§ Amendment proposed [26th February]: In page 3, line 19, to leave out "a declaration made, "and insert "an Instrument of Accession executed."—[The Solicitor-General.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ 3.48 p.m.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Sir Samuel Hoare)
When the Committee adjourned last night I was on the point of answering certain questions that had been put to me in connection with the Amendment moved by the Solicitor-General. Let me, however, before I deal with the specific questions say once again that neither this Amendment nor the Amendments that the Solicitor-General described in this connection last night are hasty decisions intended to placate opposition in a moment of crisis. They are not the forerunners of others which will change the whole structure of the Bill. They have been put down on their merits and, equally on their merits no doubt, similar Amendments will be moved to later Clauses of the Bill. I make that statement at the opening of our proceedings to-day in order to remove any impression that may have been created in the mind of anyone by certain fantastic paragraphs in the public press this morning. When I read my newspapers this morning I rubbed my eyes and said to myself:Do I sleep, do I dream, or is visions about.Taking two instances, I observe in one of the principal organs of the extreme right and in one of the principal organs of the extreme left, both of them singing in curious unison, that I had spent the night before last in a steepness night preparing a recantation of the federal scheme. I also observed in these journals that I spent a good deal of yesterday in two long-distance talks upon the telephone with the Maharaja of Patiala and that I 1144 invited the Indian Princes in this critical emergency to come over at once, and, at a moment's notice, discuss with me the whole basis of the Amendments that we are here considering this afternoon. Let me say to the Committee that there is not a vestige of truth in any of these fantastic rumours. So far as the telephone to India is concerned, I have only once used it and that was two years ago when I opened the service between Bombay and London. Since then I have felt it much better to let the Government of India and the Viceroy manage their own affairs without the constant intervention of the Secretary of State from the India Office in London. Least of all should I engage in these panicky conversations with one of the great Indian Princes presumably behind the back of the Viceroy, realising as I do, and as I hope every Member of this Committee equally does, that the Viceroy is the proper channel between the Crown and the Princes and that nothing would be more improper than for me to intervene in this matter.
Fortunately, however, these things have been put in their proper perspective by a Reuter message from Bombay that was put into my hands as I came into the House this afternoon, and I will quote it now because it affects directly Clause 6 and the Amendments with which we are actually dealing. I will read the substance of it to the Committee:The speeches of the Secretary of State and others in the House of Commons have been widely discussed and comment is that much has been made of a storm in a teacup. It is felt that the Secretary of State has taken the Princes' resolution in the spirit in which it was meant to be taken, and that the Princes' difficulties in connection with joining in the Federation will be capable of solution eventually by amendments and adjustments during the progress of the Committee stage of the Bill and later at the time of the actual accession, the Instruments of which will vary in the case of each individual State, and will be capable of modification to meet the requirements of particular States.One not uninfluential section,"—I will not disguise this fact from the Committee—however, still believes that the differences are of a fundamental nature needing urgent attention and capable of being removed only by radical changes in the Bill as well as in the Instruments of Accession.
§ Sir S. HOARE
Yes, Sir, and if I had quoted a telegram from the Viceroy to myself my right hon. Friend would have been the first to say that that was biased information. That is why I think it is much better to quote an agency of the public Press upon the subject. Having said these few words of introduction to our discussion, let me proceed to the questions that were asked of me upon these Amendments last night, and let me begin by the series of questions put to me by my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). My right hon. Friend and I, I am afraid, often disagree in these discussions. Will he, however, let me say—and it is a very sincere observation—with what delight we all listened to his speech late in the evening yesterday. It could not have been a more delightful speech, full of wit and humour. Indeed, if I may say so, I—certainly I myself, and, I think, a great many other people in the House—infinitely preferred his manner in the evening to his melodramatic manner in the afternoon. Be that as it may, he painted in most vivid colours a picture of the kind of federation that he assumed that I was proposing to the Committee. In looking at these Amendments, he said to me, "Is this the kind of federation you are setting up I The Secretary of State will go round the Princes one by one, his pockets filled with the Princes' tributes, doling out a bit to one, doling out a bit to another, and saying to them one by one, Come into the Federation. As regards obligations, you can come in on a kind of limited liability basis. But come in and be one of the 52, and then I can set up this Federation.' "
I am sorry to have to obliterate that very picturesque description, so picturesque that it would really be worthy of a cartoon by Low or Strube. In actual fact none of these things is going to happen. Certainly we are not going to have any Princes acceding to the Federation with this kind of limited liability system. Perhaps I cannot do better than read to the House the answer I gave upon this subject in my cross-examination in the Joint Select Committee to one of the 10,000 odd questions that I answered in that Committee. These are my words:We contemplate that Items 1 to 45 "—1146 those are the items that now appear in the Seventh Schedule and they are the items in the federal list—of List 1 will be the normal field over which the States will surrender their powers.I pause at this point to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that Items 1 to 45 cover a very wide field of government.The actual details of the treaties must be considered each on its own merits, always with this reservation in mind, that if a State attempts to make reservations that would make its entry of no value to the Federation or not of sufficient value to the Federation, then obviously we must have the power of refusing to accept an entry upon those terms…There will be variations, no doubt, as to the exact manner in which the States undertake these federal duties. There again it is a question to be considered when the Instruments of Accession are considered, and once again, if a State attempts to make terms which would make its entry of little or no value to the Federation, then there must be power of refusing the entry of that State…What we want, and what we shall do our utmost to obtain is a basic list of the important subjects with which the States who enter the Federation would as a whole conform''I finish the quotation, and I pass to the conclusion that I draw from it. First, the States will be invited to accept the first 45 items as federal subjects. They will, of course, be free to accept other subjects if they so wish. Secondly, there will, and must, be some variation from State to State, either in the number of subjects or in the qualifications which they attach to their acceptance—
§ Sir S. HOARE
Within the 45—these variations arising from the different circumstances of the States and the different treaty rights which they may wish to preserve. It will, however—and this is the statement that I emphasise again—rest with the Crown to accept or reject proposals for accession, and the House—here, again, I emphasise this point—will be in due course in full possession of all the facts upon which acceptance or rejection has been based. In order to make it quite clear to hon. Members in this Committee that there is no intention whatever of accepting inadequate condition of accession, I give once again the undertaking to the Committee that the Instruments of Accession will be issued in the form of a White Paper before the 1147 House is asked to consider a Proclamation bringing in the Federation, and the House, before it pledges itself to Federation, will be in a position to judge whether the accessions have been really effective or not.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Would the right hon. Gentleman remind the Committee that the answer to which he has referred to-day which was given before the Joint Select Committee, was immediately published not only in this country but in India., and was made in the presence of the representatives of the Princes themselves?
§ Sir S. HOARE
Yes, I think that certainly was so. My hon. Friend will correct me if I am wrong, but I think I am right in saying that there has never been any difference of opinion on this point at all. The facts, however, which the Committee should keep in mind, if they have any suspicion left in their mind lest these accessions should be inadequate, is that they will see all these Instruments of Accession before the Proclamation is issued, and if then they think these instruments inadequate, they need not pass the Resolution necessary to bring in Federation.
I pass to the second of my right hon. Friend's questions. It really arises from the answer I have just given, namely, Will the Princes come in upon differing terms? If one Prince, for instance, has made a limited accession, has he only a limited position in the Federation My answer to my right hon. Friend is, that once an accession has been accepted, all the Princes then will be on the same footing. The safeguard is in the acceptance of the accession. When once the accession is accepted, there will be no difference between one Prince and another.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
And everyone has to agree to the first 45 items, subject to certain minor modifications in respect of the circumstances of the particular State? Is that so?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I would not go so far as to be rigid on a point like that, but the general intention is that 1 to 45 will be the subjects over which the Federation will operate. In as big an area as India, there are bound to be partial variations. The general intention is that 1148 1 to 45 should be the normal field of entry.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I will put it rather in the form in which I have put it that it is the normal field of entry, and exceptions from that field would have to be justified. We should hope that they would be a very limited number.
Let me pass from this question to one or two others that were asked me. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) asked me a question of the same kind, namely, would a State be able to accede in respect of 10 subjects? My answer to him would be that I do not think that we could possibly regard an accession of that kind as an effective accession. I cannot imagine that to pick out two or three items could possibly be regarded as effective accession.
§ Sir S. HOARE
No, the answer would be much more definite. Then the hon. Member for Caerphilly asked me a question about the intervention of the Federal Centre.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
The right hon. Gentleman has spoken so far of the Federation. What has he to say in relation to the concurrent list? Do the same remarks apply?
§ Sir S. HOARE
My remarks apply only to the Federation. I think we ought to deal with the concurrent list when we come to the Amendments on the subject; but the whole basis of our discussion has been on the basis of federation. The concurrent list raises a number of other issues. The hon. Member asked me another question. I think his case was this. Suppose a State, having acceded to the Federation, and having accepted a particular federal subject, is allowed, for special reasons, to administer that subject itself, what power is given to the Federation if that federal subject is not being effectively administered? The answer is two-fold. First of all, the Federal Executive and the Federal Legislature would have the right, and indeed the duty, to follow very closely what is happening with that service. Suppose it appeared that the service was not being 1149 effectively administered and intervention was then necessary. The intervention would come from the Governor-General for this reason. The Joint Select Committee came to the view, not only in this case, but in cases also affecting the Federal Government and the Provinces where intervention was necessary, that intervention had better Dome from the Governor-General, although acting, of course, in the closest contact with the Federal Government, rather than from the Federal Government itself.
