HC Deb 08 April 1935 vol 300 cc819-43

Motion made, and Question proposed [5th April], "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Question again proposed.

3.38 p.m.

Marquess of HARTINGTON

At the moment when the Chairman left the Chair to report Progress on Friday last, we were discussing whether Clause 251 should stand part of the Bill. Immediately before I spoke my Noble Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) had made a plea to the Government that, although the Clause formed part of a previous Act, it should be withdrawn by the Government from the Bill. I venture to endorse that plea. It is not very often that the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings and myself find ourselves in agreement. On this occasion I have had the advantage of going into the matter during the week-end and I find myself in hearty agreement with him. I have not been able to find in which Act this Clause appeared before; as far as I can see from the Government of India Act, 1919, there is a Section—Section 33—relating to the relaxation of control by the Secretary of State. I should be pleased if my right hon. Friend could tell me whether that is the precedent for the Clause in the Bill.

The Clause is of very great importance. We have had some discussion on the evidence which was before us that civil servants in India attach very great importance indeed to the various safeguards contained in this Chapter. The whole of the safeguards become almost valueless if the Clause stands as it is. It is true that the Clause governs all the other Clauses in this part of the Bill, but the Clause itself is governed by Clause 286, which applies the affirmative resolution procedure and makes it not quite so easy for a Secretary of State to surrender his power. Even so, I can see no reason why the Secretary of State should be authorised to surrender his powers and give up the safeguards to which such great importance is attached. It seems to me that, if that is done, it should be done by passing an Act of Parliament which could be debated in the ordinary way. I urge the Secretary of State to consider deleting this Clause. We have had before us, with regard to these safeguards, very important evidence from those who are serving in India at the present time.

That evidence has been described by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), in a wealth of mixed metaphors, as a mare's nest which has dissolved into thin air and then been blown sky high. That is certainly a remarkable performance, but neither the words of the Secretary of State nor of my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook can diminish the importance of this evidence, which to us is not diminished in importance by the fact that the Secretary of State has not been able to doctor it. That document is of very great importance, and it is very relevant to this Clause. The opinion of the Bengal Civil Service must be considered as of great importance when we are discussing Clause 251 of the Bill, and I venture to hope that, before we leave the discussion of this part of the Bill, both the Secretary of State and my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook will see fit to withdraw the expressions which they have used about the document which we discussed last Friday. It has been described as a rejected draft and as a mare's nest but everyone knows that it is neither. Far from being a rejected draft, it was an appreciation of the situation circulated as a basis on which a memorial could be drawn up, and on that basis it had the agreement of an overwhelming majority of those to whom it was sent.


I hope my Noble Friend will forgive me for interrupting him, but may I ask him how that agreement was expressed?

Marquess of HARTINGTON

The document was circulated to the members of the association, with the intimation that it would be considered as the basis of a. memorial couched in proper official language. As my right hon. Friend knows, an appreciation of the situation is not couched in the same kind of language that is used in an official memorial to the Government. It was circulated is an appreciation of the situation on which a memorial might be based if agreement were found. The members of the association to whom it was circulated were asked to write saying if they disagreed, and it was intimated that if they did not write their agreement would be assumed.[Laughter.]It is quite; easy to laugh. If you circulate a document broadcast to irresponsible people, of course agreement obtained in that way would be null and void, but this document was not circulated broadcast—


Was it the ease that everyone who did not take the trouble to reply, but put it in the wastepaper basket, as we have to do with many communications that we receive, was deemed to agree?

Marquess of HARTINGTON

I am reluctant to find myself in disagreement with my right hon. Friend, but this is not quite like most of such documents which reach Members of Parliament. The Secretary of State referred to the document as having been drawn up by two or three individuals and he referred to them as if they were irresponsible. They were five individuals, the members of the executive committee of the association. It would be just as true to refer to this Bill as having been drafted by two or three individuals. The document was drawn up by the executive committee of the association, and; far from being broadcast all over the country, it was distributed to members of the association by their executive committee. A document presented in that way is not a matter to be laughed off. I venture to hope that the Secretary of State will resile from the position that he took up on Friday last, for it is not a tenable position. He referred to the grave responsibility which my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) was assuming in bringing this document forward; but are we not to bring forward any document of which he does not approve? There are other grave responsibilities. Passing a Bill through Parliament on false pretences is also a very grave responsibility indeed.

3.46 p.m.


It would, I suppose, be out of order to refer to what was said last Friday on the Motion to report Progress—


have been looking back at this Chapter of the Bill to see exactly what the Clause does, but the Noble Lord of course knows quite well that, on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," he cannot deal with any matters which go outside this particular Clause.


