund. The Government cannot divest themselves of responsibility for the policy upon which the fund is operated. The Government will certainly be responsible for all that happens in connection with the fund, and they will certainly have a free hand in the selection of their agents. Such a committee as is here suggested could no more authorise or carry out the swift and private transactions which will be necessary than it could conduct a campaign in the field. When a campaign is in progress, Parliament has the right 518 to deliver its ideas as to the objectives which it wishes the soldiers to attain. If Parliament attempted to in-11.30 p.m. terfere with the campaign, if it constituted itself an advisory committee to advise the officers in the conduct of the campaign, it would certainly bring it to ruin.
§ Major ELLIOT
The War Cabinet were the officers of this House, responsible to this House and if the War Cabinet had taken upon itself to tell the soldiers what to do it would have lost the War. [Interruption.] I ask hon. Members not to treat this matter humorously because we are dealing with a subject of very great importance, and I wish to treat the hon. Member's suggestion seriously. The advice which is to be given and the policy which is to be pursued are of the greatest importance to the ordinary wage earners of this country, and those responsible should be responsible to Parliament. Parliament cannot divest itself of the responsibility. The Committee which is suggested by the Amendment would not conduce to the attainment of what hon. Members opposite have in view.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The right hon. and gallant Member hardly does himself justice in his reply, and especially in his extraordinary fallacious comparison between conducting a war and conducting these financial operations. He tells us that Parliament is to have control, but for the last half hour he has been assuring us that nobody is to know anything at all about this fund. The House is to have complete control but we are to know nothing as to the securities that are held, we are to have no information. He says that the controllers are to be the officers of the House, and he mentions the Treasury. Junior Lords of the Treasury, who are strewn so profusely about the House, are there for the purpose of keeping hon. Members to their duties, and I have yet to learn that any Junior Lord of the Treasury takes any part in deciding policy.
§ Major ELLIOT
There are other Lords of the Treasury besides Junior Lords. The First Lord of the Treasury has a great deal to say about policy.
§ Mr ATTLEE
I was taking them seriatim and dealing with the Junior Lords first. I am aware that they sign their names but not that they do anything else. The First Lord is certainly responsible, but I do not think the right bon. and gallant Member will claim that the Treasury is in close touch with industry, and we are expressing the view that the control of this fund should be in the hands of the people representing industry The right hon. and gallant Member also says that the agents of the Government are to be the Bank of England. He was not at all clear as to the functions of a War Cabinet, a Commander-in-Chief, or a General Staff. Is the Bank of England the General Staff or are they the commanders in the field? I want to get the analogy of the right hon. and gallant Member right. Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his opinion, the Government conducting the war, or the Commander-in-Chief or the Chief of the General Staff. I want to be quite clear on this point. In a modern war you do not leave it all to the soldiers, and the right hon. and gallant Member if he reads modern books will find that the policy of leaving it all to the soldiers is denounced, particularly in the case of Germany where Ludendorff gave great cause for complaint because he did not take other people into consultation. War is a matter in which you have to consider industry and labour, and a great many other matters. If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is conducting this campaign for the benefit of the whole of the people, we suggest that an advisory body of this nature, on which would be represented something other than the narrow financial interests of the City, would be extremely valuable. He expressed that view in his own speech but declared that he was quite unable to form such a body. We, on this side, are quite willing to put forward suggestions for the composition of the body, if he is prepared to accept the principle of the Amendment.
§ Sir A. M. SAMUEL
The hon. and learned Member who moved this Amendment said he wanted to have on this body people representing industry in this country. What warrant has he to say that the people representing industry wish to have such a committee? The Associa- 520 tion of British Chambers of Commerce, a representative body with which I have the honour to be associated and a meeting of which I attended only to-day, has expressed no such wish.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
My authority is the President of the Board of Trade who has just said to the House that the industry of this country is vitally interested in this matter and people generally like to have some say on matters in which they are vitally interested.
§ Sir A. M. SAMUEL
I can speak on behalf of an important body of manufacturers in saying that they will not thank hon. Members opposite if this Amendment is passed. Those concerned in industry are perfectly content that the arrangements of the Government should proceed, as they are proceeding. On an earlier occasion they felt compelled to express their resentment at the constant attacks which were being made upon the management of the Bank of England by spiteful people and Sir Gilbert Vyle stated their views in a letter to the "Times." There was in the speech of the Mover of the Amendment a veiled attack upon the Bank but industrialists will not regard that as anything for which to thank the hon. Gentleman opposite, who doubtless have great merits but have not, I think, much to do with productive industry.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I have run a factory with 6,000 employés which is I think as big as anything the hon. Gentleman has run.
§ Sir A. M. SAMUEL
I have worked in a factory which is more than the hon. and learned Gentleman has done.
§ Sir A. M. SAMUEL
I have made my living in a factory. I hope the Financial Secretary will recognise this as an officious Amendment put forward by people who are rushing in to interfere in things which they do not understand. I ask the Government to stand firm and reject the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 32; Noes, 252.523
|Division No. 167.]||AYES.||[11.38 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||McGovern, John|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Half, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, George Henry||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Jenkins, Sir William||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Tinker.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Ellis, Robert Geoffrey||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||McKeag, William|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. p. G.||Elmley, Viscount||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Albery, Irving James||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||McLean, Major Alan|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Apsley, Lord||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Fox, Sir Gifford||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Fuller, Captain A, G.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Gibson, Charles Granville||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Gledhill, Gilbert||Milne, Charles|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tfd & Chisw'k)|
|Bernays, Robert||Goldie, Noel B.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Bird Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Blinded. James||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Grimston, R. V.||Morrison, William Shephard|
|Boulton, W. W.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Bower. Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Munro, Patrick|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Hales, Harold K.||Nail, Sir Joseph|
|Bracken, Brendan||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hanbury, Cecil||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Briant, Frank||Hanley, Dennis A.||Nicholson, O. W. (Westminster)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Normand, Wilfrid Guild|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Harbord, Arthur||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hartland, George A.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Ormiston, Thomas|
|Burghley, Lord||Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Hornby, Frank||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Horobin, Ian M.||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Horsbrugh, Florence||Petherick, M.|
|Cayzer Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Potter, John|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Jamieson, Douglas||Ramsden, E.|
|Colville, John||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Ker, J. Campbell||Ray, Sir William|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Kimball, Lawrence||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Reid, James S. C, (Stirling)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Leskie, J. A.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Curry, A. C.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Robinson, John Roland|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Levy, Thomas||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Donner, P. W.||Liddall, Waiter S.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Llewellin, Major John J.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Dunglass, Lord||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lymington, Viscount||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mac Andrew, Maj. C. G. (Partick)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Savery, Samuel Servington||Stevenson, James||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Scone, Lord||Stones, James||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Storey, Samuel||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Strauss, Edward A.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Skelton, Archibald Noel||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Suteliffe, Harold||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)||Tate, Mavis Constance||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Templeton, William P.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Somervell, Donald Bradley||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Train, John||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||Sir George Penny and Major|
§ Motion made, and Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put, and agreed to.