§ Nothing in any section of this Act, shall he deemed to impose upon His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom any statutory obligation not to reduce the general ad valorem duty of 10 per cent. imposed by section one of the Import Duties Act, 1932, on certain foreign goods, or to maintain the scheduled Agreements in force for a perod of five years.—[Mr. Attlee.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I beg to move, "That the Clause he read a Second time."
This Clause is designed to make a declaration that this Act shall not impose certain obligations on His Majesty's Government. The first relates to the very extraordinary provision that appears in the Agreements, under which this country is subject to the will of another Government in the matter of its own domestic affairs. It is fairly common in trade agreements for two countries to agree not to tax goods coming from each other's territory, or they might even agree to tax such goods. But here we have a provision that this country must tax goods coming from foreign countries, 1874 and that it cannot get rid of that tax without asking the leave of various Dominion Governments. We must ask the leave of the Canadian, the Australian, the New Zealand and the South African Governments. That is quite an unprecedented position. It only shows to what a condition the British Delegation at Ottawa were reduced before they submitted to such an indignity. I cannot imagine such a thing being clone in those times that are so dear to the heart of the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot), the Cromwellian days. I cannot imagine that Parliament would have submitted to another country in such a way, even though it was a country under the same Crown that made the arrangement. The nearest thing I can see to this arrangement is the well-known Poynings Act of Henry VII, in which all the Acts of the Irish Parliament had to be submitted to this House. That was always considered a great indignity to Ireland. Then we have the curious position with regard to this particular obligation, that it is unilateral. You have separate agreements with separate Dominions, and, in each of them, we agree that we will not reduce the general ad valorem duty 1875 of 10 per cent. without, their leave. Presumably there was some quid pro quo in exchange for this concession by the Government, but it is quite ineffective as regards the 10 per cent. duty, because Canada might denounce this Agreement and take away any advantage which she gave to us in exchange for the 10 per cent. duty, but we should still be bound by it because we are under a similar obligation to New Zealand. In turn, New Zealand might get rid of the Agreement and abolish any concession which she has given to us, but we should still be bound by the 10 per cent. duty because we have an agreement with South Africa.
So, we have the extraordinary position that this Government have given away a power in exchange for nothing at all. When we come to South Africa we see that it is not only a question of the duty of 10 per cent., but that special provision is made with regard to sugar. In fact, the fiscal policy of this country, over a wide territory, is now subject to the leave of a particular Dominion Government, or rather, several Dominion Governments. It means that whatever party got into power here would be bound to keep on this 10 per cent. duty. Let us take a flight into the realms of imagination. Supposing that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) were returned here with a majority in the country and a party pledged to a free breakfast table. He will not object to that. In that case, he would have to go, cap in hand, to Mr. Bennett or Mr. Mackenzie King, or whoever happened to be in office in Canada; to General Heitzog in South Africa, and to the Prime Ministers of other Dominions, and say: "Will you kindly allow me to enforce the policy which a large majority of the British people agree to be the right policy for this country," and they would be entitled to reply: "No, thank you, good morning." It is an extraordinary position.
Then we have to take these obligations in conjunction with the further obligation to maintain the scheduled Agreements in force for a period of five years. One might imagine this Government, which does so many strange things, saying, "We will submit to this indignity during our lifetime, or for a year or two because there is a crisis." Every- 1876 thing is explained by saying that there is a crisis. But no. These Agreements are to be carried on for five years. We know that some of its Members think that this Government is going to last for five years, but some do not, and it is an unheard of thing to put an obligation of this nature on the country for a period of five years. It is an attempt to bind the House of Commons in two respects -first, to bind its domestic policy to the will of another of His Majesty's Governments in another country, and secondly, to bind the House of Commons beyond the lifetime of the present Parliament. Both these things in fact cannot be done.
What would have happened if in any of the Imperial Conferences which have been held a proposal had been made by this country that the domestic legislation of any of the Dominions should be subject to the consent of His Majesty's Government here? Anyone who takes the trouble to follow what has happened at the Imperial Conferences since they began, will observe a continuous process by which Colony after Colony—as they were formerly—and Dominion after Dominion, has insisted That they shall be entirely free from this country in their domestic policy. The keystone was put on that position by the Statute of Westminster, by which, it was thought, all the self-governing parts of the British Empire were put on a level as Dominions. But that impression has not lasted long because we find that as soon as the others have come alongside, we must drop back, and now apparently we are less than any Dominion.
It is no good saying that this is a light matter because this 10 per cent. duty is very wide, covering a vast number of goods and it must be remembered that it is a matter of acute domestic controversy. What would have been thought if a suggestion of this kind had been made in regard to any other matter of domestic controversy? Let us get away for a moment from present troubles and go back to a period with which the hon. Member for Bodmin is familiar when there were religious struggles in this country—the period of the Commonwealth. Supposing that a Government then had attempted to bind successive Parliaments to do or forbear from doing something in domestic policy according to the will, let us say, of the President 1877 of the Dutch Republic, or the Stadt-holder, or whatever he was. Supposing Cromwell had introduced legislation by which no Parliament was to be allowed to restore the Monarchy or by which they could only do so provided they had the agreement of their fellow-republicans in, shall we say, the City of Florence. I think perhaps that is rather an anachronism, but there were plenty of republics at that time. I fancy in such a case there would have been wonderfully eloquent speeches from the Parliamentarians of that time.
Then there is the suggestion that this is only a little makeweight, a little matter of bargaining. The argument is that you cannot give effective preference to the Dominions unless you insist on keeping out foreign goods for a definite period. But we do not find any obligation of that nature on the other side. All the indignities are on the side of this country. I have heard the same plea put forward often, years ago by the Dominions, and it was opposed by all parties in the House of Commons on the ground that you could not insist on taxing your own people for the benefit of other people, in respect of goods coming from foreign countries. We have put down this proposed new Clause in order to raise a debate on this matter and to enter a protest and to ask the House of Commons to protect us against this constitutional innovation which is being thrust upon us.