The hon. Member will see the kind of difficulty we wish to avoid. We wish to avoid the difficulty of the Governor-General on the advice of his Federal Ministers instructing a Provincial Governor or the Sovereign of a State to take action against his own ministers. We thought that that kind of situation would be objectionable from various points of view. That being so, intervention of that kind had better not come from the Governor-General on the advice of his Federal Ministers. But that does not mean that the Governor-General would not be in the closest possible touch with his Federal Ministers and that the Federal Ministers would not be closely following the matter.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
Suppose in State A or State B there is a suspicion of inefficient administration. Would it be possible in the Central Legislature for a discussion to arise concerning that lack of efficient administration?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I feel sure that the Federal Legislature would be able to discuss matters in connection with any service that the Princes had accepted as a federal service. Quite obviously the Federal Legislature in a matter of that kind would have the duty to discuss it.
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
Surely it would be rather similar to the case where this House, for instance, has put the administration in the hands of the Tariff Commission or similar body which is outside the control of this House, and for which no Minister is responsible? Therefore, you cannot raise the question of its administration, because the House has put it outside its control. Would not a similar principle apply as regards the Federal Legislature? There being no responsible Minister for the service in State A, it would not be competent for 1150 the House to discuss the administration. If they did so, they would be discussing the discretion of the Governor-General.
§ Sir S. HOARE
No, Sir, the analogy is not exact between a' board such as the hon. Member has mentioned and the position of a State administering services of this kind. There would be an immense responsibility. Let me put it in the form of a concrete case which will make it simpler to the Committee. Take the case of railways. It is quite conceivable that in one or two of the great States it might be advantageous and convenient that railways, while remaining a federal subject, should be administered by this or that particular State in the State. None the less, the Minister of Communications in the Federal Government would be equally responsible for federal railways as a federal subject. I think I am right.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
In Clause 124 this question is made in the Instrument of Accession a reservation, and, therefore, it is never submitted to the Federation. The words are:Notwithstanding anything in this Act, agreements may, and, if provision has been made in that behalf by the Instrument of Accession of the State, shall, be made between the Governor-General and the Ruler of a Federated State for entrusting to the Ruler or to his officers functions in relation to the administration in his State of any law of the Federal Legislature which applies therein.That would be a reservation in the Instrument of Accession and, therefore, the administration being reserved to the ruler, would never come within the Federation at all.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I will look further into the point, but I think the case is as I have stated, and later, or in some future debate, we can deal with it at greater length. The main point certainly is as I have stated, namely, that if the Federal Government were not satisfied with the adequacy of administration of this kind, then the Governor-General under the Clause would have the power of intervention, and that intervention would be made probably in full contact and full agreement with the Federal Government.
There was a question asked me by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University (Sir C. Oman), who spoke the other day with great regret of the 1151 way I had lapsed since years ago I attended his lectures in Oxford. Perhaps, as an excuse, may I say this? Although I believe he has written one of the best text books of every conceivable period, not alone of English but of world history, I think he has omitted any chapter about India—at any rate, about the Indian Princes. Perhaps that accounts for the gaps in my knowledge to which he drew attention the other evening. Be that as it may, my hon. Friend asked me this question: Can a Ruler accede while he is compulsorily residing outside his State and not exercising his powers in the State or while he is a minor? The answer to both questions is, "No." Sub-section (3) provides for a State which has validly acceded to the Federation remaining in the Federation despite the death of its Ruler and the accession of a minor, subject to a Regency. Actual accession can only be effected by a ruler himself exercising the powers of a ruler in his State.
A question was asked me by my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland), namely: Do the limitations and conditions that may be asked for apply only to the subjects in List No. 1 or also to the subjects in List No. 3, the concurrent list? The answer is that if, which is not very likely but is possible under the Clause, any ruler of a State accepted as federal in his State a subject included in the concurrent list he could apply conditions in regard to his acceptance of that subject in the same way as he can apply conditions to his acceptance of any subject in List No. 1. I have omitted to deal with a second question put to me by the hon. Member for Caerphilly. It is a rather complicated one, but so far as I understood it it was this: Does the provision in Sub-section (2) of Clause 6 for supplementary declarations mean that a ruler having once declared his acceptance of such and such federal subjects, subject to such and such qualifications, can by a subsequent instrument withdraw his acceptance of any federal subject or add fresh qualifications or limitations to it? The answer is, "No." The intention of Sub-section (2) is to enable a ruler who has accepted, say, 40 subjects, as federal to signify his acceptance of further subjects or, alternatively, having accepted a particular item, sub 1152 ject to qualifications, to restrict those qualifications. I think I have dealt with all the questions that were asked me last night, and I hope that I have given not unsatisfactory answers.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I wish to thank the Secretary of State for the illumination which he has thrown upon a complicated aspect of the Bill and on his Amendments. I couched my remarks in an interrogatory form. I was not drawing a picture, but I was asking a certain number of questions in order to obtain reassurance that the picture when drawn by the Secretary of State would be free from some of the blemishes which might appear in some versions. I think the Secretary of State has made it very plain that the accession of the Princes must be great and substantial accessions. If they come in they are to come in for substantially the whole body of the subjects up to 45. There is no question of their being allowed only to take up two or three, or half-a-dozen, or fifteen. They must come in substantially for the whole of these 45 important elements in the Federal Constitution. That, I think, is very satisfactory. I agree that in a sub-Continent as vast as India certain differences here and there might allow of some mitigation in respect of a particular State, but I gather that that is only to be for a very small proportion of the 45 subjects and is not likely to occur except in a few of the States. That being so, I think that undoubtedly the core of the Federation will be sustained by the Princes who subscribe to this particular list.
I gather that it is optional in regard to the other list to come in with or without reservation. It appears to me, if I understand rightly, that in regard to the first list of 45 subjects—I notice that it stops short of State lotteries, in which my hon. Friend the Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) is interested—some of the services may be handed back, as it were, to the Princes for administration in their own territories, instead of being administered by the Federal Government, if that is found to be satisfactory. That is so, is it not?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
But, of course, the discussion of the affairs of those States in the Federal Legislature will range 1153 equally over any branches that have been reassigned to the States and to those which are being administered by the Federal Legislature and which the Princes have surrendered to the Federal Legislature. That is very important, and I am very glad that we are going to see exactly what the consequences of the situation will be. There will be this enormous block of subjects, 45 subjects, which touch the States at so many points, and the whole of them can be made the subject of debate at any time in the Federal Assembly. That is certainly right, because obviously if the services have been surrendered they are amenable to discussion, and if once surrendered and then handed back a fortiori the supervision must be maintained. The internal affairs of the States which join the Federation will be continually open to debate and discussion in the Federal Assembly. That is most important to establish, and I am very glad that the Secretary of State did not find himself in agreement with the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) who seemed to think that it would be, as it were, outside the purview of the scope of the Federal Legislature to discuss and to have debates on the internal affairs of the different States. It now appears that they will be brought fully and fairly on to the floor of the Federal Assembly. Having regard to the fact that the list is a substantial list and that those States that accede to the Federation will be subject to having the whole of these matters constantly discussed in the Assembly it seems to me that no one can deny the reality and the gravity of the act which each one of the Princes will take when he subscribes irrevocably to the Instrument of Accession.
§ 4.25 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I should like to associate myself and my hon. Friends on these benches with the appreciation expressed by the right hon. Gentleman for Epping (Mr. Churchill) with regard to the lucid explanation given by the Secretary of State and the great care he has taken in his replies to the questions addressed to him. I do not pretend on behalf of my hon. Friends to say that we are entirely reassured, though I confess that what has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon does go some way towards removing any little 1154 misapprehension that we entertain. We must, however, take steps at the appropriate time to express our disapproval of the methods of accession as indicated by the Bill. In order not to consume time unnecessarily may I say that we shall not divide the Committee on this particular Amendment, but later on we shall avail ourselves of the opportunity of dividing the Committee on an Amendment which will be found on page 414 of the Order Paper. I hope the Committee will under: stand clearly that by allowing this part of the Bill to pass unchallenged we do not indicate our assent to what is done in the Clause.
§ 4.27 p.m.
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
I am not clear with regard to the list. The list in the Bill is one of 56 items. We are now told that the Princes will only have to signify substantial agreement in regard to the first 45. What is the position with regard to items 46 to 56? Those items contain provision as to State lotteries, taxes on income other than income from agricultural land, taxes on the capital of individuals and companies—all very important matters—the rates of stamp duty in regard to bills of exchange, etc., terminal taxes on goods or passengers carried by railway, water or air, and other subjects. These are all matters of very vital importance. I am not clear why the list has been divided after item 45 and why the items from 46 to 56, which are most important items, should be put in another category. I should be much obliged if the Secretary of State would make it clear why these apparently non-necessary items are to be dealt with in this way.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
The division between items 45 and 46 is the division between subjects that the States have, generally speaking, accepted as federal subjects; subjects which pre-eminently concern British India rather than the States. When we come to a discussion of these items in the list, I shall be able to justify what I have just said, and I can tell my hon. Friend that those later subjects are British India subjects rather than State subjects.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am very anxious not to curtail the explanations that may be necessary, but hon. and right hon. Members must remember that we must 1155 not discuss the list except so far as may be necessary to understand this Amendment.
