§ Mr. GRAHAM WHITE
I beg to move, in page 12, line 1, to leave out the word "Any," and to insert instead thereof the word "No."
First may I ask for your guidance, Captain Bourne, in this matter, as this Amendment is closely related to other Amendments in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Mr. A. Roberts) I As this is consequential to those Amendments, will you permit a general discussion on one or other of these Amendments for the convenience of the Committee?
I take it that the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White) is referring to a similar Amendment, in page 12, line 12, to leave out the word "Any," and insert the word "No," and the consequential Amendment which comes in between. I think it might be for the convenience of the Committee if we took a general discussion on the principle raised in this Amendment now, because the hon. Member will observe that there is on the Order Paper an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) to leave out Sub-section (3). If the Committee decides that Sub-section (3) stands part of the Clause, obviously the hon. Member's next Amendment must fall. Therefore, I think it is desirable to discuss the principle on this Amendment, but I intend to call the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bodmin which raises another point.
§ Mr. WHITE
The object of the Amendment and subsequent Amendments is to deal with the methods by which Orders are to he made under the procedure set out in the Bill—Orders in relation to Customs being placed before the Commons House of Parliament for confirmation after having been made, and those relating to powers taken 1814 to frustrate State action against the Preference given to the Dominions, or under the wheat quota proposals to be laid before both Houses of Parliament, subject to their being confirmed within 28 days. The object of the Amendments is to reverse this process and to provide that before any Order shall come into force it shall be discussed and approved by the House of Commons in the one case, and by both Houses of Parliament in the case of Orders of a wider character. In considering the method by which these Orders are to be applied the Committee would be well advised to give close attention to the circumstances in which the Orders are likely to be made. The whole policy of the Bill is not only admitted, but is proclaimed, to be an experiment which will take some time to work out, the results of which no one can foretell with certainty. But this experiment is to be subject to review in some period in future, and then the disadvantages—the Debate so far has revealed that very serious disadvantages may arise—will be offset against the advantages which may accrue, and on the result of this investigation the experiment will be judged.
The only thing which can be said with certainty is that many of these proposals will work out in a way which is quite unforeseen now. I submit that it is very desirable that before Orders are made Parliament should have the opportunity of considering and assessing the results of the experiment to date, in relation to that particular section of trade for which Orders are being made. I believe, if it is proposed to alter the policy of this Bill or to reverse it by means of an Order made under the machinery of this Clause, the House should have an opportunity of considering the circumstances in which that Order is to be made, and whether it should be made at all. It is a condition of any experiment scientifically made that it should be carried out under some sort of control. An uncontrolled experiment becomes a speculation. In this particular case the
1815 subjects of the speculation would be the British importer, the consumers in this country, and the manufacturing interests not only in this country but over the whole world.
A feature of these Debates has been the large number of questions which have been left in a state of considerable uncertainty. Amendments have been moved which have been supported by Members of all parties. They were considered to be of great substance by those who took part in the Debates. They were rejected, not on their merits, but because they were inconsistent with the Agreements made at Ottawa. In regard to linseed and wheat and other matters there was a very acute discussion, and matters were left in a state which was nebulous and unsatisfactory to those Members who took part in the discussions. Last night the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, in discussing a matter which arose on Clause 5, said that one of the objects of the Bill was to bring some order into a disordered state of international trade. That is certainly a fine ideal, and I hope that the trading community in this country and the world are very much gratified by the statement of my hon. Friend. But it seems a strange claim to make on behalf of a Bill which is proposing to divert, and may still further divert by the Orders which we are now considering, the greater proportion of the trade of this country.
I can conceive nothing which is more likely to cause chaos in the trading community than the making of Orders in the method prescribed here. Orders may be launched like a bolt from the blue without any warning, interfering with contracts or with goods in course of transit. In connection with the meat trade they may affect large quantities of meat on the ocean. They will affect interests not only in this country, not only the consumers here, but people in the most remote parts of the earth. It is essential that before these Orders are made the consumers and all those interested should have an opportunity of expressing their views through their representatives in this House. It is indeed obvious that we are considering in this Bill the greatest experiment in trade which has been made 1816 outside Russia. When variations or fluctuations of this policy are to be made by Order of the Board of Trade, or by the Treasury or in any other quarter, Parliament should have the facilities suggested in the Amendments for giving consideration to these matters. I would draw attention particularly to the kind of effect which will be produced by the procedure outlined in this Clause in relation to the type of Order which will be made under Clause 5, Sub-section (4). There the Board of Trade:may make regulations prescribing.…the conditions which must be fulfilled in order to establish that goods have not been grown, produced or manufactured in a foreign country with respect to which an Order is enforced under this Section.It goes on:It shall be lawful for the Commissioners.…to require the importer to furnish to the Commissioners, in such form as the Commissioners may prescribe, proof that the conditions so prescribed by the Board have been fulfilled.…
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Are we going to have a discussion again on the second Amendment referring to Orders with regard to meat and Russia, in which case one would deal with them on the second Amendment, or are we going to deal with both sections of this Clause now, with taxation and meat and Russia? Which does my hon. Friend desire?
The hon. Member is going a little further than I indicated earlier. His two Amendments raise the question whether Orders should come into operation after having been made or after having been approved by this House. I think that principle should be discussed on this first Amendment, but in view of a later Amendment to leave out Sub-section (3) it would be undesirable now to go into details of what may happen under Sub-section (3).
§ Mr. WHITE
I was only trying to point out the class of Order with which we were dealing under the Clause to which 1817 my Amendment particularly refers. I will not pursue the matter further, except to say that the general position of the Board of Trade in the matter is that they may require a trader to furnish information and to fill up forms with regard to certified imports which they themselves have said cannot possibly be carried out. My hon. Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir J. Sandeman Allen), and other Members representing Merseyside, proposed an Amendment with the object of securing certain things in regard to Canadian wheat. That. Amendment was received by the Financial Secretary with considerable sympathy. At least the Financial Secretary indicated clearly that if it had been within his power it would have given him great satisfaction to accept it. But the hon. Gentleman said that the Customs must be in a position to carry out a check. The hon. Gentleman said that the Customs had gone into that sympathetically, and they had found it impossible to administer a decision of that kind.