It is not a mere matter of constitutional nicely. It is a vital matter. I could understand such a proposal, if, as a result of Ottawa, there had been formed some super-Imperial authority, and if a degree of sovereignty were taken away from each Dominion and entrusted to a. federal body. I could understand someone coming here and recommending that as a very good thing to do. I could imagine even the ease of a world body of that kind. But to suggest that this country shall surrender its rights of sovereignty to a sister nation of the Empire, or indeed not to one but to four or five sisters, is most amazing. On the matter of the five years duration we shall doubtless be told that you cannot make an agreement unless you do it for five years; that you must have a long term so that business men shall know where they are. That is a very odd argument 1878 from a Government which is upsetting business men at every turn. The Secretary of State for the Colonies told us to-day that he is going to issue every year a White Paper showing the duties in force in the British Colonies. I should not have been in order in doing so or I would have asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he could not give a weekly return showing the duties in force in this country because we have new duties every week.
The Government say: "We must have a certain continuity, a certain regularity, so that our traders may know what they are doing." To say that is to deny the power of the House of Commons. Every trader in this country has to act under conditions laid down by a Parliament with sovereign power, and Parliament has the power to alter the conditions under which he trades. In fact, Parliament, year by year, turns out a large amount of legislation affecting traders. To nay that you cannot come to an agreement unless you make it for a long period like five years is to deny the sovereignty of Parliament. As a matter of fact, these provisions show one thing and one thing only—that the political position of the Government in the House of Commons was such that they did not dare to come back from Ottawa without an agreement, and they were prepared to accept any indignity to this country in order to get an agreement.
§ Mr. CROOM-JOHNSON
The spectacle of Members on the Front Bench of the Socialist party professing fear of creating a precedent is one which I refuse to take seriously. It has always occurred to me that their real raison, d'etre in the State was that they were so tired of precedents and of the things which they found existing in the life of the country, that they desired to lead, as it were, a minor revolution against precedents. That. being so I propose to examine briefly the other arguments which have been addressed to the Committee by the hon. Member for Lime-house (Mr. Attlee) to see whether there is anything sounder lurking in them. The suggestion apparently is that, if you enter into an agreement of this kind you thereby destroy the rights of the House of Commons of which this Committee forms part. It occurs to me, as I dare say it has occurred to others, in listening to the observations of the hon. Gentleman that you might just as well say that you 1879 become a slave instead of a freeman when you enter into a lease to take a house for five years.
The power of the House of Commons remains exactly where it is. It remains untouched by this Agreement. Whether the House of Commons would desire, in the circumstances, to assert its powers and its rights and to break this Agreement, is another matter entirely. But to say that because we have entered into honourable obligations and put our national name to a treaty, under which we say that we will not disturb a certain state of affairs for five years, we have thereby deprived ourselves of all power over finance is to put the cart before the horse. I cannot help feeling that that is an argument advanced by an Opposition which feels that it must do its duty and oppose but that the argument upon that ground is really no sounder than the argument based upon the theory that we should be afraid of making new precedents.
Personally, I have been brought up among precedents and I rejoice to see, here and there, not infrequently, that precedents when they no longer serve their purpose can be disregarded. If it is necessary for the purpose of rehabilitating this country and doing something towards the solution of the unemployment problem by fostering trade and industry, I, for one, should not hesitate to disregard precedent notwithstanding my training. The suggestion that this part of the Agreement is unilateral makes one think that we are dealing with this matter in a law court, among lawyers, and not among people who ought to be statesmen. There is in Article 22 of the Canadian Agreement an obligation under which the Agreement as a whole is to last for five years and to continue thereafter unless denounced, at six months' notice, and in putting forward that argument the hon. Member seems to be regarding the Agreement article by article instead of regarding the Agreement as a whole as he ought to do. I therefore submit to the Committee that the reasons which have been advanced in support of the new Clause are not such as should commend themselves to the minds of those of us who desire to see these Agreements brought into force and continued.
§ Mr. COCKS
The hon. and learned Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson), who has just sat down, said that the Socialist party is afraid of precedents. We are not afraid of precedents, but the sort of precedent we always avoid is the precedent of surrender, and when the hon. and learned Gentleman brings forward the argument that the rights of the House of Commons may be let out on lease, I think he is going to the very limit of absurdity. We have heard a great deal about constitutional matters in this Debate, and I am still hoping that the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot)—I wish he were here—will one day do his best to emulate the example of John Hampden, without drawing a sword, and perhaps lead a Boston tea party, or a Bodmin tea party, into Liverpool Docks.
I object to this Agreement., not merely on constitutional lines, but on practical lines, because I believe it will lead to disunity and trouble in the Empire itself. We have a. tax at the present time on Scandinavian timber, and we are not allowed, under the Agreement, to reduce that tax or to take it off without the consent of Mr. Bennett, or the Canadian Government. In the past, we have had a very profitable trade with Scandinavia, by which we have bought Scandinavian timber and sold a great. deal of coal in exchange. If the result of the continued imposition of this tax is that our export trade in coal suffers, there will be a considerable agitation in this country, certainly in the mining districts and among the coalowners themselves, to remove the tax on timber because it is spoiling our export trade with Scandinavia. But if we are told that we cannot take the tax off without. the consent of Mr. Bennett, there will be a good deal of trouble in this country and agitation against Canada itself.
