§ 3.32 p.m.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, to leave out "or" and to insert "and."
The purpose of the Amendment is to bring the words of this Clause into line with Section 1 of the Incitement to Mutiny Act, 1797, where it is made an offence to seduce a member of the Forces from his "duty and allegiance." Here it is "duty or allegiance," and our contention is that the substitution of the word "or" for the word "and" creates an entirely new offence, an offence that has hitherto been unknown to English law, because it is obvious that duty may be something very much less, and more trivial, than allegiance. If I persuaded a soldier to overstay his leave by half-an-hour, I might be guilty of seducing him from his duty, but no one would argue that his allegiance was in any way questioned. The learned Attorney-Genera] pointed out in answer to me in Committee upstairs that the Act of 1797 itself created more than one offence. That is true. There are, as it were, two limbs to Section 1 of the Act of 1797. The first makes it an offence to endeavour to seduce a soldier from his duty and allegiance, and the second limb of the Section proceeds like this:To incite or to stir up such person or persons to commit any act of mutiny or to make or endeavour to make any mutinous assembly or to commit any traitorous or mutinous practice whatsoeverSo it is true that that Act does create more than one offence, but in spite of that I do not think it can be seriously maintained that the offences there referred to, namely, committing any traitorous or mutinous practice, are really synonymous with endeavouring to seduce a soldier from his duty; and I suggest that seducing him from his duty is much wider. The offence of mutiny is quite 202 different from a mere breach of duty, and I think there are two clear difstinctions. For instance, instance, I can endeavour to seduce a soldier from his duty without involving any other soldier in the offence, but I am rather doubtful whether a man can commit the offence of mutiny by himself. I was looking up the "Manual of Military Law" a day or two ago, and there I found this definition:The term 'mutiny' implies collective insubordination or a combination of two or more persons to resist or induce others to resist lawful military authority.There is the first distinction. Secondly, as I submit, mutiny means something in the nature of open definance or open revolt against constituted authority. I have here Chambers' "Twentieth Century Dictionary," and I would like to read the definition given there of mutiny, which is as follows:To rise against authority in military or naval service; to revolt against rightful authority.the noun is:Insurrection against constituted authority; revolt; tumult; strife.A soldier may very easily be guilty of some dereliction of duty which may fall very far short of open defiance or open revolt against constituted authority, and I think I can pray in aid the terms of the various Army and Navy Discipline Acts which have been passed from time to time in this House. In this Clause there is frequent reference to the offence of mutiny and to various mutinous offences. The various Statutes, however, do not stop at mutiny, but go on to lay down a great number of other offences of which a soldier or a sailor may be guilty, and if mutiny included any breach of duty it would follow that all these further Sections to which I have referred would be surplus and unnecessary.
In the Debate upstairs some reference was made to the Naval Discipline Act of 1866. It was pointed out, again quite rightly, that these words in this Bill, namely, "duty or allegiance," occur in that Act, and it was suggested by, I think, the learned Attorney-General that if we were looking for precedents, we ought to take the more recent 'and modern precedent of the Naval Discipline Act of 1866. My answer to that is that that Act applies only to a very limited class of persons. It applies, in the first place, to those who are normally subject 203 to naval discipline—that is to say, those who are in His Majesty's service in the Navy—and, secondly, to people who happen for the time being to be on board one of His Majesty's ships or on board a ship hired by the Government in time of war. Those are the two classes of persons covered by that Act, and, after all, they are only a very small minority of the citizens of this country. They are a very limited class, and I submit, therefore, that with regard to the great majority of the people of this country, the substitution in this Bill of the word "or" for the word "and" in, the Act of 1797 creates a new offence.
I apologise for going so much into statutory precedents, but I think that it is important because of the defence that was advanced on the Second Reading by the learned Solicitor-General, who defended the Bill on the ground that it was merely a procedure Bill. How can it be said to be merely a procedure Bill, when here, in the first Clause, before ever we reach some of the more controversial aspects of the Bill, we have an entirely new crime? And what a crime it is. I will take a single example to show how wide might be the scope of the offence. Before the War there was an Army Order which laid down that all officers in the Army should grow or attempt to grow a moustache. If the mother or wife or fiancee of an officer endeavoured to persuade him to shave his upper lip she would be endeavouring to seduce him to commit a breach of duty or to seduce him from his duty. That may be an extreme example, but it shows how far this offence can be taken. If I am guilty of persuading a soldier to overstay his leave for a short time I am again endeavouring to seduce him from his duty. Therefore, I suggest that this is not only a, new offence, but an extremely wide and vague offence.
It may be asked whether we think it is desirable that people should endeavour to seduce soldiers, sailors or airmen from their duty. We do not, and I am not arguing from that point of view, but I do suggest that in these matters there comes a point at which the soldier or the sailor might be trusted to look after himself without any legislation. Even if it be wished to create some such offence as this, it is, after all, a, very much lesser offence than the kind of crime that we 204 have been considering in these Debates. If it be wished to make it an offence, surely we must do it separately and not bring in all this cumbrous machinery about the possession of documents, search warrants and the rest of it to deal with such a minor crime. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman on second thoughts can see his way to accept the Amendment, I do not think it will injure in any way the main purpose of his Bill. After all, the Bill is not aimed at the kind of minor offender I have tried to describe, but against the man who is endeavouring to conduct Communist agitation and propaganda among the troops. A man like that does not stop short at merely endeavouring to seduce soldiers from their duty. His aim is always to seduce them from their allegiance. I maintain that by carrying this Amendment and restoring the words that were in the Act of 1797 we shall not do anything to weaken the avowed purpose of this Bill, but we shall prevent ourselves from creating this new and vague offence in the criminal law.
§ 3.43 p.m.
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
I beg to second the Amendment.
My hon. Friend has made a closely reasoned speech in favour of this most reasonable Amendment, and I think the Attorney-General would be wise to accept it and to make clear to the public that this Bill is not an attempt to enlarge the scope of historic legislation which has covered propaganda in the Army and Navy in the past. There is a genuine fear outside that the Government are trying to introduce a new spirit into our legislation. I know that the Attorney-General will get up and in his persuasive way profess his innocence and declare that the Bill is merely strengthening and clearing up existing machinery. As a result of the criticism outside and inside the House he has made substantial concessions. If my right hon. and learned Friend will now make this slight alteration, it will satisfy public opinion and allay a good deal of the criticism of the Bill.
§ 3.45 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)
The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot) who introduced this Amendment moved a similar Amendment in Committee, and I am bound to say that the fact that he 205 thought it worth while to move it then, and to move it now in what the hon. Gentleman who seconded described as a closely reasoned speech, seems to suggest to me that there is some much greater importance in the distinction which he seeks to make than I might have otherwise suspected. I hope I have shown that the Government are open to arguments on a fair basis even if the arguments seem a little due to unnecessary fears, but on this occasion I have carefully considered the point that was made, and I found myself in one of two positions. Either this is a matter of no moment at all, in which case I cannot understand the hon. Gentleman attaching so much weight to it, and those who have been associated with him in procuring propaganda for their views attaching so much weight to it; or else I find that it is a matter of some importance, and then I have to see whether or not the words in the Bill are the right words.
I was inclined to think that the matter was not of any very great importance; that was my first impression; but on looking into it before the Committee discussed it I began to change my opinion, and I will try and explain my reasons for changing it. "Duty and allegiance" are words which are contained in the Incitement to Mutiny Act of 1797, but that Act of Parliament, as the hon. Gentleman will well know, continued from time to time and was substantially re-enacted in 1817. The Act of that year was described as:An Act for the punishment of attempts to seduce persons from their duty and allegiance to His Majesty or to incite them to mutiny or disobedience.The provisions of the Sections of the Act carry out what the Title describes. The hon. Gentleman will notice that the scope of the Act is a double one. It is to prevent persons from attempting to seduce certain members of His Majesty's Forces from their duty and allegiance, and also to prevent them from inciting them to disobedience. Disobedience clearly covers the most minor and unimportant acts which a soldier is commanded to perform. Therefore, you get the combination of two different sets of offences—seducing him from his duty and allegiance, and inciting him to acts of disobedience. In substance, it is the same as the two offences which the hon. Member says this Bill creates, of seduc- 206 ing a man from his duty and seducing him from his allegiance.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
The words "or allegiance" occur in the Preamble but not in the operative part of the Section.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am not troubling the House by reading out the long verbiage of an early Act of Parliament. I can do so if necessary. I thought that if I read the Title of the Act it would be sufficient. I think that the Title of the Act, subject to any correction which the hon. Gentleman may make, accurately describes the language of the Sections that follow. When I look further into it I find that the Army Act draws a distinction between acts of incitement to disobedience or to mutiny or to, neglect or refusal to obey orders and the seduction of a soldier from his allegiance. For instance, under Section 7 of the Army Act every person subject to military law who endeavours to seduce any person from allegiance to His Majesty is liable to suffer death or such less punishments as the Act mentions. Therefore, it is a separate offence to attempt to seduce a soldier from his allegiance. The other acts which it is illegal to perform, namely, attempting to persuade a soldier to disobey orders, or to disobey so as to show wilful definance of authority, are all enumerated in what the hon. Gentleman rightly described as a number of detailed provisions in the Sections which immediately follow. But the matter does not stop there. When I turn to the Naval Discipline Act, 1866, which is reprinted from time to time so as to bring it up to date in accordance with the most recent decisions of the House, I find that in Sections 12 and 13 it is an offence for certain persons to seduce sailors from their duty or allegiance to His Majesty. The hon. Gentleman quite rightly says that these provisions in the Army Act and the Naval Discipline Act apply only to serving soldiers and sailors, but even that is not quite accurate. The Army Act applies to a serving soldier under military discipline, but the Naval Discipline Act applies to persons under naval discipline and also to any civilians who may happen to be on one of His. Majesty's ships for the time being.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I did not catch that part of what the hon. Member said, but I am glad to have official authority behind me for the statement. The position, therefore, is that sailors and soldiers are under penalty of death or a long term of imprisonment if they seduce a fellow soldier or sailor from his duty or allegiance. I ask myself whether there is any reason why a civilian should be free to commit an offence which a serving soldier or sailor is not free to commit. We know perfectly well that under our Constitution everybody is bound to come to the aid of the civil authority, that everybody is a potential policeman, if I may put it that way; in the same way as, in this realm everybody must regard himself as not in a different class from soldiers and sailors but as one who may be called upon to defend his country but is happy in having other people who have undertaken that very responsible duty on his behalf in ordinary times of peace and quiet.
If the hon. Member attaches such importance to the distinction between "duty and allegiance" and "duty or allegiance" I cannot help saying that there would be something quite wrong in submitting that a soldier or sailor is under any stricter obligation with regard to not inciting a man to commit a breach of his duty or allegiance than is a civilian. I think it, would be intolerable if a soldier or sailor were to be liable to a long term of imprisonment for an offence which a civilian might commit with impunity. I hope I have not been too technical or legal in my statement of the position. Having regard to the great importance which the hon. Member and his friends attach to this point, I am bound to attach the same importance to it, and I ask the House to say that it is not the very trifling matter which the ingenious gentleman who seconded the Amendment appeared to suggest. If it be a trifling matter I do not understand why, after two days had been devoted to it in Committee upstairs, we have been asked to consider it again this afternoon. If, on the other hand, it be not a trifling matter, I respectfully suggest that my view is the right one.
§ 3.55 p.m.
§ Major MILNER
I am sure the House is grateful to the learned Attorney-General for the exposition of the law which he has given us, but, if I under- 208 stand him aright, he has now gone back upon every word which he has previously said, both publicly and privately, and in letter form, because up and down the country, in Committee and in correspondence, he has said that this Bill creates no new crime. I take it that the right hon. and learned Gentleman now admits that, in fact, this Bill does create a new crime.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Will the hon. and gallant Member refer me to a single letter or statement in which I have made that statement without qualification? Has he got one here?
§ Major MILNER
I have the reports of the Committee here, and I can turn the statement up in a very short time. Also, I happen to have this handy—that the Prime Minister's journal, the "Newsletter," in an article this month, follows what the Attorney-General has said, and goes on to say:The Bill, as he explained,"—That is, the Attorney-General—is merely a procedure Bill, which deals with an old crime"—Implying that it does not constitute a new crime—and makes the machinery for dealing with it more efficient.In point of fact, I hope the House will attach the utmost importance to the difference between this Bill and the words in the 1797 Act. I think some note should be taken of the fact that the 1797 Act was a temporary Measure to deal with special difficulties, namely a mutiny at the Nore and elsewhere. When it was re-enacted in 1817 the words used were "mutiny and disobedience." In my submission, to constitute an offence under that Act there has to be both mutiny and disobedience.
§ Major MILNER
I am reading from Archbold's Criminal Pleadings. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman tells me that is not accurate, I shall have to bow to his view, but the words are "incitement to mutiny and disobedience," which in my submission imply that there has to be mutiny and disobedience. I suggest that a mutiny implies a collective act. One individual cannot mutiny, it requires a number to do that, and, there- 209 fore the Bill does constitute a new offence in so far, at any rate, as the 1797 Act is concerned, and I defy the Attorney-General to disprove it. There is a new crime constituted by the Bill.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
Is not the hon. and gallant Member mixing up "crime" and "offence"? There is no new crime created, but a new offence is created.