Under the Orders which may be made under this Clause the Board of Trade or any other authority is in fact requiring the trader to comply with something which the authorities themselves have declared it impossible to carry out. It is pre-eminently to be desired that in the interests of all those who may be concerned in these Orders there should be an opportunity of Parliamentary discussion before Orders are put into operation. So far from producing order these proposals are likely to make conditions completely chaotic. For example the Board of Trade may require a purchaser of a cargo of timber or wheat or hides, or whatever it may be, to comply with their requirements, and it might be utterly impossible for the trader to give a certificate that these particular products were in fact the products of a given country. The task of the Customs would be impossible.
These are some of the very grave practical difficulties which I can see arising from application of the methods prescribed in this Clause of the Bill. Someone may say that if there is any uncertainty with regard to the date of application we shall have an immense amount of forestalling, that traders or importers or those who bring goods to this country will immediately get to work 1818 and bring into the country large quantities of goods to forestall the operation of an Order. If this Amendment were carried that would not arise. Whoever was concerned in promoting the Order would come to this House and would say, "We propose on a certain date to make an Order, and it will be discussed in this House on a given date before the Order is actually made." I have said enough to show that the method which it is proposed to carry out under these Orders is really impracticable or hedged about with very great difficulty. So far from being an encouragement to trade the proposal of the Clause seems likely to have the opposite effect. It will have the effect of causing losses to many traders. We have already seen how the Orders made under the Import Duties Act in the early part of this year caused devastating losses to be suffered by merchants and others who were trying to bring goods into this country at the time when those orders were made. This proposal in the Bill introduces an element of uncertainty and will discourage enterprise by making trade conditions more difficult and hazardous than they are to-day.
Lieut.-Colonel SANDEMAN ALLEN
I hope the Government will not accept this Amendment. The hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White) put the answer to the Amendment into the mouth of the Government. As he would have it, the stable door should be bolted after the horse has gone. The effect of the Amendment would be to allow forestalling. The hon. Member said that these Agreements represented the biggest trade experiment that the world had ever seen with the possible exception of Russia. Well, we want the experiment to be a success; we must take every precaution to see that it is a success, and the object of the Clause is to ensure that, if anybody tries to spoil the experiment by forestalling, we shall slam the door—to use the hon. Member's own words, "like a bolt from the blue." The door must be shut before there is any chance of flooding this country with imports and forestalling the Orders. I do not suppose that the hon. Member's intention was to move a wrecking Amendment, but the effect of his Amendment would be as I have described it. The last thing we want to see is this experiment wrecked by such means.
1819 The hon. Member also made the point that Parliament ought to have the opportunity of discussing these Orders, but allowance is made in the Clause for the discussion of an Order within one month, and surely that is a good enough precaution. The whole trouble is that the hon. Member looks at this matter from quite a different point of view from that taken by the Government. He talked about the difficulties of the consumer and the difficulties in trade. There may be difficulties in trade but the hon. Member always puts the consumer first, and I submit that that is putting it the wrong way round. Man is a producer before he is a consumer. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Well, until a, man has earned or produced goods or services, he cannot consume, and it is necessary that we should first of all get the producer on to his feet. He is the man who has to be looked after first in the present situation. I hope that the Government, for those reasons alone, will refuse the Amendment.
§ Mr. HANNON
We have heard an extraordinary speech from the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White). If there is anything calculated to make this Measure wholly unsatisfactory to the manufacturing community, it is an Amendment of this kind. We have had most depressing experience of the effects of forestalling in connection with the Import Duties Act. We have in this country a number of patriotic people associated with the importing side of our trade who do not hesitate to sacrifice all patriotic principles for the possibility of a profit. As a consequence, before the Import Duties Act came into operation, large quantities of imported goods were brought into this country, thus helping to retard materially the advantages to our wage-earning population, which would have accrued earlier had the Act operated more effectively and rapidly. I hope everything that can be done will be done to prevent importers of foreign manufactures bringing large quantities of goods into this country in that way. There should be no provision in this Measure which would enable a process of forestalling to take place by the retardation of Orders in order that they should be discussed in Parliament and render inoperative what we are now doing. I am surprised that the hon. Member for East 1820 Birkenhead, who is a respected Member of the House of Commons and one whose opinion upon these matters are always received with attention, should make such a preposterous proposal as that contained in the Amendment.
§ Mr. ALED ROBERTS
I should like to comment on the extraordinary statement which has fallen from the hon. and gallant Member for West Birkenhead (Lieut.-Colonel Sandeman Allen). According to him the process of finding sustenance by humanity is reversed, because he tells us that we must first be producers before we can be consumers. I always thought that man could not produce unless he was first able to consume.
Lieut.-Colonel SANDEMAN ALLEN
May I ask the hon. Member whether he eats the banana before he picks it from the tree?
§ Mr. ROBERTS
I do not often pick bananas from trees, but if we go back to the beginning of things I think we find that the first man ate the apple first and then proceeded about his lawful occasions. My objections generally to this Clause are on the same lines as those indicated by my hon. Friend the Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. Graham White). I quite agree with all he has said regarding forestalling. The Amendment would enable the Government to get the consent of the House of Commons to an Order if the House was willing to give their consent, and to have the Order put in force within a few days. Under the Clause, as it stands, the Government issue the Order through the appropriate Department and it may be, not 28 days, but a matter of weeks and months before the House of Commons is asked to express any opinion. But the main point of my objection is in the wording of the Clause itself:Any order made by the Treasury increasing or reimposing any duty of customs.It is possible that I may have been badly brought up, but I have always been 1821 taught that the Commons House of Parliament is the sole authority for imposing taxation on the people and I object strongly to the power of taxation being taken away from the House of Commons—which according to this proposal is merely to be asked afterwards whether it approves or not of what has been done. I know that this point has been raised before but it seems to me that further attention should be directed to what appears to be a very serious infringement of the rights of the House of Commons if any executive or any bureaucratic authority is to have the right to increase duties before asking the House of Commons for its consent.