It seems to me that the House of Commons, by putting on this tax, which cannot be reduced or taken off without the permission of the Canadian Government, is allowing Mr. Bennett to put his foot upon our necks. I do not like to repeat these things, but I am told that during the Conference at Ottawa there were certain occasions on which it was very difficult indeed to get the British delegates even to shake Mr. Bennett's hand; and now we are going to allow him to put his boots upon our necks. My 1881 position in this matter has been supported by a great Canadian statesman, Mr. Mackenzie King, successor to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the great supporter of Imperial preference in the days of the late lamented Mr. Joseph Chamberlain. Mr. Mackenzie King said, on Article 3 of this Agreement:It is an indefensible proposition…I doubt if a single member of Vile Canadian Parliament would support such a restriction upon the control of Canada over her own fiscal policy. It is undeserving of the support of any part of the Empire.Those are the words of a great Canadian statesman, and I do not think I can add to their strength by any words of mine, but I commend those words to the Committee and to the Government.
§ Mr. PIKE
I should not have intervened but for the suggestion of the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) that the party that he represents does not object to precedents, that, in fact, it welcomes them, but that it objects to the precedent of surrender. That is very peculiar, coming from that side of the House. It is not many weeks ago that, at Leicester, the Executive of the Opposition party were not only subjected to surrender, but absolutely admitted and confessed that, although they might have power given to them by the people of this country to change the policy of this country, and although they would appeal to that power on a definite issue, they would, before putting that issue into effect, go again to the Executive and ask permission to do it. Yet they submit to this Committee that this Agreement is giving to Mr. Bennett the power to say, "We have a public that has elected us to do a certain thing, but before we can do it we are asking your permission."
That, in my opinion, is an entire misconception of the trite position of this Agreement. The representatives of this Government at Ottawa, in coming to this Agreement, decided definitely that it would he not only in the interests of Canada that the Agreement should continue for five years, but also in our own interests, and I am not one who would override the suggestion that has often been made from this side, and scoffed at from the other side, that our Ministers there were watching our interests at at home equally with those of the Empire as a whole. I am convinced that any attempt to introduce this Clause 1882 would not only weaken considerably the value of the Agreement in itself, but would tend to make other Agreements in the future almost impossible.
§ Mr. KINGSLEY GRIFFITH
I want to reply very briefly to the point made by the hon. and learned Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson), who drew the analogy of a man entering into a lease for five years, and said that that man was not depriving himself of any essential powers, and was acting in a way which no one would regard as putting him in a position of slavery. That is true, but he would be himself making the agreement, which he himself would afterwards be called upon to keep. But in this case it is the Government that is making an Agreement, which they are seeking to make different people keep. They know very well that by the time this question is referred to the decision of the nation, before the five years have elapsed, the strong probability is that other people, with entirely different views, will be put in their place, and in effect they are seeking to cramp the style of their successors, if I may use that expression. That is the essential illogicality of the position that has been taken up.
The Conservative party is here, once again, trying to do what it has so often tried to do in the past, and that is to say "Whether we have a majority in the House of Commons or whether we are in a minority, we will take good care that we rule somehow, either by an arrangement such as this, or by what may be done it) another place." So, with the full knowledge that, the Agreements into which they are entering are not matters of a small duty here or there, unconsidered, in a small corner of the Treaty, but refer to what has been one of the major issues of political controversy for a great many years, at any rate since the time of the late Mr. Joseph Chamberlain—knowing that, and knowing that any Government that succeeds them is likely to disagree with them on that point, they deliberately try to tie the hands of their successors.
I wish they would for once put themselves in the other man's place, and imagine what would happen if a Liberal or a Labour Government, had, let us say, in pursuit of the agreement which the late and regretted Mr. William Graham 1883 tried to arrange, entered into an agreement which would have barred the Conservatives from putting on any tariffs through the total scope of any tenure of office that they might expect to have after the next election. They would not have dreamed of regarding themselves as bound by that. They would have said, "Everyone knows our policy, and that if we are elected with a majority in this House as a Conservative Government, tariffs are not only the thing that we say, but the only thing we have ever found ourselves able to say at all, as a remedy for economic evils; and for any others to attempt to anticipate us and to say, 'You may come into power, but when there you shall be handicapped and handcuffed, and no part of your policy shall be carried out,' is absurd."
They would have said that, and rightly so, but they are trying to do that here, at any rate for five years, during which, in our view, irreparable damage may be done, and a situation may arise when some other Government has the power, apart from these Agreements, to come to another conclusion, and it may be a matter of months. If we can act now, we shall save the country from a great disaster, but if we have to wait till the five years have elapsed, it may be too late to do anything at all. Yet we are told that it is right and proper that this Parliament, legislating in 1932, and without a full knowledge of the circumstances that may be existing in 1934 or 1935, is able to assume omniscience and say that what we are deciding now is bound to be right, and nothing is to be undone unless you can get all these varied interests, to which the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) referred, to agree
The whole tragedy of the situation is that the interests of those at home and the interests of those in the Dominions are not always the same. We have to face that fact, and I wish it were not so. We saw it the other night, when arguing about meat, and it was apparent that the interests of the farmer at home in the matter of meat and those of the farmer in the Dominions were not the same, even in the view of members of the Conservative party. We are not going to get that unanimity, unfortunately; and in these circumstances, with the knowledge that 1884 a different Government may be in power and that altogether different circumstances may prevail, I suggest that it is monstrous, and not merely a constitutional point in the sense of being a matter of precedent, but that it is trying to do something which is in itself absurd and which is bound in practice to break down. Therefore, I associate myself very warmly with the proposed new Clause.
§ Mr. REMER
The hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) seemed to have a fear that the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) at some future date might come into this House with a majority pledged to a free breakfast table, but not be able to put it into effect owing to these Agreements. The next election, I presume, will be about four years hence, and four out of the five years of the Agreements will have run before that happy event, according to the hon. Members, will have happened, and we shall have had four years' experience of the Ottawa Agreements. I venture to predict that when we have had four years' experience of the Agreements and of their beneficial results, neither the right hon. Member for Darwen nor the hon. Member for Limehouse will dare put into his election address that he is going to repeal the Ottawa Agreements. Instead of that, they will even keep in the background the fact that they opposed them in this House when they were going through. The fears that have been expressed in this House to-day are, in my view, utterly groundless.
