§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. COCKS
I beg to move, in page 149, line 37, after "number" to insert: "and one of whom shall be a woman."
We are now coming to a subject which will come up again in its different ways before we have finished with our discussion of the Bill, namely, the question of how the Bill affects the interests of Indian women. The position of the Secretary of State's advisers is a very important one, because in certain cases he will not be able to act unless he gets the support of a majority of those advisers. It will be the duty of the Secretary of State in many cases to give advice to the Governor-General and to the various Governors, or to take action in certain ways, and it is very important that the interests of the 131,000,000 women of British India, as well as of the many other millions of women in the Indian States, should be represented on this most important body.
I will give two reasons for that. Everybody knows that the women of India have suffered for ages, and still suffer, 913 from immense social evils such as child marriage and maternal mortality, and many others into which I need not go at the present time and which demand legislation. Undoubtedly when the new Constitution comes into operation, measures will be introduced dealing with some of those very important social questions, which are likely to cause a good deal of controversy. Child marriage causes a good deal of controversy now. One can imagine that so much controversy and disturbance might be caused that it would become the duty of the Secretary of State to take action. We consider it is very important that, before he gives his advice to the Governor-General or the Governors, or takes drastic action in such matters, he should have the opportunity of consulting an Indian woman who is familiar with those matters and who would be able to give advice which I am sure the Secretary of State would appreciate.
The second reason for which I put forward this proposal is that everybody who knows India is convinced that the most extraordinary phenomenon of modern times is the rise and advancement of Indian women. After being kept in subjection for many years they are now coming forward at a greater pace than even women in England. It is part of the rise of the women's movement all over the world, not merely in. the West of Europe but East of Europe. I saw in the paper to-day a photograph of one of the first women members of Parliament elected in Turkey. I was very struck by meeting an Indian lady who, six weeks before, had been in purdah and now had got out of purdah, and was shopping in Bond Street, travelling in aeroplanes and going to Paris. I feel that modern Indian women who have freed themselves from the shackles of the past are the very ones who could help to steer fearlessly through the dark recesses that still exist in Indian life.
§ Sir B. PETO
Does the hon. Member suggest that Indian women who go shopping in Bond Street would be useful in advising the Secretary of State?
§ Sir B. PETO
I always take a serious view of the hon. Member's speeches. I 914 thought he would not have introduced the argument if he had not meant it.
§ Mr. COCKS
I am very sorry if I have offended the hon. Member's susceptibilities. In spite of what the hon. Member said, I believe, and I am not the only one who believes, that the future of India lies very largely in the hands of the women of India. That is why I feel that it would be very easy for the Secretary of State if he had a woman on his Council. I am not at all sure that the India Office is entirely free from ancient masculine prejudice in this matter. It is a very ancient office and is perhaps remote to some extent from modern movements. There was only one woman representative, Miss Pickford, on the Joint Select Committee, whose parting from us was such a loss both to India and to England, and on the delegation that reached us from India there was only one woman, Begum Shah Nawaz, whose work for her Indian sisters we very greatly admired. The India Office should free itself from its rather oriental masculine prejudices. The Secretary of State with all his wisdom, knowledge and common sense, would appreciate the advice and the presence on his council of a lady from India who would be helpful to him and to the future government of India.
§ 9.3 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I hope that the Committee will not tie the hands of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will be free to appoint a woman or not as he thinks fit. The Committee should remember that the advisers are primarily appointed to advise the Secretary of State on Service questions and that is to be their locus standi Their position will be of a more limited character than is the position of the present Council. At present, rightly or wrongly, there are no women in the Secretary of State's Services. When there are women in the Secretary of State's Services that will be the time for the women's movement to claim that their interests should be represented in the Secretary of State's Council. Women qua women would be out of place in this particular body of advisers. It is much better to leave the appointment open. I am not in the least prejudiced one way or the other; in fact, my political past will show that I have always been on the side of bringing in women to bodies of 915 this kind. In present circumstances, however, I think it would be better not to make a statutory enactment of this kind, but to leave it to the Secretary of State to act in the light of circumstances as they may develop. When the circumstances have so changed that it is fitting that he should have the advice of a woman on service questions, then will be the time when a woman will be appointed.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ Major HILLS
The Secretary of State is so old a supporter of the women's cause that I feel rather diffident in differing from him. If I may for a moment indulge in a personal reminiscence, I believe I was the first Member of the House to introduce a Motion that there should be a women's vote in India, and the Secretary of State did me the honour of voting for that Motion. I quite appreciate that it is not the right way to look at this question from the point of view of women qua women, and I do not believe that that is the essence of the movement which has swept over a large part of the world. The real object of supporting the appointment of a woman is that, if a woman is the best person for a post, a woman should get it. But in this special instance there is a strong case for putting one woman on to the Secretary of State's Council.
My hon. Friend the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), who made an interjection just now, seemed to me to overlook the immense advance that Indian women have made since 1919, and are still making. I am sure that women's questions will play an increasing part in India in the future. I believe that the women's movement in India is the key to progress, and, the importance of starting the new Government on right lines being very great, I should have been very glad if my right hon. Friend could have yielded on this question. The concession would not be a great one, and it would be in line with the feeling which I know he has held on previous occasions. We may hope that as long as he is Secretary of State women's claims will not be disregarded; but no Secretary of State is immortal. A change might come over the scene, the importance of women's questions in India might be neglected, and we might get a state of things that would not lead to the contentment and good government of India.
916 Moreover, the women Of India are very much awake, and I may say in passing that the idea that used to exist that women in India are kept back, and that they have no influence on affairs is entirely erroneous. It was out of date in 1919, and it is absolutely obsolete now. Women, at any rate, have been at the bottom of the revolutionary movement in India, which shows that they are not without power. By accepting this Amendment my right hon. Friend would have been doing something which would satisfy the opinion of women in India. No one who has met Indian women can fail to be struck by the educational qualifications and the qualifications of mind which they possess. People who have not seen them do not realise that, but think they are all veiled and kept in seclusion. That is a worn-out idea. It did not exist to the extent to which it was supposed to exist. Women in India have accepted the modern world, and their minds have moved in consonance with it. I wonder if the Secretary of State could yield this point? I know that we are safe in entrusting him with the selection, but it is not enough to be right in this world—you must show that you are right, and that you mean to do right. It would be a great mark to India if the women of India were told that there would be some representative of their sex on the Council of the Secretary of State. In any case there would only be one, and, however persuasive a woman is, she cannot over-rule five men. For every reason I hope that, even at the last moment, my right hon. Friend may yield.
§ 9.12 p.m.