§ 4.29 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
If we pass this now, are we committed to considering nothing further than the first 45 subjects?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
When we come later to the Schedule shall we be told then that owing to what we do now in this Clause we have stopped ourselves from going any further?
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
There is one question I should like to put to the Secretary of State. The Governor-General has to say if he thinks a particular subject which is being administered by the Princes is not being administered in the right way. When he does that I want to know what is the procedure to get the subject properly administered.
§ Sir S. HOARE
Here again I must not anticipate the Clause which deals with this matter, but in a single sentence let me say that he would give instructions to the ruler of the State to put the affair right.
Duchess of ATHOLL
There is one point in connection with the list of 45 subjects which I should like to mention. In Part II of the concurrent list there are many matters of great interest to British India which many people feel should be federal rather than provincial. There are, for instance, the factory laws—
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
With a view to utilising as much time as possible, may I say that we propose to fall in with the views expressed by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) and take a Division on one particular Amendment?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ Brigadier - General Sir HENRY CROFT
I beg to move, in page 3, line 20, at the end, to insert: 1156(a) declares his willingness that as and from the date of the Proclamation establishing the Federation he and his subjects should become subjects of His Majesty.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not propose to select the next Amendment on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Islington (Mr. Donner) and the Noble Lord the Member for Perth (Lord Scone), to leave out the words "and to his subjects," because I think the point can, if necessary, be sufficiently raised on the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft). If hon. Members, however, think it necessary to ask for a decision on the next Amendment I shall be prepared to call it for the purpose of taking a decision, on the understanding that it is not then further discussed.
§ Sir H. CROFT
The Amendment which I propose has been tabled more with the object of trying to elucidate a little information from the Secretary of State and in the hone that hon. Members will appreciate the full reactions of the federal scheme we are setting up. The more one examines it the more one finds what great difficulties there are confronting it. Under the Bill it is proposed to federate the Provinces, the natives of which are subjects of His Majesty the King, with the States, the natives of which are not British subjects. Consequently, we have to consider a state of affairs which probably has never existed in any similar attempt to federate in the world. We have to consider how long such a state of affairs can exist, and whether the point has been raised by the Secretary of State with the Princes as to how long such an extraordinary situation is likely to continue. Later, when we consider the Clauses of the Bill relating to federal law and the courts, it will be proved that the anomalies and difficulties arising from this state of affairs are far more apparent. I have been trying to find a precedent for this proposal. In this country our Sovereign was once the Sovereign of Hanover as well, and every one will admit that it would have been extremely difficult to have had Bavarians as members of Parliament working under a federation which was supposed to continue for all time. There is another difficult point in relation to the oath 1157 which has to be taken. A legislator from a native State in taking the oath says:saving the faith and allegiance which I owe to—It may be to the Gaekwar of Baroda or the Maharaja of Kashmir—saving the faith and the allegiance which I owe to—I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty the King, Emperor of India.There may be some conflict in the future between a native ruler and the King Emperor. What is this wretched man going to do? He will be torn between two loyalties, but will probably edge towards his local ruler, who has his eye upon him, rather than to the distant King Emperor. I think we shall find extraordinary difficulties arising in connection with this matter. We do not wish to divide the Committee to-day unless the Secretary of State has had an indication from the Princes that they would like to accept the Amendment. I do not know whether this point has ever been raised with them. In any case, the Princes have had little time to consider the suggestion, and we do wish to force the proposal unless the Secretary of State can give us some information. I should like to know whether the consequence of this mixing up of different nationals and subjects has been considered and, if so, whether the Secretary of! State can tell us for how long he contemplates it will be possible for such a state of affairs to continue?
§ Sir EDWARD GRIGG
It is always rash to assert, as the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) has asserted, that there is no precedent in the British Empire. There is a precedent for this anomaly. In the Protectorate which is part of the colony of Kenya the subjects on the coast are not the subjects of His Majesty the King but of the Sultan of Zanzibar. In spite of that, Arab members who are subjects of the Sultan of Zanzibar have sat in the Legislature of Kenya and taken the Oath of allegiance to His Majesty the King. That is an exact precedent for which the hon. and gallant Member asks.
§ 4.39 p.m.
§ Mr. DONNER
Owing to the rustling of paper I found it difficult to hear your Ruling, Sir Dennis. I am therefore a little uncertain as to the effect of the 1158 Ruling you were good enough to give, but, as I understand it, I can discuss on this Amendment the Amendment which stands in my name to take out the words "and to his subjects."
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member will perhaps put his point, and, if I find that it goes too far, I will stop him.
§ Mr. DONNER
I desire to appeal to the Government to reconsider the wording of this particular Sub-section. The words, "and to his subjects," would at first glance appear to be quite innocent, but on a further and closer examination it is clear that some differentiation of treatment is indicated as between a ruler and his subjects. I do not go so far as to say that the present wording carries an unforeseen implication, but as the Bill stands it would almost appear as if a ruler is under some kind of obligation to consult his subjects. At any rate these words open up the whole question of the relationship of a ruler to his subjects, and from that point of view I ask the Government to reconsider the wording of the Sub-section. If a Prince desires to accede to federation both the State and his subjects, according to the present wording of the Bill, will have to accede. The word "State" alone does not include subjects. If that were the case then the words "and his subjects" would not be included in the Bill. Therefore, it would seem that the subjects of an Indian State become by the wording of the Bill amenable to the decisions of the Federal Legislature. I hope the Government will not brush this aside as a fanciful idea on the part of a private Member, because I have taken the trouble to obtain legal opinion on the subject and the advice I have had is that under the Bill as it stands counsel are of opinion that the subjects of an Indian State are amenable to the decisions of the Federal Legislature.
May I remind the Committee that the position of the Princes, as we understood it, was that they were unwilling to allow federal laws to apply in any State except at their own discretion and even then with their own machinery. I cannot believe that it is the intention of the Government that the Federal Legislature should intervene between a ruler and his subjects. If that were the intention, there would be same machinery for it in 1159 the Bill, but I can find no such machinery or proviso in regard to federal agents, and therefore I feel that this is not the intention of the Government. At the same time, that is in my view definitely the effect of the Bill as it stands, and that is why I am asking the Government to reconsider the wording of the subsection. I should like to ask whether the new position has been made plain to the Princes, whether they are aware of the fact that the Central Legislature at Delhi can now come between them and their subjects? The position of the Princes is very different from that which we have hitherto understood, and very different from the position of the Princes under the majority report.
Here then is an entirely new departure which allows the Federal Legislature to intervene between a ruler and his subjects. It might be very awkward if a Hindu majority in the Federal Legislature were to interfere with the subjects of a ruler of an Indian State. How much that would be resented and how much friction it would cause is not difficult to imagine, but surely that resentment would be doubled and that friction trebled if the ruler happened to be a Mohammedan and his subjects, as is so often the case, happened to be Hindus. I can imagine no situation which would be more deeply resented by a Mohammedan Prince than that a Hindu majority on the Federal Legislature should interfere with the Hindu subjects in his State, and intervene between him and his own subjects. Having drawn the attention of the Government to this anomaly, I hope they will favourably reconsider the wording of the Clause. It is not, as I have said, a fanciful idea on the part of a private Member, as I have consulted legal opinion on the matter.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Donald Somervell)
I should like to express my appreciation of the way in which the hon. and gallant Member has raised the question of the nationality of the subjects of the States. It is quite clear that no ruler will accept this Amendment. We can say that quite definitely. Indeed it would cut across the whole principle of the Federation, which is that the ruler shall remain ruler of his State and his subjects shall therefore remain 1160 his subjects, the ruler undertaking to see that the provisions of the Act are enforced in his State. That is clearly the idea and basis of the whole federal proposal. Whether it is good or bad we will not debate now. The hon. and gallant Member will see that the idea of all the inhabitants of the States becoming British subjects, and, I assume, therefore ceasing to be the subjects of their ruler, is wholly against the basis on which we are proceeding.
On the other hand, of course, the question of nationality perhaps most frequently arises when someone wants to go abroad and to have a passport, or has the misfortune to be the subject-matter of an incident in a foreign country in which he desires the protection of the Government of his own country. Of course, as the Crown controls the foreign relations of the States the Crown performs these services for the subjects of the States, that is to say, they get passports from the Crown, and if there were any case in which communications were necessary with a foreign Government in regard to something that had happened or had been done by a subject of the State, that correspondence would take place between the foreign Government and the, Government of India, or, if necessary, His Majesty's Government here. They are known as British protected persons for that purpose when they are outside their own territory. Therefore, that side of the matter is already provided for.