§ 8.0 p.m.
When the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. Pike) referred to the suggestion of an hon. Member on this side that these Agreements are a surrender, he alluded to an incident at the Leicester Conference of the Labour party. I would remind him that the executive at Leicester at least surrendered to their own countrymen, and not to foreigners. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Well, not to Mr. Bennett., but to their own countrymen. I want to look at the question of the long lease which was referred to by an hon. Member opposite, not from the point of view of a lawyer, but from the point of view of a miner who is in this House representing colliers. This Agreement puts duties on hundreds of articles 1885 from foreign countries for at least five years. We cannot afford to ignore the mining industry, for in dealing with the problem of unemployment, this country must go back sooner or later to the question of its mineral wealth and its development. Therefore, I am trying to consider—perhaps selfishly, although I think I am entitled to do it—how this long lease will benefit the mining industry. There is nothing in this Agreement that gives the slightest indication of any return to prosperity for that industry. Quite the reverse is the case. Since the Ottawa Agreements have been discussed, foreign countries have had indications that their imports are to be heavily taxed, and as a result they are already discussing the lowering of the quota of English coal.
I suggest that Members on the Government side will be pleased within five years if they can have the opportunity of reconsidering some of the proposals embodied in the Ottawa Agreement, but they are robbing themselves of that opportunity. Although it has been suggested that this is not a precedent, the early discussion on the Bill showed that we have never had a five years' extension of a trade agreement in this form before. The countries which have been our best purchasers of coal are likely to be more affected than any others by the taxes that will be imposed by this Bill. How far will this injure the future of the mining industry, and what opportunity will the Miners' Federation have of urging the Government to deal with the mining problem at the World Economic Conference if our hands are to be tied for five years? The Government are handing over to the Canadian Government the right to continue these arrangements for five years. They have made no provision in the Agreement for a review——
We can alter nothing in this House except by the consent of the Dominions. If there is to be any correction of that, let us have it from the Ministers who are in charge of the Bill. It is on these grounds that we feel alarmed. We could have understood agreements being made for a period if there had been provision for further con- 1886 sideration in this House because of any mistake that might have been made. We say that there are mistakes, and we shall be able to prove in less than a month, that there has been a grave mistake, and this Government will regret it. The Gov-eminent have tied their hands, however, and the coal industry will suffer more than ever before as the result. I support the proposed new Clause because the Bill hands over to the Dominions the right to say how this country's economic life shall be governed, and because it ties it up for five years. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) suggests that at the next General Election many of us will he afraid to admit that we denounced this Agreement. The only fear I have is that I shall lose an opportunity of making my protest, and so be prevented from being able to say at the next election that I did it.
This proposed new Clause raises what become known in the early stage of this Debate as the Constitutional issue, and it raises that issue in a form in which I should have thought it had been finally disposed of by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, and by the admission of my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel). What does the proposed Clause seek to propound? First, that nothing in the Bill shall bind His Majesty's Government not to reduce the general ad valorem duty; and second, that nothing shall bind His Majesty's Government to maintain the Scheduled Agreements in force for a period of five years. Those are the two propositions. What does my hon. Friend mean by them? He can only mean that no Agreement entered into at Ottawa shall be held to bind Parliament. That is what he must mean, and that is the form in which this constitutional issue was originally raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen. He set out to say that there was an analogy between the Ottawa Agreements and all other commercial agreements entered into with foreign Powers. He said that there was an anology because he was then under the impression, as indeed he stated, that none of our commercial agreements endured for a period of years. All of them, he said, were terminable on short notice being given. On it being demonstrated to him that, far from that being 1887 the case, the reverse was true, he very fairly withdrew that contention.
But, he said, there was a difference between a commercial agreement not to raise a duty and a commercial agreement not to reduce a duty. It was all very well, he said, to make an arrangement with Greece, whereby you should tax their currants at not more than, say, 2s., and to enter into a similar agreement with Australia whereby you should undertake not to tax foreign currants at less than 2s. That contention has been undermined by the right hon. Gentleman's representative this evening, my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith). He said, virtually "Suppose the late Government had gone, let us say, to Geneva, and -had bound this country not to raise its taxes for a period of years, the Conservative party would have rightly protested." There we have the hon. Member saying that there is no difference in principle in agreements not to raise taxes and agreements not to lower taxes.