Since the Clause deals with the question of appointments, and enables the Secretary of State to transfer the reserved appointments to any Indian body that he may choose, subject to any reaction between this Clause. and Clause 286; since the persons who are the subject of these appointments are now manifesting very great alarm and apprehension at the procedure which is proposed; and since undoubtedly the retention of these appointments in the hands of the Secretary of State is regarded as a matter of very great. importance, and as almost the last security which can exist, may I put it to you, Sir Dennis, as a point of Order, that the opinion of these people and their method of expressing it is entirely relevant to the topic now under discussion?

The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Sir Samuel Hoare)

Before you deal with that point of Order, may I point out to you that this Clause does not deal with existing rights, but deals with future entrants, about whom, so far as I can remember, nothing was said in the memorial of the Association? It is, of. course, entirely for you to decide whether the discussion should go back to the discussion of last Friday, but, if you decide that it should, nobody will be better-pleased than myself.


I think the point is perfectly clear. The right hon. Gentlemen who have referred to it will see what comes within the discussion and what does not. Clause 251 provides for the making of the transfer, to such authority as may be specified, of the powers conferred by this Chapter on the Secretary of State with respect to the making of appointments. As the Secretary of State has just said, the Clause has no application at all to any existing members of the Civil Service, but only applies to appointments which may be made in the future, and, therefore, I think that the discussion on the Clause must be confined strictly to those matters.


I have already indicated that I was not going to follow my Noble Friend in his remarks, and I shall confine myself entirely to the Clause itself. On the whole, I agree with the conclusion reached by my Noble Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy), and I hope that the Clause will not be proceeded with. It is necessary to make clear—and this was the point to which my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) referred —that the Noble Lady the Member for Perth (Duchess of Atholl) is not correct in saying that, under this Clause, the matter must be dealt with solely by an Order-in-Council. That is not so, because it is governed by Clause 286, as my hon. Friend pointed out, and the Order-in-Council would have to be submitted to an affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament. Under the existing statute the Secretary of State can, I believe, make a transfer of Services roughly analogous to what is proposed in this Bill without having to obtain an affirmative resolution, but the matter is not really of very great importance. The system which has been adopted in this Bill of proceeding to make amendments by Orders-in-Council is undoubtedly a convenient one from one point of view.

During the long years that I was Under-Secretary of State for India and representing the India Office in this House, it was necessary to bring in two or three Bills amending the Government of India Act, because it was only possible to achieve what was desired by an actual amendment of the Act. That meant a very tortuous system of legislation by reference. I remember being attacked by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), who complained that I was constantly bringing in Bills that referred to half a dozen other former Acts which were incorporated in the Government of India Act, 1919. I think that from the point of view of legislative, and indeed administrative convenience it is a good thing to try and avoid that sort of thing as far as possible by giving the power to the Secretary of State, subject to the approval of both Houses, to d(certain things by Orders-in-Council. A the same time, I do not think that that power should be extended too far.

In this Bill we have either already agreed to give, or it is proposed that we should give quite as much latitude under this particular heading as is desirable. and for these reasons I am not wholly it favour of the Clause. But I should like to put a stronger point. The Service: which are affected by this Clause are the very bone and fibre of the India administration, and it is necessary to point out—and here, in fact, there is no difference of opinion between those who may be called the dissident Conservatives and those who are supporting the Bill—because it is constantly ignored by uninformed persons outside this House, that these Services are not composed purely of European British subjects, and that there is a very large number of Indians in them, and an increasing number. It is necessary from the point of view of the Indians themselves in the services to give legitimate protection to their position and status. I say that because there was a speech on Friday on another occasion in which it seemed to be suggested that there was an analogy between the British Civil Service and the Indian Civil Service. That is utterly false; there is no sort of connection. It should be understood in all quarters that at the basis of this Bill is the understanding that these particular Services have a peculiar and particular status in it. It is very necessary that we should do nothing to give the impression, however misplaced that impression might be, that the safeguards and status of this Service, as laid down in the Bill, are purely of a transitory nature. It is very necessary that we should not give that impression. I do not want to be misunderstood, but I wish to say without prejudice to what this House might do by means of legislation at some future date, that I do not think that the impression, however misguided it might be, could be given that they are transitory provisions.

Again, I apologise to the Committee for making a personal reference. The thing which disturbed me at the time of the production of the original White Paper very much indeed was the provision relating to the five years' period in regard to the Civil Service. I am giving away no secret when I say that others on hat Committee were seriously disturbed by that condition. We, in our report, hoped that these particular conditions would be altered. Therefore, for all here reasons, I hope that consideration will be given to the withdrawal of the Clause, and that if it is sought at any time by a subsequent Government, it should be sought by a different method.

3.56 p.m.


I will not be tempted alter your Ruling, Sir Dennis Herbert, into following some of the considerations which were raised by my hon. Friend the Member for West Derbyshire (Marquess of Hartington), but let me, therefore, in a sentence, say that the telegrams which I have received over the week-end from India entirely confirm the statement which I made to the Committee last Friday. This Clause is really a machinery Clause. Let us not, therefore, read into it more than it actually contains. Behind it there is a good deal of history. There has been a good deal of discussion, and from the discussion certain conclusions have definitely emerged. The first is that it is very important, both from the Indian and from the British point of view, to keep the Services contented and efficient during the period—which is bound to be a critical period—in which the reforms are being brought into operation. The second conclusion that emerged from our discussion was the great interest that the Indians of all schools of thought, in the Provinces not less than at the Centre, perhaps in the Provinces more than at the Centre, take in the future relations of the Services with the responsible Governments.