We have in the past gone through great troubles to secure this privilege of the House of Commons, but the present House of Commons does not seem to be worrying very much about the infringement of those privileges. Personally, I worry considerably about that question and I think that there are other Members in all parts of the Committee who object to this proposed procedure on that ground. I observe from questions on to-day's Order Paper that the Prime Minister is being besought by strong supporters of the Government to see that certain action is not taken without first affording Parliament an opportunity for discussion. That request appears in two questions to the Prime Minister to-day. It is pretty obvious that the trend of this Government's policy is in the direction of taking away from the House of Commons the authority which rightly belongs to it and we are asked in this Clause to confirm the principle that seven men can go to Canada and enter into an Agreement which binds this country, and that the House of Commons is to accept the whole Agreement as it stands without the alteration of a, comma. As the principle which the Government seem to be pursuing is anti-democratic I strongly object to the provisions of this Clause and support the Amendment.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
May I point out to the hon. Member that the procedure whereby duties may be imposed by Order was not invented by this Government or in the lifetime of this Parliament. It was invented by the right hon. Gentleman who was until some 16 months ago the Leader of the hon. Member——
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
It was after the right hon. Gentleman had been guilty of that sin that the hon. Gentleman again accepted him as leader. He committed the sin in 1921.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
But despite his iniquities he was forgiven by the hon. Gentleman. [HON. MEMBERS "No!"] I do not know why the hon. Member for Wrexham cannot indulge in his own interruptions upon this point. I think he is capable of doing so without praying the assistance of the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Harcourt Johnstone). This discussion has proceeded on the assumption that these Orders are to impose taxes, but the Treasury Orders in question are Orders removing taxes. [Interruption.] But surely the effect of a temporary suspension is not quite the same thing as imposing new taxes. The only Order which really imposes a new tax is the Order fixing the date on which the Act is to come into operation and the House of Commons has already in precise detail given sanction to every tax which may be imposed under the Bill. The hon. Member's speech would have been more pertinent on the Import Duties Act, but whatever principle has been established under that, Act, it seems rather late to raise it now.
§ Mr. ALED ROBERTS
In line 2, page 12, appears the word "increasing." If increasing a tax is not imposing taxation, I should like to know what interpretation those words bear.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am most obliged to my hon. Friend for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams), who always conies to my help when I am in no need of assistance,' but who, when I am in need of assistance, criticises me. This portion of the Bill does not impose taxes. Parliament itself imposes the taxes and that has already been done in the course of these discussions. I say so in reply to the hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr. Roberts), who seemed to think that we were doing something unconstitutional, but he himself participated in discussions on the earlier portions of the Bill in which that matter was settled. These duties which were imposed on foreign 1823 goods are to come into effect upon certain dates and what we are doing in this Clause is defining the procedure for increasing or reimposing duties which have been reduced or remitted. We decided upon that part of our powers when we were discussing Sub-section (2) of Clause 1, which placed upon the Treasury the obligation to repeal or reduce any duty to the lowest level compatible with the Agreements, and the next Sub-section contained the corollary, the power of enabling us to increase or reimpose what we had previously reduced or repealed. An order made to do either of those two things comes into effect immediately and remains in effect until a Resolution is moved in this House within 28 Parliamentary days approving it or otherwise. If the Resolution approves it, it is to continue; if the Resolution disapproves it, it will lapse. That is the procedure that we adopt here with regard to these two very limited objectives. These two objectives are much more limited than the provisions of the Abnormal Importations Act or the Import Duties Act. I do not remember, when we were discussing those Acts, whether my hon. Friend supported them or objected to them or supported one and objected to the other, but in any event we did establish that procedure with regard to those two Acts of Parliament, and we follow it here to a very much more limited extent.
I would remind the Committee that what we are doing here is something that is made mandatory upon us by a previous Clause. By the second part of Subsection (3) we provide that the orders shall come into force immediately and that they shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament, not the House of Commons alone, for we are not concerned here with taxation, and shall have effect unless the House of Commons disapproves of the Resolution that has been moved within 28 Parliamentary days. My hon. Friend wishes to reverse the whole of that procedure, and the result of that would be that if you wished to prohibit the entry of goods from Russia because they frustrated one of these Agreements, you would have to give notice to Russia, under the proposal of the Amendment. Russia would know in advance and would be able to send those goods into this country, not only in normal quantities, but in increased quantities, until such 1824 time as the House of Commons had had an opportunity of discussing the particular Resolution. That would render our defence against a foreign country absolutely useless. Perhaps that is the object of my hon. Friend, and if it is, I hope he will see the validity of the point which I am making.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
But surely the hon. Member's proposal is that we should reverse absolutely the procedure here proposed, and none of the orders would come into effect until confirmed by the House of Commons. Let us suppose that in the month of July or August, when the House of Commons is not sitting, we decide to take action under the powers which the House is conferring upon us, and prohibit the entry of goods from Russia. Parliament will not meet, let us say, until October. Are we to wait until October comes before the order which we make can be made effective? That is the whole point, and surely my hon. Friend, who is very fair-minded, will see the significance of it. Under paragraph (c), if an Agreement lapses, we want to be able to take off the duty at once; and indeed throughout this Clause we are dealing with matters of great urgency, and we must act with the greatest promptitude.