§ Mr. K. GRIFFITH
I was not stating anything of the kind. I was not saying there was no distinction. I was arguing the practical point, and not the constitutional point, and saying that in practice the Conservative party would not have regarded themselves bound.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am content with the proposition as my hon. Friend now states it, because it is what I am saying. There is no distinction in practice or principle between binding a country in one sense or another. I will quote the words of my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen:It is of the very essence of my case that these Agreements prevent the House for the first time from removing burdens upon the people if it thinks fit to do so.… Never in all the long history of this Parliament has legislation been proposed that before Parliament can lower its taxes, the assent of some outside authority should be obtained."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st October, 1932; cols. 496 and 499, Vol. 269.]Within a week of the right hon. Gentleman making those two assertions, which have been repeated to-night, they were completely disposed of by the authority of the Chair itself. What did you, Sir Dennis, rule in response to the specific interrogatories of my right hon. Friend? You ruled last Friday: 1888Hon. Members will notice that Parliament is not asked by this Bill to adopt the Agreements or to sanction the Agreements. Parliament is invited, in the terms used in the Agreements, to pass certain legislation in fulfilment of these Agreements.'These Agreementsare scheduled merely for purposes of convenience.Referring to the Title and Preamble, you said:Its purpose is not to give effect to 'the Scheduled Agreements.…It asks Parliament to pass such legislation as is necessary in order to enable effect to be given to those portions of the Agreements which require legislation in order to make them effective."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th October, 1932; cols. 1334–35, Vol. 269.]Then my right hon. Friend went on to ask two specific questions which have been raised again. He said to the Chair:No reference to these undertakings is made in the Clauses of the Bill, and I would ask whether the fact that these undertakings appear in the Schedule without being confirmed in any of the Clauses gives them statutory sanction. I would ask, further, Whether, if this Bill, embodying these Agreements in its Schedule, is passed in its present form, that would in any degree preclude this Parliament or its successor from varying any of these duties at any time that might be thought fit.He appealed for the Ruling of the Chair, and this is the answer he gets from the Chairman:The right hon. Gentleman has given me an easier task than before. The reply is in the negative to both of his questions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 28th October, 1932; cols. 1339–40, Vol. 269.]I say what the Chair has said, that there is nothing in these Agreements which takes away from the right of Parliament legally to reduce any tax at any time. There is nothing in this Bill which gives sanction to these Agreements for five years. All that this Bill does is to say that during the duration of these Agreements the Government can legally exercise certain powers. What are the powers? We are not asking for any powers in relation to the Import Duties Act. We already have it upon the Statute Book that the 10 per cent. ad valorem. duty shall be prolonged until such time as Parliament chooses to take it off. We have passed that legislation; and, indeed, in every Budget, in almost every Act imposing taxation, the duties imposed endure until they are remitted by the House of Commons. The duties on sugar, tea, coffee, wines and spirits all continue 1889 from year to year automatically unless they are varied by the House of Commons. Sometimes, as in the Safeguarding Duties Act, they are imposed for a specific period, namely, five years. But the general principle is that a tax remains either for a specific period or until such time as it be remitted, and that is the position with regard to the ad valorem duties. What else do we do in this Bill? We take authority to charge certain duties of Customs.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am following up a serious argument, and I would ask my hon. Friend to permit me to do so.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Really, I hope the hon. Gentleman will allow me to develop one argument at a time. I will certainly break off to explain to him the meaning of Article 3. It says:His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom"—not Parlianient—undertake that the ad valorem duty of 10 per cent. in the Import Duties Act, 1932, shall not be reduced except with the consent of His Majesty's Government in Canada. That was not the point I was dealing with, but the hon. Member will see how well it illustrates what I have been saying. This does not impose any obligation upon Parliament. It says: "His Majesty's Government." We are dealing with a Bill, and it is not stated in this Bill that this tax shall not be remitted. All we do say——
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) has been long enough in the House to know that he cannot interrupt a speech if the Member who is speaking does not give way.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am in the middle of a sentence, and perhaps my hon. Friend will allow me to conclude it before interrupting me again. I would remind him that we are in the Committee stage of the Bill, and that he can make as many speeches as he likes. Let me pursue one argument to its conclusion. In reply to my hon. Friend I say that when certain Ministers at Ottawa signed an Agreement they undertook—and they are under a moral obligation, but not under a legal obligation—to see that what they undertook should be, to the best of their ability, carried out. That is a moral obligation; but no legal obligation is imposed upon Parliament. How could it be? This Assembly is supreme. Lest my hon. Friend should think me discourteous, I will now give way to him; but perhaps I have answered his point.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
What I was saying when my hon. Friend interposed is that we do charge certain duties of Customs. There is nothing novel about that. That is done in many an Act of Parliament. It was done in the Import Duties Act, the Abnormal Importations Act, and it is done in every Budget. There is nothing unconstitutional about a Clause which imposes duties. We give certain preferences to the British Empire and we extend certain preferences. There is nothing novel in that. In the Finance Act, 1926, we gave preferences which were to endure for 10 years. We merely continue those preferences. In another part of the Bill we regulate the supply of meat over a period of time, in the same way that my hon. Friends opposite regulated in the Coal Mines Act the supply of coal over a period of time. There is nothing in this Bill which hears any imprint of unconstitutionalism upon it. All the Bill does is to give the Government certain powers, which it does not at present possess, and those powers are only to endure while these Agreements endure. There is nothing in this Bill which would justify our registering a protest against any section of it which says that the ad valorem, duties cannot be reduced or that the Agreements shall last for five years. Nothing whatever of the kind appears in the Bill. The pro- 1891 posed new Clause is absolutely unnecessary, and it is not only unnecessary but harmful, because it will place upon record that those who entered into these Agreement at Ottawa did not intend to use all their powers and all their influence to see that they were implemented. At any time this Bill can be repealed by another Parliament. My hon. Friend the Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee), making a fantastic supposition, said that if the right hon. Member for Damen were returned with a large majority, he would not be able to take off these taxes. The right hon. Member for Darwen has already said that he would do so, has announced that he does not consider himself bound by these arrangements. He is legally entitled to make that announcement, regrettable though it be, and my hon. Friends opposite, though I do not know whether they go so far could also make that announcement. All that we say is that while in law nothing binds Parliament for five years or for any other period, and while there is nothing in this Bill which is irrevocable, that we, as long as we have influence, will use all our authority and all our persuasion to see that the signatures of those Ministers who signed these Agreements are honoured.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I am not a legal expert on these matters, but the extraordinary doctrine which the lawyers on the benches opposite have set out is that in some mysterious way we, the Government, can sign a document which does not mean what the words would appear to mean on any ordinary interpretation. Does the hon. Gentleman contend that the Agreements would be valid without the vote of this House? We must have the vote of the House approving these Agreements; and, if we approve them, surely we are in honour bound to stand by them. It is said that the vote of the House on these Schedules has nothing whatever to do with it, and that all we are doing is registering a sort of moral obligation that has been come to. Does that apply to the rest of the Agreements, or only to this article? It may be that this House of Commons is attempting through these Agreements to bind the next House of Commons. I can understand that the constitutional argument is that one Parliament cannot bind another. 1892 We take our stand on that when we say that we are not bound by this, and that we shall vote against it, but that does not get away from the fact that the present Government, with its majority, is implementing an Agreement that declares that for a certain period the Agreement shall not be departed from without the consent of the Canadian. Government. That is putting us for five years in the position of fixing our tariffs and our taxation at the will of our friends in Canada.