§ Major MILNER
I am perfectly content to accept my hon. and gallant Friend's statement that a new "offence" is created, if he prefers to use that expression. It has been suggested that this Bill is a small matter, dealing merely with procedure, intended merely to get at a small man who in a small way distributes literature, or something of that sort, which is likely to seduce His Majesty's Forces, but it is a much more serious thing than that. There are many matters which can be dealt with under this Bill when it becomes law which can-riot be dealt with now. The Attorney-General agrees that there are ample provisions to deal with the question of one soldier seducing another soldier, but he puts to the House the proposition that there ought to be provisions in the law under which a civilian shall also be liable for attempting to seduce a soldier or sailor or airman from his duty. I, personally, have no objection to the words "duty and allegiance." I think that no one ought to be permitted to endeavour to seduce a man from his duty and allegiance to His Majesty, but I do not for one moment agree that it is right and proper for an Act, with the serious consequences that this Measure would have, to be passed into law at this stage to deal with the matter of duty alone. Under this Bill, if it became law, if a wife persuaded her soldier-husband to overstay his leave, the wife would be guilty of an offence under the Bill.
§ Major MILNER
The House will appreciate at once that the wife might "maliciously and advisedly" prevail upon her husband not to return to duty. She might prevail upon him, if he were called upon to go abroad, not to report at Southampton. Without question, there are not one but 100 new circumstances which might constitute offences. There are much more 210 serious matters than that of a wife persuading her husband or a girl her sweetheart to overstay his leave. There are cases, which might easily happen, of endeavouring to persuade soldiers, for instance, not to act in a firing squad. There may be many soldiers with a conscientious objection to shooting a man in cold blood, as we know was done on many occasions during the War.
There is, in my submission, a much more serious matter behind all this. It seems to me that, supposing a state of war were declared to-morrow, it might be possible—in fact, I think it would be very likely—that the present Government would immediately pass a Military Service Act such as was passed during the War, whereby, for instance, all the males between the ages of 18 and 42 were deemed to be members of His Majesty's Forces. If that were the case, any pacifist propaganda of any kind, any literature or any propaganda addressed to any section of the community, certainly between the ages of 18 and 42, would be an offence under this Bill, even although that propaganda might not be addressed to seducing soldiers or sailors from their allegiance, and was merely concerned with attempting to prevail upon them not to take part in a war.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
What is in the mind of the hon. and gallant Gentleman as to the distinction between not obeying orders as far as duty is concerned, and allegiance to His Majesty? Suppose soldiers or sailors, or both, were called out to maintain civil order and someone endeavoured to induce them not to obey the order to go out, would that be a dereliction from duty, or, on the other hand, non-allegiance to His Majesty?
§ Major MILNER
I think, quite clearly a mere dereliction of duty. I should be no party, and I believe no one on these benches would be a party, to endeavour to seduce anyone from allegiance to His Majesty, but there are 101 circumstances where it might be right and proper, in the opinion of many people, to endeavour to prevail upon soldiers not to carry out some particular duty.
§ Major MILNER
For instance, if the Army were going to be used to break a strike or anything of that sort, I should 211 think it perfectly proper for me to address, even directly, members of His Majesty's Forces that they ought not to take the action which they were ordered to take in that particular matter. Of course, such a case—I do not know whether it has been referred to in my absence—the Curragh case occurred in 1914. There, as I understand, officers refused to obey orders, or intimated that they would not, and would prefer to resign. They would be guilty, without question I think, of an offence under this Bill in its present form, but no one would suggest that they were lacking in allegiance to His Majesty. On the contrary, they thought that they were taking the right and proper course, having in mind that allegiance, in refusing to obey orders in those particular circumstances. In my submission, there is an enormous difference between the words "duty and allegiance" and the words "duty or allegiance." I very much hope that the House may insist upon the original words in the Incitement to Mutiny Act, "duty and allegiance," being inserted.
The learned Attorney-General challenged me to give him an instance where he stated that this Bill was merely a re-enactment of the old law, and did not create a fresh offence. Here is one instance which my hon. Friend has handed to me. True, it was the Solicitor-General in this instance, but the Attorney-General may agree with him. The Solicitor-General said:The Clause really re-enacts, with very minor differences, the existing law, and the offence constituted by the Clause is already a felony—a serious class of offence known to our criminal law."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee A), 8th May, 1934, col. 25.]
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
My hon. and learned Friend is not here. The hon. and gallant Gentleman stated that one of us said that the Measure created no new offence. Now he quotes a sentence from the learned Solicitor-General saying that the Clause creates no new offence.
§ Major MILNER
Does the learned Attorney-General draw any distinction between the Bill and the Clauses in it? That is what he is doing now. There is no distinction. The Clause, obviously, is in the Bill, and a statement of that sort made in reference to a Clause was 212 made in reference to the Bill. This is a serious matter. I was not altogether clear from what the Attorney-General said whether he really was determined to resist this Amendment. I rather gathered that, under pressure, he might be disposed to accept it. I very much hope that he will, because this matter has caused a great deal of anxiety, and I am sure that he himself has had a great many letters about it and representations of one sort or another. He has admittedly already given way on a great many matters in this Bill, and I suggest that this one is not in his view of great importance, and it would tend to expedite business and allay a good many anxieties if the Amendment were accepted.
§ 4.10 p.m.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
I feel obliged to take part in the Debate on account of the very important statement which has just been made by the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds (Major Milner). As I understand it, he has based the whole of his agreement with this Amendment on the ground that there is a great distinction between seducing a man from his duty and from his allegiance to His Majesty. I put the specific question to him with regard to the use of either naval men or army men in a civil dispute, and whether, if anyone were to endeavour to seduce them from their duty, whatever their orders might be with regard to maintaining order in that dispute, that would be merely a dereliction of duty, or whether it would come under the question of allegiance to His Majesty, and his reply was that it would be merely a dereliction of duty. That is the whole crux of the question. The hon. and gallant Member, therefore and, I suppose, the whole of the Socialist party—I do not know whether the Mover of the Amendment is of the same opinion —desire that the maintenance of order by means of the Army or Navy should no longer be above politics, and that anybody should be permitted to endeavour to seduce the troops from carrying out their orders and thereby prevent them from maintaining order. If that were to come into effect, there would be no more liberty in this country.
We have heard a great deal in this Debate about the liberty of the subject, but if the men of the Navy, Army and Air Force are to be subject to seduction 213 from their duty without that being an offence, then there will be no more liberty for anybody in this country. [An HON. MEMBER: "The quarter-deck!"] I would know perfectly well how to deal with them on the quarter-deck. One of the greatest blessings which this country has got is the absolute confidence of the people that law and order will be maintained, ultimately if necessary by the armed forces, whatever civil disturbance there may be, or whatever the cause of that civil disturbance may be. Very often that is not so in foreign countries. The cause of unrest and trouble in foreign countries frequently in history has been due to the fact that men, either civilians or soldiers, have got hold of the army and used it for their own particular political purposes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No !"] Yes, politically they have used the weapon of the Army in civil strife. I would deplore the day if it ever came into force in this country, because it would be the end of our liberties. I would ask the hon. Member who moved this Amendment whether he agrees with the Socialist party that it should not be an offence for anybody to endeavour to seduce soldiers or sailors from their duty in the maintenance of order when there is civil strife in this country? Does he agree with the Socialist party?
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
I made it quite clear that I was not in favour of people endeavouring to seduce troops from their duty, and I did not say that if some satisfactory distinction could be arrived at between serious breaches of duty and trivial breaches of duty I should not be in favour of making that an offence, hut I said that I was entirely against putting this comparatively minor offence, which has never existed up to the present time, in this Bill, with all its complicated provisions about the possession of documents, and so forth.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
After the speech made by the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Leeds I think the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot) will now see that this is not a minor matter but one of great importance. Has he not changed the opinion that he. had before the hon. and gallant Member spoke? I hope that the House and the country will now be perfectly clear about the opposition to the Bill. The Socialist party desire that they shall be 214 perfectly free to endeavour to seduce the members of His Majesty's Forces from carrying out their duty in the case of any civil disturbance. That is one of their aims and objects in opposing the Bill. They desire to use the Forces of the Crown for their own political purposes and to bring politics into the Services. The day when that comes will mean the end of the liberty of the subject in this country.
§ 4.16 p.m.
§ Mr. KINGSLEY GRIFFITH
After the very rousing challenge that has just come from the quarter deck, may I say that the state of affairs which he envisages would quite clearly, in my opinion, be a breach of allegiance and not merely a breach of duty, and I think that it would be so held in a court of law. I do not know whether the Attorney-General would agree, but I have very little doubt that it would be so, and therefore the question put by the hon. and gallant Member for South Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor) does not arise. I should like to suggest to the hon. Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Mr. Dixey), who intervened just now with regard to the word "maliciously," that the presence of the word does not add what he thinks it does. It is used in a good many Acts of Parliament, and does not as a rule mean personal spite but deliberately doing the act which constitutes the offence. I think the Attorney-General will agree that in any trial under this Bill no extra evidence would have to be produced to prove malice; if the facts were proved, malice would follow as a matter of course. That is my reading of the Bill.
My main reason for rising is to draw attention to the extraordinary nature of the defence put forward by the Attorney-General, in regard to this Amendment, which is as serious a thing as the words of the Clause itself. What the Attorney-General has put before us quite plainly is that if anything is an offence on the part of a soldier or a sailor it should be an offence for a civilian. That seems to me to be a proposition which would not he supported by any of the great constitutional lawyers upon whom we rely. What is the Army Act for, if the duties of civilians and of soldiers and sailors are the same? Why should it be necessary to put down that very long 215 series of enactments, the whole point of which is to create offences for the serving soldier and sailor and not for the civilian? Everyone realises that those who put on His Majesty's uniform, as so many Members of this House have done from time to time, feel that they take upon themselves obligations and duties which did not attach to them in their civilian capacity, and that if they are found guilty under the special Acts which govern the Services they have no right to complain of punishment for something, which, as a civilian, they could have done with impunity.
Now the Attorney-General suggests that this is an entirely unreal distinction. It seems dangerous to suggest that we should bring the whole body of civilians within the ambit of military law. The suggestion is that we are all to be drilled, and not only the soldiers and sailors. We have seen the military spirit creeping along in other countries until it goes beyond the actual service of the Crown, and is brought to bear upon the whole civilian population. When we look at countries like Germany we see the way in which civilians have been drilled into subjection, and we have been rather proud that such things were not done and were not necessary among ourselves. This proposal of the Attorney-General seems to go far beyond the actual importance of the Amendment, important as that is, and that a representative of the Crown should, by any inadvertent word of his, give out that he is sanctioning the militarisation of our ordinary life, would be a most disastrous thing to go out from this House. People who are not ordinarily concerned with politics are gravely concerned with this question of liberty, as all will have realised who read the recent magnificent Rectorial Address of General Smuts. To him, the gradual sacrifice of liberty is something to which everybody's attention should be called. General Smuts was looking mainly at the things which alarmed him, but if anyone like him should read the report of what the Attorney-General has just said they will be very gravely alarmed that the poison is spreading almost without anybody noticing. I beg the Attorney-General to reconsider the matter and, if he cannot reconsider the Amendment, to reconsider his definition.
§ 4.22 p.m.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Donald Somervell)
I rise to clear up a misapprehension which is in the mind of the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith) in regard to the argument addressed to the House by the Attorney-General. My right hon. and learned Friend was not suggesting, and he is surprised that any misunderstanding should arise, that in all matters the civilian population should be subject to military law and that the same category of offences which we know have a special character and apply to those who subject themselves to the Army Act, ever could or should apply to civilians.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
Did the hon. and learned Gentleman hear the speech of his right hon. and learned Friend?
§ Sir P. HARRIS
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that there was no distinction between the civilian and the soldier.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
I heard the speech made by the Mover of the Amendment and the Attorney-General's reply; my right hon. and learned Friend was speaking solely in regard to the definition of this particular offence in the Naval Discipline Act. This is an offence unlike a great many offences in the Army Act, and it is an offence whether the civilian does it or whether a member of the Forces does it. It is an offence for either a member of the Forces or a civilian to incite another member of the Forces to disaffection, and my right hon. and learned Friend was tracing how the House has defined this offence on successive occasions. The old Act of 1797—I have provided myself with the actual words—says "duty and allegiance" but when this House considered the Naval Discipline Act of 1860 and was dealing with a similar offence when committed by a sailor, it made the alteration that we are proposing to make in the Bill, that is to say, instead of saying "duty and allegiance," it said "duty or allegiance." So far as this specific offence of incitement is concerned, there is no conceivable reason why a soldier or sailor should be subjected to a code different from that to which the civilian is subjected. The arguments against this offence, which is of a subversive nature, 217 are exactly the same whether they apply to anyone in the armed forces or to a civilian. It would not be right for this House to draw a distinction between the offence defined in the Bill and that defined in the Naval Discipline Act.