I do not think any grave constitutional issue arises. That has already been disposed of by previous Acts of Parliament. We are taking the only practical action to take in this case. My hon. Friend speaks with a great knowledge of trade, but surely trade would be dislocated to a far more considerable extent if his proposal were adopted than if we adhered to ours. I was glad to see that the hon. Member for West Birkenhead (Lieut.-Colonel Sandeman Allen) disagreed with the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White), thus illustrating the truth of the saying:Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.But I must support the point of view put by my hon. Friend's colleague for the reasons I have mentioned.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I must really correct one statement which the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has just made. He 1825 has done it, before in discussing the provisions of this Bill. He will talk about Clause 5 of this Bill as if it were to protect the people of this country, but it is nothing of the sort. It is to protect the Canadian producer, not the people of this country. It is to protect the Canadian producer in spite of the people of this country, and this is not a question of putting on an immediate prohibition in order to protect people in this country at all.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Because it is not. That is why. If the hon. Member will look at the Clause, he will see that it says:If at any time the Board of Trade are satisfied that any preferences granted by this Act in respect of any particular class or description of goods, being preferences granted in fulfilment of the Agreement set out in Part I of the First Schedule to this Act, are likely to he frustrated.…It is purely a question of whether the preference is likely to be frustrated, not a question as to whether trade in this country desires goods to be imported. It is a question of the frustration of preferences to Canada and of the protection of the Canadians, and the prohibition which is to be put on is something which will obviously be liable to have a very serious effect upon importers into this country. Therefore, the hon. Member is wrong in talking about protecting traders in this country. He is protecting traders in Canada, and the question of forestalling has nothing to do with our position here. It would, if at all, be a question of forestalling Canadian goods, not of forestalling anything as far as we are concerned. The prohibition would be for the purpose of stopping the frustration of the, preference to Canada, and the liability for that to upset our arrangements here does not arise from the fact that it is a prohibition to protect trade.
The only possible effect would be that we should get fewer goods in from
§ Canada—that is to say, untaxed goods—and more goods in from a country whence they were taxed; that is to say, we should benefit by it, because we should collect more duties from them. There is no question of forestalling duties. It is entirely, if I may say so with great respect to the hon. Member, a misapprehension of the position on his part, and therefore none of the arguments in regard to forestalling duties applies here, because anybody who did this would pay excess duty; they would not get rid of any duties. I certainly agree with the hon. Member who moved the Amendment as regards the orders made by the Board of Trade, though, quite frankly, as regards the orders made by the Treasury, I do not think the matter is of so much importance.
§ Mr. MICHAEL BEAUMONT
I do not want to follow the hon. and. learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) into what is really a discussion on the merits of the whole Bill, which is what his argument would bring forth, hut I do not think the Committee can let him, if I may be pardoned the expression, get away with the statement that this is not a question of protecting our trade. In the view of the majority of the Members of this House, these Agreements will stimulate our trade, and an attack on these Agreements will attack our trade. If, by accepting this Amendment, we allow any country to attack these Agreements and thus attack our trade with Canada or any other Dominion, it will in fact be attacking our trade, and the object of opposing the Amendment is to protect our trade. That may be a matter of a difference of opinion, but it is not the law of the Medes and Persians because the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol happens to hold a different opinion.
§ Question put, "That the word "Any" stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 294; Noes, 67.1829
|Division No. 347.]||AYES||[4.57 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Aske, Sir Robert William||Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfs||Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)|
|Albery, Irving James||Atholl, Duchess of||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B.(Portsm'th,C.)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Balley, Eric Alfred George||Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Balille, Sir Adrian W. M.||Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thenet)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Berton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Bateman, A. L.||Blindell, James|
|Borodale, Viscount||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Newton, Sir Douglas George C|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hanbury, Cecil||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Hanley, Dennis A.||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nunn, William|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Harbord, Arthur||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Hartland, George A.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Pearson, William G.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Cheimsf'd)||Penny, Sir George|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Petherick, M.|
|Burnett, John George||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Bilst'n)|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hornby, Frank||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Horsbrugh, Florence||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Bring)||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hurd, Sir Percy||Pybus, Percy John|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm.,W)||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Jamieson, Douglas||Ramsden, E.|
|Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Christie, James Archibald||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannas)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Clarke, Frank||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Ray, Sir William|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Ker, J. Campbell||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Colton, Major William Philip||Kimball, Lawrence||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Knight, Holford||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Copeland, Ida||Knox, Sir Alfred||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Law, Sir Alfred||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Lees-Jones, John||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Crossley, A. C.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Levy, Thomas||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lewis, Oswald||Sandeman, Sir A.N. Stewardt|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A.G.D.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Llewellin, Major John J.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Dickle, John P.||Locker-Lampson. Rt. Hn. G.(Wd. Gr'n)||Scone, Lord|
|Donner, P. W.||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Drewe, Cedric||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Shaw, Helen B. (Lenark, Bothwell)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Shapperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Dunglass, Lord||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Skelton, Archilbald Noel|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Elmley, Viscount||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dline, C.)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||McKie, John Hamilton||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Emrys-Evans. P. V.||McLean, Major Alan||Smithers, Waldron|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T.E.|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Southby, Commander Archibald R.J.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Stanley, Hon. O.F.G. (Westmorland)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Stewart, William J.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Storey, Samuel|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin||Martin, Thomas B.||Strickland, Captain W.F.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Mayhew. Lieut.-Colonel John||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Meller, Richard James||Sugden, Sir Wilfred Hart|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Milne, Charles||Templeton, William P.|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chlaw'k)||Thomas, Major L.B. (King's Norton)|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Thompson, Luke|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Thompson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Goff, Sir Park||Moreing, Adrian C.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Train, John|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Moss, Captain H. J.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Grimston, R. V.||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Munro, Patrick||Wallance, Captain D.E (Hornsey)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Murray-Phllipson, Hylton Ralph||Wallace, John (Dunfermiline)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Ward, Lt.-Col, Sir A.L. (Hull)|
|Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Walisend)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Wells, Sydney Richard||Wills, Wilfrid D.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Weymouth, Viscount||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Whiteside, Borras Noel H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Whyte, Jardine Bell||Withers, Sir John James||Mr. Womersley and Lord Erskine.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Groves, Thomas E.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Milner, Major James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George.||Harris, Sir Percy||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, George Henry||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cove, William G.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cowan, D. M.||Jenkins, Sir William||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||John, William||Thorne, William James|
|Curry, A. C.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merieneth)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||White, Henry Graham|
|Edwards, Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, Capt, Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Leonard, William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Logan, David Gilbert||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lunn, William|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Walter Rea and Sir Murdoch|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesaro',W.)||McKeag, William||McKenzie Wood.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I beg to move, in page 12, line 12, to leave out Sub-section (3).