Reference was made to the fact that there was no position exactly like this in the rest of the world, and I fully accept that statement. There is nothing in the rest of the world exactly like the present position with regard to the Indian States. We have to examine the proposals to see that they will work, but not in this matter to be guided by the fact that there is no exact parallel to be found elsewhere. My hon. and gallant Friend suggested that there might be a conflict of allegiance, but I do not see why one should anticipate any conflict of that kind under the new Constitution any more than under the present one. If one sat down and tried to imagine anomalies and difficulties there are plenty that one could imagine with the position as it is now. My hon. and gallant Friend asked a specific question, whether the consequences had been con- 1161 sidered, and the answer is yes. He also asked how long do we anticipate that the position of these people remaining subjects of their rulers would last. I do not think he would expect me to make a prophecy, but I can give him a fair answer. It will last as long as the Federation, on the broad present principle, remains in existence. The broad present principle is that there shall be a federation with the States, in which the rulers of the States shall be the rulers.
The hon. Member for West Islington (Mr. Donner) raised a different point. Let me say with as much emphasis as I can command that there is no new position and no anomaly. He referred to the words in Sub-section 1 (b) "may make laws for his State and his subjects." It must be obvious to everyone that you do not make laws for a mere piece of territory. The bulk of laws applying to agriculture and land have a special relation to the soil, but I think it will be very difficult to find a law which does not apply to persons. It is quite obvious that the State, by joining the Federation and agreeing that it shall make laws as to certain subjects, is to make laws for the State and the people in it. Of course, my hon. Friend realises that under Sub-section 1 (c) the ruler assumes the obligation of ensuring that due effect is given to the provisions of the Act within his State.
§ Mr. DONNER
If there is any clash of legal opinion, would it not be as well to clarify the situation?
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
So far as I can see it is already perfectly clear and there really never has been any doubt about it. If there is any doubt about it in anyone's mind, and he will bring it to the notice of the Secretary of State, I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend will further consider the matter. For the reasons that I have stated the Government cannot accept the Amendment, and I hope that my answers to the questions have assured my hon. and gallant Friend that it is not necessary to press it.
§ Mr. GODFREY NICHOLSON
If by any chance the subject of one State got into trouble and committed some crime in another State, would the States be able to appeal to the Federal Government to adjust the difference?
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
I think that would be a matter which would be dealt with through the Viceroy. Presumably the State in which the incident had occurred would communicate with the Viceroy and it would be dealt with normally under the paramountcy powers.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Are such Princes as have agreed to the Federal proposal in agreement that the Federal Legislature should make laws with regard to their States, and are they prepared to ensure that effect shall be given to those laws?
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
That surely is the whole point of acceding to the Federation. By acceding to the Federation the State is saying, "We agree that the Federal Legislature shall make laws which shall run and be applicable in our States with the subjects of our States." The actual business of enforcing the law within the State will be the business of the ruler.
§ Sir H. CROFT
In reply to the learned Solicitor-General, I would say that I do not wish to anticipate conflict, but we are legislating for a long time, and perhaps for all time, and we have to look a long way ahead. Suppose that such a conflict arose it is possible that the State would feel that it could secede. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 4.48 p.m.
§ Major MILNER
I beg to move, in page 3, line 33, after "subjects." to insert:(being matters which in the opinion of His Majesty are sufficient in number to enable the State to become an effective constituent part of the Federation).The object of the Amendment is perfectly clear. It is to ensure that when rulers accede they accede in respect of matters of sufficient number and importance to enable a State to become an effective, constituent part of the Federation. Obviously it is essential that if a State does accede it should accede in sufficient matters and in matters of sufficient importance to enable it to operate effectively as part of the Federation. I understand the Secretary of State has made a suggestion that the first 45 subjects in the federal list would be considered by His Majesty's Government as 1163 sufficient in number and importance to justify acceptance of an Instrument of Accession including those subjects. We feel that we are entitled to ask that there should be something in the Bill with regard to that matter, and the purpose of the Amendment is to obtain some guarantee that rulers shall be required to accede in a minimum number of subjects. The first 45 subjects mentioned by the right lion. Gentleman are not necessarily the most important. I imagine that the subjects which one would require the rulers to accede to are matters which may be considered of common concern to the whole country on the one hand, and on the other hand matters with respect to which complete uniformity is required.
Those criteria apply equally to many subjects other than those included in the first 45. It is a rather curious thing that the first 45 subjects are mostly subjects in respect to which expenditure will be required, but the remaining subjects included in List I refer to matters of taxation. One would have thought that it would have been desirable to have insisted that rulers acceded in respect of matters of taxation. Obviously if some provision is not made in the Bill with regard to the matter, rulers who accede, those whose accession is accepted and who send their nominees to the Federal Legislature, would have power to legislate in regard to those subjects in British India, and the Legislature would not have power to legislate in the rulers' States in regard to subjects not included in the Instrument of Accession. Therefore, it would in one sense be power without responsibility.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I hope that when I have given a short explanation the hon. and gallant Member will see that his Amendment is unnecessary. The check is that which I have just described, namely, that the Instruments of Accession will be in the possession of Parliament and Parliament will have to satisfy itself that the Instruments of Accession are effective. The actual words of the hon. and gallant Member's proposals would really add nothing to that check. Indeed they would, so far as Parliament is concerned, rather complicate the position. The Amendment would leave the decision in the hands of 1164 the Executive. I was very careful to say in my earlier speech that the check would be a Parliamentary check. I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that there is no intention of attempting to bring about a federation which is not effective; and the check is two-fold, first the publication of the Instruments of Accession, and secondly a Parliamentary resolution. That being so, I hope he will not press the Amendment.
Duchess of ATHOLL
Will Parliament have the power to amend the Instruments of Accession or will it be a case of either passing them or rejecting them?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I do not think that that subject arises upon this Amendment but let me say in a sentence that Parliament certainly would have no power to amend them.
§ 5.2 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I think that the criticism which the right hon. Gentleman has offered of the terms of our Amendment is, in some measure, justified. I think it is arguable that the Amendment would leave the matter entirely in the hands of the Executive, without any reference to Parliament. I gather that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to allow us to have a discussion in due course on the terms of the Instruments of Accession. We were anxious to have something specific embodied in the Bill to indicate the intention of the Government but, having had the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman, and reserving to ourselves freedom to discuss the matter fully later on, I do not think that my hon. and gallant Friend need press this Amendment at this stage.
§ Major MILNER
I had not the advantage of hearing the first portion of the right hon. Gentleman's earlier speech—and I apologise for my absence—but am I to understand that there will be provision in the Bill with regard to these matters being submitted to Parliament?
§ Sir S. HOARE
Yes, Sir. There will be provision in the Bill for a Resolution from Parliament before the Federation is brought into being. Precedent to that the Instruments of Accession will have been executed, and the Instruments will be laid as a Parliamentary paper.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment made: In page 3, line 33, leave out from "subjects" to "and," in line 36.—[Sir S. Hoare.]1165
§ 5.4 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I beg to move, in page 3, line 36, after "subject," to insert:(c) declares that he accepts as matters with respect to which the Federal Legislature may make laws for his State and his subjects the matters numbered twenty-six, twenty-seven, and twenty-eight in the Concurrent Legislative List, namely:—We regard this Amendment as of considerable importance because it is the first Amendment which has been moved on this Bill dealing with the economic conditions of the working classes of the Indian States. In fact there is little in this Bill affecting the working classes of India in their capacity as men and women working to earn their livelihood. I think it is a legitimate complaint that a Bill of over 450 Clauses running to 324 pages should deal with all manner of subjects and people, with Princes, Governors and officers and should safeguard the interests of practically everybody in India, except those who earn their livelihood in various occupations and employments. We intend by this Amendment to bring before the Committee the plight of the millions of people ruled by the Princes who will accede to the Federation. Clause 6 lays down the conditions under which States can accede to the Federation. I need hardly remind the Committee, however, that it will not be the people of those States who will accede. The accession will be by the Princes. Whether the people of the States want the accession or not does not matter. According to Clause 6 the ruler of the State must declare on accession that he accepts this Act as applicable to his State, and assumes the obligation of ensuring that due effect will be given to the Act within his State when the accession is implemented.
- (i) Factories; regulation of the working of mines, but not including mineral development;
- (ii) Welfare of labour; provident funds, employers' liability, and workmen's compensation;
- (iii) Trade unions; industrial and labour disputes."
Let me come to the difference as we see it between the States and the Provinces. There is one thing to be said in favour of British rule in India. We have been able to gather a great deal of information as to the conditions of employment within British India, but, 1166 as far as the States are concerned, I have never yet seen anything in print anywhere on that subject. I have searched for information as to the conditions of employment within the States ruled by the Princes but without success. Delegations have gone to British India on behalf of the Trade Union Congress. Individuals interested in the social welfare of the people have gone from this country, and have studied on the spot the conditions under which people are employed in British India. I have gone through volumes in the library of the House of Commons dealing with India but I have yet to learn of any information being available as to the conditions of the 80,000,000 who live under and are controlled by the Princes in the States.
§ Mr. DAVIES
We get a great deal of support sometimes, in speeches, but on issues of this kind the support is seldom carried into the Division Lobby. We shall be able to test the extent of the hon. Member's support in a few minutes. We shall see whether he and his friends agree with our proposal or not. Let me return to the purport of our Amendment. In connection with this subject of accession there are to be three lists of subjects—the Federal list, the Provincial list, and the Concurrent list. We desire by this Amendment that all legislation that is passed by the Federal Legislature dealing with conditions of employment shall apply equally to British India and to the States. We think that a very reasonable proposition.