The deduction drawn by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough was a complete misapprehension of the nature of the argument which was put before the House by the Attorney-General. I do not wish to repeat that argument. Different persons may hold slightly different views as to where duty ends and allegiance begins. A perfectly possible view is that allegiance, when applied to a soldier and sailor, subsumes in itself the duties which have been undertaken by the soldier and sailor; it is also possible for anyone to imagine circumstances in which no sensible person—I hope we are sensible in this country—would dream of launching a prosecution. Instead of endeavouring to define the difference between seducing from duty and seducing from allegiance, assuming that there is some substantial difference —which I do not admit— we think it is right to follow the precedent of the Naval Discipline Act and to make it an offence if a civilian endeavours to seduce a member of the Forces from his duty, because his duty includes the obligations which he has undertaken and upon which the national existence may depend.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ Mr. LAWSON
The hon. and learned Gentleman seems rather concerned about the inference being drawn from the speech of the Attorney-General by hon. Members on this side of the House. The significant fact about the discussion on this Amendment is the inference drawn by the supporters of the Government. One hon. and gallant Gentleman immediately showed us the logic of the speech and wishes he had us on the quarter-deck. By a process of elimination of the speeches made in Committee, it is clear that it is the type of mind represented by the hon. and gallant Member for South Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor) which has made this Bill possible. I have the good fortune to have the Committee reports containing the speeches upon this point. I think that the Solicitor-General has been put up to tone things down, because the Attorney-General is rather alarmed at the infer- 218 ence which his own people have drawn from the fact that he wants to apply the same law to civilians as applies to soldiers and sailors. That is a fair deduction from the speech that he made. We are now getting to know what type of mind is behind the Bill. If hon. Members will look at the Clause with which we are dealing, they will see that certain words which were clearly in the old Mutiny Act are not in the Bill, and I believe that the hon. and gallant Member for South East Leeds (Major Milner) was responsible for the elimination of those words. During the Committee stage the Attorney-General did not quite know what was in the minds of the people who drafted the Bill. I think that that is really the situation. This is what he said in Committee:I cannot conceive anybody really thinking that, as long as man is under a duty to His Majesty or to his country, having freely, as we do in this country, chosen to serve in His Majesty's Force, he ought to be seduced from his duty. There might be some niggling point whether he was only seduced from his duty and not from his allegiance.I gathered that it was not a niggling speech when the right hon. and learned Gentleman was speaking just now.I should think that that very likely was the reason why the words in the Naval Discipline Act were made as they read today, and as they are constantly reaffirmed by this House. It would be intolerable if a member of the Navy were asked to neglect his duty to go on board, for instance, after leave, and if it should be open to him to say, "It is quite true I have been seduced from my duty to go on board at the end of my leave, but I am prepared to sing God save the King, and therefore I have not been seduced from my allegiance.'"—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee A), 15th May, 1934, col. 66.]That is the substance of the speech that the right hon. and learned Gentleman made in Committee, and I submit that it is a different kind of speech from that which he made this afternoon. To-day, of course, he is armed with all the necessary knowledge of the military and naval law, and he lays it down very definitely that there is no reason why a civilian should be exempt from and soldiers and sailors should be subject to certain penalties under the same conditions. As he himself said, a soldier or sailor undertakes certain duties, and he knows very well that, as has just been pointed out, 219 men in the Services are very conscious of it. The only point that I rose to make was that the Attorney-General was not as sure in Committee as to the reasons for this distinction as he is today. It is quite clear that the original idea behind this Bill was that the average civilian should be subject to the jack-boot and the quarter-deck in the same way as the average soldier or sailor. I do not think that the Attorney-General has done himself any good, or that the explanation of the Solicitor-General has at all improved the position.
§ 4.34 p.m.
§ Mr. RADFORD
I should not have intervened in the discussion on this Amendment if it had not been for the speech of the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith). There is no question at all about any soldier or sailor who fails in his allegiance to His Majesty, or in his duties, being subject to heavy penalties, nor is there any question about any member of His Majesty's Forces who induces a soldier or sailor to commit such an offence being also liable to heavy penalties; but to say, as the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough said, that to make civilians similarly liable to punishment if they induce members of His Majesty's Forces to commit any breach of duty is militarising our nation, is an absolute travesty of words. I think it is an ill thing that a member of the great old Liberal party should talk about that being a militarisation of our nation, and say that it would be the death of our liberties if civilians were not to be free to induce the men in our Services to disobey orders and commit a breach of their duties.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ Mr. WILMOT
I think it would be a pity if the discussion of this important matter were obscured in the minds of the ordinary people to whom the law applies, either by an excess of legal verbiage or by the sort of rollicking bravo that came from the old salt from Paddington. I use that expression as a marine compliment. One would imagine, after hearing such a speech as that of the hon. and gallant Member for South Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor), that the British Navy is honeycombed with sedition, that it is on the verge of mutiny, and that it would only require 220 some dangerous Communist to drop a leaflet and the whole thing would topple over in disgrace and ignominy. We know very well that that is a most ridiculous travesty of the situation.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
Is the hon. Member accusing me of suggesting in my speech that the Navy was on the verge of a revolution?
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
Then I must ask the hon. Member to withdraw that statement, for there is no foundation for it whatever in anything that I said.
§ Mr. WILMOT
I cannot withdraw the impression that was created in my mind, and the impression which I gathered from the hon. and gallant Member's speech was that, if these serious penalties were required, and the terrible trumpetings from the quarter-deck were justified, there must be something pretty dirty down below.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
If the hon. Member will allow me to interrupt him again, the danger really is from the agitator outside endeavouring to seduce the simple sailor. It is not at all that the sailor is discontented or in a state of mutiny or revolution, but we wish to prevent people outside from endeavouring to seduce him from his duty.
§ Mr. WILMOT
I am very much obliged for that assurance. Probably the hon. and gallant Member was in a different command, but I happened to be a simple sailor myself for some years between 1914 and 1918—
§ Mr. WILMOT
That may well be. After all, since coming to this House I have made contact with superior ratings. But the fact remains that all this talk about mutiny in the Navy is talk about something that does not exist. There has only been one occasion since the War when there has been any breath of a question of mutiny in the Navy, and that kind of trouble was not due to Communist agitators; it was due to this kind of attitude on the quarter-deck, and the best way to get rid of the causes of that kind of disaffection is to remove the grievances 221 from which the naval ratings believed, and justly believed, that they suffered.
The point of this Amendment does appear at first sight to be a very narrow legal point, but surely it is true that a new offence is being created, and the new offence is a very wide one. It could be a very serious thing—I would ask my hon. and gallant Friend to follow me in this—to seduce a soldier or sailor from his duty, or it could be an altogether trivial thing. It depends upon the nature of the duty which he is persuaded not to perform. I take it that my hon. and gallant Friend would not flog his men for the loss of a toothbrush, but it is undoubtedly a breach of their duties in looking after their kit. This Clause attaches the most serious penalties to an offence which may be either very grave or very trivial.
We on this side of the House feel, rightly or wrongly, that we have a certain duty to the public to perform in this matter. We are not sedition merchants; we are people here who are properly engaged in examining an Act of Parliament in all its effects, and, when it is introduced in the circumstances of to-day, that examination is all the more necessary. Here is a Government the sole claim of which to respect is that it is a strong Government. It certainly is a strong Government in that it commands a record majority. Here it is to-day neglecting the real problems that confront the country to use its big majority to force through this House of Parliament a Bill which certainly has no other effect than to restrict the liberties of the public. One would have thought, listening to the hon. and gallant Member for South Paddington, that until this Act is passed there is no means at all of maintaining the discipline of the Forces. What nonsense that is ! The Government are armed, and the Services are armed, with ample power to maintain the discipline of the Forces, and to pretend that, if this alteration of a word in this Clause were made, the entire discipline of the Forces would collapse, is just nonsense. The Clause leaves quite indefinite the kind of offence that will call down these penalties.
This Bill in its whole conception has a political flavour. It seeks to prevent the spread of certain kinds of political ideas. [HON. MEMBERS: "No !"] Yes, it does. Certain kinds of political ideas may be very undesirable political ideas, but they are political ideas, and it is the effect of 222 certain political ideas that this Bill is designed to avert. But these words in Clause 1 cover such a variety of offences that surely nothing would be lost, and everything would be gained, by adopting the Amendment now proposed. What the Bill really proposes, if I read the intentions of its sponsors aright, is that people who try to seduce men from their duty and allegiance shall be guilty of an offence. If that be the intention, I would ask the Attorney-General to remove the doubts, the misconceptions and the apprehensions which are widely held in this matter, by defining more precisely what is the offence at which the Bill is aimed.
§ Mr. PIKE
May I ask the hon. Member to clear up one point that he made. He stated in reply to the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for South Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor) that during the War for four years he served as a sailor. Yesterday he said:I remember very well when I was a soldier in uniform during the War, going into a police court in the New Forest to shelter from the rain."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th October, 1934; col. 142, Vol. 293.]On cannot possibly be a sailor from 1914 to 1918 and a soldier at one and the same time. If has has really forgotten which allegiance he was bound to, how can we accept his views on the Bill?
§ Mr. WILMOT
I will answer the question although it hardly helps the discussion of the Bill or adds to the dignity of the House. I joined the Navy and was subsequently transferred to the Royal Air Force, and it was in the latter capacity that I spoke of myself as a soldier.
§ 4.47 p.m.
Captain J. H. LOCKWOOD
The motive for the Amendment stands condemned by the Mover and also by the Seconder of it. It astonishes me that in a matter of this kind it can be suggested that we should create offences which are to be judged as to whether they are offences or not by the degree of importance or the degree of severity of them. It is amazing that we have the Mover and Seconder agreeing that it is possible that a breach of duty can be so severe as to warrant the definition in this Bill. They admitted it over and over again. Having once admitted that it is possible for a breach of duty to be so serious as to require to be dealt with under the Bill, I think the 223 whole of their submission that there may be trivial offences goes, and it is rather a pity that we have been spending so much time on unnecessary matters and trivialities and personalities. The only reason they can put forward why we should not enact this Measure is some silly explanation as to a soldier growing a moustache. It is frittering away the time of the House. Laws are made for general application, and we can never make a law on the basis that it shall only be a law for serious offences and not one for minor offences. Dealing with small offences is an every day matter for those in control of the administration, and, even when they come before the Courts, as provided in the Bill, great discretion is allowed. There may be the maximum punishment or there may be none at all. We have been spending all this time on an Amendment when it is admitted by the Mover and Seconder that there is an offence, and we are only asked to accept it because there may be a triviality.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
The hon. and gallant Member has entirely misunderstood my argument, which was not that this should be an offence but that it should not be an offence under the Bill.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ Mr. PALING
I do not think the discussion has been trivial at all. It includes a very important point indeed. The Attorney-General on the Second Reading tried to give the impression that the Bill was necessary in order to deal with a certain class of persons who were doing certain things more easily because of the way in which the law allows them to be dealt with at present. He assured the House that the Bill, in other matters was relatively unimportant and that it was not their desire to create any new offence. The purpose of the discussion has been to point out that the Bill as worded does create a new offence. The Attorney-General in Committee, as far as I could gather, tried to argue that it did not. Since then he himself says that he has gone closely into the matter, and I think his speech to-day is an admission that he has found that it is a new offence. He says that, although the Act of 1797 says "and" instead of "or," since that time there have been other Acts which include the word "or," and he referred 224 to the Naval Act of 1866. It has been pointed out that that Act is limited in its scope and only applies to the people in the Navy under certain conditions and not to the general population, so that as regards the general population a new offence is created. If I am not mistaken, the wording in one of the Army Acts that he read out was "and" and not "or" Am I right in that?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It only mentions the word "allegiance," without duty being coupled with it as an alternative. It mentions allegiance in one Section, and in the other Section it mentions a number of special acts of disobedience and neglect of duty.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It does not leap to the eye at once, but a little examination discovers that the position is exactly the same.
§ Mr. PALING
I think I am right that it does not support the right hon. and learned Gentleman's contention as effectively as the Naval Act does. It appears to me that, as far as the civilian population is concerned, there is a new offence. If that be so, in view of the Attorney-General's claim on the Second Reading that there was no intention to create a new offence, I suggest that there is every reason why we should accept the Amendment.
I think there is a clear difference between allegiance and duty. It is the intention of the Bill to get at certain people who are supposed to have been distributing literature of a kind likely to lead to rebellion, and ultimately to change the Constitution. That can be dealt with under the law as it now stands, but it works very slowly and cumbrously, and the right hon. Gentleman wants to get it more quickly. But it does more than that. It is going to bring under the new law a whole class of people who are not under the old law as it stands. Those people will be guilty of the crime of sedition for doing things vastly different from the things I have just described, that is, trying to bring about insurrection or rebellion.
Suppose there is an industrial dispute. It drags on, tempers are frayed and feel- 225 ling runs high. Eventually it is thought worth while to use the troops to preserve law and order. The men taking part in the strike feel intensely and keenly that they are right and they are exceedingly anxious to win. They are anxious that the soldiers shall not do anything to injure their chances. They feel so keenly that one or perhaps half-a-dozen of them exhort the soldiers not to shoot down their fellow men who are engaged in a fight for economic justice. If a man makes a speech like that, will he come under the new law and will he be guilty of sedition? Is there any difference between such a crime, if crime it be, and the crime of a man who purposely issues a pamphlet for the purpose of bringing about insurrection? I am very much afraid that, if this word "or" goes in, making a dereliction of duty a seditious crime, scores of these people may for the first time in their lives be guilty of sedition when they have not the remotest intention of doing anything of a seditious nature and when they are probably as loyal to the Constitution as any member of the Tory party.
§ 4.48 p.m.
Mr. D I XEY
Had the Amendment been moved by Members sitting below the hon. Member, I should have been agreeable to the logic of it, but such an Amendment coming from the Liberal party is more than I can tolerate without offering some opposition. It can never be suggested that this is just a technical Amendment to leave out "or" and substitute "and" It is a deliberate endeavour by the Liberal party to make a gesture of their independent position in the country and to show that they are opposed to the warlike policy of the Government. The Mover knows quite well that the words "maliciously" and "advisedly" entirely qualify the question whether it is a duty or an allegiance. When an illustration was asked for, the best that could be brought forward was that a man might be seduced by his wife to remain a day over his leave, and it was said that that would be an offence. I have no complaint against Members on the bench below who are frankly opposed to everything in the Bill and who believe that at a time of industrial strife every effort should be made to seduce soldiers from their duty or allegiance. It is a point of view which I oppose, but I can understand it. But I cannot understand why Members be 226 longing to a great party should come to this House and move an Amendment of this nature. I do not wonder that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who came to the House during the discussion on the Amendment, did not stay very long to listen to Members of his distinguished ex-party. [Interruption.] I am simply making a statement of fact. The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs came to the House and heard the hon. Gentleman from those benches moving this particular Amendment, and I noticed that he did not waste much of his valuable time.