I take it that it will be in accordance with your wishes, Sir Dennis, if at the same time we discussed the consequential Amendment in page 12, line 34, at the end, to add the words:(5) Any order made under this Act for the purpose of terminating the scheduled Agreements or for the revocation or modification of any order made under Sections five or seven of this Act shall have effect, unless within a period of twenty-eight days from the date of the order a resolution shall have been passed by each House of Parliament indicating dissent from the terms of the order.The Amendment involves an important question of principle. It contemplates a changed House of Commons. There might be a House of Commons changed from the present one, either by a change of heart in the course of the present Parliament, in which direction I am not very hopeful, or by the constitution of another House of Commons as the result of an appeal to the people. It is possible that when all these proposals with their effects are submitted to the people, they may decide to wipe out the whole bag of tricks. We have to look at the situation that would arise in this House if they did that. There would be a Prime Minister whose duty, in accordance with the custom of this country, would be to 1830 carry out the will of the people as expressed at the poll. I know that this Bill has been discussed upon the assumption that it gives us advantages. There are some in the House who take the view that it does not so much offer advantages as impose burdens. When the question is considered in the country I suppose that the line of controversy will be whether the proposals offer advantages or impose burdens.
What will be the position of the Prime Minister of the day if he represents in the House a majority of the electors who have decided that they are burdens of which the country should be rid? As the Bill stands, the approval of both Houses of Parliament is necessary to support the action of the Government in removing these restrictions. We put it the other way round in this Amendment, and suggest that in the circumstances that I have described the Government should have power to take action, and that that power should be open only to the veto of this House, and not the veto of both Houses of Parliament. That is the essential part of the Amendment. As the Clause stands, it would be necessary for the Government to bring in their proposal dealing with what is done under Clauses 5 and 7, and their action could be vetoed if both Houses of Parliament joined in. The action of the Government of the day could not go on unless there was a 1831 positive Resolution of both the Commons and the Lords. Take the case of Russia: suppose that it was decided after the election that we should admit Russian timber, contrary to what had been under Clause 5. The Commons could approve that action, but under the Bill it would also need the approval of the Lords. Take another instance. In Clause 7 is the restriction applying to meat. Suppose the Government decided to wipe out that restriction, it might happen that when the matter was referred to the Commons the action of the Executive would be approved, but unless approval could be had from the other Chamber, the restriction would have to continue.
Sub-section (3) of this Clause deals with three matters. Paragraph (a) iswith respect to the prohibition of the importation into the United Kingdom of goods of any class or description grown, produced or manufactured in a foreign country.Hon. Members will recall that that simply repeats the words of Clause 5. Paragraph (b) iswith respect to the regulation of the importation into the United Kingdom of frozen and chilled meat.That repeats the words of Clause 7. Then there is paragraph (c)declaring that any of the scheduled agreements is to be deemed to have ceased to be in force or revoking such a declaration.The line is difficult to draw, but I suggest that paragraph (c) closely touches the question of taxation. The Agreements include an agreement on our part to tax, and surely the question whether we can continue these Agreements or terminate them is closely asosciated with taxation. Is it not fair that these three points should be limited to the control of this House? It would be a monstrous situation if, having gone to those from whom we derive our authority, they express their condemnation of that part of the Bill which is contained in Clauses 5 and 7 and repeated by the provisions here, and the demand of the people, as expressed by the voice of the Executive, could be overridden by those who have been deprived historically of all right of interference in taxation. It is because it raises that point of principle that we bring forward this Amendment.
We are raising the historic cleavage in the politics of the last 20 years. Anyone 1832 who has read the book dealing with the life of Lord Oxford and Asquith will know that 15 or 20 years ago that was a great issue, and was fought out. We suggest that this Clause raises the same issue, and inasmuch as under this Bill we have "played ducks and drakes" with the Constitution we ought to retain whatever remnant of our Constitution we can. If there is one thing settled in our Constitution it is that the power of imposing taxation rests in this House, and not in another place, and I say that that vital principle in our Constitution would be put in jeopardy if the authority of the people could be withstood even after there is a, freshly-elected Parliament.
I think this is a matter upon which I ought to be able to invoke the support of my friends who sit upon the Treasury Bench, who have Liberal history and Liberal traditions. They have been associated with us in this struggle of the last 20 or 30 years, and a little while ago, when the Government was being reconstructed, consequent upon certain re, signations, a timely reminder appeared in the newspapers that although they remained in the Government they were remaining as the custodians of Liberal principles. We would like them to remember that, and to assist us in this protest against what we believe would be an invasion of a right secured after very hard fights and after many desperate efforts.
If our apprehensions can be relieved, and it can be shown that the fears I have expressed have no foundation, we should not press the Amendment, but I would like whoever replies from the Treasury Bench to direct himself to this one question: Is it possible, taking the Bill as it stands, for the opinion of the people to be expressed in an election and for that opinion to be resisted, frustrated, by an action that is not limited to the walls of this Commons Chamber? If that question cannot be answered in such a way that we can be assured of the defence of these principles for which we have fought, we shall carry this Amendment to a Division.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
My hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) always raises every subject which he discusses into an exalted atmosphere, and I doubt whether I have the capacity to ascend to his heights. I will, 1833 however, ask the Committee to examine exactly what it is that we are doing, and exactly what it is that he proposes as an alternative, and we shall then see who is the greater 'democrat, he or I. Any Order made under this Bill prohibiting the importation of certain goods, regulating supplies of meat into this country, or terminating these Agreements will cease to have effect unless it is approved by a Resolution of the House of Commons and of the House of Lords, that is, by Parliament as a whole, within 28 Parliamentary days. My 'hon. Friend dislikes all these provisions, and accordingly we place two checks upon their coming into operation. The House of Commons may reject them, and the House of Lords may reject them, because we are dealing here with matters not directly concerned with taxation. That is what we propose.