Let us see what are the laws which we would like to see applied to the States, and which might become applicable to the Provinces. We say that they should include laws in relation to factories; the regulation of the working of mines but not including mineral development; the welfare of labour; provident funds; employers' liability and workmen's compensation and also trade union legislation and laws relating to industrial and labour disputes. We, conceive that the 1167 Princes will be represented in the Federal Legislature. They will be entitled apparently to speak and vote on laws dealing with labour conditions in the Provinces, but when those laws have been passed by the Federal Parliament they will not, according to the present provisions in the Bill, necessarily be applicable to the States at all. We consider that arrangement to be grossly unfair. It is as if the Scottish and Welsh Members in this House of Commons could speak and vote on industrial legislation which would be applicable to England alone. Of course the House of Commons would not admit of anything of the kind. The laws passed here on which Scottish and Welsh Members speak and vote are, generally speaking, applicable to the three countries alike. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I say, generally speaking, and if a Member for a Scottish constituency speaks in the House of Commons on a Bill which does not, apply to his own country, he has more loquacity than he ought to have.
§ Lord EUSTACE PERCY
Would the hon. Gentleman propose to prevent Scottish Members speaking on English measures?
§ Mr. DAVIES
We generally allow the Scottish people to do what they like especially in taking our money from us. To return to the subject of the Amendment, however, it may be true that there is little industrial development in some of the States. I do not know—and I would like to get information as to whether there are factories or workshops or coal mines in some States at all. If there are any industries in those States, then we say that it is unfair to British India that conditions of employment should prevail in those States lower than the conditions applying in the same occupations in British India. It may be true that conditions are better in some States than in British India as regards the same classes of work. It may also be true that the reverse is the case. But when we are seeking to establish a united India and bring the Provinces and the States into one great Federation, then all the laws passed by the Federal Legislature on these matters affecting the work-people should be universally applied.
1168 Let me give an illustration. Unless I am mistaken the Hours Convention passed by the International Labour Organisation which was intended to establish a 48-hour working week, so far as British India is concerned, is a 60-hour week convention, and not a 48-hour week convention. Even at that, the 60-hour week only applies to British India and not to the States. There is unfairness in that situation. We want to ensure that conventions covering labour industrial problems shall apply equally throughout the whole of India. The point has been raised already as to the possibility of conflict of trading interests between one State and another, and between the Provinces and the States. We have been told that India is not an ordinary country, but a great continent as big as Europe. There are so many nationalities, languages, and religions that when we are dealing with India we are practically dealing with a country as big and as complicated as the Continent of Europe.
I would wish, therefore, that this new Constitution in India should not develop into another Europe. The complaint that we make in this country, legitimately or otherwise, is that the conditions of employment in the textile factories of Belgium, France, Italy and Germany are so very bad that the goods manufactured by trade union labour in this country are not having fair play in the markets of the world. That is a very important complaint, especially as between Japan and ourselves. It seems to me, therefore, that we should take great care that in establishing this new Constitution in India we do not allow a position to arise where the conditions of employment under the Princes shall be so much lower than they are in British India that you will see tariff walls going up between one State and another in India and probably between British India and the States as well. That is an argument that ought to appeal to the Government.
The Parliamentary Secretary last night said the new Constitution about to be set up would provide facilities for social reform in India. Indeed, that is not true of the States, because the subjects in the concurrent list that we want to include are nearly all capable of being regarded as social reform. The Princes can contract out from all these proposals we want to include in the list. Let me see 1169 what are the subjects that ought to be dealt with by the Federal Legislature, affecting not only the workers of British India, but the workers employed in the States as well. They may want trade boards in India. They will certainly want the abolition of fines in textile factories; they may want the abolition of the half-time system there and probably a minimum rate of wages for agricultural workers also.
I doubt very much whether the Indians employed on the tea plantations in that great country will be one jot better off by the passing of this Measure, because it is little use granting political emancipation and still keeping your working classes in economic bondage. The working classes of India are being kept in economic bondage, by British and Indian capitalists alike. In these States I suppose there will be foundries, docks, oil refineries, tea plantations and coal mining, and we are anxious that the Princes shall not contract out of any labour legislation that might be carried by the Federal Legislature in respect of conditions in those undertakings. There will be farm workers, I suppose, in large majorities in the States of Mysore and Kashmir, and unless something of the kind I am now proposing is inserted in this Clause, the millions of people who are employed for wages on the land in these States will be entirely oblivious of the passing of this Measure.
As a Labour party, we deem it our duty to do something to give them a higher standard of life. We may satisfy the Princes, we can placate ardent Indian nationalists, we can probably meet the claims of British Indians, we can safeguard the Governors, we can extend the franchise, we can give votes to women in India and we can construct new bridges and railways, but unless the Bill does something to raise the labour conditions of the working classes of the Provinces and the States all our work will be of no avail.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
May I put it to the Committee that, with the agreement of the Opposition and, I hope, of the Committee generally it is understood that the next Amendment on the Paper—in page 3, line 36, after "subject," to insert:(c) declares that he accepts as matters with respect to which the Federal Legislature may make laws for his State and his 1170 subjects any conventions or agreements made under the auspices of the International Labour Office of the League of Nations which the Federal Executive may ratify or to which it may become party.—will be called for the purpose of being put to the Committee and, if necessary, divided upon without any further discussion, the discussion of the Amendment now before the Committee covering the next Amendment also.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Mr. BANFIELD
I think possibly this in one of the most important parts of the Bill. We have heard a very great deal, and we shall hear a great deal more, about the new Constitution in India, but it is obvious that without this Committee being prepared to realise that something must be done for the workers of India, those workers are justified up to the hilt when they declare that this Bill is a sham and a fraud so far as they are concerned. The importance of this matter is already within the knowledge of the Government, or it should be. As late as the 20th December, 1934, a letter was addressed to the Secretary of the Government of India by Mr. H. P. Mody, who is President of the Employers' Federation of India, calling attention to the desirability of early action to place British India and the Indian States on an equal footing with regard to labour legislation. The letter was a reply to a suggestion from the Government of India that, in examining the question of competition between industries in British India and those in Indian States, it would be of assistance to the Government to have particulars of conditions of labour in States in which developments tending to cause a set-back to industry in British India might be apprehended. The secretary of the Employers' Federation wrote:My federation, representing as it does a predominant section of employers' interests, has accorded, and it is always willing to accord, its support to labour legislation conceived with due regard to the interests of Indian industries in the present stage of their development, but it is hoped that the Government of India will realise that industries in British India are bound to be placed in great difficulties by the adoption of standards which are not conformed to by the Indian States and which would enable the latter to become formidable competitors in British Indian markets.I would like to draw the attention of the Committee to the importance of this 1171 matter so far as it relates to the textile industry. Hon. Members get up almost day by day, and certainly week by week, complaining about Indian competition, bad conditions of labour, and the difficulties in the way of Lancashire competing, and I suggest that in this Bill and at this time they have an opportunity at, arty rate of getting the way prepared for social legislation in India which will do justice not only to the workers of India, but in a very great measure to our own workers in Lancashire. Let me quote again from this letter from the Secretary of the Employers' Federation of India:The textile industry in British India, which is the one most seriously affected by the introduction of the 54-hour week, stands to suffer the most because of its rapid rise in the Indian States, where the hours of work are longer.Now listen to the figures that he gives, which make one think furiously when thinking about Indian competition with our people in Lancashire. He goes on:In the year 1919–20 there were in the Indian States only 405,000 spindles and 8,000 looms, as against 6,300,000 spindles and 109,000 looms in British India. In 1932–33, however, the Indian States had 1,100,000 spindles and 21,000 looms, as against 8,500,000 spindles and 168,000 looms in British India.This Committee will note the general expansion of the textile industries in India and the enormous increase both in the Indian States and in British India. The letter continues:It will be seen that the rate of expansion in British India has not been anything like so rapid as in the Indian States. This has been mainly due to the prevalence in the States of a lower scale of wages and taxation and inferior conditions generally, From the information available to the Federation, as yet no State has definitely undertaken to introduce the 54-hour week. Among the major States, in only one State is the matter under consideration; in some it has not yet been considered; and in others it is stated that the change is not likely to be inaugurated at present because of the existing trade depression.That is so far as textiles are concerned. The writer draws attention to the sugar industry and states:The States of Mysore, Travancore, Hyderabad, and Rampur are interested in the development of the sugar industry.and that there is no attempt whatever to enforce such measures as Factory Acts, Workmen's Compensation Acts, or the 1172 social services which, at any rate in some degree, do obtain in British India. Then he calls attention to the position of coal mining. They say thatattention was called in the course of the letter to the remarks made by the member for industries and labour of the Viceroy's Council during a recent debate in the Indian Legislative Assembly to the effect that any regulation of coal output in British India would be seriously affected by the fact that a certain Indian State was capable of considerable production.All this means that unless we are prepared to say to the Princes, to the rulers of these States, "If you come into a federal scheme you must be prepared to recognise the social obligations to your workers, at any rate, to the same extent as in British India," confusion must follow and the conditions in the States ruled by the Princes will remain bad and will keep considerably worse the conditions in British India. All this competition tends against our own people in this country to a tremendously unfair extent. This statement of the employers goes on to say:Admitting that seine of the States adopted labour legislation on the lines of that introduced in British India, the letter continued: 'Considerable delay takes place before the conditions are equalised. As regards the various Factory Acts, and their amendments, it is well known how the States have lagged behind British India. The workmen's compensation legislation of some of these States is still behind that in British India, and it is understood that the amendments already introduced in British India are being only now considered by them. Moreover, some States have only recently introduced such legislation, and others do not even contemplate doing so.'The statement goes on to say that one State actually put on a duty of 5 per cent. against the products of British India. At the same time there had been a development of large-scale industries by financial assistance from the State Exchequer. All this shows the importance of the Amendment.