I would say to the Liberal party that this is not a bona fide Amendment, and that it is one which should never have been brought by such a party. There is no genuine fear concerning any person likely to be charged under the wording of this particular Clause. The question as to "duty or allegiance," as hon. Members know quite well, is only a matter which our courts of law can possibly decide. It is a matter which the eminent lawyers in this House would have the greatest difficulty in deciding. In this country there is always a proper and adequate interpretation by trial by a sympathetic judge and jury. We have had stupid and idiotic illustrations, such as a man being held to have failed under the wording of the Clause because he overstayed his leave by a day because he was persuaded to do so by his wife, or a man being on parade without a toothbrush, and absurdities of that kind. These are the illustrations which are given when we ask for examples of how a man can fail in his "duty or allegiance." The substitution of the word "or" for "and," in my opinion—I admit that I am a very common or garden solicitor—would not prevent such actions as those from coming under this Clause as it at present stands or with the substitution of the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman. In spite of the facts and circumstances which the hon. Member has so vividly given to the House, it would still be an offence under the Clause even if the Amendment were accepted. Therefore, the illustrations which have been given have no bearing whatever on the Amendment. I think that that will be the view generally felt in the hon. Member's party, and on the Front Bench opposite. We should be pleased to hear one or two of 227 the eminent legal representatives on the benches opposite, including the ex-Solicitor-General. I should have thought that on this all important question, which vitally affects the position of people in this country, and in view of the cruelties supposed to be imposed by the Government upon unsuspecting people, the leading legal representative on the Front Bench opposite would have made a speech, especially as it is a subject about which he knows so much.
§ Mr. HOLFORD KNIGHT
It is common knowledge to the House that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is enraged elsewhere, which is the reason for his absence.
§ Mr. JANNER
I should like the hon. Member to answer the question which he said he would answer in the course of his speech. Will he define, for the benefit of the House, the meaning of the words "duty or allegiance"
§ Mr. DIXEY
The meaning of those words is that if any charge is made under this Clause it must be on the ground that there is evidence of an attempt to seduce a person from duty or allegiance. Those words are a sufficient safeguard to ensure that the person who does this sort of thing is deliberately doing it for the purpose of causing trouble, and they have nothing to do with an illustration such as that of the wife who persuaded her husband to overstay his leave. She would not do that maliciously, but would do it out of natural inclination. I hope that the Government will resist to the utmost an Amendment which is unworthy of the great traditions of a party which is led or semi-led by the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot).
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
I would like to say, in reply to what the hon. Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Mr. Dixey) has said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is absent from the House at the special request of the miners in order to attend the Gresford Pit disaster inquiry.
§ Mr. BEVAN
This Amendment would not have been on the Order Paper at all were it not for the fact that a real change in the law is taking place. I resent very bitterly the charge which has been thrown across the House that we are wasting the time of the House in putting down an Amendment of this kind. Very much more attention would have been given to this part of the Bill if the Attorney-General had not misled the House on the Second Reading. I am not saying that the Attorney-General deliberately misled the House. The Law Officers of the Crown have a special position in the House, and when they are in charge of a Bill it is their duty to explain to the House what alterations in the law are proposed. That is their first duty and puts them in a very special position. Any other Member of the Government is usually entitled to, and indeed does, misrepresent his Bill as much as possible, but the Law Officers of the Crown have a special duty to make the provisions of a Bill clear. It was obvious to me when I listened to the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman on the Second Reading, and it is more obvious now that I have re-read the speech, that the Attorney-General had the Bill put into his hands. It did not originate in his own office at all because obviously he had not looked at it. I would hesitate to charge the Attorney-General with deliberately misleading the House, and it is obvious that the Bill originated in one of the Service Departments whose representatives have been conspicuously absent throughout the whole of these Debates. I see one of the representatives on the Front Bench now, and I should be charmed if he will speak, but I doubt very much if he will create a wise precedent in the course of this Bill by saying a few words to the House. It is clear that the Bill originated in the Service Departments, and no doubt the Attorney-General accepted it very unwillingly and did not know very much about it, and hoped that it would get through without being noticed very much. As I do not know much about legal matters, I am bound to say that after listening to the speech of the Attorney-General on the Second Reading, I thought that this was a little Bill which did not matter very much, but since then a great deal of legal examination has taken place and many defects in the Bill have been dis- 229 closed. The Attorney-General said on the Second Reading that the Bill did nothing but repeat the language of the incitement to Mutiny Act. That is precisely what it does not do, so that the Attorney-General obviously did not understand the Bill on that occasion.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am sure the hon. Member does not mean to misrepresent me. He says that the Attorney-General said that Clause 1 repeated the language of the 'Mutiny Act. I did not say that. What I said was thatthis Bill, in Clause 1, merely re-enacts what is the law to-day."— OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th April, 1934; col. 741, Vol. 288.]
§ Mr. BEVAN
That is precisely what it does not do, as I understand it. The right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted the Naval Discipline Act as the precedent upon which he was basing the language of the first Clause. As I understand it—and he will correct me if I am wrong, because I have not his advantages—the Naval Discipline Act addresses itself to the sailors, and not to the civilian population. The Bill is addressing itself to the civilian population, and makes it an offence for the civilian population, and not sailors.
§ Mr. BEVAN
If the hon. Gentleman will put his brain to work for a moment he will see that the argument which is being addressed to the House is that this creates a new offence, and we want to know what has given rise to this sort of thing. Why is it that it is necessary now to make this an offence when no case has been made out for any necessity for the change?
§ Mr. CAPORN
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest, apart altogether from the Statute, that it would not be an offence at Common Law to endeavour to seduce a member of His Majesty's Forces from his duty or allegiance?
§ Mr. CAPORN
For the simple reason of providing a simple remedy for dealing with it by means of a summary offence before the magistrate.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The right hon. and learned Gentleman on the Second Reading told the House they were endeavouring in the first Clause to repeat substantially what is the existing law. The right hon. and learned Gentleman ought really to withdraw from that position or apologise, because that is not what is being done, as he knows very well. First of all, in the Incitement to Mutiny Act the language is, "duty and allegiance," so that this makes an alteration without any case being made out. In the second place, when he quoted the Naval Discipline Act, he further misled the House, because the Naval Discipline Act has addressed itself only to members of the Navy. It is a member of the Navy who is guilty of an offence if he seduces any member of the Navy from his duty or allegiance. The right hon. Gentleman I am quite sure—he is a person of the most meticulous scruples—did riot desire at all to mislead the House on that occasion, but obviously he did not understand the Bill, because he did not want the Bill. He had not seen the Bill before, and indeed, he would like to forget all about it now, if he could. We have not had any arguments from the Attorney-General as to why this alteration in the law is required.
§ Mr. BEVAN
We ought to have here the promoter of the Bill, who, according to the Attorney-General, is the Prime Minister. If the promoter is the Prime Minister, its ambiguity is understood. The Government have decided that they cannot retreat from the position they have taken up. On the Second Reading of the Bill the argument addressed to the House by the Attorney-General in justification of the Bill was that certain leaflets were being distributed among His Majesty's Forces by the Communist party. That is the only concrete bit of fact that we have had brought forward. Most of the rest was hyperbole. These leaflets are attempts to seduce the 231 members of His Majesty's Forces from their allegiance, but not from their duty. Allegiance is the general relationship of service to the Crown, whereas duty is the relationship of the individual member to the special job of work that is put in front of him. It would be seducing a member of His Majesty's Forces from his allegiance to distribute leaflets urging the Forces to become a revolutionary body prepared to overthrow the Constitution when the signal was given, or to urge upon them not to take part in any war. The existing law meets that difficulty. The existing law meets every difficulty raised by the Attorney-General in the evidence he gave for the Bill, so that up to the moment we have not been put in possession of any piece of evidence why this legislation is being promoted.
When we come to the question of duty, obviously, the Bill is not intended to deal with the point raised as to a man extending his leave because of the attractiveness of his mistress or his wife. As I understand it, the Attorney-General or the Government expect that in the near future His Majesty's Forces will come into conflict with the civilian population. That seems to be the position. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!] There is no other explanation. As I understand the position, if you distribute a leaflet among His Majesty's Forces and you say: "You may be called upon in the course of your duties to do a special job of work, and we implore you not to do it," that would be seducing them from their allegiance. The job would lie in the future, and it would be of a general character. Supposing that a disturbance took place in South Wales or on Clydeside, or in London, or suppose there were an outbreak among naval officers. Let us suppose that the outbreak was so serious in character and the atmosphere so inflammatory that some young officer, hot-headed, indiscreet and panicky called upon his men to fire upon the crowd. Suppose the leaders of the crowd or the crowd itself called out "Do not shoot." Faced with the possibility of sudden death, members of the crowd might shout to the soldiers "Please do not shoot." That would be seducing them from their duty. The hon. Member opposite smiles, with that sense of irresponsibility which has distinguished him throughout his Parliamentary career.
§ Mr. BEVAN
There have been incidents in the history of this country where His Majesty's Forces have come into sharp personal and sanguinary conflict with the civilian population. It would appear to me that the Attorney-General and the Government expect that the Army and the Air Force will be brought into conflict with the industrial population. If not, what is the sense of the words in the Bill? What do they mean? If the conflict lies in the future and we implore the soldier not to do this thing, then it is seducing him from his allegiance. If the members of His Majesty's Forces come into conflict with the civilian population and they try to impress upon the soldiers not to shoot, that is to be sedition. According to His Majesty's Government the civilian population must allow themselves to be shot. They must not say to the soldiers "Do not shoot us," because that is seducing them from their duty.
I suggest that the Government are doing a great disservice to the country as a whole by creating such an impression. They are arming themselves with powers, and the country is being given to understand that those powers are necessary because the Government fear that a situation in this country is imminent in which such a conflict will take place between the citizens of the country and His Majesty's Forces and it is necessary to put the Forces more severely into quarantine than ever. There are many of us who hold the view that such a change has taken place in the technique of modern warfare in the Army and the training of the Forces of the Crown that they are to a large extent less susceptible to the changes and moods of the general population than they were in pre-War days. In pre-War days the men moved to a much greater extent among the civil population and their arms were different. To-day an airman can drop a bomb on a village, and to him the incident is entirely impersonal. He is not killing human beings, but simply aiming at a target. Only people with a very vivid imagination are capable of visualising the havoc of a bomb. Soldiers can fire rifles and kill people many yards away. The relationship between the soldier and his target has created an entirely new problem, and it may easily 233 happen that in the future an officer in charge of a company of soldiers will be able to fire more deadly things and be much more indiscreet than officers were in other days. In these circumstances we think that we ought to have powers and rights of propaganda among the Forces of the Crown far greater than we have had before. As I said last night, you ought to take the logical step to deprive members of His Majesty's Forces of the right to vote, because in fact you are making them into robots, with no contact with the civil population.
The Government have made out no case for the change that they propose in the law. Hon. Members have attempted to defend them. I should like to know from the Government the reason why "and" is now changed into "or" The Attorney-General said that it was in the old Acts 'and they were now carrying it into this Act. When a substantial change in the law is being made, the House ought to be provided with a reason for making that change. If we are not provided with that reason we are entitled to suspect the real reason, and our suspicion is that the representatives of the Services in the Government are either apprehensive of the fealty of the members of the Services, or the Government as a whole contemplate in the future bringing the Forces of the Crown into conflict with the civilian population, and they want to alter the law with a view to that situation arising.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Mr. HOWARD
As one who sat on Committee A every day of the 16 days during which the Bill was discussed, and having listened to the speeches yesterday and to-day, I would humbly submit some reasons why I consider the Bill should be supported. In the first place, during the last 10 years ye have seen throughout the Continent of Europe endeavours made to seduce soldiers and sailors from their allegiance in order to effect a successful revolution. We also know that in this country since the general strike many branches of the trade union movement have endeavoured to get at the troops in order that when the next general strike comes the troops will not be ready to respond to the orders of the Government.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)
The hon. Member's speech 234 would appear to be more appropriate to the Third Reading on Friday.
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
I do not intend to prolong the Debate for many moments, but I would say that what impressed me during the sittings of the Committee was the unfailing courtesy of the Solicitor-General, and I am sorry that those who have cast aspersions upon the genuineness of this Amendment have not shown the same kind of courtesy as the man who is leading them. I do not think the Solicitor-General would suggest that the Amendment has been put down in any light-hearted manner for the purpose of obstruction. We believe that there is some new offence created in this Clause, or, as the Solicitor-General admitted on Second Reading, there is an extension of power. He said:Looked at broadly, this Bill is, in a sense, a procedure Bill rather than a Bill in any way altering the substance of our law. It takes an old crime, which we all agree still ought to be a crime, and gives certain further powers required."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th April, 1934; col. 848, Vol. 288.]It is idle to pretend that it does not make any difference in the law as it is at present. If that is so, why is it necessary to introduce the Bill? I have listened to the whole of the Debate, and it seems to me that we are forgetting the one great harm of the Bill, and that is not what is stated by the words in the Bill itself but the psychological effect of the provisions of the Bill in the country. I have always looked upon the Liberal party as being the guardians of free expression of opinion. We want to prevent a repetition of what has occurred in every country in Europe.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I do not see how the hon. Member's argument is connected with the substitution of the word "and" for the word "or," or vice versa.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
What I want to say is that the Government are creating two offences where only one offence exists. It is possible for a Government, if so minded, to use this particular power to suppress political opinions which were unfavourable, and which they might dislike. There is absolute danger in extending any powers. We have put down the Amendment for no other purpose but to improve the Bill, and I am certain that 235 the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General will agree that every moment we spent in Committee was given to a really serious study of the Bill.
