HC Deb 25 April 1934 vol 288 cc1715-94

3.28 p.m.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Donald Somervell)

I beg to move, in page 69, line 28, to leave out "power to hold land without a licence in mortmain, and."

This Amendment raises what is really a legal point, and I am moving it on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour. Really, in order to make the proposed Amendment intelligible I must refer to certain Amendments on the Paper, and I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I make a short general statement, which is really necessary in order to explain this particular Amendment. If hon. Members will look on the second page of the Amendment Paper, towards the bottom, they will see an Amendment standing in the name of my right hon. Friend—in page 70, line 7, at the end, to insert: 9. The functions of the board, and of the officers and servants appointed by the board, shall be exercised on behalf of the Crown, etc. That being the position—and I shall have a word or two to say about it in a moment—namely, that the functions of the board, and of the officers and servants of the board shall be exercised on behalf of the Crown, there is no need for the words which appear in the Bill as presented, namely, "power to hold land without a licence in mortmain." So really it is a drafting Amendment dependent upon the fact that the board and the servants are exercising their functions on behalf of the Crown. It will be agreed that this is a board set up to perform a national service in accordance with the provisions of Clause 34. The salaries of the members of the board are to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund, the salaries of the other officers of the board are to be paid out of money voted by this House and the main expenses of the board—with the exception of con- tributions from local authorities under Clause 44—will be borne by the Treasury. It will be agreed, I hope, that in these circumstances the board and its officers should exercise these powers on behalf of the Crown, and I suggest that that would have plainly been the position without the insertion of the express words which my right hon. Friend is moving to insert at a later stage. The reason for the Amendment is that the Bill as originally presented did not in all details recognise that that would and must be the position of the board. If that had been recognised fully and in every detail the words which I am now proposing to leave out would not have been inserted; they would have been unnecessary, because the board are acting on behalf of the Crown. It is desirable when Parliament sets up bodies that it should be clearly and expressly stated in the Act whether they are exercising their functions on behalf of the Crown.

3.32 p.m.


I agree with the Solicitor-General that it is always just as well to be clear in an Act of Parliament as to the position regarding a body of this kind. I understand that this Amendment is really part and parcel of the Amendments on page 768, the addition of the two other paragraphs which stand in the name of the Minister of Labour. I should like to ask a question or two on the situation as disclosed by the present Amendment and the subsequent Amendments. The present Amendment deals only with the holding of land and has no relationship to the position of the officers and servants of the board with regard to other matters. When it comes to the constitution of the board and the officers and servants as if they were a Government Department, for that is substantially what is being done, are we to understand that there will be no possibility of bringing an action against those officers and servants except under the usual form in which an action is brought against the Crown? Will they be liable for torts or under contract to be sued in the event of doing something irregular or improper in regard to the functions which they are supposed to carry out under the hoard? The Solicitor-General knows that the proceeding which has to be adopted when it comes to bringing an action against the Crown, is something which anybody embarks upon with considerable trepidation, and it makes it almost impossible for any action to be brought in those circumstances.

Where you have a peculiar type of body which is not a Government Department and which has not that incident of a Government Department which gives protection to the subject by being represented on the Treasury Bench, it is extremely dangerous to set up such a body as being representative of the Crown and, therefore, only able to have actions brought against it and its servants as if they were a Government Department, because there is this essential difference between such a body and a Government Department that they cannot be got at in any way through political means. I am sure the Solicitor-General will agree with me that this is a very serious point and one which ought to be considered by the House, quite apart from any party consideration. I think I am right in saying that we have had no case hitherto in the development of this type of body where there has been a provision of this sort put in an Act of Parliament to constitute the servants of the body as if they were servants under a Government Department.

If, for instance, it were proposed in regard to the Tariff Commission that in regard to matters where they might be sued the commissioners and their servants were to be treated as if they were servants of the Crown, that would be equally open to the objection that there is no representative here to speak for the Tariff Commission, just as there will be no representative here to speak for the Unemployment Assistance Board. There is that very vital difference, and I suggest that this matter ought to be explained very fully to the Committee if we are for the first time in the history of the country—I may be wrong—to give immunity, which is really what it amounts to, to the servants of a body such as this. That is the change which is made by the first Amendment and the subsequent Amendments in the statutory position of the members of the board. I take it that there is nothing further behind it and that there is no intention to extend the powers of the board, but that the object is merely to explain the statutory position which they occupy. It is not for us to develop statutory commis- sions of this kind and to set them up with the legal position of a Government Department, acting on behalf of the Crown.

There ought to be, as there have been in relation to some Government Departments provisions made whereby certain people can be sued in the case of action desiring to be brought, and where it is not necessary to bring an action against the Crown. I think the Postmaster-General is a case in point. There is a special provision whereby the Postmaster-General can be sued as such, instead of the Crown. I am not certain whether in connection with the Board of Admiralty there is also provision for power to nominate someone to be sued instead of action having to be brought against the Crown. I would ask the Solicitor-General to consider that point, if it had not already been fully considered, and to tell us whether he thinks it is wise in circumstances of this kind to give this type of what I call immunity to the servants and officers of this Department.


The Solicitor-General has raised what is really a wider question than the point covered by this Amendment. I do not think there is any objection to a general discussion on all the Amendments, but I want to safeguard the position of the Chair by saying that if we have a general discussion on the present Amendment it must not be repeated on the later Amendments.

3.39 p.m.


I will not intervene in regard to the merits of a legal discussion. The very presence of the Solicitor-General is naturally alarming. A conversation has taken place, in very conversational terms, between himself and his predecessor. When two hon. and learned Gentlemen get together I begin to wonder what is behind it. I am concerned but for a different reason. We are setting up a very peculiar and novel authority charged with wide and extensive powers, which will affect hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens. Their existence will depend on the administration of this new board as we are proposing to hand over to it practically the whole of our Poor Law which, hitherto, has been a local matter. There is no doubt that many of these citizens will feel that they have been robbed if they are not able to go to their own Poor Law authority. Hitherto, they have been able to approach the Minister through their Member of Parliament, but this new authority is to be something quite apart and detached, something away from the ordinary public administration of the country. It is going to sit independent, high up in the mountains, quite out of contact with the public. We are now told that this new body is to be in a privileged position, similar to that of a Government Department. It is to have a legal status and will not be subject to the ordinary laws and regulations like the London County Council or large city corporations. We have a right to know what it all means. Does it mean that this authority cannot be sued in the ordinary courts? If an individual suffers a wrong because of a breach of the law by this authority is it to be treated as being a State Department which you cannot sue for damages? I think the Committee should know the implications of the proposal.

3.43 p.m.


My hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) has indicated our position in reference to this Amendment. He asked whether it means an enlargement of the functions of this board. Let me put the question a little more explicitly. The Amendment gives fuller powers to the board than were originally proposed, powers to which they are entitled and which are needed. May I ask whether this has any connection with the visit of the Government Commissioners to distressed areas? When I saw that land was being brought in it seemed to me that it was being done with a view to this board operating possibly when the commissioners give their report. I should like to have a definite answer on this point. The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke in Newcastle on the day when we discussed distressed areas in this House and he suggested that the board should be used for investigation and a general survey of the areas. I was somewhat uncomfortable when I read that, but I am pleased that the Government have decided to send their own representatives rather than the board. It would hamper the work of the survey and any future work which may have to be done if it is to be done by this particular body. That is the worst possible way of doing it.


The commissioners are not much good.


This is a different matter altogether. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to give me a definite reply. There may not be a great deal in it, but in view of the Chancellor's statement and the Amendments of the Government on this point, I think the Committee should have a definite statement on the matter.

3.46 p.m.


The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) has rather withdrawn the attention of the Committee from the Amendments actually before us, and as they are of importance I hope the Committee will devote its attention to them. I ask the Solicitor-General to give us a more complete explanation of the purpose of the Amendments before we pass them. The change they make in the Bill is considerable. They set up an authority for which I know no precedent. I do not think the Solicitor-General can give us a precedent for the creation of an authority which is a fragment of the Crown. We frequently create corporate bodies which are self-sufficient and which have their functions laid down by Parliament, but this body is not self-sufficient, or completely corporate by itself, and its functions are to be exercised on behalf of the Crown. It is a novel kind of corporation. The matter is not one of theoretical importance. Ordinarily the Crown is represented by Ministers. The Crown can do no wrong; but Ministers can. But what if this body does a wrong, if anyone is aggrieved, how are they to get redress? It is to exercise functions on behalf of the Crown; will it be legitimate then to criticise the Crown? In the presence of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) I will not pursue that problem, but it does produce a real difficulty. Where there is no Minister, what is the position of a body which is performing its functions on behalf of the Crown?

The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol raised the practical difficulty of the suing of the servants of this body. There is another practical difficulty, the rating and taxation of this board. If it is a fragment of the Crown it is free from rates, and if it is to hold land then presumably it will occupy a considerable amount of property in various parts of the Kingdom. Are those parts to be legally free from liability to rates? There are all kinds of difficulties involved, and I hope for a more complete explanation than we have yet had.

3.50 p.m.


I am afraid I did not follow the hon. Member for Central Leeds (Mr. Denman) in his novel suggestion about a fragment of the Crown. I shall be interested to find out what it means. Will the learned Solicitor-General deal with the matter in this way: People draw a distinction between what it seems to me are the two different points involved. First of all there are the functions of the board under the Bill. Does this Amendment affect those? Suppose that there is some mismanagement of the functions of the board, can the person who is injured proceed by mandamus? Is not that a proper method? Is that or is it not affected by the Amendment? Those are the ordinary functions of the board. But there is a second one, and it is that which troubles the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps). Suppose that in the course of its occupation of land and the carrying out of its functions under the Bill the board does something which conflicts with the ordinary common law. Suppose, for instance, that it runs over someone with one of the super-power motor cars which presumably the board will employ. Suppose that there is some defect in the premises that they occupy and some person is injured. What is the position then? How is the person injured, say by the falling of a pile, to proceed? What is the intention? I ask the learned Solicitor-General to draw a distinction between the functions of the board and the ordinary common law.

3.52 p.m.


I only want to refer for a moment to the importance of the intervention of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps). He appears to-day in the somewhat novel role of Satan rebuking sin, for it was only quite recently that he announced to the country in general that it was pre- cisely this type of board, outside the control of Parliament, with which he proposed at a not very distant date to carry on the whole of the administration of the country.


Will the hon. Baronet read the quotation from my speech in which I said that? I never said anything of the sort.


That was certainly the impression made by a speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Therefore, it seems to me to be of peculiar interest and of immense importance to notice that if there is anything novel in these proposals regarding the powers of this extra-Parliamentary Board, and the legal position of the members of the board in relation to all the matters mentioned, that the Solicitor-General should make it perfectly clear why there should be this extension of the board's powers, and why immunity from ordinary proceedings at law should be necessary for the board in carrying out its functions. It is a very small matter comparatively speaking, but we are going to set up a precedent by appointing the board with the enlarged powers provided by the Amendments. In order to do something which might be done equally well in another way we may be setting an example to the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol, which he and his party will not be slow to follow in days to come.

3.54 p.m.


I have allowed myself to assent in silence to a proceeding which seems to me, now that I have had time to think it over, not appropriate. You suggested from the Chair, Captain Bourne, that we should discuss the Amendment now before us in conjunction with other Amendments on page 768 to another part of the Schedule. I am afraid it was necessary for the learned Solicitor-General to refer to those subsequent Amendments, but it seems to me that the Committee would be making a mistake to have the major discussion on this Amendment, to which I think the Committee might agree. I can see the consequences. As I understand it, the consequential Amendment is one that must necessarily follow. But I think the appropriate attitude for the Opposition is to accept the proposal to remove the phrase dealing with power to hold land without a licence in mortmain. Presumably if we delete that phrase we taken away the power from the Unemployment Assistance Board.

I do not know exactly how easy or how difficult it is to get a licence in mortmain. I have held a wireless licence and a dog licence, but so far I have never been under the necessity of getting this sort of licence, which is probably much more imposing than a dog licence. But if this board is going to hold land let it apply to some authority to do it. That puts it more in line with common men. It brings it down a little from the high heaven in which the Government are endeavouring to place it. Therefore, I do not see why the Committee cannot agree quite heartily with the point of view that if this Unemployment Assistance Board desires to hold land it should just get into the queue with the rest of us down at the mortmain office, and apply. The suggestion you made, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, that we should discuss the two Amendments together, I think should not be proceeded with, but that we should have an opportunity on the Opposition benches of supporting the Government Amendment to withdraw from the board the power that was being given them, and then at a later stage refuse to them the power to be given by the two paragraphs which the Government will move in a subsequent Amendment.

3.58 p.m.


I hope that Members of the Committee will acquit me of any intentional discourtesy either to the Committee or to the importance of the subject-matter if I introduced this Amendment rather briefly. I welcome the suggestions which have been made and the opportunity of dealing with them. First of all, I can give the Committee the most complete assurance that this Amendment is neither intended to, nor in my opinion does it, enlarge the functions of the Board. Nor has it any connection of any kind with the decisions taken with regard to the Commissioners. On the Bill as drafted, having regard to the functions imposed on this board—for instance, under Clause 34, dealing with this matter as a national service, dealing with it to almost the whole extent out of moneys voted by Parliament, members of the board being paid out of the Consolidated Fund—having regard to all those facts, in my opinion it is clear, looking at the scheme of the Bill as a whole, that the board is and would be held by any court to be exercising functions on behalf of the Crown, and, therefore, would be within such immunity as is conferred under the existing law.