Most Indians take the view that in the course of time the position of the Services in India will conform more and more to the position of the Services in Great Britain. That may be so or it may not be so; no one can say what is to be the future development of the Services in India. There is, however, no doubt about the fact that the Indians take a very close interest in this question, and we, on that account, would be unwise to take any unnecessary action that might antagonise the very reasonable view of the politically-minded Indian who thinks that in the future, at some date unnamed, there must be changes of some kind. With those conclusions in their mind, the Joint Select Committee came to the view, first of all, that, so far as existing civil servants are concerned, all their existing rights must be continued and safeguarded. Without that safeguard, the existing civil servants, on whom so much in the future is bound to depend, would be alarmed as to their conditions of service and would be less likely on that account to give efficient services to the Government, whether it be in the Provinces or whether it be at the Centre.

So far as the future is concerned, as distinct from existing civil servants, therefore, the Joint Select Committee took the view that at some time there must certainly be an inquiry into the future conditions of the Services, when sufficient data has been obtained after the initiation of responsible government, to show whether or not the changes are needed. The Committee very explicitly stated that when sufficient data had been obtained, and, in any case, not before five years, an inquiry of this kind should take place. I think it is necessary to emphasise the need for this inquiry, for whatever changes we may or may not make about the machinery of this Clause, I am sure it is essential, and we should all admit the fact, that when this data has been obtained, then such an inquiry should take place. This Clause is based upon those recommendations, namely, that so far as existing members of the Services are concerned, no alteration in their conditions—


My right hon. Friend says "existing members of the Services." Does he include all who may enter before the new constitution comes into force? When he speaks of "future members," does he mean those entering afterwards?


It is even more extended than my right hon. Friend suggests. It is before the new order comes into effect; that is to say, all civil servants now in the Service or entering the Service until the order setting out the change is actually made. Then there is to be a complete Parliamentary safeguard, namely, no alteration of any kind in their conditions of service without an amending Act. As to entrants after the new order, the Joint Select Committee made the recommendation set out at the end of paragraph 298, on page 184, of the report: The Constitution Act should in our view, make provision for enabling the present arrangements for recruitment and control of the Indian Civil Service and Indian Police to be varied without an amending Act; probably procedure by Order in Council, the draft of which had been approved by both Houses of Parliament, would be most convenient. That is the proposal set out in Clause 251. The Committee has got to consider whether that proposal is the best in the circumstances. It has been suggested in the course of this debate that a change on the lines of the Amendment would be regarded by the Services as in their interest. I am not quite sure whether that is so. My impression goes to show that existing members of the Services regard the form of this Clause, in which differentiation is made between them and future entrants, as a distinct safeguard. They think it is less likely that they would be swept into some future change if their treatment is kept distinct from future entrants. That, so far as I can judge, is the opinion of existing members of the Civil Service and existing members of the police. In any case, I would remind the Committee that there has to be Parliamentary sanction. Moreover, in a, question of this kind, which is bound to cover a great many details, supposing that changes are recommended in this inquiry, procedure even by Order in Council would be by no means a perfunctory procedure.

Therefore, between procedure by Order in Council and procedure by an amending Act, I do not myself believe there is great advantage one way or the other from the point of view of Parliamentary discussion. If, however, it is the general view in the Committee that one method is better than another, so far as I, myself, am concerned, I have no very strong feeling upon one side or the other. It is a case of machinery. It is a case of method. In either case there is Parliamentary sanction. In either case there is to be a distinction drawn between existing members of the Service and future entrants, and, provided that in making this change of method we make it at the same time quite clear that we do not retract in any way from the position we have taken up about the inquiry, and the position we have taken up that out of that inquiry there might emerg suggestions for a change in the condition of the Service. We are not going in an, way back upon that opinion.

As I say, I have no strong opinion between one method and another, but do say that if we did change the method and did substitute an amending Act for the Order in Council, then, I think, their would be some question whether in on. of the other Service Clauses, or in the. Instrument of Instructions, or perhaps in both, we should, in appropriate words make it quite clear that we have no withdrawn from the position about tin inquiry, and that we have not shut down once and for all the possibility of change: being made in the future. Unless we took that course, we should be making it appear to Indians generally that it making what is only a change of method we were making a change of principle and that is certainly not my view, and] hope it will not be the view of the Committee

4.9 p.m.


I gathered from the speech of the Secretary of State that he is going to delete this Clause. Was I right in that assumption?


I will listen to the end of my right hon. Friend's speech.