§ Miss RATHBONE
The Secretary of State, in replying on the Amendment, has said that the primary object of these advisers is to advise on matters relating to the Services. But that is not clearly indicated in the Bill, where we are told that the Secretary of State's advisers may be consulted on any matter relating to India on which he may desire their advice. May not one of those matters be, not only the Services as they are, but what difference it may be necessary to make in the Services if they are to cover all the needs and interests of the population of India? I know too well that those who inserted this proposal in the Bill were thinking mainly of the Services as they are—were thinking, perhaps, 917 of such questions as how the finances of India and the defences of India might be safeguarded, and of the interests of those already in the Services. Their thoughts, I am sure, were far from such facts as, to give a single example, that, of all the babies born in Japan and in India respectively, in any given year, more than half the Japanese babies, but less than one-fifth of the Indian babies, will live to reach the age of 50. I am sure they were not thinking of such facts, as being among the matters about which the Secretary of State might want to consult his advisers, as that in any one year not less than 200,000 mothers in India die in childbirth—about 20 every hour of the day and night—
Duchess of ATHOLL
Surely my hon. Friend realises that all these questions, which are of such tremendous importance and interest to the people of India, will be handed over as transferred subjects, and we shall not be able to touch them.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I will deal with that point in a minute. As I have said, I do not suppose that the question of the colossal maternal death-rate in India was in the minds of those who recommended the appointment of these officers, or the fact that many of these mothers are young girls in their early teens, and that that most of them die without the skilled attendance of a doctor or trained midwife or any kind of anaesthetic. That is not the kind of question about which those who proposed the appointment of advisers, to the Secretary of State imagined he would wish to consult them.
I foresaw that I should be told that questions such as these are health questions, and that health is a transferred subject, and will come under the provincial governments rather than directly under the Secretary of State. But, in the first place, evils such as these and kindred evils are not merely a question of the existence or lack of medical services; they depend partly on the marriage laws and their administration, and partly on economic factors such as poverty and all that makes for poverty; and these factors come within the Federal sphere. Secondly, even in the matter of health, although it is true that we are conferring wider autonomy on the Provinces that does not absolve the Secretary of State wholly from responsibility in these matters. India is a whole and the object 918 of this Bill is to make it still more a whole. Every part of all these immensely complicated structures which we are erecting in this Bill acts and reacts upon the other part. It is true that Provincial Governors will fill the posts in the Provincial services, but it is the Secretary of State, in effect, who appoints the Governors. It is the Secretary of State who fills the higher services.
The Secretary of State has told us that one of the reasons why he does not want to accept the Amendment is that there are no women in his service. Yes, but it might be one of the functions of a woman adviser, if there were a woman adviser to recommend him to do what he is empowered to do, namely, to open the Civil Service to women, and, if that were not suitable, to create a special branch of the Civil Service for women. Would not the effect of a woman adviser be to bring the whole range of women's influence and interests, which he thinks are of so little importance that they are not worthy to be in charge of a special woman adviser, within the range of his own vision rather more than it is at present?
I know that the second objection that will be raised by somebody to this proposal is that social reforms cannot go in advance of Indian opinion, and that their progress will depend on a change of heart among the Indians themselves. That is true. But the question which I ask of all whom I meet on the subject is: What are the Government in India or the Government in this country doing to educate public opinion on these questions Is it the case that the young men who go out to India year after year are told that women's interests and these great social evils are part of their responsibility and something that they ought to study, or are they still told, as the late Sir John Kerr told me he was advised when he first went out to India, "Young men, keep your hands off religion and the women"? So far as I can find out, that is still the tradition, and it is faithfully observed. I have been a whole-time worker for public causes for the last 40 years, but in all my life I have never been so completely up against a dead wall as in this business of Indian women. It is not a wall of active hostility—I could fight against that—and it is not a wall of conscious and deliberate apathy over 919 these evils. I do not think so badly of those concerned with the Government of India as to accuse them of that. It is a wall composed of tired and preoccupied minds of busy men—minds brimming over with interests and concerns which to them seem infinitely more important, or at least more within the scope of their daily duties than these questions of maternal mortality, child marriage and illiteracy. Hence they get to look with a kind of weary dislike and sick distaste—
§ Sir S. HOARE
On a point of Order. May we have your Ruling on this point, Sir Dennis? Is this to be a general debate upon the position of women in India? Will you tell us if that is so? It is a very narrow issue, namely, whether a. woman should be on the Secretary of State's Council, the Council having as its duty to advise the Secretary of State on service questions. Are we to have a general debate of this kind?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Before you give your Ruling, Sir Dennis, may I call attention to the fact that the Clause says:whose duty it shall be to advise the Secretary of State on any matter relating to India on which he may desire their advice.How can that be limited? It is as wide as any subject mentioned in the Bill.
§ Miss RATHBONE
Before you answer that point of Order Sir Dennis, may I make this point? We have reached Clause 264, and this is the first question which really affects the status of women as women, and it is almost the only Clause in the Bill—
§ 9.21 p.m.
§ Miss RATHBONE
As the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, the point is that this is the question of the choice of six advisers to the Secretary of State who may advise him upon any question upon which he wishes to consult them concerning India. Am I not in order in arguing as to the kind of subject upon which he might want to take advice and to point out—
The hon. Lady can make that speech when the time comes. May I call her attention to the fact that 920 the question of the point of Order on this occasion has nothing whatever to do with whether the question of women has been discussed hitherto, or whether it is the first time or the 12th time. All with which I have to deal at present is the point of Order.
That seems to be a hypothetical question. There is a point of Order before me at the moment, and I am perfectly prepared to give a ruling on it. The Clause provides for a body of persons:whose duty it shall be to advise the Secretary of State on any matter relating to India on which he may desire their advice.That is not quite world-wide, if I may use that expression, because quite obviously the Clause does not contemplate his asking their advice except in the performance of his official duties as Secretary of State for India. That is really almost the only implication to be drawn from it subject to this, that while it is in order to express the view that there should be a woman on this body for particular reasons, as for instance, the question generally of the influence of women in India, or their position in India, it is not, in my opinion, in order that these matters should be discussed in detail. I hope that the Committee will follow what I mean about this. It is the kind of ruling which I have to give very often. There are many matters to which it is quite in order and quite relevant to refer, but it is not in order to go into a discussion of these matters and to produce, so to speak, a subsidiary debate on something which has really nothing to do with the Clause under discussion. But within those limits, I consider that it is in order to give any reasons which hon. Members may think right in support of the view that there should be a woman on the body which is to advise the Secretary of State on matters which are within his province under this Bill as Secretary of State, and hon. Members must not go beyond that.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I will try to keep strictly within your ruling. I was trying to argue, first, that the questions relating to women's interests are of immense 921 importance and urgency, and secondly, that they tend to be neglected just because there is no body of persons whose daily duty it is to keep this kind of question under their survey. It is just because there are no women already in the Services that an appointment of this kind is needed.