This body, which is exercising its functions on behalf of the Crown, is entrusted, under an Act of Parliament, with the performance of a national duty—a duty which the principle of the Bill accepts as a duty of the State of improving the conditions of unemployed persons and of making allowances to them. The principle of the Bill is that that is a duty for the State to undertake, and, therefore, those whom the State employs to carry out the duties of a State undertaking would, in my opinion, be held to be exercising their functions on behalf of the Crown in the same way as members of a Government Department, whether they are or are not exercising State functions, where, under our Parliamentary procedure and practice, there is a Minister directly responsible in this House for that Department, or whether, as in this Bill, the responsibility and control of this House does not take the same form.

When you add to that that the salaries of the members of the board and payments have to be made good from moneys voted by this House, and you have the very large measure of control of this House and the responsibility, it seems to me plain that the board as set up by this Bill are exercising their functions on behalf of the Crown. Hon. Members on many previous occasions have referred to the extent of the control by this House, on the Minister's salary, on the Consolidated Fund Bill and on the presentation of the Annual Report and with regard to ail the matters as to which the Minister has to give his approval. Regulations have to be approved by this House, although it is true to say that, while the principle of the Bill does not really arise on this Amendment, it is really a retention of control by this House.

That being the position, and that being our opinion, having regard to the principle of the Bill, that was the only and inevitable result to make it clear in ex- press words in the Bill. The result of that is, first of all, that, as far as contracts are concerned, contracts made by servants of the Crown are enforceable against the Crown by Petition of Right. There may be some procedure which may be simpler, but that is another question, and my hon. and learned Friend opposite who has had experience of actions brought by Petition of Eight, knows that it is very easy to exaggerate the complexities and difficulties which are put in the way of subjects by that Procedure. For a period after the War, when the State Departments had entered into contracts of all kinds, there were countless Petitions of Rights which went through with the same ease as ordinary actions for debt. As far as torts are concerned, the case was put by the hon. Member for South Bristol (Mr. Lindsay), and a similar case, I think, was referred to by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), of an accident when someone is run down by a servant of the board—


Or fraud.


My hon. and learned Friend shows his general attitude to the board which Parliament is setting up by regarding fraud as a likely incident. The position would be the same as has happened in many cases with regard to those who drive Post Office vans or Admiralty or War Office lorries. The subjects injured have a right of action against—and only against—the individual; but the practice, as my hon. and learned Friend opposite knows perfectly well, is that the Department, in fact, stands behind the individual, and although the individual may not have the means himself if he is called upon to satisfy any judgment which may be found against him, the Treasury provide the means for satisfying the judgment. That is the practice of Government Departments to-day, and it will be the practice as far as servants or officers of this board are concerned. The reason for that, of course, is that in an ordinary case a master is sued if his servant knocks a man down. But in the case of the servants of the Crown, you cannot stop on the way to the Crown and say that my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General is the master, and therefore must pay when a mail van knocks down somebody in the street, because he is not the master. It is the Crown, and the Crown, under our constitution, can do no wrong. You cannot, of course, issue a writ and take legal proceedings against the Crown. That is the theory which lies behind the practice—a practice which does not inflict hardship in its results, because in this case the Government Department and the Treasury do, in fact, stand behind the individual, and the damages which are payable are paid.

Another hon. Member, I think, referred to the question of certiorari or mandamus. I apologise to the Committee for raising these technical matters, but they are necessary. This board, in that it has certain functions placed upon it of deciding certain things of a technical nature, will be subject, as any other body set up by Statute, with the function of taking decisions of being stopped if it exceeds its jurisdiction, and being compelled to act if it declines wholly to fulfil its function. Those are the legal remedies which apply. Therefore, in my submission, it is not accurate to say that a body, exercising its function on behalf of the Crown, is outside the law.

The hon. Member for Central Leeds (Mr. Denman) raised the question of rating and taxation. That is a matter which is dealt with, as it has been dealt with in every case, namely, by the Treasury making a payment in lieu of rates to the local authority in whose area land is owned on behalf of the Crown, and which therefore, technically, might claim immunity. All those matters are dealt with without any great dissatisfaction in the case of Government Departments.

The point raised by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) and the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) was as to whether there was an exact precedent. I think that the answer is "No." I think there may be other bodies, such as the Forestry Commissioners—a Commissioner does not sit in this House necessarily—who are clearly exercising their functions on behalf of the Crown. But I do not in the least disagree with what is obvious, that this body has no precedent, and those who approve of the passing of this Bill are proud of that fact. We believe that we are, without a precedent, producing a great social improvement. Discussion may arise on the main principles of the Bill as to whether this is a good idea or a bad one, but I ask the Committee to accept the view for the purpose of this discussion that it is a good idea that it is in the interests of the unemployed to set up a board to perform this national service with the degree of Parliamentary control provided by the Bill. No other solution is right or possible than that they should be expressed to be exercising their functions on behalf of the Crown, because, in fact, they are performing a vital national service, and a function of Government which this House has expressly stated, by the principle of this Bill and on other occasions, to be a responsibility of the State. For those reasons, I ask the Committee to accept this Amendment and the consequential Amendments which, in my submission, really make explicit what was implicit in the principle of the Bill.

4.12 p.m.


The hon. and learned Member has enlightened the Committee, I am sure, in pointing out to the Committee and the country one thing of which we have had no full admission before. We now have it from the hon. and learned Gentleman that this body is to be set up to perform the functions of government in this country, which is precisely what we have been saying. Here you have a body set up, not to look after some insurance fund, but to perform the functions of government—functions of government which have been taken away from the House of Commons to be performed by a body outside, a body which is described in the Schedule as a body corporate by the name of the Unemployment Assistance Board with a Common Seal "— words wholly inappropriate to the setting up of a Government Department. The hon. and learned Member said that anyone would interpret, under this Bill, the Unemployment Assistance Board as obviously being a servant of the Crown. I venture to suggest that there is no case where a body corporate with a Common Seal has been set up by Parliament as a servant of the Crown. There have been cases—the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Central Electricity Commissioners, and all those other bodies carrying out vital administrative duties to the State or to the community which have not been set up as servants of the Crown but as separate bodies corporate with a Common Seal—separate entities given, as this body is given, a Statutory existence, and not merely introduced into the structure of the State as an agent for the Crown in a particular function of the Crown.

The importance of the matter is that when the Crown acts through agents in Governmental functions, those agents must always be represented in the legislature. That is essential to a democratic constitution. Here we have the setting up of a separate body corporate with a Common Seal which is not in its nature likely to become an agent of the Crown with political responsibility. You take away from it that political responsibility. You say that you are going to put it outside the House of Commons, because it is a separate body corporate with its own Common Seal and its own separate life. Having done that, you say that it is to be treated as if it were an agent of the Crown. Hitherto those two things have been wholly inconsistent in the constitution of the country. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that he is setting up a new body. I am all in favour of setting up new bodies. I think it is an excellent thing to do. On the other hand, I am not in favour of setting up new bodies which are not responsible to the Government and the country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] If hon. Members including the hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) who appears to take exception to that statement, will do me the honour of reading what I have written on this subject, they will see that I have insisted on more control by the House of Commons over any such body as this and not less control.


Is it not the case that the hon. and learned Gentleman said that when Parliament assembled, after his party had come into power, it would be asked to pass one Act and one Act only setting up a body which would, as he described it, get on with the job?


The hon. Baronet will find that I have never said any such thing in my life. If he does not accept my statement, will he be good enough—


I accept anything which the hon. and learned Gentleman says on the subject. He knows better than I do what he actually said, but I have given my recollection of what he was reported to have said, and what I think the general public believed him to have said.


The hon. Baronet may take it from me that in anything which I have said or suggested I have always insisted that there should be a greater measure of control by the House of Commons and not a less measure of control. My whole ambition has been to try to set up a form of procedure in the House of Commons which would enable a greater and not a less measure of control to be exercised over Ministers. If the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster-General wishes to express any view on that point he has the opportunity of doing so.


Why not get up and express dissent if you are anxious to do so?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir Kingsley Wood)

I have not got the book.


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will get it and that will be another copy sold. In the case of this board the Solicitor-General rightly takes pride in the setting up of a new body, but I seriously ask the Committee to consider the type of body which is being set up and to ask themselves whether it is right to set up a corporation of this type, without any direct responsibility to this House or to the people through any representative or elected body. I would also draw attention to the fact that it is at the same time to be given a type of immunity which hitherto has only belonged to people who have that political responsibility. That is to say this body can only be sued in a case of contract by petition of right, and they cannot be sued at all as regards other types of action.

The hon. and learned Gentleman was good enough to make a joke because I suggested the case of fraud. The reason why I suggested the case of fraud was this. It is true that the Treasury will accept liability in a case of accident, but they will not always accept liability in cases of fraud. That comes into a different area, and the Treasury might take the view that they were not responsible for a fraud by their servants. In this case you take away the chance of bringing an action against the master whether he is liable or not. The exact quantum of difference does not matter very much, but the fact is that by putting this body in a privileged position of some sort we shall be making things very difficult. Having taken away political responsibility, it is wrong to give that kind of immunity and before this new body with these unprecedented rights, representing a new constitutional feature, is introduced, the matter should be given further and careful consideration by the Government.

4.21 p.m.


I hope that before we leave this question we may have a little light thrown upon it and that some attempt will be made to clear up the confusion to which many of us have been reduced after comparing the functions ascribed to this board by representatives of the Government, with the situation revealed by the observations of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps). My hon. and learned Friend in speaking of the relationship of the House of Commons to the new board referred to the degree of Parliamentary control. On the other hand the Minister of Labour has said that the Minister on behalf of the Government, will assume sole responsibility for the policy and regulations of the board. In the "Times" of 28th March will be found a reply which the Minister gave to a deputation representing the Childrens Minimum Committee. In that reply he said there had been confusion as to what degree of Parliamentary control and responsibility there would be for the board and its operation and he added that he assumed full responsibility for the policy and the regulations which this new body might lay down.

If that is correct it is manifestly not in this Bill and if the Bill becomes an Act and these Schedules are passed there will be a position for which, I think, there is no precedent. The Minister will be responsible for administering regulations but neither he nor the Prime Minister nor the Cabinet will have any initiative to alter the regulations or the policy laid down by the board. The Minister may consider that he has those powers but I shall be grateful to him if he will point out any part of this Bill which states that there is the right on the part of the Minister to take the initiative to alter any regulation proposed by the board and brought to this House. Perhaps it might be sent back to the board with a suggestion from the Minister but when it has received an affirmative Resolution apparently neither the House of Commons nor the Minister has any further say in the matter.

4.24 p.m.


I do not rise to deal with the general question further than to say that the Amendment seems the logical conclusion of the Bill as we have passed it up to date. It makes explicit what is implicit in the provisions already passed by the Committee. I rise to ask the Lord Advocate a question with regard to the position in Scotland. In Scotland the position as regards civil actions differs from that in England. We are not subject to all the trouble of a petition of right in these cases. The Lord Advocate is the proper defender in the case of any action against a Government department. I should like his assurance that in the case of any action against the board based on contract or the like, he or his successor will under this Bill be the proper defender. As far as civil wrongs are concerned, I think the Solicitor-General for England has given entirely satisfactory assurances as regards England and I would merely ask the Lord Advocate whether the Scottish position is the same as that outlined by the Solicitor-General in reference to England.

4.26 p.m.

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Wilfrid Normand)

In answer to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. J. Reid), the position of the Board in Scotland in the event of anyone wishing to sue them for breach of contract or for fulfilment of contract is this. There would be a direct right of action in that case against the Lord Advocate as representing the Board. That is an ancient right of the subject in Scotland, now regulated by the Crown Suits Act. There is no need whatever for the procedure which exists in England of petition of rights. I think there is just the same right of action in Scotland as one subject would have against another subject as far as contract is concerned. Then, as regards wrongs or what are called torts in England, the position is exactly the same in Scotland as has been stated by my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General for England, to be the position in England. The right of action would be a right of action against the individual committing the wrong, but, in Scotland, the Lord Advocate as representing the Crown would undertake the burden of the defence and the Government would bear the financial consequences as found by the court of law.

There would, in short, be no difference between the consequences of a wrong committed, say by the driver of a Post Office van and the consequences of a wrong committed by a member of the board so far as the person wronged is concerned. As regards such matters as writs of certiorari and mandamus the position in Scotland is this. I think there would be a right of action of interdict against the Lord Advocate representing the board, on the one hand, to prevent some wrong being done and, on the other hand, there would be power to petition the Court of Session to compel the board to perform statutory duties if it was failing to do what the Statute requires.

4.29 p.m.


After the very clear explanation which has been given as to how easy it is to take actions of this kind and as to the simplicity of the procedure in Scotland, I should like to know why it is that a committee is sitting at present to examine into the defects and difficulties which exist in regard to actions of this particular type. There is considerable dissatisfaction and misunderstanding with regard to actions against the Crown, and there is justification for a thorough investigation of the question. I suggest that this is an appropriate occasion for more clearly defining the procedure in connection with these actions and perhaps making it simpler.

I would like to put another point. Are the Government prepared to make what is implied in the Bill in respect of the rights to be maintained in the House over matters which come within the purview of the Crown as explicit as they are in respect of this particular provision which the hon. and learned Gentleman is bringing forward to-day? If, as he says, it is implied that the position of the Unemployment Assistance Board is such that it becomes similar to that of another Crown body, we would like to have a definite statement in the Bill giving us the right to bring every matter relating to the actions of that board before the House, in the same way as we have that right in respect of other matters which come within the purview of Crown bodies. In those circumstances, it may be that my hon. Friends above the Gangway and we here may be prepared to meet the hon. and learned Member half way or both ways.


Or any old way.