I thought we had just had the pleasure of listening to a very full and agreeable exposition by the Secretary of State of the pros and cons of this matter, in which he said he had no strong opinion, and considering that he has been appealed to by that influential bodyguard of his, the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy), the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), and the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton)—considering that this trio—perhaps it would be more respectful to call them a trinity—have joined either their arguments or their applause to the appeal which has been made to him to drop the Clause, and that he himself says he does not see much in it one way or the other—or words to that effect —I should have thought the only conclusion was that the Clause should be dropped; otherwise, I do not understand the point of his speech. I ask him, did his speech mean that the Clause was to be dropped or not?


I will answer this question in my own time and in my own way.


But I was under the impression that the right hon. Gentleman had just been dealing with the subject before the Committee, and, of course, on a matter of this kind in Debate the ordinary Members of the Committee are very interested to know whether, in fact, the Government intend to drop the Clause or not. If they do not intend to do so, then the Debate will naturally take a much more protracted course. Even if the Clause were to be deleted a few comments might be required, but the right hon. Gentleman should surely be able to say whether he will accept the proposal to delete the Clause or not. I will gladly give way to him if he will be willing to answer the question. I think it is a most extraordinary thing. The right hon. Gentleman, I am afraid, has got into a pet, and is irritated. Certainly I would be delighted if this were one of the occasions when the right hon. Gentleman would think it fit to answer the question.


No, Sir; I am not going to answer the question now, because I do not regard my right hon. Friend's opinion as the only opinion in the Committee. I wish to hear other people's opinions besides his.


That is, of course, a controversial method of replying, because we have been debating this question for some time. We debated it for half an hour on Friday. I am so glad that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to hustle us at all in this matter, and I certainly do not propose to delay the proceedings; but it seems to me that what we really want to know is whether he is going to withdraw the Clause or not. For my part—and I suppose I shall be allowed to be one of those whose opinions are taken into consideration in the matter—I lend my support entirely to the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings and to the right hon. Member for West Birmingham.


I have not yet expressed any opinion.


I thought I heard from time to time those stentorian cheers which are so characteristic and so enlivening to our discussions, but if I have misquoted the right hon. Gentleman I am sure I am very sorry. Anyhow, it is his opinion for which the Secretary of State is waiting, and now we have a perfectly clear explanation of this curious reserve of the Secretary of State. He has a concession to make— he is going to give up the Clause—about the only one in the whole course of the Bill. But the great act is still to be staged. The concession has to be made to the right hon. Member for West Birmingham himself. When all the lesser figures have been disposed of, then the toreador enters the ring, and administers the coup de grace to the Clause. I have been dealing so far with the peculiar Parliamentary situation, but I feel that, in view of this situation, I ought to give way at once, and enable the main act to be performed, and when the Committee knows where it is, and the Government have made up their mind and disclosed it to the Committee, it will then be possible for us to address ourselves to the actual question under discussion.

4.15 p.m.>


I am at a loss to understand why there is anything unusual from the point of view of Parliamentary procedure that the Secretary of State, having heard a certain number of opinions expressed in the Committee, should say that he is prepared to consider the matter with an open mind and that he would like to hear the expression of the views of other Members of the Committee. I recall that on the second day of the Committee stage because my right hon. Friend did not intervene soon enough he was taken to task by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) on the ground that he should have spoken earlier. On another occasion when he spoke rather sooner the right hon. Gentleman criticised him and said that he came to the Committee with his mind completely made up. I think he said that my right hon. Friend sent the Whips along to the smoking room and the library and that the dumb legions were marched along to give effect to the course which the India Office had decided on that morning. This afternoon, when my right hon. Friend said earlier in the Debate that he does not feel that there is any very important principle at stake and that he is prepared to defer to the opinions of the Committee, once more the right hon. Member for Epping finds ground for complaint. The fact of the matter is that the right hon. Gentleman thought the Secretary of State was going to announce some modification in the Clause, and he wished to be able to say that there had been a revolt on the Government back benches and that for almost the first time the Government had given way.

Fair minded Members of the Committee will be glad that on a matter of this kind the Secretary of State, not feeling that there is any vital issue at stake, should be willing to defer to the opinion of the Members of the Committee and I hope that he will be prepared to agree to some modification of the Clause. If there were any great danger of an inquiry being held unduly soon and any likelihood of a transfer of the recruiting of these very important and vital services being carried out by Members of a Government of a different complexion in the near future, it might be a very important matter as a safeguard that instead of there only being the need for an Address from both Houses of Parliament an Act of Parliament should be required. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will make it quite clear that although there is to be this inquiry and that at some time in the fuure, if Parliament in its wisdom so decides, the recruitment of the security services in India may be carried out on a different basis and that there may be a smaller proportion of Europeans in those services, there is at present no intention of going beyond the proportions laid down in the Lee Committee's Report. If in this Bill there was no provision for altering the present system of recruitment by which the Lee Committee's proportion is maintained, that would be a very valuable indication to India that it will mean very definitely a change of policy before recruitment is altered and the present proportions abandoned. Because there has been in the past so great a tendency for Indians to interpret words used in this House as being promises and pledges when there was no such intention, I think it would be a wise thing if instead of allowing so great and radical a change to be made by Order-in-Council an Act of Parliament should be necessary for that purpose.