The hon. Lady is not out of order at the moment, but I want to make clear to her the meaning of my ruling which I made just now. May I give an example? If there is some matter on which the Secretary of State has no official duty, let me say, for example, no right equivalent to that of initiating legislation on one particular matter, then it is not in order to discuss that particular matter on this Amendment.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I have no wish to do so. The point I was coming to immediately was that the very subject which the Secretary of State has enlarged upon as the principal part of the duties on which he wanted advisers is the question of the Services. I am sorry if I failed to make myself clear, but the whole burden of my argument is that this is a range of interests not at present sufficiently covered by the Services; and that, as it is within the Secretary of State's power to create fresh branches of the Services and to admit women to the Services if he pleases, a woman would be able to advise him just as to the need for women in the Services. She would be able to survey a whole range of questions as they come up in India, and to act as a kind of liaison officer between all the different departments and point out the relevance of all the different subjects as they conic up as they affect women. This is just the kind of subject which is comparatively neglected at present, because there is no woman whose whole-time job it is to keep these matters under constant surveillance and to bring them to the notice of the departments they concern.
I anticipate that one of the objections which makes the Secretary of State reluctant to accept this—and I see that he is impatient at the very time spent discussing this subject—is that he feels that there is not a woman competent to fill such a post. I do not think there is a woman alive who has the kind of experience of official life in India comparable 922 to that of the long-experienced civil servants and military men from whom it is probably intended to recruit these advisers. How could there be? Women have been excluded always from the services of the Governments in India, excepting so far as the filling of minor and subordinate posts are concerned. A Province here and there has appointed a, woman in some minor supervisory capacity, but except for that half-dozen —and one factory inspector in the whole of India—
I think that the hon. Member is now really getting to subjects which have nothing to do with the Secretary of State.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I am sorry. I was dealing with a point which the Secretary of State may urge— that there was no woman of sufficient experience for such a post. I want to say that I think this is probably one of the obstacles, but that it is also one of the reasons for such an appointment. The appointment of a woman who could keep a general survey over the whole field of women's needs and interests might make all the difference in the world, and might make all the difference between life and death to thousands of women in India, because it would bring all these terribly neglected interests constantly under the oversight of the Secretary of State. I believe that the black spot of British rule in India has been this neglect of the women's problem.
The Civil Service in India is a fine service, and I respect its members as conscientious, high-minded men; but where women's interests are concerned they have been timid, apathetic and unimaginative where they should have been bold, resourceful and energetic. Al/ along the generations, persistently, they have left out of the ambit of their sympathies, imagination and activities all these questions which mean life and death to women in India. This Bill gives several opportunities of repairing that error, in so far as it can be repaired, and this Amendment is one of them. I have almost given up hope where this question of women in India is concerned, but I do ask the Secretary of State to reconsider the matter. If he cannot give one post out of six to a woman, why not increase the number to seven? If he will 923 not accept a woman as one of his advisers, why will he not bring women into the Services in some other way?
§ 9.30 p.m.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I should like to assure the hon. Lady who has just spoken that if any single one of the matters she has mentioned with such great depth of feeling would remain within the purview and powers of the Secretary of State when this Bill is passed I should entirely support this Amendment. But I must express my surprise that neither she nor my right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) seem to have grasped the fact that in the first place everything to do with health was transferred in 1921 to the control of Indian provincial ministers. Since then the Secretary of State has had no power in regard to it—though certain powers may perhaps be exercised through the Governor—and we in this House have not had the right to ask a single question about health subjects since 1921.
§ Miss RATHBONE
Will the Noble Lady deny that it is within our power to ask questions about the marriage laws. Have they nothing to do with health? Or that it is in the power of the Secretary of State to appoint women to the Civil Service if he likes, or any special branch of the Civil Service. Has that nothing to do with health?
Duchess of ATHOLL
I think it has just been ruled that the question of appointing women to the Civil Service is not under discussion. I do not deny that at this moment the Secretary of State no doubt has power with regard to the marriage laws, and the hon. Member and I can ask questions about that. But I am dealing with what the position will be when this Bill becomes law. The Secretary of State will have no power then, and we shall have no power here to ask any questions about women's status or the marriage laws. I tried at an earlier stage on this Bill to move an Amendment which would still have given the Governor-General some power in regard to the marriage laws, and I do not think that the hon. Member supported me in that. If my Amendment had been carried possibly we might have had some power still to ask questions, though the 924 Governor-General would not have had any power of initiative. All these powers are given over under this Bill, and I can think of nothing that the hon. Member has mentioned on which it will be within our power to ask questions when this Bill becomes law. For that reason, I feel I cannot support her in this matter. If I thought that any one of the matters which she mentioned was still really within our powers here and that we had any influence over these questions then I should think it my duty to join in asking the Secretary of State to accept the Amendment. But not one of the things which she or the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Ripon mentioned, apart from—
§ Major HILLS
I do not think I mentioned any of these questions. Surely my Noble Friend will not deny that the Secretary of State still possesses immense influence over the future of India.
Duchess of ATHOLL
My right hon. Friend will not deny that the supporters of the Bill make a strong point that all these social customs are much better dealt with by Indian ministers. I must say that it will be very difficult for the Secretary of State to exercise any effective influence in that sort of matter and in those other matters to which my right hon. Friend was referring in his speech.
Duchess of ATHOLL
He would have the power to veto any Measure proposed which would gravely menace peace and tranquillity in India. That would come within his special province, but he has no responsibility whatever for the welfare of the people of India except in so far as it concerns the question of peace and tranquillity. It is only in regard to security or internal order that this House will have any concern with the welfare of the people of India, if and when this Bill becomes law. That is one of the reasons why I have strongly opposed it. I might add that I accept the statement of my right hon. Friend that the function of these advisers will be chiefly in regard to Service questions. At present there are no women government 925 services and I doubt very much whether the time will come when there will be such services, unless the women's medical service becomes a Government service. I accept my right hon. Friend's assurance, that if and when the day comes when we have a women's service in India, although he may not be Secretary of State then, that the opinion that he has expressed to-night may be remembered and acted upon by his successors.