But if he is going to tell us that for the purpose of actions and the vesting of property this board is to be regarded as being purely and simply a Crown Board, that it is to have the same privileges as every other Government authority, and if he is then going to say that he is not prepared to let that board have its actions governed by a similar procedure to that governing every other body which comes within the provisions of a similar scheme, then we cannot accept, or we ought not to be prepared to accept, the Amendment that is placed before us.

4.32 p.m.


While thanking the learned Solicitor-General for his lucid and detailed explanation of the Amendments, which in many ways are very confusing, I must confess to some regret that the Government have not left the Bill as it was originally introduced, because, on balance, it is difficult to believe that this change is an improvement. The sort of corporation to which we have become accustomed is the British Broadcasting Corporation, or the Electricity Commissioners, or the Forestry Commissioners, but it has not been necessary, because these perform national functions of great importance, to invest them with this particular dignity of being agents of the Crown, and there is attached to a body whom you make an agent of the Crown a liability to unpopularity which seems to me unfortunate. I am thinking of my constituents who may happen to be in dispute with that board. If a constituent has a contract with the board and wants to have its merits thrashed out in a court, what is the use of telling him that he can resort to a petition of rights? The procedure is formidable and, in the provinces, expensive. Instead of having the thing thrashed out in the local court in a few days, he perhaps has to suffer what he regards, it may be without reason, as an injustice.

I see the Postmaster-General on the Treasury Bench. He knows very well the amount of unpopularity—[HON. MEMBERS: "'He knows, he knows '"]—which, quite unjustly, is attached to the Post Office because it is not amenable to the procedure of the ordinary courts. He knows that there are many cases in which a man wishes to have his rights, and I have not the least doubt that justice is done. The Postmaster-General and I, at our age, have seen a number of cases in which I am sure more than justice has been done and in which the Treasury has perhaps erred on the side of generosity. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Hon. Members opposite show surprise, and I admit that it is not altogether credible, but people who have these things to administer know very well that it may be better to err by giving a little more than a court might give, in order to have peace. But the fact that you can dictate when you are the agents of the Crown prevents satisfaction even for a man who is well treated. It seems to me that this procedure makes this board liable to quite unmerited unpopularity in a number of small instances. Therefore, I think the board should have been left as it was originally, without special immunities and subject to the ordinary principles of law, and I wish the Government had stuck to their original intention.

4.36 p.m.


As we go on, we gradually gather understanding of the position. The learned Solicitor-General has been more than candid in telling us that he wants this board to have a power greater than any existing board, without any precedent in our national constitution. The Government all through have been making this a detached, independent board that is above criticism, and now we gather that while it is not to be above legal proceedings, such legal proceedings are to be as difficult as possible. The Solicitor-General has explained how these things affect the position in England, but I am more concerned about the position in Scotland. I know that there is a distinction between Scottish law and English law, and we have a Solicitor-General for Scotland no less than a Solicitor-General for England. I want the Scottish Law Officer to explain to those of us who are present from Scotland exactly what effect the inclusion or exclusion of the phrase about "a licence in mortmain" has in so far as the holding of land in Scotland is concerned. That would aid me in coming to a conclusion as to how my vote should be cast on this matter.


The phrase in question has no effect in Scotland. There is no law of mortmain in Scotland. But the board will be entitled to hold land according to the law of Scotland.

4.40 p.m.


I cannot understand the position taken up by the learned Solicitor-General, because, as I gather, in Scotland the board will not be able to enjoy the immunities which are claimed for it in England, and yet I gather, because no Amendment is being made in the legal status of the board in Scotland, that it will be equally efficient in the discharge of its duties there as in England. If, therefore, the efficiency of the board will not be impaired in Scotland by the wider liberty accorded to the subject, how will its efficiency be impaired in England? Perhaps the Solicitor-General will tell us that. Why should not the subject in England be placed in the same relationship to the board as the subject in Scotland? I think we have got ourselves into a most absurd situation. As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) has pointed out, this method of legislation does indeed establish a new principle in our constitution. It is usually considered that where an elected representative is not allowed to exercise his right of protection for his constituent, the courts are in a position to do so, and where a man has not got the right to come to the House of Commons because a Statute has been passed by that House which defines his relationship to some other citizen, if he thinks he is aggrieved, he can go to a court; in other words, when we pass an Act of Parliament we for the moment finish with the citizen, but the courts are still there to protect him.

Under this present provision, as I understand it, we are going to make it as difficult as possible for the citizen in England to protect himself against the board, and I would like to learn from the Solicitor-General why it is that the citizen in this country cannot be put in the same relationship to this board as the citizen in Scotland. If this is a radical departure in our constitutional practice, why should so radical a change be made for so frivolous a reason? I can understand a substantial case being made out that this board could not function in any other legal conditions, and all those hon. Members in all parts of the Committee who have supported the setting up of the board would naturally swallow that additional condition, because without it the board could not efficiently function, but now we are informed by the Lord Advocate that its legal status will not impair its efficiency in Scotland, and why should we permit the passage of this piece of legislation, which is without precedent, for a reason which obviously will not stand examination?

I am not able to argue about whether action can be taken against the Crown in torts, or retorts, or anything of that sort. I am unable to argue the legal implications, but as the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) has pointed out, we are gathering knowledge as we go along, and the comparison of the situation in Scotland with that in England leads me to conclude that either the Lord Advocate is wrong or that the Solicitor-General for England is frivolous in his contention. Hon. Members will observe that the House is much more anxious to protect the rights of property than to protect the ordinary rights of unemployed poor people. People possessing property and means will be able to command adequate legal assistance to guide them through the mazes and intricacies of a petition against the Crown. The poor man will, of course, not be able to do so.


If the hon. Member will make inquiries, he will find that there is machinery for assisting the poor litigant in all sorts of ways.


I always bow to the legal wisdom of my hon. and learned Friend, but it was recently pointed out by lawyers in all parts of the House that the Act to give legal assistance to poor persons was woefully inadequate. No one would suggest for a moment that a poor person is put in the same position to obtain legal redress for his wrongs as the rich person.


The case to which the hon. Member refers is provided for by the rules for the assistance of poor litigants. Consequently, it cannot be related to the grievance he is citing, where a poor person desires to pursue a petition of right. That also is provided for.


I am unable to argue the legal point with my hon. and learned Friend, but I shall be glad if he will illuminate my ignorance outside the Chamber afterwards. I think hon. Members in all parts of the Committee will agree that it is an exaggeration to say that a poor person can by the use of the procedure to give poor persons legal aid put himself in the same status as the rich person. When the Government set up the Electricity Commission, where rights of property are deeply involved, they were very careful to see that actions could lie in the courts against them and that they were not made agents of the Crown. When the Government set up a board which is to have control over the lives and bodies of 5,000,000 citizens, they are careful to see that there is no redress in the courts for them. This board will take over the 1,000,000 people who are on transitional payment, and, together with those taken over from the local authorities and their dependants, the board will be responsible for over 5,000,000 people. When the Government consider property they take care that property rights are protected by making court action as easy as possible, but when they put poor people under this new board they are careful to see that not only can they have no redress in the House of Commons but no redress in the courts either.

It appears to me that hon. Members have been regarding this board rather frivolously. The Solicitor-General said it was not true to say that this piece of legislation had anything to do with the promise given by the Prime Minister with regard to the distressed areas and the sending out of commissioners. I would like to enter one more protest against asking us to accept powers on the mere statement of the Front Bench opposite that the powers will not be used in a certain way or that they are not intended to be used in a certain way. That is not good enough. The Solicitor-General's speeches in the OFFICIAL REPORT are not the law. We have to discuss the powers which are given by the Bill. Hon. Members who bear the peculiar label of National Socialist Members of the Government have assured us on numerous occasions that this board is so important and valuable that it will take over the problem of the distressed areas. It has been suggested that it will even have power to establish new industries in the distressed areas.


Who said that?


The statement has been made there. If the hon. and learned Gentleman says it has not, I will look up the OFFICIAL REPORT, and if I find I am wrong I will apologise.


The hon. Member is not referring to me?


No, the hon. and learned Member is always good enough to confine his speeches almost exclusively to those branches of legal learning in which he shines so illustriously. The Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day said that he hoped this new board would, as part of their functions, try to deal with the problem of the distressed areas. Not only, therefore, is this board to have the superintendence of allowances and the governance of training camps, but it is to deal with the wide and important social problem of the distressed areas. The board, which will have governmental powers and the power of initiating the most important and radical changes in our national life, is to be set up in a way which gives it complete legal immunity from the ordinary processes of the law. The Government have travelled very far in the course of the last two and a half years in legislation of this kind. The taunts which have been made against my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol are nothing to the charges we shall make against this Government in future, because they will have made more inroads into the Constitution and restricted more liberty in the last two and a half years than Governments have done in the last 100 years. We ought not to permit such grave curtailments of the liberties of English citizens to be accomplished on the frivolous explanation that has been given from the Front Bench opposite.

Amendment agreed to.

4.56 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 69, line 30, after "appointed," to insert: for a period not exceeding three years. The object of the Amendment is to limit the period of office of the board to three years instead of five. The Solicitor-General used a very apt phrase with reference to this board when he said that they were performing functions of government. He also said that the board was an authority without precedent, and he pointed out that it would perform new functions altogether. We accept that statement as to the position and functions of the board. I said, with reference to the Statutory Committee last night, that it was a great experiment. That applies with much more force to the Public Assistance Board. We have not a great deal of control over the Statutory Committee, but we shall have much less control over the board. It will have a chairman, a vice-chairman, and not more than four additional members and not less than one additional member, with maximum annual salaries of £12,000 a year, and it will have powers that are not only almost greater than any authority has ever had in this country, but powers that are so great that they impinge on and challenge the powers of the democratically elected authorities of this country. It is definitely stated in the Seventh Schedule that: A public assistance authority shall not order outdoor relief to be given. I ask the Committee to note that this board will not only perform certain functions that are given to it but will immediately trespass upon the powers of a publicly elected body. We are told in the Seventh Schedule that the public assistance authority shall not grant assistance to any person under certain conditions. The board is thus given an authority that at once threatens and impinges upon the authority of the elected representatives of the people for relief purposes. The public assistance committee cannot give public assistance to any person whose needs have been considered by the board. I hope the Committee will note that point, because I am arguing that the powers of the board are so great that it will be almost impossible for it and the public assistance authorities to live side by side. The great experiment upon which the Government are launching will prove much greater and much more disastrous than they can guess. No person whose needs have been considered by the board can be considered for assistance by the public assistance committees. If the board say that a person is entitled to nothing, the public assistance authority is prohibited from giving him any money. So one could go on. It refers to any person whose needs have been taken into account by the Unemployment Assistance Board—the words are very explicit—and to any person in receipt of unemployment benefit, no matter how much or little that may be. It gives powers in regard to persons who are sent to a workhouse—I need not detail those powers, they were discussed when dealing with cases of special difficulty.

The powers are so great that we say that no board ought to be given such powers. It is a board which not only will have the lives and well-being, as the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) has said, of hundreds of thousands of people under its control, but will almost determine the standard of life of people all over the country. It is our experience in Durham, where there are commissioners in pretty much the same position as this board, that they not only determine that certain people who come directly under their authority shall not have relief, but determine indirectly, and sometimes directly, the standard of relief that the public assistance committees give. I hope this Committee and the Minister are fully seized of that fact. There have been cases in which the Durham Public Assistance Committee have said, "We will give this person 2s. 6d. or 5s. a week more because of certain circumstances in his case," and the commissioners have said, "Very well, you can give him that if you like, but if you do we will reduce the amount that we give." Therefore, the country must be prepared to see the board determine ultimately the standard that will be set by the public assistance committees, which are elected by the people of the country.

I know that it is the intention of the Minister of Labour that things should work the other way—at any rate, I think that is his intention. He bases himself on the words in sub-section (3) of Clause 37 of the Bill, where it is laid down that the assessment must be based upon need and upon the household in- come, and there are certain words there which the Minister argues give must more scope than is available under the means test as now applied. One thing which has been satisfactory throughout the proceedings on this Bill is that although the Government and their supporters have defended the principle of the means test I have not heard anybody in the House ever defend its application and operation. Therefore, in the Sub-section to which I have referred there are the special words to which I have alluded, upon which the hopes of salvation of the National Government are said almost to depend. The words are: The need of an applicant shall be determined and his needs assessed in accordance with regulations made under this Part of this Act, and such regulations shall in particular provide that the resources of an applicant taken into account shall include the resources of all members of the household. Up to that point the position is much the same as under the old principle of destitution, which is the basis of the means test at the moment; but then it goes on to say: of which he is himself a member (due regard being had also to the personal requirements of those members whose resources are taken into account). It is to those words that the Minister pins his faith to make a distinction between the destitution test and the Poor Law. He says, in effect, "We have a new system to deal with the great block of people who are out of benefit but are employable and cannot come under the Poor Law." The Government say that this is a great new experiment. Personally, I am very doubtful whether, in actual practice, it will prove to be anything more than the old destitution test. I think it is almost impossible to get a great body of officials to exercise that high and lofty spirit of wisdom and discretion which would be necessary to get a generous interpretation of that principle in the case of every individual. The officials will play for safety. I repeat that the board will have terrific powers and that it will really almost determine the further term of life—or the death—of the old time system of Poor Law relief. The board will also determine whether the new system which the Government propose will work out even to the satisfaction of the Government—assuming, if one could have so much imagination, that the Government are still in office at the end of the three years. We say that not only is three years quite long enough for this experiment, but that it is, indeed, far too long.