4.19 p.m.


I have listened with great care to what the Secretary of State said, and I agree with him that there is not much difference between the method proposed in the Clause and the method by way of the procedure of s new amending Bill. I cannot quite see what the case can be for a change, if a change should take place. I express the views of my hon. Friends when I say that we would rather stand by the Clause as drafted. There is not much difference in the two procedures, although there is a possibility of something very substantial being lost by a change. I have been somewhat apprehensive of the tremendous efforts there have been to safeguard, and safeguard and yet to safeguard the interests of the Civil Service in India. I think I have said before that so far as we are concerned we are entirely in accord with those who wish to safeguard the legitimate rights of our people who are now serving in India and to do nothing to interfere with their proper pay and their financial interests generally, but there can be only one effect upon Indian minds by these repeated efforts to erect additional barricades round the English section of the Indian Civil Service.

The Noble Lord opposite can be as disturbed as he likes, but the plain truth at the back of our minds is that it is the British section of the Indian Civil Service that we are concerned with. This constant concern in regard to the British section may, I fear, place them in a somewhat unfortunate position once this constitutional change has taken place in India. We may by this over-emphasis of the rights of the Civil Service, the British section of the Civil Service, create a sort of antagonism which all of us would personally deplore. I consider that Clause 251 amply meets the situation. An Order-in-Council can be produced by the Secretary of State, but it cannot become effective without the sanction of both Houses of Parliament. What more can hon. Members want? I fail to see in what particular the interests of the civil servants are in any way jeopardised by Clauses 250 and 251. It seems to me that they are amply safeguarded and I hope that the Secretary of State will stand firm by Clause 251 as it now appears.

4.23 p.m.


I intervene in view of the fact that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made a definite appeal for the opinion of the Committee before the Committee went to a vote. He said that he was not ready at an earlier stage to give his final decision. I have listened to the Debate and I have read very carefully the Debate of last Friday, and I appreciate the fact that this Clause deals with the question of the future recruitment of the Civil Service. There is a vital question at stake and it makes a great difference, despite the opinions of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. M. Jones), as to whether if there is to be a change in the appointing authority for these vital branches of the Civil Service in the future the transfer should be done by an amending Bill or merely by an Order in Council. When the Government of India. of 1919 was passed, and earlier when the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms came into operation there was complete apathy on the part of the British public on the whole question of India. There will not be the same state of affairs again, because it is widely appreciated throughout the country what these vast changes mean. It is appreciated that appointments to the Civil Service and the maintenance of the Civil Service to some extent as it is to-day is, in the words of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). the steel frame on which the Government of India rests.

Therefore, no question could be more important than that of recruitment in the future and whether the Secretary of State shall by Order in Council transfer his power to "such authority as may be specified" or whether we shall in such an event proceed by legislation, when we know the circumstances. The Secretary of State is asking us to legislate in Clause 251 and to say that in future if there is to be a vital change of this kind it shall be made by Order in Council, which is to lie on the Table for approval by the two Houses. If we proceed on the lines of legislation public attention will be called to the matter. We shall have opinions from this country and from India and we shall know at the time of the legislation exactly what are the circumstances and the reasons of the Government for their action. Therefore, I hope that my right hon. Friend will drop Clause 251 and if there is to be a complete change in regard to the appointing authority in the future we shall do it by Act of Parliament.

4.29 p.m.


I rise, before any toreador has thrust a javelin into my breast, to thank the Committee for the advice that they have given me. I regard this question, not as a Service question, but as a 'Parliamentary question. From the point of view of the Services, I do not regard it as either a worse or a better safeguard, according as we adopt the alternative of an Order in Council or an amending Act, but so far as this House is concerned I can to some extent sympathise with the views of the majority of hon. Members who have taken part in the Debate, namely, that the question is important if you prefer the procedure of an amending Act to the sanction of Orders in Council by Parliamentary Resolutions. That being so, and regarding it as a question of method, I am quite prepared to see the Clause negatived with this understanding, that I will consider whether any alternative Clause is necessary, making it clear that we have not withdrawn from the general policy of the Joint Select Committee, namely, that an inquiry will take place and that changes may take place in the future. Whether, in a new Clause or in some other part of the Bill or in the Instrument of Instructions, I shall propose to make that clear.

4.31 p.m.