§ 9.36 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I think the Amendment an admirable one but I am not certain that it is not somewhat blasphemous. We are discussing what is to be the composition of the Council of India. If we were proposing to introduce women into the Athenaeum Club it would be a small affair compared with the proposal to introduce a woman into the Council of India. What is the Council of India? Incidentally, the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms proposed to abolish it, but failed. It has been preserved and' the Secretary of State has less powers in regard to it than before. The Council is being preserved for the same people at the same 'salaries. If we are making a change let us make a change for the better and introduce somebody into the Council of India—
If the right hon. and gallant Member will look at the top of page 151 he will see that it states that the Council of India as it exists shall be dissolved
Then perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will discuss the alternative and not the Council of India.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The alternative is to introduce into the Council of India, as recast, as reformed, into this phoenix, a woman member, and I cannot help thinking that the hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) was perfectly right. It would be the first time that the advisers to the Secretary of State would be inspired to have initiative instead of remaining dormant as they are at the present time. The right hon. Gentleman has still enormous power left to him under this Bill of appointing members of the Civil Service. The women might make a start 926 in taking on the work which is now so largely social work. The right hon. Gentleman, as we have learned to-day, has also the power of introducing legislation into this House to amend this Bill. The Noble Lady opposite and we on these benches have tried to humanise the Bill for the protection of minorities and for the protection of women. All these improvements could be introduced in future legislation provided the Secretary of State is well advised, but not if he is continually advised by the same gentlemen who have advised him up to now-If he can have advisers who will be a,. real reflection of the public opinion of this country and of India, an energetic body intent on improving the situation instead of merely drawing retiring salaries, then we shall have a much better chance of bringing the new constitution into relationship with modern needs and, above all, into relationship with the changing needs of India when the Provincial governments are established. I do not always agree with the hon. Member for Broxstowe (Mr. Cocks) but his action on this occasion almost reconciles me to his irregular past. I hope that we shall not have this question treated as if it were a blasphemous interference with the established order of the India Office but that we shall make a definite effort by this Amendment to put the India Office into a different position and to inspire it with a little more active progress.
§ 9.41 p.m.
§ Sir B. PETO
I have listened to every speech in the Debate. I have listened to the Noble Lady and to the hon. Lady opposite and to the mere male Members; and I have not heard a single speech which shows the slightest confidence on the part of those who support the. Amendment in the future of women or the probability of their being admitted into the councils of the Secretary of State. May I call attention to the first, lines of the Clause:There shall be a body of persons appointedThere is nothing to say that it shall be a body of men. If the Secretary of State either now or in the future finds that in connection with his Federal responsibilities it is necessary or he thinks it wilt be an advantage to be advised by one woman among three or one woman among six—those are the limits set down by the 927 Clause—he will appoint a woman. Those who claim to speak for women always seem to give away their case. They always seem to suggest that women will never get through of their own rights and therefore there must be a statutory provision for them. It is the same in this case. If a council of five or six is to be appointed they say that at least one must be a woman. If they had any confidence in the claims and rights of women they would put their case higher and say that five must be women. Why not leave the matter as it was put by the Secretary of State? It may be that in the future there will be a department in the Government of India where women will be recruited and where perhaps the women will be in a majority. In that state of affairs women no doubt will be required to advise the Secretary of State in regard to the large number of female employed of the State. The hon. Lady said that there were now no women employed or, rather, she said that a paltry five or six were employed in some minor posts, and the Chairman promptly ruled her out of -order. Why in these conditions should the Secretary of State be compelled to appoint one woman among three persons, or a maximum of six persons, in order to advise him? The Noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) has pointed out that practically all these questions which are so erroneously referred to as women's questions—ߞ
§ Sir P. PETO
Questions affecting health and maternity are questions upon which men are just as capable of giving advice as any woman in the land. The distinction between the two sexes is all wrong.
If the hon. Member will look at the legislation of this House in the 15 years before women had the vote, he will find that there were only five Measures passed concerning women and children; measures which are passed now as a matter of course.
I have been very anxious not to curtail the Debate more than I can help, but really there are limits to the extent which the Chair can go in allowing a, discussion to exceed the ordinary practice of the Com- 928 mittee I must ask hon. Members to bear in mind the Ruling I gave just now, that this matter refers to the appointment of advisers to advise the Secretary of State only (as I hold) on matters which fall within his duty as Secretary of State under the Bill. At the present my attention has not been called to any Clause under which these advisers act except Clause 250, and that refers only to Chapter 2 of this part of the Bill. I must ask hon. Members to keep the Debate within those limits.
§ Sir B. PETO
I am glad to have your protection from the Noble Lady opposite. I gave way because she claimed to interrupt, but there was nothing in my remarks up to that point which could possibly have been held to have been disorderly, and without your intervention I was quite prepared to tell the Noble Lady that I should receive your censure if I attempted to reply to any of the questions which she hurled at me across the Floor of the House. I am content to protest against this claim. Whenever a committee or a commission or a body of advisers is set up those who have women's interests specially at heart always want to peg out a claim for one small proportion of these advisers to be a female. The Secretary of State has already completely answered the Debate. He has told us the circumstances under which he will have to perform his duties, and if there is a change which makes it advisable to appoint women there is nothing in this Clause to prevent a woman being appointed. In these circumstances, I do not see what further need there is for debating the question. Whenever this question is introduced, there is always a lot of talk upon it.
§ 9.51 p.m.
Mr. LANSBU RY
I do not very often agree with the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), but I do agree with him on one point, that it is wrong to divide public questions into women's questions and men's questions. I have always approached the question of women's position in society, in politics, and in life generally, from the point of view that they have equal rights with men to help to organise and make society as tolerable as possible. I am going to vote for the Amendment. If we thought we stood a better chance by moving that there should be half and 929 half we should have done so, but we are modest. We want women to be recognised as a necessary part of the advisory committee to the Secretary of State. As I understand it, the Secretary of State will appoint the Viceroy and the governors, and he will have a great deal to do with the appointments to the Civil Service. I should have thought that he would have required the assistance and advice of a woman. It shows how static people's minds become.
We had in this country one of the greatest Queens which ever ruled. I wonder what the right hon. Gentleman would say if I suggested that he should have a woman on his committee to advise him as to the appointment of a woman Viceroy of India. Why not? The right hon. Gentleman will say that Queen Victoria was an, ideal Queen; he is too patriotic not say that. I do not see where the argument comes in that there will be nothing for women specially to do. I: do not want women appointed for special work, I think they should take part in the whole work connected with the administration of India. I do not want to leave it to the off-chance of a woman being appointed. We might do that if we did not know the India Office and Government offices generally. Women have had to fight their way into the Civil Service and into this House. They have obviously been aided by men, but there has always been a reactionary feeling that public affairs are outside a woman's sphere of action. We have never been able to accept the position, certainly not since women have been in this House, that you can leave it to the Minister to appoint this or that person. If we have wanted a woman on a certain body, we have always put it in the Bill, because we knew that it was unsafe to leave it to the Minister, not because he may be unsympathetic, but because the whole theory behind the Civil Service is that women are a. jolly nuisance, and the fewer there are of them the better. We take the opposite view, and especially with regard to India.