It is not right to put forward the analogy of the Budget, because that is an untrue analogy. It is no analogy at all. It is quite true that the tobacco, tea and other duties are passed by us in a lump in one evening, but it is also true that any hon. Member of the Committee can move the omission of any one of those duties and that, if the Committee so decide, those duties come out. I know I shall be told that we can do so in this case but, if that is so, I do not know what is the object of having this provision in at all I am told that we cannot alter the Schedule because it is not legally binding but is only a moral agreement—whatever that means—between the Ministers. But Ministers have no entity as rulers of this country, without permission of this House; you cannot get away from that fact. No amount of legal hair-splitting and argument can get away from the fact that, if the House of Commons carries this Bill with the Schedules, it will be giving legal sanction to what you call "moral agreement." About that there cannot be any question whatever.
Are the rest of the Schedules simply a moral agreement between the Governments in which the House of Commons has no right of a voice? I do not understand that argument one bit. I appreciate the fact—and that is why we say that we will not be bound by these Agreements—that one Parliament can undo what a previous Parliament does. It is very dangerous for the good relationship between ourselves and the Dominions that this sort of Agreement should be made. The Dominions will be able to say either to a Liberal Government or a Labour Government: "This is a very hard thing, that you should attempt to break an Agreement solemnly entered into and implemented by the British 1893 Parliament after full discussion." You are attempting to put future Governments in that position. I argue this upon the words as they appear to me, and as a layman, after listening to the discussion. The cold, common-sense, ordinary view of it is that these Schedules would be of no effect, that the Agreements at Ottawa would be of no effect, and that not one single word of them would be of any effect, without the vote of this House of Commons. That being so, you are attempting to bind the House and the country for five years.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
I apologise for intervening at this late stage of the discussion. I should not have intervened at all, had it not been for the speech that has just been delivered by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. He said, referring to the supposition that we might at some time in the future come to occupy the Ministerial benches, that that was a "fantastic supposition." I want to ask him since when has it been fantastic? He did not think it was fantastic 18 months ago. I want to know when the moment came that it became fantastic. I suppose that it was the moment when he ceased to be associated with us. No one in this Committee has a greater admiration than I have for the brilliant gifts of my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary, but I cannot think that even that loss is sufficient to make fantastic the supposition that he did not think was fantastic 18 months ago.
The point that we and our hon. Friends on the Labour benches are endeavouring to make is perfectly simple. It is clear that no House of Commons can bind its successors. We want the next Parliament to be free to exercise its rights without compelling the Government of the day to break their Agreement with the Dominions. That is, simply and clearly, the point that we are endeavouring to make. We do not want the next Government to have to choose between its moral obligation to the electorate and its moral obligations towards the Governments of the Empire, but that is the choice, and the very invidious choice, which they may very well have to make after the next general election. The Financial Secretary said, and I took down his words, that there was no distinction in practice or in principle between an agreement not to raise taxes 1894 and an agreement not to lower taxes. I submit that it is a vital distinction, and one of which a great deal more will be heard in future years.
The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) in a Debate the other day, said that this House was here to consider the redress of grievances. Historically he was not quite correct. The first function of this House is, and always has been, during the many centuries of its existence, to vote taxation or, in the alternative, to refuse to vote taxation. The distinction between the right to raise taxation and the right to lower taxes is very real. The function of initiating taxation and of proposing new taxes has never, at any time, been part of the functions of this House. It has always been part of the prerogative of the Crown. I suggest that the whole power and prestige of this House, right from the time when the knights and burgesses first assembled at Westminster, is due to its power to refuse to vote either the whole of the taxes demanded or any particular tax.
By bringing this Agreement forward you are guilty of a breach of the traditions of this House. Even to-day, when we want to raise any question with regard to the administration of a Department, there is one way in which we have to do it. We have to move to reduce the Minister's salary by £100, or to move to reduce taxation in some other way. Even when my hon. Friends on the Labour benches want to increase the amount in some direction, they cannot propose it, but they have to put it in the form of a reduction. Right through the history and present practice of this House, runs the very vital distinction between the right to raise taxation and the right to lower taxation. We have insisted on this point right through these Debates. It is not merely an abstruse legal or constitutional point. It may be that one House cannot bind its successor, but this is at any rate an attempt by the Government of the day to interfere with the rights of the House of Commons, and we believe that the rights of the House of Commons are a matter of vital importance to every citizen of this country.
§ Mr. COCKS
I do not want to press the Financial Secretary too hardly, because I recognise that he is in a very difficult position. Indeed, ray feeling of 1895 chivalry would prompt me to go over to his side and support him. I think it is scandalous that not a single one of the Ottawa delegates is here to support him, but that this Bill should be left entirely in the charge of himself and his ex, Liberal colleague. I only rise to make one point, which I think is important. The Financial Secretary put forward an extraordinary constitutional position when he said just now that this agreement was not binding upon the House, but was simply a moral obligation incurred by certain Ministers who went to Ottawa. As my Leader has said, those Ministers only went to Ottawa because they were representative of a majority in this House, and, surely, if this Vote is taken to-night, that moral obligation, incurred by Ministers, is also incurred by the House. It would be very difficult for us to say that this Agreement, made by certain people—the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. J. H. Thomas), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bewdley (Mr. Baldwin)—is not also a moral obligation upon the House of Commons which sanctioned it. Surely, in those circumstances, we are under a moral obligation, whatever the legal position may be, to abide by it. That is the point which I think should be answered by the Financial Secretary. He cannot ride off by saying, "We are not making any constitutional precedent, but simply entering into a moral obligation." We think that the broad and high point of view which the House of Commons should take is that a moral obligation and a constitutional obligation are one and the same thing.