I want to raise a further point with regard to our second Amendment. In 1924–25 I was honoured by being sent to Geneva as labour adviser by His Majesty's Government. There I heard debates on social matters affecting the lives of the workers all over the world. India was represented at that conference. Surely we are not asking anything very 1173 unreasonable when we ask that a Prince shall acceptas matters with respect to which the Federal Legislature may make laws for his State and his subjects any conventions or agreements made under the auspices of the International Labour Office of the League of Nations which the Federal Executive may ratify or to which it may become party.When I was in Geneva in 1925 I heard a speech from an Indian delegate which moved me so much that I have never forgotten it. It seems to me a thousand pities that in these Debates we do not hear the actual voice of the Indian worker and of those immediately concerned. If it were possible for the Indian worker to put his view on the floor of this House, he would say, "I would welcome a change in the Government of India if it were shown to me that by that change my conditions of life would be materially bettered." We have no guarantee of any such thing. The mere fact that it is necessary to put down these Amendments and the certainty that the right hon. Gentleman will oppose them and refuse to include them in the Bill will carry the message to the workers of India that this House is more concerned with satisfying the claims of the Princes than with satisfying the aspirations of the millions of our fellow subjects in India. The Indian whom I heard at Geneva in 1925 made the point which the Secretary of State made yesterday, when the right hon. Gentleman said that it was extremely difficult when we were 6,000 miles apart to get into contact with one another. The right hon. Gentleman made that point with regard to the difficulty with the Princes. May I point out that things happen in India about which nobody knows and nobody cares. Millions of people are condemned to an early death and pestilences and famines rage throughout the country. This happens 6,000 miles away, and only three lines appear in British newspapers. Millions of people are dying because nobody knows and nobody cares.
We are always saying that we are trustees for the great British Empire. If that be true, why do we not protect those in India who are least able to protect themselves? It is necessary for somebody to put this point of view before the Committee, and it would be bad for the dignity of this House if a case were not put up for the Indian people. There is the 1174 question of health insurance. At Geneva I heard a great debate on social insurance, and everybody who spoke, including those who spoke from India and the Government representatives of India, declared themselves in favour of social insurance and social services. I heard the man who represented the Indian workers say that as an aftermath of the War influenza raged throughout India and 6,000,000 people died of it. What became of the widows and orphans who were left behind? Nobody knows. People die of plague in India, not every now and again, but year after year. In America, if they get a plague among pigs, they send out a commission to inquire into it. In India plague is taken as a matter of course. It is not the will of God, although it is, taken as if it were, that millions of people should die from plague. Their deaths might very well be prevented if proper steps were taken.
Take again the question of unemployment. Anybody would think there was no unemployment in India. Thousands of men are discharged, slumps occur, trade is depressed and workers are turned away from the mills and mines. What becomes of them? It was suggested at Geneva that Employment Exchanges should be set up and that some attempt should be made to deal with the problem, but nothing of the sort has been done. India is too far away, and nobody knows and nobody cares. I heard it said at Geneva, and I have reason to believe that it is as true now as it was then, that more than half the children born die within the first 12 months. If we stand in the position of trustees to the people of India, we should be ashamed to allow that sort of thing to go on. I am told that 35,000 people in the city of Bombay sleep out in the streets with nowhere to go, and that you can find 30 people housed in one room not more than 12 feet by 16 feet. If we are to remain, as it seems to be the will of this House that we should remain, in the position of trustees to the people of India, these things call for remedy.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I ought to point out to the hon. Member that neither of these two Amendments deals with British India. He must confine his remarks to conditions in Indian States.
§ Mr. BANFIELD
I am sorry if I have transgressed, but I was carried away by 1175 the subject. However bad the conditions may be in British India it seems to be generally agreed that they are considerably worse in those States governed by the Princes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Some of them, at any rate. If the report which I have quoted is correct—and it appears in "Industrial and Labour Information" published by the International Labour Office—it shows that while employers in British India are compelled to do certain things by law, other people in the Indian States are allowed to carry on precisely as they choose. He alleges, and I think in all probability he is right, that the conditions are worse in the Indian States. I hope that the Government will see their way to accept these Amendments. The cry of the poor and of the widow and children in India is a cry that should appeal to all of us. We must be prepared to say to these rulers that they must bring the conditions of their workers up to more reasonable standards unless we do that the conditions in India are bound to be considerably worse. I hope the Committee will hear the cry of the poor stricken masses of India and put something in the Bill to give them hope for the future.
§ 5.43 p.m.
§ Lord SCONE
This is an occasion on which, however unwillingly, we on these benches are obliged to support the Socialist party to some extent. Our support does not extend to the second Amendment because we regard it as highly undesirable that what may be very likely an irresponsible legislature in India should adopt ultra Socialist ideas from Geneva and force them upon the Indian States. We are bound to have considerable sympathy with the first Amendment, not merely because of the arguments which have been advanced so ably, and with much more moderation than usual by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) and the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Banfield), but because of one or two other considerations which I shall put to the Committee, as briefly as I can. It is certainly not in the interests of the native States themselves that conditions of labour there should be permitted to be, or to become, very much inferior to those existing, or about to exist, in British India. It may well be that there is and will continue to be unemployment of a 1176 fairly widespread character in some of the Indian States as well as in British India, and if, as is likely to be the case, unscrupulous Indian manufacturers rush out of British India to set up factories in the Indian States it is obvious that that will enable them to compete on an unfair basis both with this country and with British India. Moreover, if we see arising in the Indian States the uncontrolled industrial development which was such a curse to this country in the nineteenth century, it is certain that sooner or later conditions of great unrest will arise in those States, which would be of the utmost disadvantage to the rulers of them.
The hon. Member for Westhoughton has spoken of the likelihood of tariff walls being erected round each State. Such a position would certainly be disastrous; but other conditions might arise which would be just as bad. For example, there might be a progressive State which had passed social legislation to ameliorate the lot of the people, and next door another State where there were no such provisions, and it is obvious that that would react most unfavourably on the lot of the more progressive State, because while unemployment might be prevalent there an unscrupulous employer in the less advanced State would be employing all the workmen albeit at very low wages and that would be an obvious disadvantage to the progressive Indian State, where there would be more unemployment although better conditions of labour. I do not think that consideration would be favourable to the propagation of more advanced ideas about the treatment of workpeople in States which have the advantage of rulers who are rather in advance of their time. It has always been the effort of the Conservative party to improve the lot of the worker, wherever he may be situated, and if we were to adopt at least the principles contained in the first Amendment, I think we should be doing something which would be of great advantage to this country, to British India end to the Indian States; because it cannot possibly be a good thing that uncontrolled industrialisation should be allowed to develop anywhere in native India. Accordingly though it may be with some reluctance at supporting the Socialists, my friends and I feel bound to give general 1177 support, at least, to the principle contained in this Amendment.
§ 5.49 p.m.
§ Lord E. PERCY
These two Amendments are obviously Amendments with which everyone must feel the utmost sympathy, and I am glad that it has just dawned upon some of my hon. Friends that the idea of an All-India Federation has certain practical advantages in view of the growth of industrialisation. But while, obviously, one would want to gee that in any federation all these matters were the subject of uniform legislation, let us consider what this Amendment means to the Princes of India. It means that this House is to say to the Princes, "We will not accept your accession to the Federation unless you will agree that it shall be a closer federation than that in the United States of America." Is that a reasonable proposition to which to ask the assent of the independent Indian States? I think there can be only one answer to that question. Any such proposal would be unreasonable in itself, and would wreck any chance of an All-India Federation. I would remind the Committee that it has always been understood that the concurrent list would only be a subject of federal legislation as a means of confirming, unifying and standardising pre-existing legislation throughout British India, and, possibly, bringing into line one or two Provinces which might be behindhand in such legislation. It has never been contemplated, so far as I know, least of all by any representatives of British India, that this legislation in the concurrent list should be so widely used as has been assumed by the Mover of the Amendment.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Does the Noble Lord mean to imply that some of the subjects included in this Amendment are not the subjects of federal legislation in the United States of America?
§ Lord E. PERCY
Of course they are not. Not one of these subjects is the subject of federal legislation. They are also subjects of State legislation.
§ Lord E. PERCY
Yes. I am interested in that interruption, because it indicates that those who moved the Amendment have not yet realised the full length of 1178 the proposition which they would put to the Princes of India. It seems to me to be a proposition which this House could not support.