I know that there is a good deal of prejudice about British women, and that that prejudice is greater in regard to Indian women. You have only to attend a meeting of a university debating society in London or Oxford or Cambridge, or at any of the universities, when there is a discussion on Indian 930 affairs, and you find Indian women as competent to take part in that discussion as any British woman or many a British male student. I cannot for the life of me understand why the Committee will not accept this very modest proposal for one woman member, leaving the good experience which will be gained from her work to help us on to further developments. I believe that the Lord President was right when, in speaking to a conference of Conservative women, he said that the most hopeful sign for the future in regard to India was the awakening of Indian women. I believe that one of the best signs for the future of the world is the awakening of women all over the East. I should have hoped that in putting this Bill forward and in dealing with an Amendment like this, a Government of which the Lord President is one of the chief members would have conceded this very small reform. I ask for it, not for women, as women, to deal with questions affecting women and children, but I ask for it on their behalf as citizens of equal standing and equal rights with men to deal with all the questions that affect the well-being of India.
§ 9.57 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I cannot help thinking that the Committee is under a good many misapprehensions about this proposal. There is no question of any of us being less interested in women's questions in India than any other section of the Committee. We are just as keen about them as any one. The question, and the only question, is whether it is going to make much difference whether there is one woman on the Secretary of State's Council in present circumstances or not, and whether on the whole it is a wise course to tie the Secretary of State's hands in the choice of his advisers. It seems to have been assumed in the Debate that the Secretary of State's Council at present and the Secretary of State's advisers in the future will advise him upon every conceivable question. That is not the case now, and I cannot imagine that it will be the case in future. The Secretary of State's Council advises him to-day upon two categories of cases, namely, questions affecting the revenues of India and questions affecting the public services. I do not suppose that any Secretary of 931 State ever has consulted or ever would consult his Council upon such questions as those mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition—the appointment of a Viceroy, or—
§ Sir S. HOARE
It is not the way the India Office and the Council of India are organised. The Secretary of State has his other advisers, but this particular type of adviser, the Council, is there to advise him upon revenue and service questions. It is not intended that the Secretary of State should consult his advisers about the appointment of a Viceroy or about the appointment of Governors. If he wants to talk to them individually he can talk to them individually, but it is not the object for which his advisers or his Council exist. He has his permanent advisers at the India Office and it is to them that he would go to refer general questions. That confirms me in the view that, considering the scope of the duties of these advisers, it is much better to leave the hands of the Secretary of State free. It may be in future that there will be one woman member amongst his advisers. It may be that there will be three or four or even five women. It may be that in future the Secretary of State will be a woman. There is nothing to stop it. But that does not shake me in my view that it is much better to leave the Secretary of State's hands free. Moreover all these great women's issues are not at stake in the way that has been suggested this evening.
The main responsibility for improving the social and economic condition of women must be with Indians themselves, in the Federal Government, and more particularly in the Provincial Governments. In order to bring that responsibility home to Indians we are giving women in India 6,000,000 votes instead of the 100,000 or so votes that they have now. It is along that line that the future progress of the women of India mainly lies, and it is not along the line of insisting that women shall be upon a Council that has to deal with questions 99 per cent. of which have no connection whatever with the social and economic problems. That being so, I suggest to the Committee that we might now come to a decision. 932 We have had a very long debate on the question. I do not want to impose the closure on any one who wishes to speak, but we have covered the field very widely, and my strong advice to the Committee is in this matter to keep' the Secretary of State's hands free.
§ 10.3 p.m
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I have listened very carefully to the speech of the Secretary of State, and I begin to wonder what in fact will be the function of this Council of his, if his view of it is what I presume it to be. Our argument is just this: Whatever functions his advisers are called upon to perform, we think that amongst those advisers one at least should 'be a woman. The functions must be fairly comprehensive because we are providing in this very Clause something like £1,500 a year as a salary for each of these people. Therefore surely their tasks cannot be entirely nominal.
§ Mr. JONES
They must be substantial. If so, the case is strengthened for the inclusion of a woman, and the more substantial they are the stronger in our judgment is the case for representation of women on that body of advisers. The hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) asked why we made a fuss, because we are amply met in the words of the first line, where there occurs the word "persons." That is quite true. Once those words are embodied there is nothing to prevent a Secretary of State from appointing a woman, or two or three women, if he thinks fit. But the practice has been not to appoint women to these posts, and because our past experience leads us to the conclusion that the tendency will be to continue to appoint men, we want to insert something in the Clause to ensure that one woman shall be included in that body.
The Noble Lady, the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) argued that there was very little that could be done by this body. The 'Secretary of State himself argued a few minutes ago that in practice the Secretary of State has never consulted his advisers concerning the appointment of the Governor-General or Governors; but there is nothing in the law to prevent him consulting these people, and it might be a good departure in practice if he started 933 to consult them. Suppose in practice he were to consult the Governor-General or the Governors as to the extent of appointments. Look at the vast field he has to deal with there. I do not like the argument of dividing subjects into women's subjects and men's subjects. But suppose we invite women to look at these appointments from the point of view of women's subjects only. Take that vast area of the Governor of the excluded areas. The Federal Assembly has nothing to do with it. The Provincial Assemblies have nothing to do with it. It is an area of responsibility entirely reserved to the Governor-General or the Governor, as the case may be, and if the Secretary of State in his wisdom, not by law, began the practice of consulting his advisers as to whom would be the appropriate person in India to exercise these functions, surely a woman would have a good deal to say concerning the appropriateness of that person because of the vast responsibility that the Governor of the excluded areas has for women and children.
Take another side of this problem. There is Clause 250, and as you said yourself, Sir Dennis, that is one of the most important functions which falls to the Secretary of State, the recruitment to the Civil Service. My right hon. Friend said that there is no movement in India at this moment so hopeful for the future as the woman's movement. All over India we see women and particularly young women taking an increasing share in social problems and discussing public questions. Whatever our views may be in this House, we should stimulate this growing interest among women in the discussion of public questions and an important impetus to that movement would be if for the first time in our lives the Secretary of State were called upon by law to appoint women to this central body of advisers. I take the same view as my right hon. Friend does. I entirely object to the conception that women should be appointed to these positions because of certain women's questions and women's interests only. I regard women's rights for participation in these functions as citizen rights, not merely as women's rights. Women have just as much right of claiming to have their voice heard on any problem as men have, and we therefore argue that, whatever function this body of Ministers performs, that function 934 should be participated in by women as much as by men. For that reason, we think the case is. overwhelmingly in favour of the Amendment which my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) has submitted to the Committee.
§ 10.12 p.m.