I hope I may be permitted to offer my congratulations to the Secretary of State for the concession he has made to the opinion of the Committee after having taken the greatest possible care to ascertain it. I must also congratulate the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson) whose persuasive pleading determined the Secretary of State on which side of the fence he would come down. It is highly interesting to see the secret springs by which our legislation is determined. We have seen it brought into the light of day. The Secretary of State, after months and years of studying this question, was undecided, like one of those rocks which only need the infant touch to cause it to slip down. Then comes along the hon. Member for Doncaster who applies the necessary impulse at the right place and at the right moment, and the Committee is in the presence of an event rare in our experience in legislation which is passing through the Committee. I congratulate the Secretary of State on his decision and upon the manner of it, but I feel that in taking this step he has made the Committee, as it were, partners with him at any rate in the omission of a part of the Bill.

I do not think the right hon. Gentleman need feel any serious apprehension about the effect which will he produced on Indian opinion. He used the expression that he was afraid of antagonising politically-minded Indians. He need not worry about that; he has antagonised them all already. I was reading in the "Times" newspaper, his own organ, the special organ of Indian defeatists, only this morning a report from their Delhi correspondent, in which he said that India may rightly claim that politically-minded India is universally opposed to the Bill, or words to that effect. There is no question of arguing it any more; it is admitted that from one end to the other all politically-minded classes are already hostile to the Bill and determined to do their utmost to resist it.


I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not pursue that argument, because it does not arise on this Clause.


I was endeavouring to fortify the Secretary of State in the decision he has taken, to proceed with courage on this path, because the apprehension that he may antagonise the politically-minded Indians has no substance, they being completely antagonised already. The Secretary of State must also feel that in taking this Clause off the face of the Bill he is removing an element of uncertainty which will be fatal to the recruitment of the Indian Services. I well remember the great efforts which were made by the late Lord Birkenhead to improve the number and quality of the candidates coming forward for this Civil Service examination for India. He undertook a pilgrimage throughout the country, and as a result of his campaign there was a great improvement in the numbers and quality of people coming forward as candidates. But lamentable effects upon the recruiting have already been produced by the policy of the Secretary of State.


They have been considerably better since that campaign.


Since the Bill was introduced?


In the last eight or nine years.


I have been assured to the contrary. What are you laughing at?


I was laughing, because there has been no examination since the Bill was introduced, and the right hon. Gentleman's claim is rather like the claim of a certain regime in a foreign country, that it had largely increased the birth-rate six months after it had come into power.


I should have said since the operation of the Bill has been brought under review. I think I could give the Noble Lord and the Secretary of State, if they are in any doubt, some figures which are very disconcerting indeed. However, if to the already great despondency which hangs over the Indian Civil Service you are going to add the uncertainty that their careers may be placed on an entirely different basis in future years you will undoubtedly increase the deterioration in the character and quality of those who come forward. I do not suppose that you will fail to find people who will come forward, but they will not have the educational qualities or the high character which has enabled the Civil Service in the past to do such remarkable work in India.. Remembering how few there are of the Indian Civil Service compared with the enormous masses of people whose affairs they regulate and guide, it seems to me a serious thing indeed to lower the class of candidates coming forward or cast any uncertainty over the future of the Service. Both from the point of view that the evil effects on Indian public opinion need not deter him and that to some extent he will be undoing the harm done to the future of the Indian Civil Service by removing this additional cause of unsettlement, I feel that we ought to acknowledge that the Secretary of State has taken a wise step in deferring to the opinion expressed from so many quarters of the Committee.

However, I must enter my caveat about what the Secretary of State said on the subject of introducing other words in some other part of the Bill. I hope that he is not going to take away with one hand what he is giving with the other. I hope that we shall not encounter at a later stage, on Report, the ghost of Clause 251 risen from the grave in which we are now by general consent interring it, with all the grisly marks of its sojourn there. I trust that we have seen the last of this quite needless cause of disturbance to the already harassed Indian Civil Service. For my part, while I welcome the concession given and the gracious way in which it came, I shall certainly exercise the most constant vigilance in an examination of the alternative Clause, or verbiage, which he proposes to introduce at a later stage.

I must also say, on the general Parliamentary point of view, that there is all the difference between a Bill which passes through all its stages in this House, and an Order-in-Council which acquires validity by a single division. Moreover, it seems to me that the procedure under this Clause, and Clause 286 which governs it, throws upon the House of Lords the burden of giving a veto to a proposal, to a policy, put forward by the responsible Government of the day. To throw the burden on the House of Lords of imposing a veto, apart from the regulating and mitigating procedure of the Parliament Act, is to expose that Chamber to a constitutional burden which in its present unreformed condition it is unable to bear. From that point of view, we may rejoice that this Clause has been withdrawn, and, although we cannot yet say in what form the proposal will again come before us, I feel that the Debates on the subject, the careful examination which the matter has received, have been fully justified, and the care and attention which hon. Members are paying to this Bill in its various stages is another unsolicited tribute to the Secretary of State.

4.43 p.m.