I trust the right hon. Gentleman will give very serious attention to this matter, just as he promised yesterday to give serious consideration to the position of the Statutory Committee. The board will be in a much more powerful position than the Statutory Committee, because it covers a wider range of people, and those who need the most sympathetic consideration of this House and of their fellow citizens. I refer to the people in the great areas which have suffered so much from the cyclone of depression that the Government have had to take them under their special care. We think the operations of this board may lead, in practice, to a continuation of the old system which, while it was designed to check cases where people were getting too much money, has operated so as to take money from those who had hardly anything in the first place, and has scraped millions of pounds out of the poorest people.

5.13 p.m.


When the Committee were considering yesterday the Amendment, in similar terms, dealing with the duration of the appointments to the Statutory Committee under Part I, my friends and I had quite an open mind on that subject. Although we preferred that the experiment should be a short one, we felt there was force in the argument that it might be difficult to obtain the services of those with the requisite qualifications for that responsible work for so short a period. In the circumstances we welcomed the Government's offer to reconsider the question. When we come to this Amendment, however, we are in no state of uncertainty whatever. For various reasons we object to this board root and branch. They have been stated on many occasions, and my hon. Friend the Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) has just enumerated some of them. It may be sufficient to say that this new board, being independent in its character but free to compete with the Statutory Committee, and free, also, to develop a policy which may clash in a serious way with the activities of local authorities in a large number of the services they have hitherto performed, is a very much more important body than the Statutory Committee.

The board is to take over a task which has never fallen to the Ministry of Labour in the past. The function of the Ministry in the past has been to deal with poverty as an industrial problem, caused through lack of employment. The new board will have to deal with poverty arising not only through unemployment but with poverty where it either arises from or is aggravated by or in some way altered by certain circumstances in no way connected with unemployment. That is a task which hitherto has been done in the localities by the local authorities. A body of which we have no experience, and whose personnel we can hardly guess, are to take on these new and responsible tasks, and we have no hesitation in saying that three years is, if anything, too long a period for them to be entrusted with such powers. It is quite impossible to foretell the reactions of the work of this board upon the activities of the local authorities. So many families will be on the borderline between the operations of the board and the scope of those services which have hitherto been rendered by the local authority, that three years are certainly quite long enough to allow the board to operate before this House has an opportunity of reconsidering its decision, in the light of the experience which will have been gained.

I would urge the Minister to accept the shorter period in his own interests, because I wish to protect him against the board. When this Bill becomes an Act he will be in a position that has never been occupied, so far as my knowledge goes, by any Minister of the Crown. The Minister may express an opinion upon the regulations of the board, and may send them back to the board when they first come to him, but from the moment that they have been submitted to the House with the observations of the board upon them and any suggestions of the Minister, and have received an affirmative Resolution, no initiative lies with the Minister, the Prime Minster, the Cabinet or anybody else to alter or change the regulations, which will then have been laid down by the board and passed by this House. I imagine that the Minister will wish to consider very carefully whether three years might not be a long enough period for him or his successors to occupy a position of that kind.

I do not wish to reiterate arguments with which the Committee are already familiar, but when the British Broadcasting Corporation make mistakes in their programmes or anything of that kind, they cause only annoyance; when the London Passenger Transport Board do not run their train services up to time, or anything of that kind, they give rise to annoyance, and to nothing more; if the Electricity Board make mistakes, they do not affect the intimate details of people's lives. In a service of the kind which we are discussing, and which will be operating in a way which nobody can foretell, perhaps clashing with other authorities and interfering with the traditional responsibility of local authorities, it is impossible to see how things are going, and to work them out. I am therefore convinced that three years are quite long enough as a period in which to try such a hazardous experiment.

5.18 p.m.


I beg to support the Amendment, and I make an appeal to the Minister. It is well known that we object fundamentally to this Unemployment Assistance Board, but the House of Commons has decided to have the board, and there ought to be a limit of time for their operations. They are taking over very great functions which have never been performed before in the history of Parliament, and they are taking from the grasp of Parliament many of the matters over which Parliament has had control. If the work that they do is good, nobody will be able to speak against it after a length of time, but three years are sufficient for the experiment. After that time, if the work is satisfactory the Minister can ask Parliament to allow it to continue, and, if not, we may satisfy the Government that some other body should do the work. We are asking that the period should be cut down. I believe there is agreement in every part of the Committee that there should be a limit of time to the operations of the board. The Committee should recognise that there is a big volume of opinion against giving more than a limited time to the board, who are being given power that has never been given before.

The large number of people who will be affected have been estimated by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan); there will be at least a million, but I do not know what the actual number will be. Those people have been protected in the past by their local representatives and their Members of Parliament, but they are losing that protection. Surely it will be recognised that a period ought to be placed upon that state of things, whether the period be one, two, three or four years, but there should be a limit. I have been looking through this Schedule and I do not find any time limit at all. The period is indefinite and unlimited, and therefore we have a right to ask that something should be inserted of that kind in the Bill.

Yesterday, arguments were used for limiting the period of operation of the Statutory Committee from five years to three years. We think that, as protection has been given in that case, protection should be given in this case also. The work that will have to be done by the Unemployment Assistance Board is even greater than the work of the Statutory Committee, over which body we have some sort of control. I fail to see that we have any sort of control over the Unemployment Assistance Board. The men and women who are now passing away from our control to this body are entitled to our protection more than any body of persons at the present time. If I might revert to Clause 34 for a moment, it appears to me, on examining the powers that have been given to the board, that Parliament ought to have control over the whole of them. The arguments that have been used for this Amendment have soundness about them, and one does not care to repeat them because there is no need for repetition when the arguments have been put so well. On those arguments, we are entitled to have the period of three years inserted.

5.23 p.m.


I beg to support the Amendment. The more I consider the functions and the powers that are being given to the board the more I am filled with apprehension. An examination of the powers, problems and duties which the board will have to face results in an appalling picture for the future for millions of our fellow-citizens. I am not quite sure, even when they are dealing with people who will come under their jurisdiction in regard to allowances, whether, in the long run, the powers which this board will possess will not be most dangerous. It is appalling to think of the setting up of a board in perpetuity, with complete security of tenure and with no limitation of any kind, to deal with allowances, but no one, not even the Government, knows the extent of the powers which will be added to the board.

From what I hear, including the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, from reading Clause 34 and from various other suggestions which have been made, the board will not only be an administrator of the needs test and of allowances, but will become a sort of industrial dictator in this country. They will have the power to compel men to undergo compulsory labour and to organise compulsory labour camps, a sort of step towards the concentration camps of which we have heard so much from Germany. I do not wish to labour this point, but the situation will be simply appalling, and I should have thought that the Minister would have agreed to a limit of time. The Solicitor-General has clearly stated, as has been emphasised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps), that this is not merely an administrative board but that it will have Governmental functions. We are setting up a board which will legislate outside this House.

It is useless for the defenders of the Government to say that we shall have much power to control the board; we shall not have any effective power of control over this body, which will be almost, if not completely, outside our jurisdiction, and outside any word of criticism. This is a new and vital constitutional principle—or unconsttutional principle, if I might put it in that way—which is being embodied in the Bill, and the Government should go very carefully and slowly about it. We should make perfectly sure that we do not tie the hands of Parliament for too long a period. We ought to have an opportunity, within three years at least, of reviewing the situation completely, and we ought to have a chance in three years' time of dealing with the men and women who will be on this board, administering the fund and making laws in accordance with the power which is given them by Clause 34.

From the suggestions which have been made, I conclude that a great industrial power is being set up in this country outside the control of Parliament, and it will not only have to deal with the misery, the needs and poverty of millions of our fellow-citizens, but it will have a tremendous effect upon hours, rates of wages and conditions of employment. I am terrified at the power which the board will have in regard to allowances, but even more terrified at the powers which they will have in regard to conditions in the industries of this country, and I hope that the Minister, having had an acknowledgment from his legal expert that he is setting up a new instrument of legislation in this country, a new governmental power—


I do not want to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but I ought to point out that the functions of Government are not only legislative but include administration just as much as legislation. Obviously, the hon. Gentleman realises that, when I used the phrase "functions of government," I did not mean that the board would exercise such functions as are necessarily legislative rather than administrative.


The hon. and learned Gentleman will agree, in the first place, that I have not put any further interpretation upon his words than was put by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol, and, in the second place, the Solicitor-General did not take the opportunity of correcting my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol. It is rather late in the Debate, if I may respectfully say so, for the correction to be made. I am afraid that the Solicitor-General is sorry for the phrase that he used.


I am much obliged to the hon. Member for giving way. In debate it really becomes rather intolerable if one is going to jump up and correct a subsequent speaker whenever one thinks that, possibly quite properly and for debating purposes, he is taking a particular sentence and saying that one has made an admission. Therefore, I did not correct the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps). My recollection of what he said is not very clear, but, if he went as far as the hon. Member went just now, I think that there was not only misrepresentation, but that it was, if I may say so, very marked, because every one must agree that "government"—which was the word referred to by the hon. and learned Member—obviously includes administration as well as legislation.


I am very glad of that explanation, but I would like to observe that I am not disagreeing with the Solicitor-General that government includes administration. I hope, however, that he will agree also that it includes legislation—not only the power to administer laws, but the power to make laws; and, as the Solicitor-General has not yet denied that this body will have legislative power, in that sense it will have the power to make laws governing the whole conditions of 3,000,000 people. Undoubtedly, when the Solicitor-General made that statement, it was at the back of his mind that we are doing something exceedingly important in setting up this body, and I now recollect that he said that it was an unprecedented body. I do not think he will deny that. Evidently it is agreed between the Solicitor-General and myself that it is an unprecedented body, with unprecedented powers. There is nothing like it in British history as far as these powers are concerned. This body is to be given powers, outside the control of Parliament, of life and death over millions of our fellow-citizens—power to inflict misery or otherwise in millions of homes—and one would have thought that the Government would have agreed to limit its life to three years.

Last night, on the question of the life of the Statutory Committee, the Government seemed ready to consider shortening the period from five years to three years, but this body is being appointed without any limitation in point of time, and its members will probably be irremovable. If it came to a question of choice, I should be less afraid of a longer period of time on the insurance side than on this other side. The question is far more important in this part of the Bill than it is in Part I. Therefore, I hope that the responsible Minister will have due regard to the extremely serious statement of his own Solicitor-General that this is an unprecedented body, that it will have the function of Government as regards administration and legislation; and that the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider his own attitude and say with us that three years is a long enough period for which to give these people a run.

5.35 p.m.


I hope that the Minister will regard as reasonable the request of those who are supporting this Amendment. I cannot see that any serious argument has been adduced against a time limit with respect to the appointments of men who are going to occupy such a very important position as this. I was rather surprised that the Solicitor-General took up my hon. Friend so quickly in reference to some remarks which had been made on an earlier Amendment. The Solicitor-General knows very well that in normal circumstances certain conclusions are arrived at which are subject to revision on appeal, the result of the appeal comes to the notice of courts dealing with subsequent cases, and a body of case law is built up. I understand, I believe correctly, that in connection with this board some 300 appeal boards are to be set up, but there appears to be no method of co-ordinating their opinions or of co-ordinating the boards themselves. The Umpire's decisions will not, as hitherto, be brought to the notice of courts of referees, but each appeal body will have to come to its own conclusions, and ultimately some 300 different bodies will be acting on conclusions to which they have come, irrespective of the conclusions arrived at by similar bodies in other parts of the country. That means that there will be thrown upon the Unemployment Assistance Board much greater responsibility and much greater powers than is the case even with an ordinary court of law, which has at its disposal decisions upon which it can base its future decisions.

If that be so, why should this body be a permanent or quasi-permanent body? It may be admitted that experience does bring with it a considerable amount of ability in dealing with matters of this kind, but nevertheless we all know that tribunals come to regard certain conditions of affairs in an automatic manner, and, when you have a body which is to deal intimately with the lives of the applicants who come before it, and which also has the power to say whether a person is to be deprived of his liberty or not—a very serious matter—it is important that that body should from time to time be changed, and that other people should be put on to it. Here we are faced with a position which, as the Solicitor-General himself has said, creates a body that will be covered in its actions by the same methods as bodies that are controlled by Parliament, and in all things that it does it will have the same immunity from attack.

We are told about writs of certiorari and mandamuses, but these things are not within the sphere of knowledge of every individual, and the result will be that the actions of this body will go almost entirely undisputed. That being so, it will itself create a policy. The policy may be a good one, but, on the other hand, it may be a bad one, and, if these people are going to remain there for a length of time which cannot be controlled or which is beyond what is reasonable, the policy will become permanent, and it may be a permanent policy which is highly undesirable. In these circumstances, I think it is only reasonable to ask that the period during which the board can operate shall be short, and that we may be able from time to time to control what it is doing, even if we cannot directly control it in the House itself. For these reasons, I think the Minister might very well grant this concession.

5.42 p.m.


There have been during this stage of the Bill many discussions on the principle which is now before the Committee, and it might be thought that everything has been said that could be said on the matter, and that further speeches are a waste of time. We on these benches could agree in that if we were convinced that the Conservative Members of the House were equally instructed with ourselves as to what this part of the Bill means, but they have almost invariably been absent from the Committee when this matter was under discussion, and, therefore, we still venture to put forward our point of view, in the hope that they will read it on the following day. I do not think I shall be exaggerating, but rather understating the case, if I say that the defence of this portion of the Bill which has been made from the Front Government Bench has been woefully inadequate, for, apart from the opening speech of the Minister, I cannot recollect anything that has been said which really defended this part of the Bill. Ordinary Members of Parliament who are supporters of the Government are quite satisfied with the Bill, because they can say, "This board prevents us from being bothered any more, and that is first class."


The hon. Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) defended it.


The hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) defended the Bill, but his defence was one for which the Government are not answerable in any way, and I do not hold them responsible for what he said. We have now come to a stage when we do not expect to be able to change the structure of the board, but we want to try and protect hon. Members against the worst consequences of their present policy. The reason for this Amendment, proposing that the life of the board should be restricted to three years, is, first, because we do not like the board at all; and, secondly, because it will give us an opportunity at the end of three years of reviewing what has been done in the meantime; and, as has been pointed out already, it is desirable, in purely experimental legislation of this kind, that there should be such a review at the earliest possible moment.

What is it that the board proposes to do? I have estimated roughly that it will have under its superintendence a population of something like 5,000,000, but it will interfere in the lives of a much larger number. It will be imposing the means test and, therefore, will be interfering with the lives not only of those who are direct applicants for allowances but also of their relatives. Therefore, the number of people who will be interfered with will represent much the larger proportion of the adult population of the country. An estimate was once made that about 15,000,000 people were directly affected by unemployment insurance every year. If you add 1,000,000 persons and, further, those now in receipt of public assistance, hon. Members can realise the dimensions of the problem with which the board will be faced. They will have three categories of unemployed people to deal with: those now in receipt of transitional payment, those who have had transitional payment and have been disqualified and are now receiving public assistance, and those who have never had it at all. They will be lumped together into one category. The board will have superintendence of that large number of people over the whole length and breadth of Great Britain, a larger administrative unit than any other body in the country has at the moment.

I cannot understand for the life of me why the Government are embarking upon this sort of legislation. I can see why the Bill is necessary if you are going to perpetuate the practice of 1931. I can follow the Minister's reasoning that you cannot have a means test unless you have a board of this kind. The local authorities' administration of the means test is highly unsatisfactory to the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Health. They have striven to coerce them to their will in the last two years, and they have failed in many cases, and in those cases where they have succeeded they have incurred great unpopularity. But I cannot see why the Government should expose itself to such grave perils for so small a gain. It gains something like £15,000,000 a year. That is a lot of money, but it is a very small amount when it is set off against what is likely to happen. I am not advancing the argument as my own. It has been recognised by defenders of democratic government that one of its virtues is that it provides a valuable shock absorber for grievances. The right of ventilating grievances and of access to an elected representative is the most valuable virtue of representative government. It is even more valuable than the right to make laws, because there is nothing that makes suffering so bitter as to add helplessness to it. If you have no opportunity of articulation, the safety valve is sat on and you burst out somewhere else.

This is a non-elected board which will sit for an indefinite period and will destroy all the public representatives to whom these poor people have now access, and it will deprive representative government of one of its most valuable safety valves. I would perhaps have welcomed this piece of legislation precisely because of that fact were it not that I am not certain that, when you destroy representative government in this way, you can always rely upon the bulk of the population going quickly enough to the left. There was a time when some people might have argued, "Let us get rid of this sort of Government. Let us get rid of this safety valve. Let us get rid of this opportunity of political expression." Now it is coming to be recognised that, when people suffer from grave political frustration, you never know in what direction their revolt will go. In Russia it has gone left. In Germany it has gone right temporarily. One does not know what is going to happen in Germany. You are here rendering these people comparatively dumb as far as any means of expression is concerned, and you must face the consequences of that. In South Wales every public assistance committee is manned by a Socialist majority. The same thing was true of Durham until the commissioners were appointed. Indeed, Labour majorities have been increasing in the course of the last few years. The main attack has been in that area up to now and on those who are responsible for local government. Whenever there has been criticism, it has been directed against Labour representatives, because it was held by the poor, quite naturally, that they were not having sufficient redress of their grievances. This board sweeps us away.

The CHAIRMAN (Sir Dennis Herbert)

I did not hear the earlier part of the hon. Member's speech, but he appears to me to be arguing against the constitution of the board. He cannot do that on this Amendment.


We are under a very great disability in Committee. The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) opened the discussion in the widest terms, because it was understood from the Chair that we were entitled to argue very widely and, indeed, the speeches that have been delivered so far have been very wide speeches discussing the functions of the board. I am arguing that its life should be statutorily limited to three years, because of the important considerations that I am advancing.


The Committee, having passed the Clause saying the board shall be constituted, and obviously cannot go back and argue against the constitution of the board. The Amendment merely deals with the time for which the members of the board are to be appointed, and I must ask the hon. Member to keep clear of arguments which deal with the constitution of the board and to treat that as an accepted fact.


May I point out, Sir, that the Schedule deals with the constitution and the proceedings of the board?


The method of constitution, not the fact of the constitution.


It is a procedure that has been followed by every speaker up to the present to argue for a time limit in view of the power that the board possesses.


It is right to argue for a time limit, but not to argue against the constitution of the board.


I take it that it will be possible, as others have done, to deal with the powers that the board possesses in order to argue for a limitation of time.




I do not think I was arguing against the constitution of the board. I believe I was arguing that it is undesirable for the board to have a life longer than three years because of the important functions that it has to discharge, and I was engaged at the moment in describing the importance of those functions. I should like to urge further the realisation of what is going to take place when the board starts operating, because you have destroyed those shock absorbers that exist now. In industrial communities where unemployment is widespread you will be faced with the gravest possible civil situation if this board starts operating in the way that the commissioners have operated in Durham. Nothing has happened in Durham up to now, because the people are awaiting this sort of legislation. All I wanted to do was to warn the Committee that it must give the board this unlimited lifetime with its eyes wide open, and realise clearly what is involved and what it is doing. It would shift from the local authority and from the House of Commons all responsibility. Having shifted it from the local council and from the Floor of the House of Commons, where do you place it? Where the individual can find some way of expres- sion. That is what the House is doing. I do not mind that a bit. I think that the time has come when we must get rid of some of our circumlocutions of constitutional government, but I do not mind a bit as long as hon. Members realise where they are taking this country. They are taking it to a point where they will be putting powers in the hands of these unemployment assistance officers who will necessarily have to be bureaucratic. They cannot help themselves. Hon. Members must realise that whenever the old guardians functioned they had to take into consideration the individual circumstances of the case and to adjust the allowances accordingly, but the unemployment assistance officers will have to investigate, and carry out instructions from headquarters, and apply the regulations. If, as has been held in very many cases, it is undesirable to allow bureaucracy to grow up, we ought to limit bureaucracy at the moment.

This is the last time we shall have an opportunity of discussing this portion of the Bill, and I warn hon. Members seriously against the situation which is likely to arise. Nothing at all will be left to those men except bodily violence against the instruments of the Crown. Public meetings, manifestoes and demonstrations will be of no use. There can be no means of articulation except physical violence. That is what the Noble Lady the hon. Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) is supporting by voting for this proposal. You are driving men to attempt to injure the servants of the Crown in order to obtain public recognition of their grievances. The Noble Lady has the reputation of being very generous to people who are helpless, but she is not prepared to allow the helpless person to claim her generosity? That is what we are asking here—to impose the will of the helpless person upon the nation.

Viscountess ASTOR

Does not the hon. Gentleman know that under this Bill the most helpless people in the country are getting more than the Trades Union Congress ever promised in their wildest moments? The Labour party never even promised to give them what this Bill, against which they are fighting, will be able to give them. The hon. Member knows that fact as well as I do.


The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A Bevan) is not in order in arguing against the setting up of the board, and perhaps he will, therefore, apply his remarks strictly to the Amendment, and not be led away into discussing the matter raised by the hon. Lady.


All I am advocating at the moment is that if you have a legal limit fixed to the life of the board, you have some sort of objective at which to aim; you can then say to people who are interested, that they are coming to an end in three years time, and you can promote political agitation in order to prevent them from being set up again It is a very small thing, but you would have some definite objective to which to relate your propaganda and agitation. If you set up the board permanently you can have no such objective. You will have merely the unemployment assistance officer against whom you can direct your attack. How can you attack him? If I were a helpless man—and I recall the circumstances in which I found myself in 1921 and 1923—


Perhaps that explains what has happened. The hon. Member appears to be under a misapprehension as to the effect of this Amendment. If he carried the Amendment, the board would not come to an end in three years. It is only a question of the time for which members are appointed to serve thereon.


They would have to be re-appointed at the end of three years.


If the hon. Member will confine his remarks to what he said just now it will be all right.


It appears at the moment that the intervention is entirely a matter of language. If you were speaking to a man in your constituency, and said that this board would come to an end in three years, it would then be taken to mean the personnel of the board. That is how they would understand the board. At the end of three years you would have an opportunity of reviewing what had been done. Nothing at all is left execept the unemployment assistance officer. When I think of the circumstances which existed in those past years, and which exist now in my district, where there are mining villages with 98 per cent. of the adult population unemployed, and others where there is no employment at all, and you put one or two individuals in charge of those areas to determine the total income and the life of the areas, the education, food, clothing, shelter and everything which appertains to those people, without any means at all of influencing the kind of policy to be carried out, what is there left except demonstration? The hon. Member opposite smiles. Why should Englishmen be prepared to sit down cowardly in a docile fashion like a machine and accept injustice? It is part of our function to see that they have not to put up with it indefiniely. If you are going to destroy democracy, then we shall have to take other measures to defend ourselves. That is the position. The setting up of this board for an indefinite period, with power over the most intimate relations of the life of the people, is the most tyrannical conception that has been devised in the last 300 years.


Does not the hon. Member realise that there must be a General Election every five years, and that upon a change of Government, a single Clause Bill would abolish the whole board?


The hon. Gentleman would limit it to the chance of putting a cross on the Ballot Paper once every five years. Does he imagine that men are going to be satisfied with that form of political expression?


The whole of the hon. Member's speech for some few minutes has been irrelevant, and I must ask him to keep strictly to the Amendment which is under discussion.


I was about to bring my remarks to a conclusion when I was interrupted by the hon. Member. I know that hon. Members do not like to hear this, but they will have to hear it here and outside again. Believe me, hon. Members are going to hear it. It is our duty to voice in this House—


Will the hon. Member please address himself to the Amendment before the Committee?


I said that I was bringing my remarks to a conclusion, and I suggest that if speeches are to be confined to the question of three years, all I can say is that no speech at all can be made on such a matter. We are labouring under the difficulty that we have one Ruling from one Chairman and another from another Chairman, and we do not know where we are.


I must ask the hon. Member not to break the Rules of the House by reflecting upon decisions given from the Chair.

6.11 p.m.


I hope that when the Solicitor-General or the Minister replies, he will make clear one or two points in which we are in doubt. On the wide difference in appointment as between this board and the Statutory Committee with which we dealt yesterday. I agree that the Minister is to make the appointments to the Statutory Committee, and that in this case the appointments are to be made by His Majesty's Council. Why should these people be placed in that privileged position as compared with the Statutory Committee?


That has nothing to do with time.


My next point is one which, I hope, will be in order. Terms were laid down very definitely in the Schedule as to the period for which the chairman and members of the Statutory Committee should be appointed, namely, five years, and in the discussion the Parliamentary Secretary said that he would do his best to try to see whether the term should not be three years. The point was made that it was necessary to put in five years in order to get the best possible people appointed. Is this board, compared with the Statutory Committee, of such infinitely great importance that you cannot expect to get anybody to agree to be appointed unless it is for the term of their natural life. Mark the difference. Yesterday five years was thought sufficient, and, after discussion, probably three years, even though it was admitted that the job was so important that you needed the very best men you could get. To-day no suggestion whatever is made as to any period of time. Appointments are to be made without any time limit, except perhaps when the superannuation age is reached. I should like to know why there is a difference in that respect. It was laid down very carefully in paragraph 5 of the Second Schedule that: If a member becomes, in the opinion of the Minister, unfit to continue in office or incapable of performing his duties, the Minister shall forthwith declare his office to be vacant. Apparently the Minister in regard to that particular appointment thought it was necessary that he should have that power, but, curiously enough, no such power is asked for in respect of this body. In the first instance, a limit was laid down regarding the term of office. No limit is made in the present case. Powers were also taken in the first case, so that if any member proved to be incapable in any shape or form he could be removed, but the Minister asks for no such power in regard to the second body. There is no mention made of removal for incapacity. What is the reason for this vast difference in the appointment of the two bodies? Paragraph 4 of the Schedule says: Any person who has ceased to be a member of the board shall be eligbile for re-appointment. What are the conditions under which a member can cease to be a member of the board, and what are the circumstances upon which he can be re-appointed? I hope that someone will explain the necessity for the vast difference in the appointment of the two bodies. Apparently, it is the opinion of the Minister and of the Parliamentary Secretary that the job to be performed by the second one is so important that there must be no limit put to the term of the appointment, not five years, not three years, and there must be no power to remove any of the members for incapacity. It is admitted that the board is of an entirely new character and something unprecedented. If the duties are so important and the board are to deal with 7,000,000 people, who may be subject to the disabilities which my hon. Friend has just mentioned? Is it not more necessary that a limitation should be put upon the term they are going to serve and that powers should be taken to remove them for incompeteney and in efficiency, than in the case of the first body? There may be some good reason in the mind of the Minister for the course which is proposed; if so, the Committee have a right to know it. We are entitled to be informed why so much difference is made in the appointment of the two bodies.

6.18 p.m.


Those who were present during the discussion yesterday will appreciate what I mean when I say that I will deal with the Amendment as put forward in a constructive spirit with a view to improving the Bill. Some of the remarks that have been made to-day, as was pointed out by the Chair, appeared to proceed on the basis that a three years' limitation of time would in some way bring the board to an end, or would provide an occasion for this House to review the whole matter. That is a misapprehension. The appointment will be, as the Schedule stands, by His Majesty by warrant under the Sign Manual on the advice of His Majesty's advisers. Whatever period one puts in the Schedule, reappointments could be made or fresh appointments made without this House necessarily being in any way affected. Of course, there would be the ordinary method, in this as in other matters, open to hon. Members for raising discussion so far as this part of the Bill is concerned. Therefore, I put on one side at the outset those parts of the speeches to which we have listened which were based on the false assumption that the board would come to an end or that the period of time for reappointment would provide in itself an occasion for the House to discuss or review the matter.