§ 5.33 p.m.
§ Mr. DORAN
It is not my intention to participate in the debate on the Amendment, but, I feel that I must indulge in a few words in reply to the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson). I had the pleasure of listening to the hon. Member, who accused the hon. and gallant Member for North Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor) of having used satanic, poisonous and dangerous impulses, helped no doubt by his co-villains in order to construct this particular Measure now before the country. I did not have the pleasure of attending the Committee which dealt with the Bill, but having heard the speeches of the Socialist leaders and others, there is hardly any necessity for any Member of the Government to say a word about the Bill, because every time they open their mouths they give the game away. They are the poorest actors in the world. If you allow a fool to go on long enough it is not necessary for a wise man to say a word. I am fully aware of the insidious propaganda which these people have been carrying on for years. They are very nervous about something which is going to happen to curtail—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I do not see any connection between the hon. Member's speech and the Amendment before the House. He must confine himself to the Amendment.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The hon. Member for North Tottenham (Mr. Doran) is answering certain remarks made by another hon. Member. Is he not entitled to make a reasoned reply to them?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I must remind the hon. Member that he must not criticise the action of the Chair.
§ Mr. DORAN
If I have the pleasure of being in the Prime Minister's company, I am going to congratulate him. I should like to remind my hon. Friends opposite of one particular thing; it may be something in the nature of a prophecy—I do not know. But when people to-day are saying that the Government are trying to kill the liberty of the subject and free expression of speech, that they are trying to militarise and dragoon and drill the people, I want them to keep in mind this consideration that if their statements are correct and we are going to have a Labour Government in a little while, the first people who ought to be grateful for this Bill are the Socialist party.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I still cannot see any connection between the hon. Member's speech and the Amendment before the House. He must either confine his remarks to the Amendment or resume his seat.
§ Mr. DORAN
Again I apologise. I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) very attentively and respectfully. He has told us what he intends to do, but I would remind him that hon. Members opposite do not represent any constituency, nor do their words count for anything. They know better than I do—it was approved at their own conference—that whatever they might say here, their policy is dictated by Transport House.
§ Question put, "That the word 'or' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 313; Noes, 77.239
|Division No. 372.]||AYES.||[5.40 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nhd.)||Apsley, Lord|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Aske, Sir Robert William|
|Allen, Sir. J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Assheton, Ralph|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Fuller, Captain A. G.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Magnay, Thomas|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gibson, Charles Granville||Maitland, Adam|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Glossop, C. W. H.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Goff, Sir Park||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Goodman. Colonel Albert W.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Blindell, James||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd. N.)||Metter, Sir Richard James|
|Borodale, Viscount||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Boulton, W W.||Gretton. Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Bowater, Cal. Sir T. Vansittart||Grigg, Sir Edward||Milne, Charles|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Grimston, R. V.||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Bowyer. Capt. Sir George E. W.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Malson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Brown. Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Hales, Harold K.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Buchan, John||Hartland, George A.||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Burghley, Lord||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Munro, Patrick|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Burnett, John George||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Hepworth, Joseph||Peake, Osbert|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Pearson, William G.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Weller||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Petherick, M.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hope, Sydney (Cheater, Stalybridge)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Blist'n)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hopkinson, Austin||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Hornby, Frank||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Radford, E. A.|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Christle, James Archibald||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M (Midlothian)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ray, Sir William|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Iveagh, Countess of||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Conant, R. J. E.||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Jamieson, Douglas||Rickards, George William|
|Cooke, Douglas||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Copeland, Ida||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Kimball, Lawrence||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro)||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Cross, R. H.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Leckie, J. A||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Denman. Hon. R. D.||Lees-Jones, John||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Denville, Alfred||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Dickie, John P.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Doran, Edward||Levy, Thomas||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Drewe, Cedric||Lewis, Oswald||Scone, Lord|
|Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C.||Liddall, Walter S.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunnl'ffe||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark. Bothwell)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Liewellin. Major John J.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Duncan. James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Shute, Colonel J. J.|
|Eady, George H.||Loder, Captain J. de Vera||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Eales, John Frederick||Loftus, Pierce C.||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Slater, John|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Mabane, William||Smith. Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine,C.)|
|Elmley, Viscount||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Entwistle. Cyril Fullard||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Soper, Richard|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Evans. Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||McKie, John Hamilton||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Spens, William Patrick||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswintord)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Stevenson, James||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)||Train, John||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Stones, James||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Storey, Samuel||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Storton, Hon. John J.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Strauss, Edward A.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Winterton, At. Hon. Earl|
|Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Sutcliffe, Harold||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Templeton, William P.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Wayland, Sir William A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour||Sir George Penny and Major George Davies.|
|Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Thompson, Sir Luke||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Mallalleu, Edward Lancelot|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Groves, Thomas E.||Mender, Geoffrey le M.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Bonfield, John William||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maxton, James.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Milner, Major James|
|Bernays, Robert||Harris, Sir Percy||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Healy, Cahir||Paling, Wilfred|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hicks, Ernest George||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Holdsworth, Herbert||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cape, Thomas||Janner, Barnett||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cove, William G.||John, William||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dobbie, William||Lawson, John James||West, F. R.|
|Edwards, Charles||Leonard, William||White, Henry Graham|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Liewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams. Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lunn, William||Wilmot, John|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||McEntee, Valentine L.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||McGovern, John|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McKeag, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Mr. Walter Rea and Mr. Harcourt Johnstone.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I beg to move, in page 1, line 9, at the end, to insert:but a speech or article in the Press advising members of His Majesty's Forces not to allow themselves to be used in an industrial dispute shall not be held to be an endeavour to seduce them from their allegiance.The effect of the Amendment is to allow the ordinary citizen during the time of a trade dispute to appeal to the members of His Majesty's Forces not to take part in the shooting or the threat to shoot the persons engaged in the dispute. On the last Amendment one or two speakers raised the question of industrial disputes. On this matter we believe that a soldier when he joins the Army may be faced with a twofold allegiance. On the one hand he may have an allegiance to those who in every day parlance are called his superiors, to the Government of the day or to the Crown. But we argue that at the same time the soldier, who is usually drawn from the 240 ranks of the working-class population, has an allegiance quite as great as, and even greater, to the working-class people and his own folk than he may have to the Crown or to the Government of the day.
I do not know whether I shall be in order in arguing this point, but I want to state what I conceive to be the relationship between the Army and the general pouplation. In this matter one ought to be candid and face up to the composition of the Army. It would be out of order to argue the whole question of conscription or non-conscription in this country, but it has some bearing on the Amendment. In this country we have not a conscript Army in the popular sense, but in my view we have amongst certain sections of the population a form of conscription as formidable as conscription in other countries. The overwhelming mass of the Army, the rank and file, the ordinary members of the 241 Army who have not reached the officer class, are drawn from the ranks of the poorest of the poor. I stood the other day in Bath Street in the city of Glasgow where there is a great recruiting office. I watched recruits going in and coming out, and every one that I saw enter to join the Army bore the hall-mark of what might be termed the poorest section of the working classes. The tradesmen section of the working classes and those whom my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) describes as the "unto' guid" in the main do not send their sons into the Army. Sons of the comfortable section of the working classes never join. They do in war time, but not at a time like the present.
The average young man of 19 or 20 does not join the Army, in the main, because he likes it. He does not want to be drilled into killing some other person. I see the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. K. Lindsay) seated opposite. Take my division and take his. He knows both constituencies. His constituency is a comfortable place, comparatively. There are three recruits from my division to one from his. It is not because my constituents are more bloodthirsty than his; it is because the men are remorselessly driven by the cruelty of hunger and want to join the Army; they take this occupation rather than have none. They are driven in and it is not their choice. If these men were choosing a career in life they would not choose the Army. But such a man joins and when he joins he is no more free than the conscript abroad. He leaves his own folk and goes into the Army.
The Army is used for a variety of purposes, and those who are in charge of it would never dream of denying that it has been used in times of trade disputes when trouble threatened to arise. The bulk of men who have been in the trade union and Labour movement for any great length of time can recall this use of the Army, when the troops have marched through village or town or city. There are those who will argue that on such occasions the Army is neutral, but my contention is that it is not neutral. I have never been engaged personally in a dispute in which the Army has been used except one. The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs will recall the 40-hour strike in Glasgow. But from that 242 and from other disputes concerning other trades, I say that the moment an Army enters into a dispute, the moment the soldiers are marched into a town in which there is a dispute, the men are defeated. The men might be prepared to carry on the strike under other conditions, but the moment they see the Army introduced they realise that, just as war between the nations cannot be limited, neither can shooting once it starts in a civil dispute. Decent men as they are, they know that once the Army is used, it is not the strikers alone who will run the risk of being killed or maimed, but that most of the civil population will be drawn in also. Accordingly these men, being decent and kindly, hate to go ahead with their dispute when they know that innocent people may be involved.
The moment the Army enters an industrial dispute, it enters only on one side—unconsciously I admit, but only on the side of the employing class. Therefore, I say that as the rank and file of the Army are drawn from the poorest of the working class, we ought to be allowed in the case of a trade dispute to say to that rank and file, "This is a dispute in which the men are fighting for higher wages or shorter hours, or to retain the wages and the conditions which they now have." We ought to be allowed to go to the soldier brothers and the relatives of the men and women who are on strike and say to them, "We appeal to you not to use your guns in this dispute. We appeal to you because of class loyalty to stand by the common people." I think we can claim with reason that we ought to be allowed to do so. After all, these men are used against the strikers. Why should not the strikers or the men involved in a trade dispute have their right of appeal to the soldier as well? By this Amendment we say that the member of the working class who is outside the Army ought to be allowed to appeal by pamphlet and speech and through the Press to the member of the working class who is inside the Army, not to enter into a trade dispute, or, if he does so, to refuse to kill his fellows. I believe that greater even than loyalty to party or to a machine, or even to a country, is loyalty to the working class, and for that reason I move the Amendment.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I beg to second the Amendment.
I do so for several reasons. To begin with, I know what it is to be in a dispute in which the military are introduced. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) has referred to the 40-hour strike in 1919 when we on the Clyde tried to give a lead to the country and to show that the way out of the difficulty which was facing us at that time, just as it is presenting itself to civilisation to-day, was to share out the available work. We asked the Government of the day to institute a 40-hour week. That was the crime which we committed, and for the part which I played on that occasion I was well-nigh killed. I have on my forehead the mark of a police baton that I shall carry to my grave. Finally, the military were brought in, and at all the convenient corners in Glasgow machine guns were placed. The Government of the day believed that we had Glasgow all laid out with barricades ready for revolution. It was just a lot of nonsense. In the same way the Government to-day are a wee bit panicky. There is too much of the old women, too much of the duchesses about the individuals who are in control now, just as there was about those who were in control then. They conjured up nightmares in their minds. If the Government of to-day would attend to their business here instead of attending to the duchesses we would get on far better, and these difficulties would not arise.
I can remember when a much revered and respected Member of this House who is now no more, was Home Secretary—a great Liberal—and it was a blot on his escutcheon that could never be erased and one thing that he was ashamed of, and one thing that he denied when I impeached him as the author of it, that he introduced the military in a trade dispute. The late Mr. Asquith, as he then was, when Home Secretary, ordered the soldiers to fire on the miners at Featherstone. There was no more kindly disposed man, and no bigger man ever trod the Floor of this House than Mr. Asquith. He was big in every sense of the term, and he was the last who would ask any man to shoot down another man, but yet he acted in that way because it was the law, just the same as the responsible Secretary of State at the 244 moment, no matter how humanitarian he may be, has to carry out the law and has to take life if necessary. He has to hang a man if that man has been convicted as a murderer, whether he likes doing so or not. This Amendment is designed to save that situation. We get the name of being wild men from the Clyde, but once again we are stepping into the breach and showing the Government a way out of the awful position in which they will be placed in the event of an industrial dispute arising in this country and soldiers being brought in to shoot down the strikers.
As has been pointed out, the soldiers are almost invariably young men drawn from the ranks of the working class and unless the Government accept this Amendment it means that under the Bill —although it was the case before the Bill was introduced—the Government of the day have the power to call upon these young soldiers to shoot down their own fathers or brothers. That is what it means. We believe that it is a crime against nature, the most heinous crime possible that a son should be asked to shoot his own father or a brother asked to shoot his own brother, with whom he has no quarrel, in regard to whom he has no anger, no passion and no hatred. In all probability in these disputes the soldier believes that the workers are right. As one who was in the heart of the situation which arose in 1919 in Glasgow I would utter this word of warning to the Government. They will have to be very careful about this matter, because there is a danger that the soldiers might refuse to act, and that would be the end of the present system. It is your last resource to drive the workers into submission.