§ 5.51 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The Noble Lord has taken as an example the sole federation which does not include this legislation. Let him look anywhere within the British Empire. We have a union in South Africa, we have a union in Australia and we have Canada, and in all the federations this legislation is central legislation. I should have thought the Noble Lord would have been the last, person to bring forward America as an example for us to follow in this matter. The variation of the Jaws between the different States makes it impossible to get progress. One of the chief obstacles in the way of the President's new deal has been the State legislation in America. But that is not the point. This is a question of concurrent legislation, and, as the Noble Lord rightly says, the chances are that such legislation will not be brought into operation until a great number of Provinces have carried through the reforms. When the majority of the Provinces have carried through the reforms, surely then a native State which has not already legislated in the same direction might be brought up to date, just as much as Assam or the North-West Frontier Province.
The real difficulty here is not the injury to the inhabitants of the native States left out of factory legislation. The real misfortune is that by leaving out the native States we give a, lever to all the reactionary forces in British India to say, "We will not do anything in this matter because if we do the factories will go elsewhere." Consequently, all the workers throughout India will suffer by reason of the fact that no such legislation is possible in the native States. I am not very well posted on the subject, but already we have the case of Kolhapur, where a number of mills have been built recently in which the conditions are not the same as they are in Bombay, and competition is going on between Kolhapur and Bombay, and no one could contemplate setting up conditions for the workers in Bombay and leaving it possible for the factories of Kolhapur to put the trade of Bombay in 1179 the background. I do not think Kolhapur is the only example; I rather fancy that in Nawanagar we have the same thing. Factories are springing up there and Bombay is suffering. There is also a port springing up in Nawanagar, and Bombay is suffering. Trade is going in through Nawanagar, where the Customs are on a different scale. So, in the case of factories, we shall get a development of factories in these native States run by cheap labour on the Japanese lines, and the rest of India held back because it is impossible, under this Bill, to bring other States up to standard.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I am very doubtful about this Amendment. I believe we are much more likely to get humane and enlightened legislation from the enlightened Indian Princes than through representative government.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Some of the Princes are very enlightened, and quite a number of them have taken steps to effect improvements in health and education. I have had a good deal of information on that side of the question. The conditions in some of those States are just as good as they are in Bombay, and are likely to be better. I have a great deal more confidence, and the East has, too, in personal government than in elected government. In Oriental countries personal government is the only thing they understand, the only thing they have been taught for thousands of years. They do not know much about this peculiarly British product, representative government, and we are more likely to get fair treatment for the population from a Prince who has got no advantage to gain but the welfare of his people than we are from a lot of politicians. Politicians very often look after their own advantages; the business of a Prince is to look after the benefit and the welfare of his people. In our own history one of the reasons for the deposition of the Stuart dynasty was that the Stuarts tried to keep the "boss owners" from exploiting the common people. Undoubtedly that is so. The King always stood up for the common people. It is a curious thing that in 1180 history we always find the king and the poor linked together. James V had to go about as a beggar man in order to find out the truth as to the conditions of his people, because he could not get it from the nobility who were about him. I believe it would be better to leave the people of India with their own Princes, whom they understand.
Of course, it is a terrible thing to go out to the East and to see the swarming myriads of people there. In China alone, in one rebellion, 138,000 Chinese perished—and nobody heard anything about them. In India we have plagues, malaria and all sorts of other diseases ravaging the population. We did a great deal to abate their severity, but immediately we gave self-government to Ceylon we saw all the sanitary measures neglected, because the peoples of the East do not believe in our regulations. But it is possible to convert a Prince and get him to understand that his people ought not to be degraded by industrial conditions such as we saw in the last century, and such as have been experienced to some extent in Bombay and other places where Indian factories are going up. I believe that the workpeople of India have a far better chance of a square deal from the Princes than ever they will have from a lot of elected politicians.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I have a word to say on an aspect of this Amendment upon which no other speaker has touched. The particular subjects dealt with in the Amendment are merely illustrations of the anomalies created by the whole concurrent list. As the Bill is now proposed, legislation on these three subjects, and everything else on the current list, will not affect the native States, and in that way legislation in British India may be impeded through fear of competition from native States with advanced legislation. From a constitutional point of view—
§ Miss RATHBONE
I am not sure that I understand you, Sir Dennis. I think that the point which I am trying to make cannot fail to arise. The point is that because of a lack of such an Amendment as this, or an Amendment of a similar nature that might apply to the whole of the concurrent list on very much the same 1181 grounds, we are placed in the extraordinary position that the Princes have no obligation to observe legislation in their own States on subjects in the concurrent list, but they can vote on such legislation in British India.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am sorry, but it is quite obvious that that point is out of order on this Amendment. Perhaps the hon. Lady would read the Amendment.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I am most anxious to observe your Ruling, and I certainly will not pursue my argument if you hold that it is out of order, but my intention was merely to argue in favour of the Amendment on the ground that this Amendment and others on the same lines result in placing some responsibility upon the Princes in those respects in which they already have power. At present they have power but no responsibility.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is just one of the things on which we are constantly being obliged to say that it is legitimate just to refer to them in support of the Amendment, but it is certainly not legitimate to enter into an argument on the subject or a discussion of it at any length.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I am sorry. I will say no more. I am sorry that I exceeded the limits of the Amendment.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Butler)
This Amendment has raised very considerable interest in the Committee. I think hon. Members will agree as to the sincerity of the speeches of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) and the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Banfield), and will also agree that this matter must very largely be looked at from the point of view of practical politics. What the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) said in his contribution to the Debate was perfectly true; the proposal of the Amendment is not a practical possibility in the sort of federation which we are considering. If we are to have a federation of the sort which we contemplate, it will be impossible to lay down conditions such as are suggested in the Amendment, because they would be rendered inoperative and futile.
During the history of the discussion of the concurrent list, and during our dis- 1182 cussion of the accession of different States to the Federation we have always laid down, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State specified a little earlier in the afternoon, that States should not accede to specified subjects, but that they should have an opportunity of certifying their accession to a general corpus of federal subjects in the list. Discussion of the Princes has throughout been on the basis of the federal list. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) will testify as to the discussions in the Joint Select Committee. The conclusions of the Committee on the subject of State participation in the cote current list were as follow:We understand that the States, who are free agents in this respect, are likely in the first instance to take their stand upon the federal list proper and to accept the jurisdiction of the federal legislature in nothing which is outside the boundaries of that list; but we hope that in course of time they may be willing to extend their accessions at least to certain of the items—and they mention two subjects in particular, bankruptcy and insolvency. I would be willing to voice an equivalent hope, but I am afraid that it does not mean that we can accept the Amendment, which has been so eloquently moved. There is nothing in the Bill, if that hope is fulfilled, to stop States from acceding to subjects in the concurrent list such as those which are particularly mentioned. Surely we should follow the example—I think we are obliged to follow it—and the precedent of other federations in regard to this question. There is no question of coercing the States to accept these subjects, but if the hope be ever fulfilled, the provisions about consultation which occur in the draft Instrument of Instructions which is before the House, and to which the Joint Select Committee referred in paragraph 234 of their report, would come into operation.
A great deal has been said this afternoon about the conditions of industry and the condition of the people of the States. We cannot try to interfere with the internal administration of sovereign State rulers on such questions. I do not agree with many of the observations made, however sincerely, particularly by the hon. Member for Wednesbury, about the conditions of the subjects of Indian States. We have experience in this matter, and we believe that in many 1183 States conditions have been looked after very carefully by the Ruler, and that conditions prevailing are such as were referred to by the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten), when he paid a tribute to the attention which certain Princes have undoubtedly given to industrial conditions within their own States.
I am obliged to remind the Committee that the scope of the Amendment is not as wide as it might be, that although there is industrial development in the Indian States it is not to be found in every Indian State by any means, and that the majority of Indian States are agricultural and their populations entirely agricultural. It is true that some of the States mentioned this afternoon, such as Baroda, Hyderabad and Mysore, have either industrial development or the potentialities of industrial development, but we should not exaggerate the scope of the Amendment at the present stage.
Having traced the history of this subject in the Joint Select Committee and shown that, so far, the question has not been within the bounds of practical politics, I want to say a word about the other Amendment, which relates to international conventions. The States have always told us that they have been willing to accede on a particular subject so that they shall know exactly where they are. It will be impossible to lay down general conditions that the States should accept this particular subject. In view of the fact that we have Clause 106 in the Bill, enabling but not requiring the States and Provinces to be parties to an international agreement on not strictly federal lines, it will be wiser for the Committee to wait, before coming to a conclusion on the subject, until we discuss the provisions of that Clause.
In conclusion, let me say that I think we should follow out the experience of other federations, and we tell the Committee very regretfully that we cannot accept this Amendment, which would involve coercion of the States to accept what they may not be willing to have. Examples from other parts of the Empire have been given. I notice that there was recently a debate in the Canadian Senate on the question of ratifying the International Eight-hour day Convention, and one senator, pro- 1184 testing against the ratification, said that they were laying unholy hands on the ark of the Covenant, owing to the fact that the central Senate had attempted to ratify the convention without consulting the various units. It has always been unquestioned that the units should be consulted in matters which affect India, and subjects of this character should be ratified only after the approval of the States and the Provinces has been obtained. For those reasons, I regret very much that we cannot accept the Amendment.