§ Mr. MANDER
Listening to the Debate I thought that the Financial Secretary made a pronouncement of very considerable importance, whether accidentally or otherwise, and one which will be read in the Dominions with considerable surprise, although I must say I heard it with a good deal of satisfaction. What is the doctrine that he lays down? As I understand it, he says that the promise given to the Dominions at Ottawa was simply that the Government as at present constituted would do their best with the present House of Commons to try and get the Agreements, to which they set their 1896 hands over there, put into law, but that, beyond using their powers with the House of Commons, they are not bound in any way. Clearly that does not bind the next House of Commons, and it does not bind the Liberal party or the Labour party; they are perfectly free; and, if another Government took office in this House of Commons, they would not be bound either.
I can imagine a state of affairs arising in which the protective policy of the Government went so far that my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary and his colleague might feel that there was so wide a departure from Liberal principles that the strain upon their consciences had become more than they could really bear, and possibly the Junior Lord of the Treasury now on the Front Bench (Dr. Morris-Jones), stimulated by his constituents and his local association, might feel that he, too, was being asked to go to a greater length than could be considered reasonable. If that lamentable situation were to arise, and the two hon. Members now representing the National Government so ably on the Front Bench, accompanied by their leaders and the rest of the Government, felt obliged to resign, there might possibly be a purely Conservative Government in office, and they, on the doctrine laid down to-night, although they might accept that obligation, would not be bound to use their moral authority with the present House of Commons. We have had to-night a statement of first-class importance, quite different from what the country was first led to believe, and different, I believe, from what the Dominions were led to believe at Ottawa. I hope that all those concerned, particularly overseas, will take due note of it, and will express no surprise at the action which may be taken at the earliest opportunity by the Liberal party or the Labour party, if they happen to come into office, or if they are in office together. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Lest otherwise I might appear discourteous, I will to the best of my ability try to answer very briefly the points which have been raised. In the first place, the important pronouncement referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) was not made by me, it was made by his Leader, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel).
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
No, but that makes it far more significant. He said that we must be free in the future to take such action as to modification or repeal as conditions may require. He does not consider himself to be bound. I should have hoped that he would have taken the line that was taken by the Leader of the Opposition, who makes a distinction between legal and moral obligations, and that he would say that, although it may be true that we are not legally bound—that one Government is not legally bound by the acts of its predecessor—there is very often a moral obligation.
I will give my hon. Friend an instance. Suppose that the Government entered into a Disarmament Treaty whereby we undertook not to build ships, say at Devonport, for five years. That would affect me very seriously, but we might agree to limit our building of ships and our construction of artillery. The next Government, of course, would not be bound by any ratification by this House of that agreement; the next Government could reverse the decision; and when you are dealing with continuing obligations that is always so—there is a difference between the legal position and the moral position. Indeed, it is well known that every Government, from whatever quarter of the House it may have come, has entered into certain agreements with foreign countries, whether Germany, or Russia, or Greece, or Japan, or France, and those agreements have always involved some obligations which are morally binding, but not legally binding, upon their successors. The argument as to duration is completely disposed of by the recognition of that fact. There is no question about that, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen himself abandons that argument by admitting that he was under a misapprehension about the analogy of the foreign treaties—that he had thought that foreign commercial treaties could all be denounced at short notice, but that he now recognises, in view of what he was told in the House, that he was under a mistake.
My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot), who cannot admire me as much as I admire 1898 him, revived again the distinction between entering into an agreement undertaking not to lower taxation, and entering into an agreement undertaking not to raise taxation. Perhaps I did my hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith) an injustice, but, fortunately, I find that exactly what I attributed to him was said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel). He said:I said suppose Mr. William Graham had succeeded in his Free Trade activities and had made agreements with foreign countries, that no additional duties should be laid upon them for five or ten years, thus barring out the possibility of carrying out a Protectionist policy in this country or the policy of Imperial preference, would the Conservative party have agreed that that was a proper constitutional course?—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st October, 1932; col. 498, Vol. 269.]
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
On that, surely my hon. Friend should remember that, When my right hon. Friend quoted Mr. Graham's experience and used that in illustration of the argument that where there is a subject of deep and fierce political controversy marking a cleavage of parties it was an unjust thing for one party to bind its successor for a period of years, he was not at that time dealing with a grave constitutional issue. It was a question of fairness and honourable obligation between one party and another in the State.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am not disputing that for an instant. I am dealing with the entirely different point, whether there is a difference in principle between saying, for instance, to Greece, "We will not tax your currants at more than 2s.," and saying to Australia, "We will not tax foreign currants at less than 2s." Is there a distinction in principle between undertaking not to raise and not to lower taxation? My right hon. Friend argues here, "If Mr. Graham had undertaken not to raise taxation, the Conservative party would have been entitled to say, But you are binding us for the future in respect of something on which we do not desire to be bound.'"
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I do not mind whether my hon. Friend calls this a political ground or a constitutional 1899 ground. I am dealing with the question whether there is a distinction in principle between raising and lowering a tax, and that argument is given away by this statement. The Leader of the Opposition spoke about constitutional quibbles. I share his contempt for constitutional quibbles. This matter was not raised by us. It was raised originally by right hon. Gentlemen on those benches, and it is now being raised again from these benches. I personally agree with the general attitude of the party opposite, who say: "If we want to do something, and it has not been clime before, we shall do it." I prefer to take the broader view. If somebody is going to tell me that we are doing something illegal, I must enter into the argument on that basis and disprove the allegation for what it is worth, and, in doing so, I rely on no sophistry and no ingenuity of my own. I give you the conclusive answer which was given from the Chair which I read to the Committee to disprove that there is anything in this Bill which binds Parliament for five years or restrains Parliament from reducing taxation.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
We ought to be clear about this. We are going to vote with the idea that the House of Commons, if it carries this Bill and the Schedules, will be undertaking and implementing the same moral obligations which His Majesty's Ministers entered into when they signed the documents at Ottawa, and we object to that being done. Although it is true that all the lawyers have proved to their own satisfaction that one Parliament cannot, bind another, it is equally true that, when a certain number of statesmen representing the Dominions and the home Government meet together and solemnly enter into an Agreement, and this House sanctions that Agreement, it is begging the question to say it is not binding. I do not think any Parliament would want to undo it without very considerable thought and perhaps considerable negotiation, and we think Parliament ought not to be put in that position.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I rise only to make a short comment, because in the absence of my right hon. Friend I am bound to traverse what has been said by the hon. Gentleman who has been speaking for 1900 the Government. Surely it was part of my right hon. Friend's case, as stated in the House, that there had been from the beginning of Parliamentary history a great and fundamental distinction between the power to impose taxes and the power to take taxes off. The hon. Gentleman may disagree with what was said by my right hon. Friend, but I refer hon. Members to what was said last week in the House when the case was again put by my right hon. Friend and an essential admission was made by the Foreign Secretary, that in this matter of carrying an agreement to which the majority of the House attach great importance a very considerable innovation was being made.