Think of what it means to the people concerned. Here is the situation as I see it. You have workers who are unarmed and peace-loving, but their conditions are of such a character that they are forced to go on strike. I know what it is to go on strike, not as a trade union leader, but as a striker with a wife and family dependent on me, and I want to tell the House that the workers do not go on strike lightly. Trade union leaders do not want strikes because they want to safeguard the finances and the funds of their organisations, but the workers themselves have a far greater incentive not to go on strike than the trade union 245 leaders. The worker who goes on strike is giving up all he has, for the average member of the working class in this country has scarcely a fortnight between himself and starvation. It is no light matter, therefore. You would think, to hear Members of this House when a matter like this is under discussion, that it was a light matter for men to go on strike and that we should use the uttermost powers of the Crown to crush them into submission, not to crush Germans or Russians, but our own kith and kin, and use the Army to do it.
I will issue another word of warning to the Government. At the moment they are finding great difficulty in getting men to join the Army. If the Government create this atmosphere in the ranks of the very class from which they require to recruit their Army, that they may be used to shoot down their fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers, the Government will have greater difficulty than ever in getting them to enlist in the Army. We desire, through this Amendment, to save a situation like that from arising. We want that when there is an industrial dispute in progress the Government shall not use the troops against the workers. I can well remember when the Labour Party Conference in 1916 decided to appoint a committee to inquire into the deportation of the men on the Clyde, and I can remember the summing-pp of that report, in which it said that Colonel Levita, the chief of the Scots Command, might just as readily have arrested Sir William Beardmore, as he was then, now Lord Invernairn, Admiral Adair, or the general manager, Mr. Chisholm, as they did Mr. David Kirkwood and his colleagues. But the runny thing about it is that that never happens. The soldiers never shoot down the employers—in no country, in no dispute, at no period of history. They are always used against the working class, and it, is because of that bitter experience and in order to safeguard the workers in the first instance and to save this Government from such a, situation arising that I support this Amendment.
Even to-day on every side Members have been paying tribute to the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General, saying what fine men they are, how amiable, how anxious to meet all our demands and to go out of their way to explain every point so nicely and so suavely. It is easy to be suave when you are well fed and 246 well clad, but it is a different type that is going to be shot down, a different type that is going to do the shooting, and I second this Amendment in the hope that the Government will see their way—it should be easy for them to-clay—to grant us our request. There is no excitement. There are no industrial disputes. There is peace of the type that Bob Smillie said meant death to the working class; and that is what is abroad to-day. There is no sign of industrial disputes. The workers to-day are crushed as they never were in my time. Men are terrified at the moment. Even on the Clyde we have difficulty in getting men to act as shop stewards, for fear that they may be victimised and lose their jobs. These are the conditions that are prevalent throughout the length and breadth of Britain to-day, as never before, particularly in the shipbuilding and engineering industries, and the same holds good in the mining industry. Men in the mining industry to-day are being forced to violate all the laws and rules of procedure laid down by Acts of Parliament, forced to work overtime. The management knows that they are being forced to work overtime, time and time again. That hellish disaster of which we have just heard is the result of men being forced to work overtime.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
On a point of Order. That case is being tried in court to-day, and it is not right for the hon. Member to anticipate the judgment.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I understood that the cause of the particular disaster to which the hon. Member referred was sub judire, and he has no right to make accusations as to anything being responsible for it.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
If I have said anything that, is out of order, and you think so, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw it unreservedly, because I have no desire to get up against the House here, and it is quite unnecessary for me to exaggerate. It is quite impossible, the conditions are so bad. By that I mean that the spirit of the men is crushed to such an extent that they are doing things to-day that they would not have done when I was in the workshops. They would have rebelled. Members of this House know nothing about that, and I do not expect 247 them to understand it, but I am trying to do my best to bring before the House the actual situation in our own country, that the men whom they fear are going to be in revolt, and they may require the soldiers to drive them back to their work against their will. There is no fear of that arising in the immediate future—none whatever—so that we have no compunction of conscience in putting this Amendment before the House and asking the House to accept it. Why should you wish to put our soldiers, who are in the first instance brought into the Army to defend our native land against all comers, into such a position? They are not brought into the Army to shoot down the members of their own families, and it is to save a situation like that arising that I have much pleasure in seconding the Amendment.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
A good deal of the argument to which we have listened has been directed, as I have followed it, to the question as to whether in certain circumstances the armed Forces of the Crown should or should not be used. Now that question is a question for the Government of the day, and arguments as to how the armed Forces of the Crown should be used and when they should be used should be addressed, in our opinion, to the Government of the day, and results should not be sought to be achieved by individual appeals to subordinate soldiers. I might say at the outset that we are unable to accept the Amendment, but I would like to criticise its language. The Amendment refers to forces being used in an industrial dispute. Now, so far as the present Government are concerned, and, so far as I know, any other Government that we have had in this country in the past, it has never been the policy or the practice to use the Army in an industrial dispute.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
An industrial dispute may lead to civil disturbance, and it may lead to such apprehensions, without actual life or property having been lost or endangered, that the Government of the day, rightly or wrongly for the purposes of my argument, deem it necessary, in order to safeguard and protect the community, that the 248 armed Forces of the Crown should be at the place where this civil disturbance has arisen; but from the point of view of the question which I am discussing now, it seems to me quite irrelevant whether the civil disturbance, the threat to life or property, has arisen from an industrial dispute, or from some political animosity, or from meetings of hostile parties in juxtaposition to each other, or whether it has arisen, as it might have, from some other cause, such as a football match or something of that kind. From the point of the view of the use of the armed Forces of the Crown, the source from which the threat of civil disturbance has arisen is, in my opinion, quite irrelevant. Therefore, taking the words of the Amendment—advising members of His Majesty's Forces not to allow themselves to be used in an industrial dispute "—as far as we are concerned, the armed Forces of the Crown will never be used on the side of employers in an industrial dispute, or on the side of strikers or, on anybody's side in any dispute except for the protection of the community and the enforcement of law and order. I am not sure whether hon. Gentlemen opposite may not take a rather different view. Sir Charles Trevelyan was reported in the newspapers the other day as saying that, in his opinion, the working-class must be conscious that they could use the police and the military for the making of great economic changes. That is not our view of the function of the police and the military, and if this Amendment were to be accepted I think we ought to write in after "an industrial dispute" the words "or to make great economic changes," because that would be equally outside their proper function.
There may, of course, be differences of opinion as to the circumstances in which it is right to call out the armed Forces of the Crown in the event of civil disturbances and riots at home. I do not fancy that anybody, even my hon. Friends below the Gangway if they were sitting here, would tie their hands to such an extent as to say that never in any circumstances, however many innocent lives were lost, would they ever rely upon the armed Forces of the Crown to quell civil disturbance arising out of an industrial dispute or any other cause. If the civil disturbance arose out of a Fascist counter-revolution, I think there 249 would be no doubt what their course of action would be.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Is the Solicitor-General aware that when a disturbance arising from an industrial dispute occurs, the Government of the day do not wait until there is bloodshed before they bring out the troops to defend private property? Do they not bring out troops before there is semblance of life being taken? There was an occasion in Glasgow where they brought out the troops when they were afraid there would be some windows broken.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
The hon. Gentleman, I gather, would wait until somebody was killed before he took necessary measures to protect life and property. That is not our policy. People's property, lives and security, and their freedom from apprehension of riots are the proper subject matters to consider as to the circumstances in which to call out the military for the protection of the community. There is the very elaborate procedure of reading the Riot Act and so on in order to see that improper and aggressive use is not made of the Forces of the Crown in dealing with these matters.
I will take up the argument I was making before I was interrupted. There may be differences of opinion as to the general circumstances and the particular circumstances in which armed Forces of the Crown may be used. These are perfectly proper differences. Hon. Members in opposition could press the Government of the day according to their principles, which doubtless they would put into force if they sat on this bench. Let those principles be addressed to the Government, but in the name of common decency do not let us go to a young private soldier and ask him to break the obligation which he swore to undertake and to tell him how and when the military Forces should be used. That is a matter for debate between Governments and their opponents, and the arguments should be addressed to the Governments responsible for these actions. For these reasons it would be, in our opinion, entirely wrong to exempt from the provisions of this Bill articles or speeches inciting soldiers not to obey their lawful orders in any circumstances, and the fact that the Government of the day may have 250 called upon the military in order to protect the community in a case of civil disturbance arising out of an industrial dispute, even assuming the Government of the day may have been wrong, would be no argument in favour of giving a licence to anyone to try to persuade soldiers to disobey their lawful orders and to become subject to the heavy penalties that disobedience would entail.
§ 6.39 pin.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I should not have risen to take part in any of these discussions on the Report stage except for the fact that this is an important question and I feel that I must make some remarks about it. This is not a new subject of discussion in the House, and the position of the Labour party in regard to the use of troops in trade disputes has been put on record many times. If the Prime Minister were here I think I should be able to enlist him on my side on that statement. Again and again when the Army Annual Act has been under discussion we have put down Amendments in order to ensure that troops should not be used in trade disputes. When the Solicitor-General says that there may be occasions when troops are necessary in order to stop riots and so on in connection with disputes, I recall that as long ago as the years between 1886 and 1892 the Liberal party led by Mr. Gladstone took the line that the use of troops to preserve law and order in Ireland was unwarranted. They were charged—there was the instance of Mitchelstown—in exactly the same way as we are being charged, with encouraging troops to disobey their orders. Mr. Gladstone's answer always was that there were two ways of dealing with the sort of difficulty that prevailed in Ireland. One was that adopted by the Government of the day, and the other was that which he and his party wished to carry through, namely, the removal of the causes which produced the disorder.
That is exactly our position. There may be some disagreement perhaps among us as to whether we should carry that through by going to the individual soldier and asking him to disobey, or whether we should try by legislation such as this Amendment proposes, and not put him in that position. The Solicitor-General must have been here during some of the Debates on the Army 251 Annual Act and must have heard the arguments that were put forward again and again. I think the Amendment does, to some extent, carry out the proposal that we want to see adopted. I know that it says that if a man prints something or goes to a private soldier and says to him, "You ought not to fire when you are told," that shall not be illegal. The Amendment is the best thing that we can get on the Paper in regard to this Bill. But the principle behind it is that the troops should not be used in an industrial dispute. That is the real issue before the House this evening.
I do not know whether the House realises that the position of a, private soldier is entirely different from that of an officer. A Labour or Socialist Government may be in power, and may bring forward legislation about which certain people in the country may go on strike. That is a conceivable proposition. Officers may sympathise with those who oppose the Socialist legislation. They have the right to resign their commissions. The Attorney-General shakes his head. I can produce documentary evidence to show that during the occupation of Archangel a certain officer, Lieut.-Colonel Sherwood Kelly, resigned his commission because he considered the policy of His Majesty's Government was an outrage, and that the troops were being asked to do something which they ought not to do. I myself published in the "Daily Herald" the whole of his correspondence with the Government of the day. He just went on with his decision. I undertake to say that if the men had done that they would have been shot. Therefore, I ask the House to remember, in connection with this matter, that an officer can 'resign his commission. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO !"] Officers have the right to resign their commissions.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL.
I do not think it is desirable that inaccurate statements should go forth. It was decided many years ago—I forget the name of the case, except that it was the case of somebody against Churchill—that an officer has a perfect right to tender his resignation, but has no right to demand that his resignation should be accepted.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
That does not do at all. Unless the Attorney-General produces evidence that what I have said is untrue I shall not accept that statement. Let the Attorney-General listen for a, moment.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not want your authority. I have made a statement of fact, and nothing that the Attorney-General can produce can outweigh that statement of fact.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Will the right hon. Gentleman forgive me? The last thing in the world that I should do would be to doubt a, statement of fact he has made. Do not let me be supposed to be doubting his words. I am not contradicting the statement he made about the officer at Archangel, but only doubting his statement of the law, and I am quite prepared to produce the authority of the High Court in support of my statement.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not know anything about the High Court. An officer has the right to tender his resignation, and in 999 cases out of 1,000 it is accepted.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I tell the Attorney-General once more than Lieut.-Colonel Sherwood Kelly threw up his commission, and not only did he do that but came to this country and took part in public agitation against the Government of the day, and he was not court-martialled, though I am certain that if any private soldier had done that he would have been court-martialled, and, as it was in face of the enemy, would have been shot. [Interruption.] I am certain he would. The hon. Member for South Islington (Mr. Howard) knows everything, but he does not know that men were shot for much less crimes—military crimes—than that. The point I am making is that an officer does have a right, as the Attorney-General admits, to tender his resignation; and I go further, and say that in 999 cases out of 1,000 his resignation is accepted. I know that if an officer resigned because the duty given to him was distasteful to him his resignation would be accepted, because the Govern- 253 ment would know that he could not carry out his duty in a wholehearted manner.
But there is something more. Last night the Attorney-General rather brushed OD one side the Curragh incident. There, again, generals and colonels and majors and lieutenants definitely sent a "round robin" to their commanding officer—this is all public property—saying they would not, under certain conditions, carry out the lawful orders of the Government of the day. Not a single one of those men was ever awarded punishment, and they all remained quite honoured men in the British Army. I do not myself believe in this doctrine about the sacredness of men's oaths. It is a choice. Men of all sorts break them when it suits them in these days. The Curragh officers had sworn to uphold the Constitution of this country. Certainly they had. What do they enlist for? Have they got a different oath from that of the private soldiers? If the officer is not under the same obligation to obey the orders of the Government of the day that a private soldier is, it makes our case infinitely stronger. I always understood that an officer led his men, and I should think that he led them in loyalty to the Constitution of the country which they are enlisted to serve. But the point is that in the case of labour disputes, no one can deny that, whenever the Government interfere, they interfere on the side of the employers. [HON. MEMBERS: "No"] They cannot do anything else, because it is only when men are driven to desperation that violence is likely to take place. Only when men are on the point of seeing their wives and children starving do they break loose, and then the Government interfere to preserve order, which in effect means that they are helping the employers to crush the workers. I am not saying that the Government must not preserve order. I agree with what the Solicitor-General says. Any Government, Communist, Socialist, Labour, or whatever they are, will preserve order. But if we allow conditions to grow up which force the people into violence, then we—those like myself and others—ought to take our stand in saying that the right thing to do is to remove the causes which drive people to such extremes.