My hon. Friend wants to leave this Subsection out altogether. [Interruption.] I am taking his argument in two parts. First of all, he wants to leave out this Sub-section altogether. [Interruption.] I am coming to his alternative, but I am taking it by stages. I am doing so because in the substitute I suggest he has not covered all the contingencies. The effect of leaving out this Sub-section would be that the Government of the day could, of its own motion, and uncontrolled by Parliament, impose a prohibition upon foreign goods entering this country, establish meat control and terminate the Agreements—that is if we leave the Subsection out and put nothing in its place. But my hon. Friend does wish to put something in its place. What does he wish to put in its place? He wants to say that Orders terminating the Agreements, Orders revoking or modifying meat control, and Orders modifying or terminating the prohibition of goods entering this country shall have permanent validity at once unless within 28 days the House of Commons annuls the Orders. Now, who is the greater democrat? Under his proposal we are to have the most arbitrary and uncontrolled power unless Parliament annuls the Order within 28 days. See what it would involve. It would mean that the Executive could make an Order terminating the Agreements altogether; the Executive could make an Order modifying our meat control scheme, that is to say they might intensify the control and make it far more drastic, without any obligatory con- 1834 trol by Parliament; and they might modify our arrangements in respect of imports from foreign countries, that is to say, might make our prohibition even more severe.
My hon. Friend, with the great democratic traditions of which he has spoken this afternoon, says the Government of the day ought to have the power to do all these things without any restraint, without any, criticism and that the Executive's act shall remain in operation unless somebody comes down to this House and moves a Resolution annulling it. We, with all our practical common sense and our desire to act promptly, never aspired to such dictatorial powers as my hon. Friend wishes to confer upon us. We have undertaken to place every Order before this House, except Orders reducing duties, which my hon. Friend would welcome, and except Orders bringing the Agreements into force. Otherwise, we put every Order made before the House of Commons. My hon. Friend thinks that by doing that we are doing something which in some way offends a democratic principle. But we are the democrats. My hon. Friend wishes to make us into Stuart Kings, but that is, perhaps, because he follows so well the example of the Great Protector.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Before the hon. Gentleman sits down, will he address himself to the point of the House of Lords? That was the gravamen of my case—as to whether or not that decision can be arrived at irrespective of the House of Lords. Then, perhaps, if he will look at his history he will find that the Protector did away with the House of Lords altogether.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
The Great Protector took away this bauble. He did away with us. I am pointing out to my hon. Friend that he is following that example. He wants to do away with the House of Commons. He wants to put the power not in the House of Lords but in the hands of the Executive. I have said that, in order to meet his objections, or objections that might be raised to the executive power which we are taking, we say that our Orders must be approved both by the House of Commons and by the House of Lords. There is the double cheek. My hon. Friend says: "Let us have them approved by neither, but, if anyone objects within 28 days he may 1835 come here and move a Resolution." But if Parliament is not sitting there could be no Resolution moved at all.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has, very ingeniously, entirely evaded the point of this Amendment, which was explained at length and with clarity by my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot). The Amendment to leave out the Sub-section was regarded by the Chair as a necessary preliminary to the other Amendment being brought into order, and it was put down for that reason, and the two were taken together. Of course, we never for a moment bad the intention which my hon. Friend attributes to us of——
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I really must interrupt my right hon. Friend. I dealt with that matter quite candidly. I said that this question fell into two parts, first the leaving out of the Sub-section in order to replace it with something else, and I said that what was to be put in its place did not cover all the contingencies and therefore I would describe what would happen by its being left out. I then dealt with what was to come in in its place.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
I do not disagree with that. I have no quarrel with that. I was going to say that it was not our intention to arrive at the results which the hon. Gentleman just mentioned, namely, to amend this Bill in such a way that the Treasury or the Board of Trade could make orders without any Parliamentary sanction at all. If the principle of the new Sub-section were to be agreed to by the Government it would be perfectly possible to alter the Amendment in such a way as to save the present powers, but for the purposes of order we had to move to leave out the Subsection or we could not have brought forward our other point. If the hon. Gentleman agrees with the point of substance which is embodied in the Amendment of my hon. Friend we are quite ready to modify it, and to secure that the Bill shall retain all the powers which are now reserved to Parliament in order to control the orders that are to be made. Let that be made clear.
My hon. Friend, fastening upon this point, which is a sound point so far as it goes, and which would have to be met 1836 if the principle of the other Amendment were agreed to, has "given the go by" to the whole of the case of my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin. His case is this, dealing with these two orders, the Russian order and the meat order. They are the only two really in question—the Russian order restricting the importation of Russian timber or other commodities, and the meat order imposing a general restriction upon meat supplies from foreign countries. It is assumed that what one Government and Parliament can do another Government and Parliament can easily undo, and that if there were a change of Government and a change in the constitution of the House of Commons, and the country had given its mandate for the reversal of this policy, there would be no difficulty in carrying that mandate into effect. So far as taxes are concerned that would be so. The new Government could inform the Dominions—although it would be a breach of the Agreement they would have the power to do it—that they proposed to repeal certain duties, and they could in their Finance Bill repeal those duties. That being a Money Bill, it would go straight through the House of Lords. Now take these two particular matters, the Russian order and the meat order. Any order repealing them would have to be laid upon the Table of both Houses, and if the House of Lords refused to pass a Motion sanctioning their repeal the effect would be that those orders, made by this Government, in this Parliament, would go on. They could not be repealed, and any legislation to repeal them would not be a money Bill, and would be subject to the veto of the House of Lords. It could only be passed under the Parliament Act after the lapse of two or three years. That is the point of substance in my hon. Friend's Amendment. It is a point which is all the more important, because the effect of it would be, as I have said, that the veto of the House of Lords would be made to apply to the nullification, not of an Act of Parliament, but of a particular order made by the Treasury or by the Board of Trade.