It would be a natural objective to aim at if we put a limit to the time of the appointment of any member of the board, and Members of the Opposition would take advantage of that fact.


That is not so. The mere fact of somebody's term of office on the board running out and a re-appointment being made, or some member retiring, when presumably someone else would be appointed, would not, in itself, be an occasion for debate.


It might be made the occasion.


Of course, and so could any other moment of time, but the real occasion for debate would be if it were felt by hon. Members in any quarter of the House that things had been done by the board which called for criticism or comment.


May I point out that this Amendment is part and parcel with subsequent Amendments which deal with appointments by the Minister rather than by appointments by Sign Manual? Therefore, the House would have an opportunity at the end of three years to discuss the appointments.


I am obliged to my hon. Friend, but the point I am making remains the point of substance, namely, that there will be many occasions when the conduct of the board can be brought up and discussed in the House; but the time when you are merely reappointing someone, or someone has resigned and some other person is coming in, would not in itself necessarily provide the appropriate occasion for raising a discussion. The real time when the House will want to discuss the board and how it is working is when its annual report comes in, or when something is being done by the board which hon. Members think is an appropriate matter to be brought before the House.

A large part of the speeches to which we have listened went to prove that the functions which the board will have to perform are very important. It is sufficient for the purpose of my reply to accept that statement in that form, while not agreeing with the many highly controversial reasons which were put forward as showing the importance of the board. We all admit that the board has very important functions to perform. In the discussion on the Statutory Committee yesterday two or three points were emphasised as to what ought to be in the mind of those who consider the appointments to a body of this kind. In the first place, there was the consideration that if you want to get, as naturally you do, the best man, you may have to offer a fairly considerable term of security of tenure. If the best man you can get has other employment, which appears to be secure, obviously, in order to induce him to give up that work and do the work you want him to do, you may have to offer him a considerable period of security of tenure.

There was another very useful suggestion brought forward, and that was that you may appoint a man and you may find after two or three years that, while it is impossible to say that he has in any way misconducted himself or is incapable of performing his duties, he has not quite come up to expectations, and that by the comparatively painless process of allowing his term of office to expire, you can appoint someone else in his stead, and get a desirable change of personnel. It was suggested that it was advisable to do that after three years rather than five years. That argument has, to a large extent, been repeated to-day. There was a third point which it was said might be considered, and that was the necessity of giving the persons appointed a fairly long run so that they might have a chance of becoming thoroughly versed in the matter and of gaining experience.

My hon. Friend who spoke last asked a number of pertinent questions. I agree that in regard to this particular body the provisions are somewhat different from the provisions with respect to the other body. It is also quite clear that the functions of the two bodies are different. I do not want to make any invidious comparisons between the importance of one body and the importance of the other. They both have very important functions to perform, but I would draw attention to one or two differences. For example, the Statutory Committee is to contain certain persons who are to be appointed after consultation with organisations representing the employers, and with organisations representing the workers. One is to be appointed after consultation with the Minister of Labour for Northern Ireland. Where members of a body are selected after consultation of that kind it is more appropriate that the appointment should be made by the Minister than by His Majesty by Warrant under the Sign Manual. Under the latter process His Majesty acts, as in other matters, on the advice of his Ministers.

I think hon. Members will appreciate the reasons for saying that where you put into the Schedule that certain appointments are to be made after consultation by the Minister with certain organisations, it is more appropriate that the appointments should be made by the Minister. On the other hand, where you are setting up, as in this case, a body of great importance and of high status, the procedure of appointment by His Majesty by Warrant under the Sign Manual is one for which many precedents can be found, and it has been included in the Schedule as the appropriate method for appointing these members.

With regard to the Amendment, taken in its widest form, we resist it, and I desire on behalf of my right hon. Friend to give the reason for resisting it. My right hon. Friend wants his hands to be free. There may be considerations for a longer tenure and there may be considerations for a shorter tenure, and it is desirable that the conditions should be left open. The conditions of appointment will be contained in the Warrant, and in considering what advice should be tendered to His Majesty as to the Warrant, the Minister desires that he should be free, because he desires to be able to get the best possible personnel for this body. I am in a position to assure the Committee that the considerations which have been so ably urged to-day and yesterday will be borne in mind by my right hon. Friend in deciding the matter. I hope that with that assurance the hon. Member will see his way to withdraw the Amendment.


Has the Minister the same power against the board as he has against the Statutory Committee? If the board happens to act in a way which the Minister or the Government does not approve, will he be able to sack them?


I really cannot answer a question so hypothetical. There will be plenty of opportunities to consider the work of the board, and, obviously, it is impossible to say what might be done in such a case.

6.32 p.m.


I am very disappointed with the reply of the Solicitor-General, and I hope that on the Report stage we shall find the Government giving way on this matter. Yesterday and to-day we have had a somewhat peculiar argument put forward with regard to the five years' appointment. The Parliamentary Secretary told us that it has taken him two years to understand his duties at the Ministry of Labour, and from that he argued that a man appointed to the Statutory Committee would take some time to get a knowledge of its work. We have had the same argument advanced this afternoon. When the Minister of Labour is looking round for people to appoint on the board, he will have plenty of people to choose from, people who have had long experience in Poor Law work and who will be specially fitted to perform these duties. The argument that you must have a long period of tenure in order to secure the best men is not sound. I think that we shall get the same thing as happened during the Labour Government, when we had to choose a reorganisation committee and had plenty of people to draw from, but found the Prime Minister interfering and putting someone in the job at £7,000 a year, when a very able man could have done the job at £2,000 a year. It is not good enough. There should be a limit of three years, and, in my opinion, within three years you will get such a revulsion of opinion in this country against the working of this board that the Government will feel that the matter must be reviewed.

The Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary have tried to make out that the board is going to deal fairly with the people who come before it. I have listened to the Parliamentary Secretary so many times on this point that I have come to the conclusion that he believes that when the board is set up they will be waiting for the applicants, will shake them by the hand and say, "How much do you want this morning?" I have had a few years' experience of Poor Law administration in a big city, and what is going to happen is this: you will get a Poor Law system without the elected guardians. You are going to have the same relief given by this board as was given by relieving officers between meetings of the committee, and I challenge any hon. Member who has had any experience of Poor Law administration to deny the statement that relieving officers were not over-generous in giving relief between the meetings of the committee. I think that under this board people will be treated worse than they are now. I hope that I am wrong, but I think that the tendency will be to save as much money as possible in the relief given to people outside insurance. If not, then there is no point in it. Take an unemployed agricultural worker. Is it assumed that the board will give more to the agricultural worker than he would get if he had been in work, although his wages are low? If they did, you would have the farmers in the locality complaining that the relief given to unemployed labourers was such as to take away the incentive to find a job. Take the cities. Will the board treat unemployed labourers better than if they were in work?


On a point of Order. May I ask whether it is permissible to widen the discussion—


The hon. Member will perhaps leave the matter to me. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) introduced the argument with reference to the time, and I hope he will bear that in mind.


I contend that I am keeping strictly within your Ruling. I am arguing that the limit of appointment should be three years, because I think it will be found that the board and its officers will not treat the people in the way which the Minister thinks they will be treated. I was giving one or two examples to prove my point. After the War, in 1920, we had a fairly high Poor Law scale for able-bodied poor. Then came the slump in wages in the autumn of 1920 and the spring of 1921. The position was that the relief scale was about equal to what a labourer could get for working six days in the steel trade, and immediately we had employers' organisations and chambers of commerce passing resolutions against the scale because, as they said, it was taking away from the unemployed the incentive to find a job. Is it expected that the board will give unemployed miners more than they would get if they were at work? You have here an entirely new procedure, and I suggest that there should be a three years' limit. There is no precedent, as far as I know English history, for the establishment of a non-elected board to deal with able-bodied poor outside insurance, but I do know that every time power seems to be going towards the workers' movement in this country there is legislative action by the House of Commons. In view of what is likely to happen in the next three years, I think that the appointment should be for that period only, and if at the end of that time the board is working smoothly and those appointed are carrying out their duties, they would not be automatically discharged; they could be re-appointed. I am keenly disappointed with the statement of the Solicitor-General. I appreciate his promise to give the matter consideration, but the whole attitude of the Minister of Labour is not one which suggests that he is going to make any concession. If he carries out all the promises he has made to consider things on Report, we shall need more than five or six days for discussion. I think the Committee would be wise to accept the Amendment.

6.40 p.m.


I hope that the Minister will reconsider the position. In my view, there is a most reasonable case for reviewing the work of the board each year, and three years is a fairly lengthy period. The Solicitor-General said that there would be opportunities in the House to review their work. I do not disagree with him, but the only way it can be done is to raise the matter on the Estimates of the Ministry of Labour. Votes of Censure can, of course, he put down; but that is the only real way of reviewing their work. You cannot get more than three days to discuss the Estimates of the Ministry without taking time from the discussion of other Estimates, and, as a rule, there are only two days upon which we can debate the Estimates. There are a great many questions which hon. Members will want to debate—the question of staffing, which is too little discussed, the management of the Exchanges, and trade boards, and it does not leave much time for a discussion of all the matters which hon. Members may desire to raise. By the Bill you are now making the Estimates of a Ministry more complicated than ever, and in that way throwing on the Opposition the necessity of raising many more questions on the Estimates. It is impossible to do all this in two days, and, further, it will be very difficult to pick out the Estimates of this board and get a coherent discussion upon them. The work of the board ought to be the subject of careful scrutiny in the House; and the only way is for it to be re-appointed, when the House of Commons would have an opportunity of passing its opinion as to whether the work had been good, bad or indifferent.

What is the case against the Amendment? It is said that it will take three years for these people to get accustomed to their work. That, in my opinion, is a reason why the Amendment should be accepted, so that we may know at the earliest moment whether they have got to know their job. The board, whatever may be its faults or virtues, must be an approachable board. In other words, if this board is to be anything at all, it must be a board which has certain qualifications. First, it must be easily approachable by the trade union movement, by such a body as the Trades Union Congress, which acts for great masses of men. Secondly, the board must be easy of approach by people who represent the unemployed workers who may not be organised but are on the means test, who by reason of long periods of unemployment have dropped out of the organised movement. Thirdly, there are the local authorities, which must have contact with the board. But under the proposals of the Bill it would be a board that is not easy of approach. I would sooner have to approach the right hon. Member for Bewdley (Mr. Baldwin), who was once Prime Minister and is now deputy Prime Minister, than some of those whose names I have seen. Whatever the faults the right hon. Member for Bewdley has, he is approachable. He will see you and discuss matters with you. He does not think he is superior, above his ordinary fellow mortals.

I can imagine the members of the board put into this position with the fresh glow of the power that has been given to them. There is nothing more annoying in life than the man who has suddenly been transplanted to a position of power. These men will be put into a position of power, and they will be impossible of approach. We are asked to tolerate that state of things for five years. The Minister of Labour with his civil and nice manner gets us down. We all feel at a disadvantage with him. He is approachable. But I have seen Ministers who could not be approached. The right hon. Gentleman who was once Member for Preston, Mr. T. Shaw, and was Minister of Labour in the first Labour Government, had great capacity, and he was the easiest man to approach on a labour problem whom I ever knew. He was a capable Minister.

On this new board you will have three men with as great power as any Minister of Labour ever had. They will say to themselves, "We are it. We are the men that matter. Who are you? You are Members of Parliament. You have signed us on for five years and we need not bother." I can tell the Committee when they will bother. They will bother in the year when they are to be re-appointed. There will be a new House of Commons then, and everyone in it will not be as bad as some Members of this Parliament. We ought to have some review of these appointments, some way of getting the board's work brought before us for consideration, not on the Estimate of the Minister of Labour and not on a Vote of Censure. I see the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winter-ton) in his place. He is one of the few Tory Members of character in this House. If he wanted to criticise the board he would not want the matter to be complicated with other questions on the Estimates I am sure. That would be a bad way of criticising the board. It would create prejudice and there would not be the proper feeling in it.

My criticism of the appointment is that it is for more than a year. I think the members of the board should be re-appointed every year. As that cannot be secured, let the appointments be for three years. This House would then ask what had been the board's work and how the members had done their job, and the House could pass judgment. The Monarchy used to have great power in this country, and the Lords and Barons had great power, also. This new board will have greater power over human beings than the Monarchy had many years ago. I know that the Ruling of the Chair will not allow me to develop that argument. But let us consider what the powers of the board will be. It will have power to deprive men of benefit entirely. It can deprive them of personal liberty. It will have power to substitute payment by kind for payment by money. The number of persons involved will not be 1,000,000, for during the year that number will turn over at least two-and-a-half times, and therefore from 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 people will be affected every year by the board's decisions.

The least that this House can do is once in three years to sit down and decide what it thinks of the board and its work. Under the proposal of the Bill we shall have no executive control at all over the board, except through the Vote of the Ministry of Labour. That Vote comes up for two days in a year, and those two days are covered by a large number of other points. I am sure that if the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham were sitting here in opposition, and a Labour Government proposed to give such powers over the lives of people, without any definite time limit, he would insist on the House of Commons putting some time limit on the appointment. Every one who remembers the Noble Lord's work in the last Parliament knows that he would do that. I trust that those Members of the Committee who can rise above the ordinary feeling of party discipline will support the Amendment. If the members of the board do their work diligently they need fear no one. The Government know in their hearts that the board will have to do terribly disagreeable things such as this House would not do. Occasionally on a human issue it is possible to rouse Members of this House into doing things even against their Government. I trust that hon. Members in all quarters of the House will support the Amendment.