§ Mr. DONNER
As a bachelor, I should like to say one word on the subject. As a Conservative opponent of this Bill, it is not often I have the' pleasure of supporting the Secretary of State, and I was therefore all the more delighted to hear his speech to-night. May I just remind the Committee for the last time that all the Secretary of State asked was not to have his hands tied. The hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) who moved this Amendment gave as practically the main reason for it the great rise in the advance made by women in India; that now Indian women go about in Bond Street, and in aeroplanes, and remain no longer in purdah. I would ask the hon. Member to take into consideration that possibly women in purdah would have a great deal more influence than they would have spending their money in Bond Street and their time in aeroplanes.
§ Mr. DONNER
At least I attended the Debate from the beginning before I intervened. I ask the hon. Member to-approach this question from an oriental point of view and to keep his mind a little more closely to the circumstances and conditions of the East, and not so closely to the circumstances and conditions of the West. I have listened to him on many occasions. He has always struck me as the kind of man who would climb the Himalayas in evening dress. He never will keep his mind closely to the facts. Then we have my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) who, speaking in support of the Amendment, said that after all it would only be one woman out of six. I would like to draw his attention to the fact that it may be one out of three, and does he really think it beyond that woman to worm herself round the other two? In that case, her influence would he far greater than if it were merely one woman out of six. I do hope the Secretary of State will with- 935 stand this Amendment, and will not give way to this clamour. We have heard so much about these claims of women. There can be too much of this woman business.
I am only going to make one remark. I do ask the Committee to bear with me if I remind them that under the arrangement under which they are working it is clear to me that, considering the time that we have taken on Amendments to-night—although not for one moment am I suggesting the time has been occupied by obstruction—we shall be seriously behind with our time-table.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
It is very unfortunate that when an Amendment of this kind from this side is being discussed —I think we did not start until about 9 o'clock—
May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. It seems to me we shall be getting into a discussion—perhaps it was my fault—which would be quite out of order unless there is a Motion to report Progress, which I hope we can avoid. I have never had the slightest intention of trying to curtail unduly the Debate on this or any other Amendment, but there seems to be a certain amount of uneasiness in the Committee on both sides of the question as to whether we should close this discussion or not. It was because of that apparent difference of opinion between hon. Members that I desired just to make one small point. It is not my duty, and I am not proposing to go any further than that, but I merely remind hon. Members of the arrangement under which we are working, and which I have to do my best to help.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I beg to move "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I do so in order to have the position on this matter made clear. I think we must all be a little clear. I think we must all be a little more patient with each other. We all sympathiese with the each other. We all sympathise with the Secretary of State in the tremendous task which has been imposed upon him, but I must point out that again and again those of us who sit on these benches have felt that we would like to 936 take part in the discussion of Amendments moved from the other side but have purposely refrained from doing so in order that Debate should not be unduly prolonged. This is an Amendment about which some of us feel very strongly, and I do not think that we have occupied an undue amount of time. I should not have intervened but for the impatience which has expressed itself on the part of some of those who have spent hours and hours in raising other questions during these discussions and also in view of the fact that on Friday we had a prolonged discussion on a Motion to report Progress. I have only moved this Motion to put myself in order in making those remarks and, having done so, I am prepared to withdraw it if it is an abuse of the Rules to do so. I place myself in your hands, Sir Dennis.
§ 10.17 p.m.
As the right hon. Gentleman has been good enough to put it in that way, perhaps I may be allowed by courtesy of the Committee to add a. few words. I wish to acknowledge frankly the truth of what the right hon. Gentleman has said about himself and his friends. I know they have often refrained from intervening in order to save time. My only regret is that observations of mine, which I assure the right hon. Gentleman were made without any partisan view, should have led to any outside discussion, however short. I say no more on the subject, except to put the question to the Committee I do report Progress and ask leave to sit again and to say that the right hon. Gentleman has asked leave to withdraw that Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ 10.18 p.m.
§ Major MILNER
There is one point in relation to this question which has not been mentioned. It is one of the responsibilities of the Secretary of State to deal with the matters of franchise referred to in Clause 273. That Clause enables His Majesty in Council to make certain provisions on the advice of the Secretary of State, and these may include provisions in regard to those qualifications which entitle persons to vote at elections, the preparation of electoral rolls and so 937 forth. Therefore, it will be one of the functions of the Secretary of State to decide whether or not the vote shall be extended to women in India, and it is of the utmost importance that he should have a woman adviser in connection with that matter, in addition to the other matters mentioned by the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rath-bone). Speaking as one of her constituents, may I say that I am in entire agreement with her speech, and I am surprised that the Noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Athol') should have left the Committee at a time when a question affecting women was under discussion—taking advantage of the argument that because certain matters have been handed over, lock, stock and barrel, to the Indians, there is no point in pressing for an Amendment of this kind. I submit that there is a point in it, if only for the reason that it affects the question of the women's vote which must be the basis of any advance in the position of women in India. For that reason alone the right hon. Gentleman ought to agree to at least one woman being a member of the body which is to advise him on any and every matter which he cares to submit to it.
§ 10.20 p.m.
I do not like voting against the Government on a Bill on which it has shown such courage and vision, but I feel I must do so on this Amendment. I would say to the Secretary of State that I know there is no man in the House who has been more consistent than he has in fighting for the rights of women, long before many Members of this House took what I consider to be the right view on this subject, the view entirely opposite to that taken by the Noble Lady the Member for Kinross and Western (Duchess of Atholl). The Noble Lady never sees straight about women, and women who fail to see straight about the women's question seem to be afflicted with a sort of blind staggers when they come to other great questions. I see the point that the Secretary of State has made, but I think it will help the whole status of the women of India if we pass this Amendment, and that is the real reason for doing it. It is very important, because the Simon Commission and every Commission on the subject has said the same thing, that the social progress and stability of Indians depends a great deal 938 on the attitude of the women of India. It would be morally a great thing for the women of India if we passed this Amendment, and for that reason I deeply regret that the Secretary of State could not agree to it. I shall have to vote against him on this Amendment, but I hope it will be the only time on this Bill.
§ 10.22 p.m.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
I have spoken so infrequently on this Bill that I hope the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me for taking up a moment or two on this Amendment. The Secretary of State would not have so much reason to complain against the Debate being prolonged if he himself were a little more flexible. It would have been easy for him to accept the Amendment without having done any violence to the structure of the Bill. He would not have handicapped himself substantially, because it would have been easy to select a woman quite as capable as any of the men who are members of the council. It is no use his saying that his hands would be tied by suggesting that one member should be a woman. I was brought to my feet by what I considered to be the supercilious and arrogant speech of the hon. Member for West Islington (Mr. Donner). The hon. Member suggested that my hon. Friend the Member for Broxstowe (Mr.Cocks) would, I think he said, approach this Eastern question with a Western mind. I understand the hon. Member takes the line that the Indians are unfitted to govern themselves, and we should therefore approach the problem with an Oriental mind.