That is the position we take up all the time in relation to this matter, and it is the position which the Labour party, when 254 led by the Prime Minister, always took up—that is, that troops ought not to be used in this fashion. Very often when troops are brought in their very presence is provocative. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) is not here, but when he was, I think, Home Secretary, and there was a big railway dispute to take place, Victoria Park, indeed all the parks, were packed with soldiers. There was no earthly chance of any disorder, nobody imagined for a moment that there would be any disorder, but he made up his mind there would be disorder, and if those troops had stood where they were much longer there probably would have been disorder, because of their very presence there. The same thing happened during the General Strike. East London was packed full of soldiers—packed full of soldiers.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I will give way to anyone but the hon. Member, because he interrupts everybody, and not once, but many times. He has had his chance to speak once to-day, and he might allow other people an opportunity.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Why should I not be? I said East London was packed full of soldiers, though there never was, from the first hour to the last, any chance of disorder.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Whether it is untrue or not, I am saying that the great mass of the people of East London were peaceable and quiet and orderly. There were a few people who one day set light to a motor car. It was only a lark, just a joke. The police authorities treated it as a joke. There was no disorder about it at all. The strikers helped to put it out. There was not the least need to bring down the regiments of soldiers who were brought there. But I conclude as I started—in this business of strikes and lockouts and the employment of troops we ought not to approach the consideration of a labour dispute, or any other dispute, from the point of view of having to put down violence. The one thing we ought to do, and we ought to get the machinery to do it, is to see that when there is a dispute the workers shall not 255 be starved into submission. That is the first thing; and the second thing is that we should get the dispute settled at the earliest possible moment. I am one of those who think that while capitalism lasts we shall continue to have these disputes; but I cannot discuss that to-night. The only thing I want to emphasise is that the workers, as a rule, taking them broad and large, are the most orderly and peace-loving in the whole world, and the only time they are driven to extremes is when they are driven there by starvation; and instead of the House making provision so that they may be dealt with by soldiers it ought to be making provision whereby they shall not be driven into submission in that kind of way.
§ 6.57 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am sure the whole House was delighted to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in such vigour again. The hon. Member for South Islington (Mr. T. Howard) seemed to complain that the right hon. Gentleman was provocative, but if I may say so with respect to my hon. Friend, I do not think any of us would ever complain of the right hon. Gentleman being provocative, because we know that he feels very deeply on these matters. But I should like to try to reduce this question to limits which we should all recognise. First of all let me say a word about the point of law which the right hon. Gentleman raised. He said he knew nothing about the High Court. I am sure he did not mean to say that he cared nothing.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
That is another story. The position surely is what I stated it to be. I now have the judgment in the case. It is the judgment of three very distinguished judges—the Master of the Rolls, Lord Esher, Lord Justice Fry, and Lord Justice Lopes to the effect that an officer certainly has not the right to do what the plaintiff did in this case, that is, obtain leave of absence when he had made up his mind to go altogether; and, as Lord Esher said, he was a deserter unless he had a right to resign, and if he had no right to resign—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I understand that is a case where an officer absented himself and was taken to the court.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
If there be something more I will make my interruption later. The statement I made was quite clear—that an officer had the right to resign his commission. [HON. MEMBERS: "No") Well, I have already given the case of Sherwood Kelly, who came home from Archangel and took part in a campaign against the Government, after he had resigned his commission, and on Third Reading I will produce documentary evidence to prove it.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
All I wanted to point out was that it was not a question of this officer being taken to the court and prosecuted as a deserter. He claimed that he had 'a. right to resign and should not be treated as a deserter. The Court of Appeal decided that an officer has not the right to demand that his resignation be accepted.
§ Mr. LAWSON
In that case had the officer actually sent in his resignation before absenting himself?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
May I commend this case to the study of the right hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman wanted to know whether the officer had actually resigned before he absented himself. He had been offered an appointment in China and applied to be released on half-pay. The request was refused. The officer then asked that his resignation be accepted at once and after that absented himself. After that he claimed damages.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Neither, strictly speaking. He was claiming damages in a civil action on the ground that his resignation should have been accepted. I do not want to engage iu a legal wrangle about this point. I do think that, as the right hon. Gentleman has made statements with his great authority, it is undesirable that it should go abroad that an officer has the right to demand that his resignation be accepted. Let me say, frankly, that I am sorry if there has been a misunderstanding. In 257 ordinary circumstances of peace, if an officer sent in his resignation, I have no doubt that in 99 cases out of a 100 it would be accepted. Even in circumstances of war and disorder, there should be little question of his demanding it, for obviously after resigning he would not be a very useful servant. Precisely the same may apply to a soldier. If the right hon. Gentleman pursues his inquiries, he will see what happened to the officer at Archangel. I cannot say more, because I have not the facts in front of me. He will find that the whole story has not been told; a little investigation may add another chapter to his story. More than once reference has been made to the possibility of troops being told to shoot or officers thinking they may have to shoot. Really we are in an almost unreal atmosphere. There have been some occasions in the past when that has unhappily happened. I will not say that it is inconceivable that such circumstances might not arise, but the civil population of this country is so peaceful even in times of industrial disturbance that it is unlikely. In that, we are more happily placed than other countries. That observation of law and order has preserved us from many perils.
In times of disorder we may have demands that the military must be ready to aid the civil power if an emergency should arise. The right hon. Gentleman said that on many occasions he and his party have tried to get the law amended so that they shall not be called out in readiness to help the civil power. That is a perfectly legitimate way of altering the law, and saying by Parliament that troops shall not be available to help the civil power. It is a different thing to legalise the act of a person who tries in advance of any change in the law to tell a soldier that he must not do what is his duty. It is the old distinction between a man who owes a duty to the State and a breach of the law. One is perfectly legitimate and the other improper. That is the difference between us. We are not trying to alter the law as regards the Government. That is not the question. The law says that the Army and Navy must be used and be ready to help the civil power if unfortunately an emergency should arise. That being the law, the question is whether it can be tolerated that an individual citizen should encourage a soldier or 258 sailor to disobey his duty. The right hon. Gentleman's eloquence was not, I say it with great respect, quite relevant, and I hope that the House will not be misled by it.
§ 7.7 p.m.
§ Mr. OSWALD LEWIS
It seems to me that the Amendment itself, and still more the speakers in support of it, introduce two different things. They confuse the altering of the law and the claim to break the existing law. So far as the claim to advocate an alteration of the law is concerned, this Bill is not affected. So far as the claim to advocate the breaking of existing law is concerned, the Bill seeks to prevent it, while the Amendment seeks to make it more easy. We have heard a great deal this afternoon as to whether the armed Forces should be used in a case of industrial dispute. It has been suggested, I have no doubt sincerely, by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and the leader of the Labour party in the House, that in fact the Army is only used on the side of the employing classes.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think we had better leave that subject, because it is not in the Amendment. It has been referred to I agree, but it is not referred to in the Amendment that is now before the House.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The statement made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman has already dealt with that. I think we had better leave that subject.
§ Mr. LEWIS
Very well, I will not deal with that point. It seems to me that it is abundantly evident that the only occasion on which the armed Forces of the Crown are asked to intervene in the case of an industrial dispute in this country is when affairs are taking such a turn that efforts are being made to coerce the Government by the withdrawal of supplies, and when there are fears of violence to persons or property. In any case, whether the hon. Member for Gorbals he right in his idea that the military should not be used in a case of an industrial dispute, or whether I am right in thinking that in the same circumstances they should be so used, does 259 not really affect the substance of the Amendment before us. The effect of the Amendment is to enable anyone who so desires by speech or writing to urge another man to break an oath which under existing laws he is required to take. I have no hesitation in saying that to my mind that is a mean proposal. It is a proposal that a man should urge another to commit a fault, and should be able to save his own skin. It does nothing to protect the man who listens or reads an article from the consequence of that advice. In these circumstances, I find it very hard to understand how hon. Members opposite can bring themselves to support so mean a proposition.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
I desire to support the Amendment. I have listened to the case made out by the Solicitor-General and I have not heard any reasonable case made out against these words. He himself stated that the armed Forces of the Crown were never brought into an industrial dispute against strikers. He stated that they were brought in to protect private property or the community. That is largely a matter of opinion and argument. It may be stated that they are brought in with that object, or that they are brought in to coerce and frighten people on strike into surrendering to conditions laid down.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The question which the hon. Member is now discussing is quite irrelevant to the Amendment. This is not the time to make alterations in that law. We must confine ourselves to the actual terms of the Amendment before the House.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
I am prepared to accept your rigid Ruling. I am attempting to answer the Solicitor-General, and I assume, if he advances an argument, I am entitled to 'counter with my own case. I was using that as an illustration to proceed further. I wanted to say, in connection with the reasons given by the Solicitor-General, that troops are brought in at these times, and we are asking for the right to appeal to these soldiers during this period. We want to present the case to them from the workers' point of view, to show to them reasons why the men are on strike, and the reasons why they should not carry out orders that are against the class to which they 260 belong. Surely we are entitled to show reasons why the troops should not be used in that industrial dispute. We claim the right to put a reasoned case to the soldiers why they should not allow themselves to be the instruments of a propertied class against workers who are engaged in an upheaval. We desire to appeal to the soldiers in that way. When an industrial dispute is taking place, newspapers which we may say are instruments of class propaganda are morning, noon and night putting the case of the employers in that dispute. We are surely entitled to counter the false propaganda of the "Daily Mail," the "Daily Express," and any other paper, by putting the workers' case to the soldiers and appealing to them not to shoot down fellow-men who are struggling for a certain standard of living. It has been argued that there ought to be some instrument for preventing trade disputes, but we are not discussing that. We are discussing the question of the Army being in the field during an industrial dispute, and whether we should be able to appeal to the Army in a reasonable way and ask them not to carry out orders which are designed to bolster up the interests of the employing class as against the working class who are on strike.
As a propertied Government, right hon. Gentlemen may be entitled to argue that no right should be allowed to representatives of the workers who are on strike to appeal to the soldiers not to shoot so that ample opportunity may be given to the soldier to understand the situation and to apply his judgment and reason as to whether he would allow himself to be used in that way. The Army has been brought in on a number of occasions in this country before any trouble has taken place. If you examine the history of trade disputes you will see that at a certain stage, when the workers in dispute were regarded by the ruling class as being in danger of carrying their dispute to a successful issue, the propertied Government have moved in troops, or the local authority which has an outlook largely representative of the employing class of the area have appealed for troops to be brought in to coerce and intimidate. The soldiers are brought in like dumb, driven cattle, not knowing the rights or wrongs of the dispute and the strikers are very often driven to take action because of the presence of 261 the troops in the field. We ought to have the liberty to appeal to the soldier.
Suppose that in an industrial dispute I went to soldiers and was able to say to them, either by the spoken or the written word: "Here are workers engaged in an industrial dispute because they are being asked to accept the standard of life of 30s. per week instead of their present standard of £2, and we feel that it is unjust that the authorities should be moving troops in for the purpose of coercing the strikers and driving them hack into industry, and the acceptance of slave conditions." That in my opinion is the reason why troops are used during industrial disputes. The soldiers largely belong to the workers. They are recruited generally from people living in the lowest depth of poverty, not because they had any desire to serve but because they were hungry and unemployed. They belong to the working-class, and orders are given to them by officers who belong to the propertied elements of the community and whose interests lie in defeating the aims and objects of the workers on strike. There is a free field of propaganda on the side of what may be termed Capitalism, and we claim an equal right with the officer class for the workers to be able to appeal from the non-propertied element and to state why the soldiers should not be used in that way.
I can understand the point of view of the Government, who see a danger in these proposals of undermining the loyalty and the prestige of the Army upon which they so largely depend for their security, privilege and wealth. They depend on maintaining a loyal and docile Army, which will never question the orders given by the officer class, just as is done in the Army, Navy or Air Force. There are elements even in the Army, Navy and Air Force who are thinking seriously as to whether they should be used in these disputes.
The Attorney-General has done exactly as he has done on every Amendment which has been before the House. He has put up a sort of dolly show of his own by propping up a case and knocking it down. He has never attempted to answer points which have been put by the opposition Members, but he has always brought forward a purely hypothetical case which suited him and which he had reasoned out perhaps by his own fireside, or before he went to sleep during 262 the night. He never attempts to destroy the case put up by hon. Members. I do not expect the Attorney-General to agree with me. If he did, I should need to examine the words and the arguments which I had used. Just as he is loyal to the propertied class which put him there, I am loyal to the common people who put me here. His arguments cannot be my arguments, his case cannot be my case, and his views cannot be my views. I ask, in this Amendment, the right of doing what is denied to us, but you can never take away the right of the intelligent, conscious and courageous people to go to the soldier and to say to him: "You are being used by the employing class to defend their interests against the interest of the workers, and you should not obey orders against the class to which you belong. It is in your interest that they should win in the dispute" Whether the proposal be accepted or not we believe in that appeal being made, either legally or illegally, in order to present the working-class case against the use of troops in industrial disputes.
§ 7.25 p.m.