We think that the incomplete union of hearts on the other side of the Committee should be demonstrated in the Lobby, and we shall certainly vote against the withdrawal of the Clause. The right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) has pointed out the great difference between an Order-in-Council and a Bill. The right hon. Gentleman is looking forward to the future to more triumphs on the Floor of the House, because everything under this Bill which requires any Amendment will have to be done by way of a Bill. Although he is very active now, it may be that in the time to come he will relapse into that state of indifference which was described by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), and which he regretted occurred at the time of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. The right hon. Member for Epping was one of the chief exponents of that indifference. In the future we may not see the right hon. Gentleman taking a major share in Debates on Bills concerning India. We consider that the suggestion of an amending Bill is entirely uncalled for, and it only complicates the proposals of the Bill. It is far more difficult to introduce an amending Bill than an Order-in-Council. The hon. Member for Barnstaple used a phrase about a steel frame. There is not much difference between a steel frame and a cage. The steel frame is interpreted in India as a cage. We on this side object to the cage.

4.45 p.m.


My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) has taken upon himself the role of Cassandra in this Debate. It is not a, role which is generally grateful to the prophet's contemporaries, and it must also often be distressing to the prophet himself. But my right hon. Friend plays it in so merry a spirit that he relieves us all from the fears which he tries to instil in our minds. No man could be so merry if he really believed all the disasters that he prophesies. I rise, not to answer my right hon. Friend's intervention at an earlier stage, but because I was a member of the Joint Select Committee, and I think it is only fair to the Secretary of State to say that in this Clause he has followed exactly the recommendation which that Committee made. I am bound to say that when I saw the Clause I thought he had departed from our recommendation, and the only explanation that I can formulate for myself is that my attention was so much concentrated on the focus point at which the inquiry must take place that I paid too little attention to the alternative which was suggested.

I do support the reforms. I am certain that if the reforms are successful, as I hope they will be, a large part of their success will be due to the Civil Service, both Englishmen and Indians. I think it is of the first importance, wherever we can without injury to our main purpose, to give the largest measure of comfort and assurance and reassurance to that service. I agree with the Secretary of State that there is not a very profound difference between the two methods. I agree with him also that whatever we do to-day must be, when we have had more experience, subject to inquiry, and may, though it by no means necessarily will, require alteration as the result of that inquiry. I agree with all that. But there is a difference between having that inquiry presented to us in the form of a Bill with the full consideration which a Bill necessarily demands, and having it presented to us only in the form of a resolution to approve an Order in Council in which it is embodied. It is well worth our while and well worth the while of the Secretary or State to make the change which my right hon. Friend has now agreed to make. We ought to recognise that there must be, when sufficient experience has been obtained, an inquiry into this matter, and that further legislation may be required as a result of that inquiry.

4.49 p.m.


I speak for the politically-educated Hindus. You will not find among that section any strong opposition to the removal of this Clause and the substitution of an Act of Parliament for the action of the Secretary of State. After all, if we can bring in an Act of Parliament so amending this Bill, we can amend it in other directions as well. If there is a chance of amending this Bill, if there is a chance of bringing in a new Bill to meet a changing situation, the situation may change in other directions as well. We have been led to understand that this Bill is in the nature of a treaty between the Government and the Princes in India, a treaty as permanent as the laws of the Medes and Persians. If we can alter it, then the treaty idea goes to the wall, and there is some hope that in future India will get a Bill not so manifestly unfair to the Hindus as this Bill.

4.51 p.m.


I do not think that the arguments advanced throughout the day have been sufficient to set aside what was recommended by the Joint Select Committee. That decision was arrived at very definitely after considering the whole position, and while I agree with the Secretary of State that there is not a great deal of difference in the political machinery he proposes to adopt, either by Order in Council or a new Act, I am sure that this change will be exaggerated in India, that it will be looked upon as a concession to the reactionaries, and the very fact that it has been welcomed in such enthusiastic terms by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) will put a stamp upon it which will be recognised. For myself I think that if, on these matters, the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) is going into one Lobby my safe course is to go into the other Lobby. Apart from that, I regret that this step has been taken. I think that more importance will be given to it in India than we estimate; and certainly I think it is a pity to suggest to India that before this change can be carried out there is to be another Act of Parliament. Everyone knows the difficulties that arise when a Bill is brought into the House, the delays and the pleas that other business has a prior claim. Therefore, if a vote is taken on this Clause I and my friends will be obliged to stand by the Bill as introduced and by the Clause as drawn to represent in statutory language the expressed recommendation of the Joint Committee.


; I must, in view of that declared intention of the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot), assure the Secretary of State of my personal resolve to support him in the. Lobby.

4.53 p.m.


We shall all go into the Lobby with mixed motives, it seems. Even after the friendly observation of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), in honesty I must say to him that I go into the Lobby with motives very different from his. I definitely regard this as a question of machinery. Further, I go as withdrawing in no respect from the view of the Joint Committee that an inquiry must take place, that changes may very likely emerge as a result of that inquiry, and that in any case there must be Parliamentary sanction to the recommendations of change.