§ Mr. DONNER
I never said anything of the kind. The only thing I have said is that I have opposed this Bill because it tries to deal with the future government of India on Western and not on Oriental lines.
§ Mr. BEVAN
I am replying to a statement that my hon. Friend was the sort of Member who would climb the 939 Himalayas in evening dress and was bringing to bear on this Bill a point of view wholly inadequate to deal with this problem. I suggest that what we are attempting to do here, and attempting honestly, is to extend to the women of India some encouragement to take part in the affairs of their own country. We are trying to raise the status of the Indian women. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State indicated that under this Bill we were extending the franchise to 6,000,000 women in place of 100,000. There are 131,000,000 women in British India alone and 6,000,000 of them are to have votes. It is a fantastic proposition to suggest that you are giving them equal status by giving 6,000,000 of them votes. No one can suggest that we approach the women's question with dispassionate minds. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman does. I am sure that I do not. I have been in public life for a number of years, and I must admit that I am prejudiced in public administration against the participation of women. I cannot help myself, and the right hon. Gentleman cannot help himself. We are far too prejudiced to be able to decide this matter, and the women are entitled to ask for legislative protection against our prejudices. I have never heard an intellectual justification for the unfair position women occupy in public life. I cannot advance any intellectual proposition which will bear examination. Women have an equal status because of the prejudices of the males—
§ Mr. DONNER
This is not a question of women in public life, but whether a woman should be selected as one of the advisers to the Secretary of State.
I must really ask the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A.Bevan) to stick to the point. If he raises another point, it is a temptation to some other hon. Member to pursue it.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The argument that has been advanced is that, if the right hon. Gentleman were free to select a woman, there would be a demand for more than one woman. Every one knows that to be "baloney." The position occupied by women in public life in Great Britain is an answer to that. Women are never selected on equal terms with men, because the selectors are usually men, and they are invariably biassed. Consequently, the women are entitled to ask that they shall have a statutory protection against the prejudice and bias of the men. It is undoubtedly correct that women do not take part in public affairs in the same self-reliant way as men. They suffer from a grievous disability; they feel an inferiority complex in public life. I think that it is universally held by psychologists that an over-assertion is a sign of an inferiority complex, and no one is a better example than the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor). I think that it will be admitted that women do not take part in public affairs with the same self-reliance as men. They suffer under great conventional disabilities, and that is all the more reason why they should be given encouragement, all the more reason why we should put more and more women in charge of public affairs, in order that we may to some extent dilute the unfortunate examples we have in some of the women at present engaged in public affairs. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman has not given the sympathetic consideration to this Amendment which he ought to have done, and I, and I am sure my hon. Friends, make no apology to the Committee for having detained them.
§ Question put "That those words be there inserted".
§ The Committee divided; Ayes, 49;Noes,206941
|Division No. 147.]||AYES.||[10.32 p.m.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Foot, Dingle(Dundee)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Banfield, John William||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Batey, Joseph||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Bernays, Robert||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Lansbury, Rt. Hon George|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lawson, John James|
|Brown, C. W. E.(Notts., Mansfield)||Grenfell, David Roes (Glamorgan)||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest|
|Buchanan, George||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick|
|Cleary, J. J.||Grundy, Thomas W.||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Lunn, William|
|Daggar, George||Harris, Sir Percy||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||McGovern, John|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Holdsworth, Herbert.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||John, William||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Milner, Major James||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||White, Henry Graham|
|Paling, Wilfred||Rothschild, James A. de||Wilmot, John|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Rea, Walter Russell||Tinker, John Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Groves and Mr. D. Graham.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Gault, Lieut.-col. A. Hamilton||Penny, Sir George|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P.G.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Albery, Irving James||Goff, Sir Park||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Allen, William(Stoke-on-Trent)||Gower, Sir Robert||Petherick, M.|
|Apsley, Lord||Graves, Marjorie||Peto, Sir Basil E.(Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Greene, William P. C.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Assheton, Ralph||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Potter, John|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Grimston, R.V.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Bainlel, Lord||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ramsay, T. B. W.(Western Isles)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Bateman, A. L.||Harbord, Arthur||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Hartington, Marquess of||Rankin, Robert|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Blindell, James||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Reld, William Allan(Derby)|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Heneage, Lieut-Colonel Arthur P.||Remer, John R.|
|Braithwalte, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Horbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Briscoe, Captain Sir William||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S.J.G.||Rickards, George William|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Robinson, John Roland|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hornby, Frank||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Hudson, Capt. A.U.M. (Hackney. N.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Burghley, Lord||Hunter. Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Burnett, John George||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G.(Burnley)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Jesson. Major Thomas E.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Shaw, Helen B (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Kerr, Lieut.-Cot, Charles (Montrose)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Christie, James Archibald||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Smith, Sir J. Walker (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Knox. Sir Alfred||Smith, Sir Robert(Ab'd'n & K'dlne, C.)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Lees-Jones, John||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Leighton. Major B. E. P.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Soper, Richard|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Liddall, Walter S.||Spans, William Patrick|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Stanley, Rt. Hon Lord (Fylde)|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Stevenson, James|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Loftus, Pierce C.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro)||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Cross, R. H.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Sutclifle, Harold|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||McKie, John Hamilton||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Davies. Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Todd, A. L.S.(Kings win ford)|
|Denman, Hon. R.D.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dickle. John P.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Donner, P. W.||Martin, Thomas B.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Doran, Edward||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Eastwood. John Francis||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Eillston, Captain George Sampson||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Eimley, Viscount||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Winterton, Rt. Hon Earl|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Munro, Patrick||Wolmer, Rt. Hon, Viscount|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur(Cardiff, S.)||Nicholson, Godfrey(Morpeth)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Lieut.-Colonel Sir. A. Lambert Ward|
|Flint, Abraham John||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
|Fraser, Captain Sir Ian||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
§ 10.40 p.m.
§ Mr. DAVID GRENFELL
I beg to move, in page 150, line 3, after "State," to insert, "shall be Indian subjects and the remainder."
942 The object of this Amendment is to make provision for the direct representation of Indian subjects on the Advisory Council. The Bill represents an advance in the scheme of self-government for 943 India, and plainly it is one of its virtues that Indian citizens shall be given a larger measure of influence in the government of their country. We believe that this presents a favourable occasion for the insertion of that opportunity in the Bill. On the previous Amendment we discussed the nature of the functions performed by the Council, and the question arose whether the Secretary of State would rely very much upon the contact and relations between himself and a body so appointed; but, whatever functions are performed by this Advisory Council, it has been provided in previous Clauses of the Bill that, when the Secretary of State is required to consult them, he shall have the concurrence of the Advisory Council before he is able to perform the functions allotted to him.