§ Mr. PIKE
This Amendment need not necessarily go to a Division because that will be a waste of good time. If the speeches, with the exception of the last, had been based on the Amendment the position would not be so bad, because the Amendment has definite reference to the reproduction of a speech or an article in the Press. No one has yet emphasised the real significance of the Amendment. Everyone knows that the form of literature which is distributed regularly by subversive elements is in the form of newspapers. It is easy to have a double foolscap page printed on both sides and say: "Printed and published as a newspaper." Whether the newspaper is typed, or is printed by means of a linotype machine, every piece of literature from the Communist party or any other seditious organisation in the country or in any part of the world will, if this Amendment be accepted, be distributed in newspaper form and can be republished in a genuine legitimate newspaper as a quotation from another newspaper. Hon. Members opposite feel that they cannot get their speeches reported in the ordinary course of events, because of their seditious worthlessness to the papers from whom they solicit the advantage, but they can send in those speeches, or 263 the copies of a published newspaper, and pay for the insertion as an advertisement. The difficulty experienced by newspaper proprietors in not accepting advertisements is rather a big one. If the Amendment be sincere, why are the words "the report" of a speech and the words "the publication" of an article not included? It is because hon. Members know perfectly well that in the question of the use of the press in the general interests of the community, you must take into consideration the full requirements of that community. Whether it affects the use of troops in industrial disputes for the protection of public property or not, the press must, so far as possible, be immune from any action by this House and from any suggestion of responsibility for maliciously intending or attempting to seduce troops from their allegiance.
If this Amendment be passed, papers could publish an article consisting of the report of a speech from the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) to the effect that, if members of His Majesty's Forces were seen entering a pit during a. colliery dispute for the purpose of preventing the intimidation of safety workers engaged in keeping the pit in a condition of safety for the benefit of the miners in the future, efforts must be made to exert influence against them. If any hon. Member suggests that articles of that description should be published without any notice being taken of the interest of the community, he is giving very little credit to the intelligence of the people of the country. The same thing applies to the health of the people and to anything which affects the welfare of the women and children. During the last dispute I drove vehicle after vehicle containing thousands of loaves of bread into the coal areas in South Yorkshire, where bread was unobtainable. On two occasions when I got there the vans were emptied and the bread was distributed among the miners and their children who wanted it, but the rioters completely turned the vans over.
The hon. Gentleman and the Members with whom he works suggest that it should be allowable, by publication of the report of a speech in the Press or in a special newspaper, to urge the troops not to interfere with people who intended wilfully and maliciously to prevent services of that description from being 264 carried out during industrial disputes. Do they really contend that it is right to publish in newspapers material that would prevent troops from protecting the doctor in the course of his ordinary functions during a strike? I am convinced that the three hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway would be the last people in the world to do anything to take away protection from essential services even during an industrial dispute of such a nature as has been mentioned in the House this afternoon, and if they will look again, before forcing the House to a Division on this matter, at the real significance and the underlying meaning of their Amendment, I feel sure they will justify their own honesty and sincerity in the cause of the workers by withdrawing the Amendment and saving the country the expense of a Division.
§ 7.32 p.m.
§ Mr. MANDER
Greatly as I dislike this Bill, and unnecessary as it seems to me to be, I cannot help saying that I feel considerably impressed by the case put forward by the Attorney-General tonight, because I believe that this Amendment, if carried, would strike at the whole basis of ordered liberty in this country. I quite agree that a radical alteration is required in the industrial system of this country, and that further rights ought to be given to the workers. There is no doubt that that should be done, and done in a drastic way, but the way to do it is, surely, not by mob rule, but by the voters of the country returning a Parliament and a Government which will pass the necessary Measures for that purpose. To proceed upon other lines might result in this situation: An industrial dispute would arise which unfortunately the police were unable to control. Is the doctrine to be that in those circumstances we are to allow the police to be overpowered, that the civil population are to take charge of the proceedings, and that the Forces of the Crown which are available are to take no part? I say that that is an absolutely revolutionary doctrine. In the meantime, until we have got these changes by legislation, we are bound to use all the forces at our disposal for the maintenance of order.
I quite agree that it is most undesirable that troops should ever be used in an industrial dispute, but it cannot be said that in no circumstances shall they be so used. May I use this illustration? It 265 may be, and I hope it will be, that some day not only the internal affairs of nations but the whole world will be controlled as regards order by the collective system through an international police force or something of the kind. Would it be tolerable in such circumstances that individuals should be permitted to go about the world agitating that the international police force ought not to carry out its duties, and trying to prevent it from doing so, and in that way allowing wars to break out in the world? I think that that is quite a fair analogy, and, as I believe that ordered liberty, based, in the ultimate resort, on power in the r:ight hands, is fundamental to the existence of our liberties, I cannot support the Amendment.
§ 7.36 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I do not want to prolong the discussion on this Amendment, which has been fairly full and reasonably close to the point. The one complaint that I would make very seriously, not merely about the discussion on this Amendment but about the whole proceedings since we came to the Report stage, is with regard to the continued absence of responsible Ministers of the Crown. I would like, before we conclude this stage, to see some evidence of the Prime Minister's interest in the Measure. I would like to see some evidence of the interest of the Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House. I see an even greater significance in his absence than in that of the Prime Minister. It is the Prime Minister's habit to absent himself from the House of Commons, but it is the Lord President's practice to be present, and the fact that he has been absent during the discussion of this Measure is to me very significant indeed. But more important still is the fact that the Service Ministers also have remained conspicuous by their absence.
Why should the Law Officers of the Crown take the responsibility for dealing with this matter, which is only of secondary importance to them? Indeed, I gathered from the speech of the Attorney-General on the previous Amendment that it was only at the Committee stage that he began to consider the contents of the Bill, as regards the question of the use of the word "and" or "or" I understood him to say that he had not really given the matter any 266 consideration until we came to the Committee stage. I do not want to misrepresent him, but that was my impression. He said he had only given it serious consideration between the Committee stage and the Report stage, and he had only now arrived at something like a tentative view of the matter. If that be so, it reinforces my view that he is not primarily responsible for the introduction of the Measure, but that either the Admiralty, or the Air Force, or the War Office has the primary responsibility.
One hon. Member described our Amendment as mean, because we made other people hold the baby for our crimes. If that epithet be applicable to myself and my hon. Friends, it is equally applicable to the Service Ministers of the Government, who, having produced this baby, leave the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General to hold their baby. I can imagine no two better baby-holders in the whole Government, but it is not the game—it is not shouldering the responsibility that ought to be shouldered in another quarter. I do not like being called mean. The hon. Member accused us of meanness because he says we are trying to exempt ourselves from the responsibility of asking soldiers not to take part in industrial disputes. He says that we are not going to have any of the penalties for ourselves, but we are asking others to do something which will bring penalties upon them, and that is where the meanness lies. But is not he in very much the same position He is asking that the soldiers shall be called out in trade disputes, possibly to shoot down strikers, but he is not going to do that himself; he wants those fellows to go and do it for him. I am not driving that home, because I am sure he sees now that his argument against us does not apply.
As regards our object in bringing forward this Amendment, I have repeated again and again that this is an obnoxious Measure from every point of view. The Amendments that we have brought forward at this and previous stages are not in our view directed to making the Measure a good one; we think that it cannot be made a good Measure; but we believe that it can be made less obnoxious and less evil in its operation. Nearly every speaker has congratulated himself and this country on the fact that to a large extent we 267 have been free from the turmoil and cruelties and interferences with liberty that have characterised other countries. Why? Various reasons have been given, but one of the strongest reasons operating here is that the military power has always been kept in a subordinate position. The whole history of our country, dating right back to the struggles of this House for the maintenance of civil liberty, has been, not merely a fight against the King, but a fight against standing armies and their powers. The Army (Annual) Act, which we pass every year, is passed primarily for that reason, so that the Army should not begin to think itself a power beyond the State; and one of the reasons why up to now in this land we have escaped a whole lot of the troubles that have affected other lands—I do not say it is the only factor, or that it will always continue—has been that the Army in the main has been kept very strictly to its job—
§ Mr. MAXTON
Not always, but to a very large extent. We did not bring it into politics. I agree that it has been kept to a large extent out of politics, but it has also been kept in a subordinate position, and has been kept mainly to what the men who take the oath of allegiance regard as their job. When a fellow joins the Army—my hon. Friends have said that in these days he usually joins it for a living—he takes an oath of allegiance, and, when he takes that oath of allegiance, he is thinking that he is giving a solemn promise that, if he is called upon, he will fight to defend his country against foreign invaders. That is the solemn obligation that he has taken upon himself. He hopes in his heart that he will never be called upon to fulfil it, but, when he takes the oath, he believes that he is swearing to defend his country against a foreign enemy. If he is called upon to go out and fight against his own sons and brothers, his father or other relations, who have a strong feeling of social discontent and are giving expression to it, he feels that he is being asked to do something which is going beyond the bond that he took on.
I was not surprised, of course, to hear the hon. Member for East Wolver- 268 hampton (Mr. Mander) defending the use of troops for the slaughter of British workers. It is not the first time that the hon. Member has intervened in a Debate with just the same point of view. He has always the most tender feelings towards Germans, Italians or the natives of India. These people may be allowed to create any turmoil they like, and it is always to be made a justiciable issue, but, if our own fellows are demanding a decent standard of life—
§ Mr. MANDER
The hon. Member is giving a fantastic version of the views that I expressed. I said that I was extremely anxious to see the conditions of the workers altered, not by mob rule, which would arise under his plan, but by the proper method of the ballot in returning a majority to this House. To suggest that I wanted to use the troops in a murderous way against the workers is quite untrue and really most offensive. I cannot think the hon. Member really meant that. If one had to choose between his method and mine, the condition of those who came under mob rule would certainly be much less happy than those for whom order was preserved.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The hon. Member repeats the offensive remark which made me speak rather hotly in answer to him. He talks about his system of world peace which is going to come at some time or other. His ideals are directed towards the most perfect end but our ideals are to be described by the phrase "mob rule."
§ Mr. MANDER
May I say one word? I am certain that the hon. Member's ideals and objects are that he would desire to see complete order and the best possible arrangements made. I am merely suggesting that it might not work out in that way and that something of a quite different nature would arise, but the hon. Member's intentions, I am sure, are the very best.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I, of course, accept that explanation, and I can only make the retort courteous. I have no doubt the hon. Member's intentions are equally admirable. It is very far from our purpose 269 in putting forward this Amendment to be standing for what he calls "mob rule," but to maintain public peace and at the same time to give the workers of the country a decent opportunity to make a struggle for better conditions. We move
§ it, and we hope that the House will accept it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 54; Noes, 287.271
|Division No. 373.]||AYES||[7.50 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Maxton, James|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Groves, Thomas E.||Milner, Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Batey, Joseph||Healy, Cahir||Paling, Wilfred|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hicks, Ernest George||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, Sir William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||John, William||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lanabury, Rt. Hon. George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Dobbie, William||Leonard, William||West, F. R.|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lunn, William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wilmot, John|
|George. Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Mainwaring, William Henry||Mr. Buchanan and Mr. McGovern.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Grigg, Sir Edward|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Colfox, Major William Philip||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Allen Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Conant, R. J. E.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cook, Thomas A.||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Cooke, Douglas||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Assheton, Ralph||Cooper, A. Duff||Hacking, Fit. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Copeland, Ida||Hales, Harold K.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Craven-Ellis, William||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Crooke, J. Smedley||Hartland, George A.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Bernays, Robert||Cross, R. H.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Crossley, A. C.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Birchalf, Major Sir John Dearman||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Blindell, James||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Borodale, Viscount||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hepworth, Joseph|
|Boulton, W. W.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Bowater, Cal. Sir T. Vansittart||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Denville, Alfred||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Staiybridge)|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Dickie, John P.||Hopkinson, Austin|
|Brass. Captain Sir William||Doran, Edward||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Draws, Cedric||Hornby, Frank|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C.||Horsbr[...]gh, Florence|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Duckworth. George A. V.||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Duggan, Hubert John||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hudson, Capt. A. [...]. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Douglass, Lord||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Burghley, Lord||Eady, George H.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Eales, John Frederick||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Burnett, John George||Eastwood, John Francis||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Burton. Colonel Henry Walter||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Cadogan. Hon. Edward||Elmley, Viscount||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Emmott. Charles E. G. C.||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Caporn. Arthur Cecil||Fox, Sir Gifford||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Cassels, James Dale||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Kerr. Hamilton W.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Ceyzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lamb. Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Glossop, C. W. H.||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Lees-Jones, John|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Goff, Sir Park||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Chapman. Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Gower, Sir Robert||Levy, Thomas|
|Christle, James Archibald||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Lewis. Oswald|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Petherick, M.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Liewellin, Major John J.||Pike, Cecil F.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Spens, William Patrick|
|Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Radford, E. A.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Loftus, Pierce C.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Stevenson, James|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Stones, James|
|Mabane, William||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Strauss, Edward A.|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|McConnell, Sir Joseph||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Taylor,Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Templeton, William P.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Rickards, George William||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Mallalleu, Edward Lancelot||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Ross, Ronald D.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Train. John|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Golonel John||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Milne, Charles||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Morgan, Robert H.||Scone, Lord||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Selley, Harry R.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Morrison, William Shephard||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Moss, Captain H. J.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Munro, Patrick||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Shute, Colonel J. J.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Slater, John||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Orr Ewing, I. L.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dlne, C.)||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Pearson, William G.||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Peat, Charles U.||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Penny, Sir George||Soper, Richard||Sir Victor Warrender and Lieut.- Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.|