We have moved this Amendment entirely for that reason. We say that there ought not to be this obstacle imposed to the execution of a measure of that kind that might be desired to be taken, by either this or some succeeding 1837 House of Commons, after a General Election. We can imagine how difficult it would be to get either of those two Orders repealed with the sanction of another place. Therefore, we suggest that this should be regarded as analogous to the taxation imposed by this Bill, and that the Bill should be altered accordingly. The consequences which the Financial Secretary to the Treasury feared should undoubtedly be avoided, and any modification which was necessary in the form of our Amendment would be agreed to.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I should like to support this Amendment, as far as it goes. It is interesting to hear hon. Gentlemen of different varieties of the Liberal party splitting constitutional hairs, especially the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel), pleading for powers of taxation in this Committee, when one considers that a short time ago he was a Member of the Government that broke through every possible precedent with regard to taxation. We would like to know, if he had not been a Member of that Government, what he would have had to say about the Import Duties Act under which powers of taxation were taken away from this House. I am also rather interested to hear the Financial Secretary to the Treasury supporting this House against any invasion from the Executive. There is some substance in what the two Members of the Liberal party have put forward. The Bill as it stands puts this House under the veto of the House of Lords. The only way you can get away from that is not by playing with the subject, but by dealing with the House of Lords. I do not believe that the Liberal party have any intention of dealing with the House of Lords. They are contemplating coming into office some time under the usual circumstances of Liberal Governments in the past, in which the Executive is fettered by the House of Lords when there is not a Conservative party in power. The Executive is perfectly free when a Conservative party is in power.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
And an extraordinary thing the Parliament Act is. A tremendous lot of noise was made about the Parliament Act in the country, and very little has come of it. Our point of view 1838 is that something much more will have to be done if we want to change to a Government in which drastic action is going to be taken. If it were a question of our coming into power in this House, we should find hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen opposite running to the House of Lords in order to support the capitalist system.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
As one who has suffered drastically from time to time by the abuses which were brought in by the last Government, in preventing free discussion on finance, I remember that those abuses were supported by the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) and the right hon. Gentleman who is at present leading the Samuel Group in the House of Commons. To find them pretending here that they want to stand up for the House of Commons, and for purity of finance and that kind of thing, is a very drastic change for a party that prides itself on sticking in the mud with the greatest of all possible persistency. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel), in his opening remarks, said that this Amendment could be amended. Surely the right hon. Gentleman has sufficient knowledge of the House of Commons not to put down Amendments on the Order Paper that immediately afterwards are to be amended. That would have an effect exactly opposite what the speeches made in their support intended they should have.
I can conceive of no case, where you had a new House of Commons freshly elected on a matter of finance of this kind, in which there could be opposition, under modern conditions, from the Second Chamber, to any drastic change in this House. As I understand the situation at the present time, certain hon. Members are seeking varying ways whereby they can make the operation of this tax more difficult. The real reason why the Committee should reject this Amendment is that it is the intention of the House of Commons and of the people who sent us here that we should make these Orders elastic so that we can deal with them quickly and put them on a fairly permanent basis. If there is a mistake in the Bill as it now stands, it is easy to remedy that mistake. I hope that the Government will stick to their position in regard to this Amendment. 1839 Whatever else the Amendment may be, no one can say that it is democratic either in form or in principle.
§ Mr. BATEY
I wish to support the Amendment, which is a most important one, and is well worthy of the support of the Committee. The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) is far too clever to have attempted to meet any of the arguments that were advanced in favour of the Amendments, and he simply indulged in recriminations. That is not meeting the arguments that were used. Neither has the Financial Secretary to the Treasury attempted to meet any of the arguments that were used by the Mover. All he did was to stand at that Box and say: "We are the democrats." He is a democrat. It is just as well that he told us. He reminded me of the boy who put something down on paper, and then wrote underneath it: "This is a horse." Unless he had written that, no one would have known it was a horse. If the Financial Secretary had not told us that he was a democrat, no one would have known it. It is the last thing that we would have given him credit for, but he has told us, and therefore I suppose that we must accept it, although his actions while he has been a Member of the Government have been entirely in the opposite direction. We consider that he is not entitled to stand at that Box and say that he is a democrat.
He says that if it were not for Sub-section (3), the Government, without consulting the House of Commons, could increase any of the Orders or prohibitions, or whatever they pleased. What does it matter Orders are made by the Treasury, and the supporters of the Government are bound to confirm those Orders. They have no option. Whether the Executive made the Orders with or without consulting the House of Commons is a matter of no importance. Once the Orders are made, the supporters of the Government are bound to confirm them lest they turn the Government out. The Government say: "Unless you confirm the Orders, we shall be forced to go to the country, and that will mean a General Election," and they force their supporters to agree to the Orders whether they really agree with them or not. The Minister did not meet the strong argument which was used, that 1840 the Orders have to be confirmed by both Houses of Parliament. If they were to be confirmed only by this House, there would be no complaint, but they have to be confirmed by both Houses of Parliament.