In these circumstances it is important that the Advisory Council shall be representative, as far as it, can be, of the Indian people, and one outstanding advantage of that position would be that it would give confidence to the people of India. If we wish to secure the good will and concurrence of the people of India in this scheme, provision must be made for them to be directly represented wherever their influence may be felt, and it would be a very great advantage to the Secretary himself to be able to consult, in these very important matters, with people who not only have the confidence of the people of India, but, special knowledge of the conditions of their own country. The Clause as it stands requires special knowledge on the part of the Advisory Council, and, if that is an indispensable condition in the case of British citizens, such knowledge and experience and personal service can certainly be better provided by people who are themselves Indians, and who know Indian questions from the standpoint not only of a stranger who has served in the country, but of people who have felt and experienced in their own persons the disabilities of government by an alien people. The question of the capability of one special service certainly requires the presence of Indians on this Council.
There is another point which must be considered. A great deal of lip service has been given to the Indianisation of the Services, and one would expect that, if Indianisation is to increase progressively, there should be a point where 944 the Indianisation of the scheme of government itself should take place. This is a contribution which we offer towards the Indianisation of the Services to make an opportunity for the Indian people to be represented on the Council, the body of advisers who are to represent the Secretary of State for India, and the way in which he is to perform his functions. There are arguments which would keep the Committee in session for the whole of the night and for a considerable time to come on the few words of the Amendment which we are moving. There are vital principles involved in the Amendment, but we do not wish to detain the Committee too long. We believe that the claim is rightly made on behalf of the people of India, and in their interests, and that it will maintain and promote the confidence of the people in this Bill arid be in the interest of the Secretary of State himself. If he is to have advice, there can be no argument against the provision of advice from the people on the spot who know and have experience. We are limiting, for the purpose of this Amendment, the representation of the people of India to 50 per cent. of the membership of the Council, and we hope that the Secretary of State will be able to make such a concession and meet us on this Amendment.
§ Viscount WOLMER
On a point of Order. May I ask if the term "Indian subjects" is in order? What does the term mean?
That is not a point of Order, but a point which might arise in the course of the Debate.
§ 10.47 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I hope very much that the Amendment will not be pressed for the following reasons. We have never in any way, as far as I know, drawn a distinction in the matter of appointments between British and Indians, and I think that it would be a great and unnecessary mistake to do so now. As things are now, there is no statutory enactment under which the Secretary of State is forced to appoint a certain number of Indians to his Council. In actual practice he always does appoint Indians to his Council. At the present moment I have three very valuable Indian colleagues in my office. It is, therefore, in the first place, unnecessary to make a statutory enactment of this kind, and 945 secondly, it is objectionable to draw for the first time a distinction in a Statute between British and Indians, and for these reasons I hope very much that the Amendment will not be pressed.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 30; Noes, 204.947
|Division No. 148.]||AYES.||[10.50 p.m.|
|Banfield, John William||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McGovern, John|
|Batty, Joseph||Groves, Thomas E.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Milner, Major James|
|Buchanan, George||John, William||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cleary, J. J.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Lawson, John James||Wilmot, John|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Paling and Mr. D. Graham.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C.(Blk'pool)||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T.(Leeds, W.)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Albery, Irving James||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Fleming, Edward Lasceiles||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Apsley, Lord||Flint, Abraham John||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Assheton, Ralph||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Fraser, Captain Sir Ian||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ays)|
|Balniel, Lord||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Gower, Sir Robert||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)|
|Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Pertsm'th, C.)||Graves, Marjorie||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Bernays, Robert||Greene, William P. C.||Munro, Patrick|
|Blindell, James||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon John||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W).||Nunn, William|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Grimston, R. V.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Bracken, Brendan||Gunston, Captain D. W.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Braithwalte, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Penny, Sir George|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Harbord, Arthur||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hartington, Marquess of||Petheriek, M.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Haslam, Henry (Horncastte)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Potter, John|
|Burghley, Lord||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Burnett, John George||Henderson, Sir Vivian L.(Chelmsford)||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Herbert,Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Holdsworth, Herbert||Ramsden Sir Eugene|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Rankin, Robert|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A.(Chippenham)||Hornby, Frank||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)||Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Christle, James Archibald||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackey, N.)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Remer, John R.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||James, Wing-Com. A.W.H.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Rots Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Samuel, M.R.A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).|
|Croom-Johnson., R. P.||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Dickle, John P.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Smiles, Lieut-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Donner, P. W.||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Smith, Sir J. Walker-(Barrow-In-F.)|
|Doran, Edward||Loder, Captain J. de Vera||Smith, Sir Hobert (Ab'd'n & dine, C.)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Loftus, Pierce C.||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R||Spens, William Patrick|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Stevenson, James|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||McKie, John Hamilton||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Stourton, Hon John J.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Strickland, Captain W. F.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray f.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Sutcliffe, Harold||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourno)||Wells, Sydney Richard||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||White, Henry Graham|
|Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.-|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward|
|Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, s.)||and Major George Davies.|
§ 10.58 p.m.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I beg to move, in page 150, line 23, to leave out "either" and to insert "the Commons."
If hon. Members will look at Subsection (4) they will see that there is imposed the disability that a person shall not be an adviser to the Secretary of State if he sits or votes in either House of Parliament. I apologise that I only handed in this Amendment to-day but it was only last night that I noticed this somewhat unusual disqualification in the Bill. We are all familiar with Bills which impose a disqualification on Members of this House from being members of certain public bodies, but I was not aware that prior to this Bill we had imposed a disqualification on a Peer sitting on a certain type of public body. I am told that in previous Bills affecting the Government of India this curious disqualification has existed. If it has existed in the past I do not think that it ought to continue to exist. We have analogies at the present time which I think conclusive. The First Commissioner lf Police of the Metropolis, quite obviously, ought not to be a Member of this House, but at the present time he happens to be a Peer. As a Member of the other House he does not hesitate to take his seat, and nobody would regard it as improper for him to do so. Lord Cavan, who I think is a Peer of the United Kingdom, was formerly Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and I think I am right 948 in saying that the present Chief of the Imperial General Staff is a Peer. Several of our Judges are Peers, and occasionally without hesitation these judicial gentlemen take part in debates in the House of Lords. One Friday afternoon recently another place outshone this place in the publicity it obtained through a very attractive debate that took place between the supreme head of our judicial system, namely, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief—
§ It being Eleven of the Clock The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.