I do not myself attach great importance to constitutional precedent. I believe the welfare of the people of this country overrides any question of the constitution. But I am sure that, where a rule has been built up during many generations, you will usually find a good reason for it. Times come when those rules can be set aside, and they have been set aside, but, if you can trace in our Parliamentary history some regulation established by our forbears and supported and maintained in successive generations, behind that rule or regulation is usually the welfare of this country and the good of this House. Some of those regulations are now being broken in upon. I am not pleading for an alteration in the constitution if the constitution stands in the way of procedure in this House or of the well-being of the general community, but where, as in this instance, you are doing what has never been done before, and where you are carrying something which means that the determination in relation to the taxation of the people will no longer rest wholly with those in this House, but may be dependent upon decisions elsewhere, that establishes a very grievous precedent in the history of the country and of the House.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
I rise also to make a comment. I have been alarmed at the tendency of the Debate. I thought the Leader of the Liberal party and the Leader of the Opposition, when first of all this point was raised, safeguarded themselves by saying that they would not consider themselves bound by any decision that the House made in respect to 1901 this matter. It seems to me that this is going to be raised again in some future Parliament and the speeches made now will be quoted by the various contestants for their respective points of view. I profoundly disagree with all those who have been pointing out the fundamental departure that is now being embarked upon, because to the extent that they prove their case our freedom of action will be limited. The speeches that have been made this evening are really dangerous. They are all pointing out that we are re-writing the Constitution. We have the power to re-write it, but, if we re-write it now, it will limit us in future.
§ I want to take the view that we are not re-writing the Constitution, but that we are doing a perfectly normal thing, and I hope we shall deal with it in a perfectly normal way, and that we shall not consider ourselves bound, any more than Governments in the past, by whatever this Parliament is doing at this moment, but shall consider ourselves as free as they consider that they are at present. I hope we shall not go on with this argument very much longer.
§ Question put, "That the. Clause be read a Second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 57; Noes, 268.1903
|Division No. 351.]||AYES||[8.55 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major James|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Betsy, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Harris, Sir Percy||Price, Gabriel|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, George Henry||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cove, William G.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Curry, A. C.||Janner, Barnett||Thorne, William James|
|Daggar, George||Jenkins, Sir William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||John, William||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merloneth)||White, Henry Graham|
|Edwards, Charles||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmors)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Leonard, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Grant ell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (MIddlesbro',W)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Mr. D. Graham and Mr. G.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Drewe, Cedric|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Duckworth, George A. V.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Duggan, Hubert John|
|Albery, Irving James||Burghley, Lord||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Llverp'l, W.)||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Donolass, Lord|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Burnett, John George||Eastwood, John Frannis|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Caine, G. R. Hall-||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Apsley, Lord||Campbell, Rear-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey|
|Asks, Sir Robert William||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Eiliston, Captain George Sampson|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Elmley, Viscount|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Erskine, Lard (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Christie, James Archibald||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Clarke, Frank||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Balniel, Lord||Clayton Dr. George C.||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolln|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Fox, Sir Gifford|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B.(Portsmith,C.)||Colfox, Major William Philip||Fremantle, Sir Francis|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Cooke, Douglas||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Copeland, Ida||Gibson, Charles Granville|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Blindell, James||Craven-Ellis, William||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Boulton. W. W.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Ginckstein, Louis Halle|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Crooke, J. Smedley||Goff, Sir Park|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Crossley, A. C.||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Cruebdas, Lieut.-[...]lonel Bernard||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)||Greene, William P. C.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Dickle, John P.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Donner, P. W.||Grimeton, R. V.|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||McKie, John Hamilton||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||McLean, Major Alan||Salt, Edward W.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Maitland, Adam||Scone, Lord|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||MakIns, Brigadier-General Ernest||Selley, Harry R.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Harbord, Arthur||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Hartland, George A.||Martin, Thomas B.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth,Kenningt'n)||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Slater, John|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Hepworth, Joseph||Milne, Charles||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Moison, A. Hugh Elsdaie||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Hornby, Frank||Moreing, Adrian C.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Moss, Captain H. J.||Soper, Richard|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Munro, Patrick||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.)||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Storey, Samuel|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||North, Captain Edward T.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hurd, Sir Percy||Nunn, William||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Pearson, William G.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Penny, Sir George||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Templeton, William P.|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Bllst'n)||Thompson, Luke|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Pike, Cecil F.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wlck-on-T.)|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Pybus, Percy John||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Kimball, Lawrence||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Knebworth, Viscount||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Leckie, J. A.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Levy, Thomas||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Lewis, Oswald||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Remer, John R||Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Robinson, John Roland||Withers, Sir John James|
|Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Ropner, Colonel L.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Runge, Norah Cecil||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Mr. Womersley and Dr. Morris-|
|McDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Jones.|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside)|