6.57 p.m.


I thought that the Debate was coming to an end, but if it is to be carried on there are a few things I want to say. The Debate, and especially the speech of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), are most important, because they indicate the difficulty in which this House is going increasingly to be in future. Nowadays all parties in the House, in order to deal with necessary business, are advocating the appointment of boards and persons with great powers—powers to some extent independent of His Majesty's Government, and the House, feeling that it has not got the same control over these extraneous bodies as it has over civil servants through a Minister, raises claims to control these outside authorities by the threat of periodical dismissal. That is the danger into which this House is going to lapse.

The whole of the arguments we have heard have been that the House of Commons is getting weaker, that the House cannot manage its business so as suffi- ciently to discuss the proceedings of the board, and therefore hon. Members opposite say, "Let the members of the board be continually subject to dismissal periodically, on a vote of the House of Commons, in order that the House may exercise some control over them." It is a sign always of weakness and senility to say, "I cannot control my servant and therefore I shall sack him periodically." The same sort of argument was used by one hon. Member opposite. There is fear on the Opposition side of the House, and quite natural an arguable fear, that the establishment of this board is bad policy and that the board as a system will not work. But what did the hon. Member say? He does not contemplate the Government three years hence saying, "The Unemployment Bill was a mistake. We shall have to abolish the board and put a new system in its place." That would be a difficult and cumbrous operation, requiring great courage from a Government.


Our case is quite clear. It is that such a board is a necessity imposed on the Government by the application of the means test. If that were abolished, this would be unnecessary.


That has no earthly connection with the point made by the hon. Member's colleagues. I can understand saying that a future Labour Government will abolish the board, and that then the appointment of members will come to an end. But the hon. Member did not say that. He did not contemplate a future Labour Government repealing this Measure and setting up a new system in its place. He contemplated that this House would take the line of least resistance, and throw upon the members of the board the responsibility for the bad system they are trying to administer, that they would visit on the head of the members of the board all the evils they see in this Measure, and, instead of carrying out a reform, they would content themselves with the gesture of sacking the members of the board and appointing somebody else. That is precisely the danger into which I see the House drifting in dealing with the semi-dependent boards, and it is an argument for the House so revising its procedure that it will be able really to scrutinise, de die in diem almost, the proceedings not only of Ministers to whom it has given wide discretionary powers, but these extraneous bodies. It is a strong argument for that, but otherwise it strongly reinforces, to my mind, the case for a long term of office, so that members shall not be subject to the fear that the House of Commons will treat them as the Committee of Public Safety in revolutionary France treated its commissioners, giving them autocratic power, subject only to the periodical intervention of the guillotine.

7.4 p.m.


The Noble Lord when he rises in the House or Committee always advances some philosophical arguments which at least interest me. The one he has propounded to-day is one I shall have to take home and think over in more suitable surroundings than those of the Committee stage of a Bill. It is only people who have reached the stage of senility, he says, who ever dismiss their employé. So presumably, the cause of our unemployment problem is the senility of employers! As I say, I have not come to a final conclusion, but I will give that very full and adequate consideration. I am surprised though at the argument being put forward, that because we want these bodies to function efficiently, we must give to the men who are working them a greater security of tenure than is given to persons in any other walk of public life.


What about Civil servants?


Nobody in the Civil Service has a security of tenure similar to what is proposed here. There is absolutely nobody in the country in the same position as the members of this board will be except His Majesty and His Majesty's judges. I think that is a preposterous claim which will not stand examination for two minutes. I do not know what employés the Noble Lord has in his own service. Presumably he has some and presumably he is a good employer, and keeps his employés about him for long periods of time. But he would not say to any of them: "You are here for life, and your salary is not subject to my will or desire, but is a first charge on the family estate of the Percys." That is what is being said to these chaps. His salary as a Member of Parliament may go, his other public charges may go, the money to give public assistance relief may go, but the salaries of the board remain as long as the old ship is sailing at all. On the deck are His Majesty, as is right and proper, His Majesty's judges, as, I presume, is also right and proper, and alongside of them the members of the public assistance committees.


And His Majesty's civil servants.


The Noble Lord, with his inside knowledge of Government Departments, and as an ex-Minister of the Crown, must not attempt to mislead the Committee or the public by suggesting that the status proposed for the members of the board is not an infinitely higher status than is granted to the chief permanent official of the Ministry of Labour. The chief permanent Secretary of that Ministry has not the status proposed for members of this board, either in the matter of security of tenure or of freedom from criticism. The Noble Lord says "Yes," and I say "No," and we can go on arguing all the time, but if he had been here for the earlier part of the Debate he would have heard the learned Solicitor-General explaining that it was necessary to give them a higher and more independent status, and if there is a difference between himself and the learned Law Officer of the Crown, I must ask them to settle it between themselves. In the meantime, I must take the authoritative statement of the responsible Minister from the Despatch Box rather than that of the distinguished ex-Minister who never dealt with this particular problem.

I put it to the Committee that we are appointing a body of men to take up a job that everyone here recognises as a great, new experiment. I will put it at that, and say for the moment that we are agreed that this experiment should be made which revolutionises our whole system of public relief. We are going out into the vast, and dragging in five or six men whose selection must be of a very experimental nature. Presumably, men will be chosen who hate experience of public work of one kind or another, and who we think will perform the functions in the most effective fashion. During the War you picked your admirals generals and field-marshals from men who had a record of work in those professions behind them, and before long you had to scrap here and change there, and substitute in the next place. Here you are choosing men who have not been trained for this job, because it never existed. You put them in to perform what my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) said are functions of life and death for 2,500,000 people. You do not know a solitary thing about them, and the Noble Lord say that, whether you find you have inefficient men or not, they are to be there in perpetuity or as I understand it, only to be removed in the same way as a Judge of the High Court can be removed, which is a tremendously complicated and difficult procedure.

It is a preposterous right for the House of Commons to hand away from itself. It is no good for the Noble Lord to say that it shows senility on the part of the House of Commons to want a power of dismissal over these people. He knows that if we are to be masters in our own house, if we are not going to throw away the democratic rights of this Assembly which have been built up during a long history with a whole lot of struggle and difficulty, we must not put people outside of ourselves in a position of greater power than the House of Commons itself. That is not senility, but it is imbecility to suggest that the governing assembly of the country should place over the lives of citizens another body with greater power than the elected governing assembly itself, and I shall resist this proposal in every way available to me.

7.13 p.m.


thought that the proposal were that the board's proceedings should be subjected to review in this House at a fixed period, whether three or five years, I certainly should desire time to consider it. I can see reasons why that would be a very useful provision, and I can see reasons which might be urged on the other side. Without having examined it in any great detail, and not having made up my mind, I express no opinion on that point, but what I have observed is that the effect of this Amendment, if carried, will not be to give the House that which, I am sure, hon. Members opposite who have spoken in favour of it really desire to happen. It is plain, if we look at the second rule of the Schedule, that the term for which the people who are to be appointed to the board are to hold office, must be under the conditions of the Warrant of Appointment. It is clear, after the first body has been appointed, that you will arrive at a time when they will not all finish at the same moment whether they are appointed for three or five years, or for life, or as long as they behave themselves, or until such time as it may come about that they are no longer fit to undertake their duties. If the members of the board are appointed for a period of five years, and if at the end of 12 months one member dies and a new member is appointed you immediately arrive at a state of things in which all the board will not cease office at the same time.

I have listened to this discussion almost since its commencement and it seems to me that this Amendment does not achieve what its supporters desire. In accordance with the promise that has been made, the Minister is going to consider how long these appointments should run. Suppose we fix a period of five years for each person and at the end of two years two or three members resign. The board will not then come to an end. Indeed under the very first rule in this Schedule it is plain that the board is to be made a body corporate, that there will be perpetual succession and that the board will go on, notwithstanding who the individuals are who constitute it from time to time. This is not the first time in the course of these discussions that we have had an Amendment from the other side which hon. Members opposite thought had a certain effect but which, on close examination, was found to have another and different effect. I hope that it will be possible during the Report stage on a properly framed Amendment to discuss the larger question indicated by the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy). But how on earth are we going to alter the present situation in that respect by saying that an individual member of the board is not to be appointed for longer than a certain fixed period?

I should be out of order if I went into cases of other Amendments proposed from the opposite side of the Committee on which a similar criticism had had to be advanced. It seems a pity, however, that we should be considernig this question on an Amendment which is appar- ently aimed only at the individual. We might have the case of an individual member, whose term of office had expired and who was up for re-election. There might be questions and answers and discussions in the House of Commons directed against that individual. But that individual Member might have been in a minority on the board and might have opposed whatever policy it was desired to criticise in the House of Commons. I submit that the very interesting points which have been made as to the control of the House of Commons over outside bodies do not arise on this Amendment. Much as I would like, upon an Amendment which was properly framed, to discuss the wider question of whether it would not be in the interest of all that there should be, at fixed periods, opportunities of discussing the work of all the members of the Board and not merely of one who happened to be resigning, I feel myself in the circumstances compelled to vote against this Amendment.

7.20 p.m.


I am glad to have listened to some of the constitutional experts this afternoon. When I first entered this House I was shown a part of Westminster Hall where, I was told, the Star Chamber used to conduct its operations. Listening to this afternoon's Debate I wondered whether the Star Chamber was going to be revived. This board is not to be called the Star Chamber, but its duties will be on the lines of those of the Star Chamber. It is to have the right of deciding questions of life and death to a large proportion of the people who are down and out under the present industrial system. At least 2,000,000 men, women and children will have their lives and liberties placed at the disposal of this new Star Chamber. We are going to pass a Bill which establishes the principle that the English people, or those among them who are unfortunate, are to have no redress against this new constituted authority: Their's not to reason why, Their's but to starve and die. And this in the England which we were told to fight for only a few years ago—the country which was to be "fit for heroes to live in." Now you have to be a hero to get a living in it. Some of us are opposed to the whole system of this board and all its concomitants. Who are the members of the board to be? We have had some experience of commissioners and apparently these are to be commissioners under another name. In West Ham we had three retired civil servants, already getting substantial pensions and they were paid salaries on top of their pensions to crucify the poor.


What about Eccleston Square?


I know what the hon. Member means by "the square." Anybody who gets a job under this board, if his party are in power, will have to be "on the square," or will have to wear one. We have known something of people of this kind. Men and women in West Ham, poor as they are, have given lifelong service to their fellow citizens, have sat on local authorities at their own expense and, in some cases, have lost their jobs through having had the courage to stand up against those in authority. But none of those men and women will get a chance under this new board, with this Minister of Labour, and there is no Labour man worth his salt who would take a job under such an authority in such circumstances.


I am not so sure about that.


I said in qualification of my statement "no Labour man worth his salt." There are some Labour men who are not worth salt and the board might make some use of them. To give them salt would only make them thirsty. But none of the men and women in the Labour movement who have given years of their lives to dealing with the problem of poverty would accept a job of this kind. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" and we are going to resist in every way the proposal to hand these things over to this board. I do not care who appoints them, whether it is Buckingham Palace or Eccleston Square. I am not prepared to hand over to either of those institutions the right to dominate over the members of the class to which I belong. Our past history in this country has been unwritten—[Laughter.] I can only speak to hon. Members opposite in the English language. I cannot give them the means of understanding it. But I tell them that in this matter you are going back upon the history of Great Britain. The results of the struggle that has taken place in this country since Magna Charta established the liberties of the people are being gradually undermined. Hon. Members opposite on public platforms declare that they are opposed to Fascism and dictatorships. Here in an indirect manner, merely because it is only the poorest of the poor who are affected, they are helping to establish a dictatorship. The only difference is that while in Austria or Italy or Germany there is only one dictator, you are going to have five in England—a mutual admiration society. It will be a case of "You scratch my back and I will scratch yours and God help the poor." But in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird. You are not having us on toast in this matter. Hon. Members opposite require some consolation after the Hammersmith election. We shall give them more at Upton and show them that the people of this country are not going to stand

this kind of thing for ever. It is because they know that, that hon. Members opposite want to establish this permanent board. They are afraid that a day of judgment for them is coming. It will come and I hope that we shall have a Labour Government strong and determined enough to wipe out of existence all these fancy boards that this Government are establishing. The Government are trying to square the situation for the future, to make sure that capitalism will continue to operate and that the workers will have even less control than they have now. Some of us, however, are determined to fight against the whole principle of this proposition. Instead of three years in Whitehall I would give them seven years in Portland, because the people whom you are likely to select, will probably be worse than the people who go there.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 63; Noes, 274.