The Financial Secretary says that that is a two-fold safeguard. It is no such thing. The Mover of the Amendment said—and the Financial Secretary did not reply to this—that if a new Government is elected, both Houses of Parliament will have to cancel the Orders that the new House may think it wise to cancel. That is the danger of it. It is the danger in regard to the other House. A Constitutional question is raised. My hon. Friends on the Front Opposition Bench have made it perfectly clear that when they get into power again—[HON. MEMBERS: "When"!]—Well, read the results of the municipal elections. [An HON MEMBER "Sheffield"!] You will see that Labour is getting on its feet and is again beginning to sweep the country. Before this Government is turned out hon. Members will see by the writing on the wall what is going to be their fate. My hon. Friends on the Front Opposition Bench have mode it clear that when Labour comes into power it will sweep away all these Measures. The fact of the Orders having to be confirmed by the other House will mean that the other House will claim the right to say whether the Orders shall stand. The other House is simply a committee of the Tory party. Although the country at the next election may put a Labour Government into power in this House, yet the Tory friends of hon. Members will act in the other House and will do whatever hon. Members ask them to do. They will try to kill the policy of the Labour party. I submit that-it will be far better to have the Sub-section swept away than to allow the provision to stand that two Houses of Parliament are to confirm the Orders, because of the power which the provision gives to the House of Lords and which will prevent any future Labour Government from revoking the Orders and cancelling the tariff policy of the present Government.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I want to remove any misapprehension existing in the mind of my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel). It is 1841 not the Government who can be accused of any indecision, as he must admit. He now confesses that what he wishes to do is to change four words in our Sub-section, that is to say that instead of saying hat the Orders shall be approved by "both Houses of Parliament," thus ensuring a. double check, he would have preferred us to have said "one House of Parliament." If my right hon. Friend had desired to achieve that result and make that breach in constitutional practice he should have moved an Amendment in that sense and, of course, we should have dealt with it. What he is trying to do is to take away from the powers that we give to the Parliament and vest them in a stronger executive.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I have no desire to speak again, but the Financial Secretary knows that in putting that interpretation upon the Amendment he is consciously putting a wrong interpretation on what was said, because he had the opportunity of hearing what I said in this Committee. The Amendment does not bear the interpretation that has been put upon it. Members of the Committee know what was the gravamen of our case. The specific question might have been answered, if there had been a satisfactory answer to it. It was a simple question. Questions as to whether my hon. Friend is a better democrat than I am are not questions that can be decided here. I have not accused the hon. Gentleman of any lack of democracy, but that question can be decided elsewhere, and must depend upon other tests. I put a specific question, and I suggest to him that he will be dealing fairly and candidly with the House if he will give the answer to that question. It is not a difficult question to answer. It is this: Assuming that
§ a new Parliament comes in pledged to the removal of the Orders made under Clauses 5 and 7, will the executive of that day, and the House of Commons of that day, be free to wipe out such Orders, or must that be dependent upon the approval of another place?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I can answer that question at once, although, as my hon. Friend says, it has no reference whatever to the Amendment which he moved. There is, as far as I am aware, no precedent for making the operation of any Order other than an Order relating to taxation conditional upon a Resolution of the house of Commons only, but the precedents for making the operation of an Order conditional upon Resolutions of both Houses are legion. That is the constitutional position. My hon. Friend wants to remove the authority of the House of Lords. This is not a Bill in which to do that, as was pointed out to him by the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee). If it is desired to remove one of the essential elements in the constitution, that raises a very much bigger question than we are discussing here to-day. Of course, I could not, in response to a casual Amendment, and still less an Amendment which has not been moved, snake a breach of that kind in the constitution. As the law now stands, as the practice of the constitution now stands, my hon. Friend is perfectly right; both Houses of Parliament will have to be consulted before the Order is either approved or disapproved.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 330; Noes, 66.1845
|Division No. 348.]||AYES||5.48 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut,-Colonel||Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Bateman, A. L.||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George|
|Albery, Irving James||Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Broadbent, Colonel John|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nhd.)||Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Burghley, Lord|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie|
|Apsley, Lord||Blindetl, James||Burnett, John George|
|Asks, Sir Robert William||Borodale, Viscount||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Boosom, A. C.||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Boulton, W. W.||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Bowater,-Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm|
|Saline, Sir Adrian W. M.||Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Bailout, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Carver, Major William H.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Boyce, H. Leslie||Camels, James Dale|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Newton, Sir Douglas George C.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hepworth, Joseph||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Nunn, William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birm.,W)||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Hornby, Frank||Peaks, Captain Osbert|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Horsbrugh, Florence||Pearson, William G.|
|Christie, James Archibald||Howard, Tom Forrest||Penny, Sir George|
|Clarke, Frank||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Clayton Dr. George C.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Petherick, M.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hurd, Sir Percy||Pete, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Bilston)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Iveagh, Countess of||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||James, Wing Com. A, W. H.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Copeland, Ida||Jamieson, Douglas||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Ker, J. Campbell||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Kimball, Lawrence||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Ramsden, E.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Crossley, A. C.||Knebworth, Viscount||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Knight, Holford||Ray, Sir William|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Knox, Sir Alfred||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Dickle, John P.||Law, Sir Alfred||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Donner, P. W.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Drewe, Cedric||Lees-Jones, John||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Duckworth, George A. V||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ross Taylor. Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Levy, Thomas||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lewis, Oswald||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Russell. Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Llewellin, Major John J.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Locker-Lampoon, Rt. Hn. G.(Wd.Gr'n)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||MacAndrew, Lieut,-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Faile, Sir Bertram G.||McCorguodale, M. S.||Scone, Lord|
|Fermoy, Lord||MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham)||Selley, Harry R.|
|Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||McKie, John Hamilton||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||McLean, Major Alan||Slater, John|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Magnay, Thomas||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinedine,C.)|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Maitland, Adam||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Smithers, Waldron|
|Goff, Sir Park||Manningham-Buller, Lt,-Col. Sir M||Soper, Richard|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Martin, Thomas B.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Greene, William P. C.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Stewart, William J.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Meller, Richard James||Storey, Samuel|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Milne, Charles||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Templeton, William P.|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Morning, Adrian C.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Moss, Captain H. J.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Hartland, George A.||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Thompson, Luke|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Munro, Patrick||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Murray-Phillpson, Hylton Ralph||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Titchfleid, Major the Marquess of||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Train, John||Wardlaw-Mline, Sir John S.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wells, Sydney Richard||Womersiey, Walter James|
|Turton, Robert Hugh||Weymouth, Viscount||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||Whyte, Jardine Bell||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v;oaks)|
|Wallace, John (Dunfermline)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)||Wills, Wilfrid D.||Lord Erskine and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Groves, Thomas E.||McKeag, William|
|Banfield, John William||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Bernays, Robert||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maxton, James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Milner, Major James|
|Buchanan, George||Harris, Sir Percy||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, George Henry||Price, Gabriel|
|Cove, William G.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Janner, Barnett||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Curry, A. C.||Jenkins, Sir William||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Daggar, George||John, William||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col, David|
|Edwards, Charles||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||White, Henry Graham|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Kirkwood, David||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Leonard, William||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick|
|Grefell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro',W.)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Mr. Walter Rea and Sir Murdoch|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||McEntee, Valentine L.||McKenzie Wood.|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.