My right hon. Friend, on the other hand, goes into the Lobby with the desire of never seeing any change in any circumstances at any time in the future. Therefore, he and I vote with totally different motives.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 43; Noes, 233.

Division No.145.] AYES. [4.55 p.m.
Attlee, Clement Richard Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Banfield, John William Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McEntee, Valentine L.
Batey, Joseph Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Mainwaring, William Henry
Cleary, J. J. Grundy, Thomas W. Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Maxton, James
Cove, William G. Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Rea, Walter Russell
Daggar, George Harris, Sir Percy Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Holdsworth, Herbert Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Davies, Stephen Owen John, William Thorne, William James
Dobble, William Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Kirkwood, David West, F. R.
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Lansbury, Rt. Hon George Wilmot, John
Gardner, Benjamin Walter Lawton, John James Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Logan, David Gilbert
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Lunn, William TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Mr. Groves and Mr. Paling.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T.(Leeds, W.) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Clarke, Frank Haslam, Henry(Horn castle)
Albery, Irving James Cobb, Sir Cyril Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Colvllie, Lieut.-Colonel J. Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd)
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Conant, R. J. E. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Cooke, Douglas Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Cooper, A. Duff Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)
Assheton, Ralph Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Crooke, J. Smedley Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.
Atholl, Duchess of Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)
Balniel, Lord Crossley, A. C. Hume, Sir George Hopwood
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Culverwell, Cyril Tom Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Davison, Sir William Henry Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.) Denman, Hon. R. D. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Dickle, John P. Iveagh, Countess of
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Donner, P. W. Jackson, Sir Henry(Wandsworth, C.)
Bernays, Robert Duckworth, George A. V. James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.
Blindell, James Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Jamieson, Douglas
Bossom, A. C. Duggan, Hubert John Joel, Dudley J. Barnato
Boulton, W. W. Elliot, Rt. Hon Walter Kerr, Hamilton W.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Ellis, Sir R Geoffrey Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger
Bower, Commander Robert Tatton Eimley, Viscount Kirkpatrick, William M.
Boyce, H. Leslie Emrys-Evans, P. V. Lambert, Rt. Hon. George
Brass, Captain Sir William Erskine, Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Evans, Capt Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Lennox-Boyd, A. T.
Broadbent, Colonel John Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Levy, Thomas.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Fox, Sir Gilford Lewis, Oswald
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks.,Newb'y) Fraser, Captain Sir Ian Liddall, Walter S.
Bullock, Captain Malcolm Fremantie, Sir Francis Lindsay, Kenneth(Kilmarnock)
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Fuller, Captain A. G. Lindsay, Noel Ker
Burnett, John George Galbraith, James Francis Wallace Lister, Rt. Hon Sir Philip Cunllfie-
Butler, Richard Austen Ganzonl, Sir John Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest
Butt, Sir Alfred Gilmour, Lt.-Col Rt. Hon. Sir John Lioyd, Geoffrey
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Golf, Sir Park Loder, Captain J. de Vera
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Granville, Edgar Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander
Castlereagh, Viscount Graves, Marjorie Mabane, William
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Grimston, R. V. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R.(Prtsmth.,S.) Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Gunston, Captain D. W. Macdonald, Capt P. D. (I. of W.)
Cazalet, Capt V. A. (Chippenham) Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. McKie, John Hamilton
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry McLean, Major Sir Alan
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston) Hartington, Marquess of Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Hartland, George A. Margesson, Capt Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Marsden, Commander Arthur Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Strauss, Edward A.
Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Rickards, George William Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Ropner, Colonel L. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Summarsby, Charles H.
Mitchell, Harold(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward Taylor, C. S (Eastbourne)
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane(Streatham) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)
Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Runge, Norah Cecil Thorp, Linton Theodore
Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury) Tryon, Rt. Hon George Clement
Moreing, Adrian C. Rutherford, John(Edmonton) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L,
Morris-Jones, Dr J. H. (Denbigh) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Nation, Brigadler-General J. J. H. Salmon, Sir Isidore Wallace, Sir John(Dunfermline)
Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Salt, Edward W. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Nunn, William Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Sandys, Duncan Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Orr Ewing, I. L. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Wayland, Sir William A.
Palmer, Francis Noel Savery, Samuel Servington Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Patrick, Colin M. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Percy, Lord Eustace Shaw, Helen B.(Lanark, Bothwell) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Perkins, Walter R. D. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D. Windsor-Cilve, Lieut.-Colonel George
Pownall, Sir Assheton Smith, Sir Robert(Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.) Winterton, Rt. Hon Earl
Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Somervell, Sir Donalo Womersley, Sir Walter
Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Ramsbotham, Herwald Soper, Richard Worthington, Dr. John V.
Rathbone, Eleanor Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Spens, William Patrick TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Reid, William Allan (Derby) Stanley, Rt. Hon Lord (Fylde) Sir George Penny and Major
Remer, John R. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland) George Davies.

Question put, and agreed to.