Division No. 208.] AYES. [7.30 p.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Griffith. F. Kingslay (Middlesbro'. W.) Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Attlee, Clement Richard Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maxton, James.
Banfield, John William Grundy, Thomas W. Owen, Major Goronwy
Bevan, Aneurln (Ebbw Vale) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Paling, Wilfred
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hamilton, Sir R.W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd) Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Holdtworth, Herbert Pickering, Ernest H.
Cape, Thomas Janner, Barnett Rathbone, Eleanor
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jenkins, Sir William Rea, Walter Russell
Cove, William G. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Daggar, George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David White, Henry Graham
Edwards, Charles Lawton, John James Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Leonard, William Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Logan, David Gilbert Wilmot, John
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Lunn, William Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) McKeag, William Mr. John and Mr. Groves.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Burnett, John George
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C) Butt, Sir Alfred
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Beit, Sir Alfred L. Cadogan, Hon. Edward
Albery, Irving James Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Bernays, Robert Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Caporn, Arthur Cecil
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Borodale, Viscount Carver, Major William H.
Apsley, Lord Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)
Athoil, Duchess of Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Broadbent, Colonel John Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Brocklebank, C. E. R. Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Christie, James Archibald
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Clarry, Reginald George
Bainlel, Lord Browne, Captain A. C. Clayton, Sir Christopher
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Cobb, Sir Cyril
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Burghley, Lord Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.
Collox, Major William Philip Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Ray, Sir William
Colman, N. C. D. Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Held, David D. (County Down)
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger Held, James S. C. (Stirling)
Conant, R. J. E. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Cook. Thomas A. Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Renter, John R.
Cooks, Douglas Law, Sir Alfred Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Cooper, A. Duff Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Rickards, George William
Cranborne, Viscount Leech, Dr. J. W. Ropner, Colonel L.
Craven-Ellis, William Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ross, Ronald D.
Crooke, J. Smedley Lewis, Oswald Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridgs)
Crookshank, Col. C. da Windt (Bootle) Liddall, Walter S. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock) Runge, Norah Cecil
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lindsay, Noel Ker Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Cross, R. H. Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Llewellin, Major John J. Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Danman, Hon. R. D. Locker-Lampson,-Rt. Hn. G. (Wd.Gr'n) Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Danville, Alfred Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Salmon, Sir Isidore
Dickie, John P. Loftus, Pierce C. Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Drewe, Cedric Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Duckworth, George A. V. Lyons, Abraham Montagu Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Duggan, Hubert John Mabane, William Scone, Lord
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N) MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Dunglass, Lord MacAndrew. Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Shaw, Captain William T. (Fortar)
Eastwood, John Francis McConnell, Sir Joseph Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Edmondson, Major A. J. McCorquodale, M. S. Shute, Colonel J. J.
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Emrys- Evans, P. V. McKie, John Hamilton Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) McLean, Major Sir Alan Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Ford, Sir Patrick J. McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Somervell, Sir Donald
Fox, Sir Gifford Macmillan, Maurice Harold Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Fremantle, Sir Francis Macquisten, Frederick Alexander Soper, Richard
Fuller, Captain A. G. Magnay, Thomas Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Ganzonl, Sir John Manningham Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Marsden, Commander Arthur Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Gledhill, Gilbert Martin, Thomas B. Spens, William Patrick
Glossop, C. W. H. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Goff, Sir Park Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Stevenson, James
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd. N.) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Storey, Samuel
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Milne, Charles Strauss, Edward A.
Graves, Marjorie Mitchell. Harold P. (Br'tl'd & Chisw'k) Strickland, Captain W. F.
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Grigg, Sir Edward Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Stuart, Lord C. Crichton.
Grimston, R. V. Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Sutcliffe, Harold
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Tate, Mavis Constance
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Moreing, Adrian C. Thompson, Sir Luke
Gunston, Captain D. W. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Guy, J. C. Morrison Morrison, William Shephard Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Hales, Harold K. Moss, Captain H. J. Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Hanbury, Cecil Mulrhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J. Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Munro, Patrick Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Hartland, George A. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Train, John
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Tree, Ronald
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid Turton, Robert Hugh
Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Nunn, William Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Heneage. Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Hepworth, Joseph Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Palmer, Francis Noel Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Hopkinson, Austin Peake, Captain Osbert Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour
Hornby, Frank Pearson, William G. Wells, Sydney Richard
Horobin, Ian M. Peat, Charles U. Weymouth, Viscount
Horsbrugh, Florence Penny, Sir George Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Howard, Tom Forrest Percy, Lord Eustace Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bliston) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Pike, Cecil F Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Wise, Alfred R.
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Pownall, Sir Assheton Womersley, Walter James
Iveagh, Countess of Pybus, Sir Percy John Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Radford, E. A.
James, Wing-Corn. A. W. H. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Jamleson, Douglas Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward and Major George Davies.
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Ramsbotham, Herwald

It being after Half-past Seven of the Clock, The CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 19th December, successively to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment moved by the Government of which notice had been given and the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at Half-past Seven of the Clock at this day's sitting.

Amendment proposed: In page 70, line 7, at the end, to insert:

"9. The functions of the board, and of the officers and servants appointed by the board, shall be exercised on behalf of the Crown.

10. The board shall have power to acquire land for the purposes of their functions under this Act, and to dispose of any land held by them which is no longer required

for those purposes."—[The Solicitor-General.]

Question put, "That the Amendment be made."

The Committee divided; Ayes, 269; Noes, 62.

Division No. 209.] AYES. [7.40 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Duggan, Hubert John Loftus, Pierce C.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Dunglass, Lord Lyons, Abraham Montagu
Albery, Irving James Eastwood, John Francis MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partlck)
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Edmondson, Major A. J. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey McConnell, Sir Joseph
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Elliston, Captain George Sampson MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Apsley, Lord Emmott, Charles E. G. C. McKie, John Hamilton
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Emrys-Evans, P. V. McLean, Major Sir Alan
Atholl, Duchess of Ford, Sir Patrick J. McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Fox, Sir Gifford Macmillan, Maurice Harold
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Fremantle, Sir Francis Macquisten, Frederick Alexander
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Fuller, Captain A. G. Magnay, Thomas
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Ganzonl, Sir John Manningham Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Bainlel, Lord Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Gilmour, Lt-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Marsden, Commander Arthur
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Gledhill, Gilbert Martin, Thomas B.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Glossop, C. W. H. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Gluckstein, Louis Halle Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Golf, Sir Park Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)
Benn. Sir Arthur Shirley Gower, Sir Robert Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Bernays, Robert Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd. N.) Milne, Charles
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)
Borodale, Viscount Graves, Marjorle Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Grigg, Sir Edward Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Grimston, R. V. Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)
Broadbent, Colonel John Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Moreing, Adrian C.
Hrocklebank, C. E. R. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Gunston, Captain D. W. Morrison, William Shepherd
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Guy, J. C. Morrison Moss, Captain H. J.
Browne, Captain A. C. Hales, Harold K. Mulrhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hanbury, Cecil Munro, Patrick
Burghley, Lord Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Burnett, John George Hartland, George A. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Butt, Sir Alfred Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid
Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Nunn, William
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Heligers, Captain F. F. A. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Henoage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Palmer, Francis Noel
Carver, Major William H. Hepworth, Joseph Peake, Captain Osbert
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Pearson. William G.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Hopkinson, Austin Peat, Charles U.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hornby, Frank Penny, Sir George
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Hornbin, Ian M. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bltst'n)
Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Horsbrugh, Florence Pike, Cecil F.
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Howard, Tom Forrest Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Christie, James Archibald Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Clarry, Reginald George Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Pybus, Sir Percy John
Clayton, Sir Christopher Hume, Sir George Hopwood Radford, E. A.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Colfox, Major William Philip Iveagh, Countess of Ramsbotham, Herwald
Colman, N. C. D. Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ray, Sir William
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. James, Wing-Corn. A. W. H. Reid, David D. (County Down)
Conant, R. J. E. Jamleson, Douglas Held, Jamas S. C. (Stirling)
Cook, Thomas A. Jesson, Major Thomas E. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Cooke, Douglas Jones, Lewis (Swansea. West) Remer, John R.
Cranborne, Viscount Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Craven-Ellis. William Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Rickards, George William
Crooke, J. Smedley Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Ropner, Colonel L.
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Law Sir Alfred Ross, Ronald D.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Leech, Dr. J. W. Ruggles-Brlse, Colonel E. A.
Cross, R. H. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Runge, Norah Cecil
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Lewis, Oswald Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Liddall, Walter S. Russell. Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lindsay, Noel Ker Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tslde)
Danville, Alfred Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Dickie, John P. Lieweilln, Major John J. Salmon, Sir Isidore
Drewe, Cedric Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd. G'n) Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Duckworth, George A. V. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Stevenson, James Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Scone, Lord Storey, Samuel Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Strauss, Edward A. Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar) Strickland, Captain W. F. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Shepperson, Sir Ernest W. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Welle, Sydney Richard
Shute, Colonel J. J. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton Weymouth, Viscount
Simmonds, Oliver Edwin Sutcliffe, Harold Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam) Tate, Mavis Conetance Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Thompson, Sir Luke Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Somervell, Sir Donald Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Soper, Richard Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.) Wise, Alfred R.
Sot heron-Estcourt, Captain T. E. Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford) Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Touche, Gordon Cosmo Womersley, Walter James
Spencer, Captain Richard A. Train, John Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noake)
Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H. Tree, Ronald
Spens, William Patrick Tulnell, Lieut-Commander R. L. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde) Turton, Robert Hugh Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland) Wallace, John (Dunfermilne) Ward and Lord Erskine.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Adams, D. M (Poplar, South) Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Attlee, Clement Richard Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Maxton, James
Banfield. John William Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Owen, Major Goronwy
Batey, Joseph Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Paling, Wilfred
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Grundy, Thomas W. Parkinson, John Allen
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Pickering, Ernest H.
Buchanan, George Hamilton, Sir R.W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd) Rathbone, Eleanor
Cape, Thomas Holdsworth, Herbert Rea, Walter Russell
Crocks, Frederick Seymour Janner, Barnett Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cove, William G. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Dagger, George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Tinker, John Joseph
Davits, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) White, Henry Graham
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lawson, John James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Edwards, Charles Leonard, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Wilmot, John
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Logan, David Gilbert Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lunn, William
Foot, leaae (Cornwall, Bodmin) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) McEntee, Valentine L. Mr. John and Mr. Groves.

Question put, "That this Schedule, as amended, be the Fifth Schedule to the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 268; Noes, 64.

Division No. 210.] AYES. [7.50 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Burghley, Lord Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds W.) Burnett, John George Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Butt, Sir Alfred Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)
Albery, Irving James Cadogan, Hon. Edward Denman, Hon. R. D.
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Denville, Alfred
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Dickie, John P.
Apsley, Lord Caporn, Arthur Cecil Drewe, Cedric
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Carver, Major William H. Duckworth, George A. V.
Atholl, Duchess of Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Duggan, Hubert John
Banile, Sir Adrian W. M. Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Dunglass, Lord
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Eastwood, John Francis
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Edmondson, Major A. J.
Bainlel, Lord Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Christie, James Archibald Elliston, Captain George Sampson
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Clarry, Reginald George Emmott, Charles E. G. C.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Clayton, Sir Christopher Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Cobb, Sir Cyril Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Ford, Sir Patrick J.
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Colfox, Major William Philip Fox, Sir Gifford
Bernays, Robert Colman, N. C. D. Fremantle, Sir Francis
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Fuller, Captain A. G.
Borodale, Viscount Conant, R. J. E. Ganzonl, Sir John
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Cook, Thomas A. Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Cooke, Douglas Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Cranborne, Viscount Gledhill, Gilbert
Broadbent, Colonel John Craven-Ellis, William Glossop, C. W. H.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Crooke, J. Smedley Gluckstein, Louis Halle
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Goff, Sir Park
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro) Gower, Sir Robert
Browne, Captain A. C. Croom-Johnson, R. P. Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd. N.)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Cross, R. H. Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas
Graves, Marjorle Magnay, Thomas Salmon, Sir Isidore
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Mahningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Grigg, Sir Edward Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Sandeman, Sir A. N, Stewart
Grimston, R. V. Marsden, Commander Arthur Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Martin, Thomas B. Scone, Lord
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Gunston, Captain D. W. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Guy, J. C. Morrison Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Hales, Harold K. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Shuts, Colonel J. J.
Hanbury, Cecil Milne, Charles Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Smith, Louts W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Hartland, George A. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Klne'dine, C.)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Somervell, Sir Donald
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Soper, Richard
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Moreing, Adrian C. Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Hepworth, Joseph Morrison, William Shephard Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Moss, Captain H. J. Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Hopkinson, Austin Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J. Spens, William Patrick
Hornby, Frank Munro, Patrick Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Horobin, Ian M. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Horsbrugh, Florence Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Stevenson, James
Howard, Tom Forrest Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersl'ld) Storey, Samuel
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid Strauss, Edward A.
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Nunn, William Strickland, Captain W. F.
Hume, Sir George Hopwood O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Palmer, Francis Noel Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Iveagh, Countess of Peake, Captain Osbert Sutcliffe, Harold
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Pearson, William G. Tate, Mavis Constance
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Peat, Charles U. Thompson, Sir Luke
Jamleson, Douglas Penny, Sir George Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'prn, Bilst'n) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Pike, Cecil F. Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Pownall, Sir Assheton Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Law Sir Alfred Pybus, Sir Percy John Train, John
Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Radford, E. A. Tree, Ronald
Leech, Dr. J. W. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Turton, Robert Hugh
Lewis, Oswald Ramsbotham, Herwald Wallace, John (Dunfermilne)
Liddall, Walter s. Rathbone, Eleanor Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Lindsay, Noel Ker Ray, Sir William Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Reid, David D. (County Down) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Lleweilln, Major John J. Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd. Gr'n) Reid, William Allan (Derby) Wedderbum, Henry James Scrymgeour
Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Renter, John R. Wells, Sydney Richard
Loftus, Pierce C. Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Weymouth, Viscount
Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Rickards, George William Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Lyons, Abraham Montagu Ropnor, Colonel L. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Ross, Ronald D. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
McConnell, Sir Joseph Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Runge, Norah Cecil Wise, Alfred R.
McKie, John Hamilton Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Withers, Sir John James
McLean, Major Sir Alan Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
McLean. Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Macmillan, Maurice Harold Rutherford, John (Edmonton) Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward and Mr. Womersley.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) McKeag, William
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Attlee, Clement Richard Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Banfield, John William Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Owen, Major Goronwy
Sevan, Aneurln (Ebbw Vale) Grundy, Thomas W. Paling, Wilfred
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd) Pickering, Ernest H.
Cape, Thomas Holdsworth, Herbert Rea, Walter Russell
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Janner, Barnett Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cove, William G. Johnstons, Harcourt (S. Shields) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Daggar, George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David White, Henry Graham
Edwards, Charles Lawson, John James Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Leonard, William Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Logan, David Gilbert Wilmot, John
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lunn, William Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Macdonald, Gordon (Inca)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. John and Mr. Groves.