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Mr. RAIKES
I feel bound to say a few words on this Amendment, which is one of the most important of those that have been before the Committee. I very much regret that my hon. Friend has not found it possible to go into it more closely. The question of the welfare of the masses of India is one of the most vitally important that we have to face. It is all very well for the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) to say that in the federation of America there is no way by which States are bound to pass labour legislation; the Noble Lord knows very well that the positions of America and of the Indian States are totally different. He knows that in the States of America the working people have far greater opportunities of making themselves heard than they have in the Indian States. It is all very well for the hon. And learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) to talk about personal rule; it is not a question of personal rule, because these Indian Princes are often the most anxious to develop their States, and, I imagine, would be most willing to accept the opportunities of putting into force legislation to create better conditions.
I should like to pay my tribute to the speech of the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Banfield). I very seldom agree with the hon. Member, but he shows A real grasp of the scope of the subject, and a genuine desire to see that the masses in the towns of India, whether in the Indian States or in British India, have a fair deal under the Bill. I was also delighted with the speech of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies). It has not always been admitted that extension of the franchise by itself does not neces- 1185 sarily do very much to improve the conditions of the masses. We have to face the question of what are to be the future conditions of labour of the ordinary Indian worker. It is very much more interesting for the worker to know what the conditions of his labour are going to be in the factory than to know whether he is to have a vote, and it is better for him to be under a personal ruler in cases where he has good conditions than in a democratic State where he has not.
The Under-Secretary of State said that we must not exaggerate, and that the Indian States were mostly agricultural. So they may be, but factories are beginning to spring up, and is there any reason why we, should not ask for equality for industrial workers whether it be in British India or in the Indian States? We see industries slipping across from British India to the Indian States; surely it is asking very little that the same conditions should prevail whether under conditions of pseudo-democracy or under an Indian Prince? It may be suggested that if an Amendment of this character were passed, it might effect, to some extent, certain of the Indian Princes coming in, but the most enlightened of them would, I am sure, welcome a scheme which led to improved conditions throughout India as a whole. I have never believed that the most progressive or enlightened of the Princes would be opposed to that. I am confident that the Government in their desire to improve conditions and the welfare of the masses of India, a desire which is not often given expression to by them in these discussions, but which they no doubt feel in their hearts, would be only too willing to assist the Indian Princes to realise the importance of a fair deal for the workers, whether in British India or in the Indian States.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Major HILLS
We should have a very great sense of the importance of the, decision that we are taking. On the one hand, if we do not pass an Amendment of this sort, we leave India in something like the position of the United States of America. Everybody who has had anything to, do with labour legislation, and particularly with the international aspect of labour legislation, knows that in the United States the powers of the States, and the weakness of the Federal Government, form a great obstacle to any sort 1186 of international agreement. We have seen that over and over again, and we saw it in the difficulty of preventing the export of arms to the warring countries in South America. If we do not pass the second of these Amendments, we do to a large extent prevent India from entering as a unit into international bargains. The only way in which that can be secured is by getting the consent of all the States and all the Provinces. So far the argument is in favour of giving the Federal Government in India more power over legislation. I was much impressed by the speech of the hon. Member for South East Essex (Mr. Raikes), who spoke with a sincere desire to improve labour conditions in India. When I come to that aspect of the matter, I feel a good deal of doubt as to which would be the better for them, to be under a unified system, or to be under a system with a good deal of variety? I think the answer must be that, in the case of States ruled by enlightened rulers, they would probably be better off for the time being in the States than under Federation.
Turning to the larger question, my hon. Friend below me is a good deal more of a federalist than I am; he wants a complete, absolute federation—the same sort of federation as prevails in Australia or in Canada. I do not think that that could be obtained now. Quite apart from the fact that I do not think the Princes would accept an Amendment of this sort, and for that reason alone I should be bound to vote against it, I think that on other grounds you would have to work up to it gradually—you would have to bring this vast, heterogeneous mass of States, with all sorts of different conditions, slowly up to a higher level; and I do not believe that that could be done now by forcing them all into acceptance of the federal power. For that reason, therefore, and also because I regard federation as the great thing which this Bill does, and I do not want to do anything that would wreck it, I am, with a good deal of regret, unable to vote for the Amendment.
§ 6.19 p.m.
§ Mr. T. SMITH
I think it will be agreed that on these two Amendments we have had a fairly good discussion, in which there have been many expressions of view both for and against the Amendments. The Noble Lord the Member for Perth (Lord Scone), in his very interest- 1187 ing speech, said he would, be prepared to support the first Amendment, but could not go as far as supporting the second. He said that the Tory party had always been the party for giving the workers a better standard of life. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am pleased to hear that cheer; it shows that at least hon. Members are alive to what is taking place; but I must remind them that in the nineteenth century the Tory party, or a big section of it, was opposed to Measures similar to those proposed in the Amendments which we are now discussing. [An HoN. MEMBER: "What about Lord Shaftesbury?"] I think history shows that Lord Shaftesbury secured a good deal of legislation in spite of the Tory party. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) must also agree that, when women and young children were working underground in the mines, the nation was so shocked at the revelations which were made by a Royal Commission about the year 1840 that the Government were compelled to bring in a good deal of social legislation. I agree that, if these Amendments are carried, the Indian Princes may not come into federation, although personally I am doubtful whether they will come in at all. I do not think the Government ever intended that any of this concurrent legislation should be obligatory upon the Indian Princes. Paragraph 155 of the Joint Select Committee's Report begins with this statement:It is proposed that the Ruler of a State shall signify to the Crown his willingness to accede to the Federation by executing an Instrument of Accession.It says later:Outside these limits the autonomy of the States and their relations with the Crown will not be affected in any way by the Constitution Act.We have been told by various speakers this afternoon that the people of the Indian States would get far better social conditions by being left at the mercy of the Indian rulers than if these Amendments were carried. I will be perfectly open with the Committee; I have not ally Indian experience so far as visiting the country is concerned; but for a number of years I have taken a close interest in Indian social conditions, and have endeavoured to focus attention upon the conditions at any rate in British India.
1188 I notice that, in a discussion this week in the Assembly on a new Mines Bill that is being brought before that body, a statement was made to the effect that the resolutions of the International Labour Office were made for Europe, and ought not to apply to India. I am a little in doubt as to what is going to happen to the people in the Indian States. The late Speaker, Mr. Whitley, in his very excellent report on Indian Labour Conditions, made reference to the conditions in the Indian States on pages 472, 473 and 474 of his report, and I must call the attention of the Committee to this statement, under the heading, "Competition of Indian States":We have referred to the increasing economic unity of India and the need for co-ordination in labour matters. Our inquiry, however, has related only to a part of India, for the Indian States lie outside our scope. But their presence cannot be ignored in considering the problems of British India, for they share increasingly its economic unity and its industrial development and are bound to exercise an important influence on its political development. They lie in some cases close to industrial centres in Indian Provinces; but the laws and regulations which protect labour in those centres do not extend across the boundaries of the States. A number of States have copied various Acts of the Indian Legislature; but, except in rare cases, their labour laws are substantially behind those of British India. Industrialists not unnaturally feel the danger involved in making advances in British Indian legislation while their rivals within the boundaries of the States remain unaffected by these advances.The motive behind these Amendments is to try to ensure that, if the Princes do enter into federation, at least they will be obliged to carry into effect certain social legislation if it is passed by the Federation; and I think the Committee are bound to admit that, whether the conditions in British India are better or worse than those in the Indian States, the conditions generally in India so far as working people are concerned are far worse than they ought to be. Our purpose in moving these Amendments is to try to get some guarantee that, if the Indian Princes do federate, this social legislation must be passed. I am wholly dissatisfied with the statement of the Under-Secretary. The suggestion that these Amendments are not practical politics is as old as the hills; it has come up every time that there has been any suggestion of social reform. I sincerely 1189 trust that the Amendment will be pressed to a Division, and that we shall get general support for it in the Division Lobby.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Mr. G. NICHOLSON
I should like to ask my right hon. Friend three questions: First, will he give the House his word that he will give this matter most careful reconsideration before the Report stage? Secondly, has he good reason for saying that the inclusion of these subjects in the federal list would seriously affect the probability of the accession of large numbers of States? Have the States been consulted? Thirdly, while I am quite happy about the bigger States, I am not very happy about the smaller States. In the smaller States, where there have been industries and mines and where these have been entrusted to the agent of the Governor-General for that group of States, he has been very powerful in securing good labour conditions. Will that or a similar influence exist in the future?
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ Mr. PALING
I do not think I have heard one good argument against the acceptance of these Amendments. Everybody who has spoken, almost without exception, has expressed sympathy with the principle, but has raised some kind of objection, which, in my opinion, was not very sound. The Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) said that we were going farther than the United States itself in its federal assembly, and he gave that as about the only reason why he could not support the Amendments. What he said was disproved by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), who pointed out that the Noble Lord had quoted the only exception, and that our federations within the British Empire actually did pass this kind of legislation. The hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) went back to the time of the Stuarts, and tried to prove that, if the Stuart Kings had been left to their own devices, things would have been much better in this country. I do not think, however, that we can get back to that time.
The whole argument of the right hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) was in favour of accepting these 1190 Amendments; indeed, I think he put forward quite as strong an argument as we could for accepting everything that is laid down here. He even went to the extent of saying that internationally it was necessary that that should be done. But he closed his speech by saying that he was sorry he could not vote for the Amendment. I do not understand that kind of argument. The Under-Secretary says that the Amendments are not practical politics. If he were to look at the Debates on Labour legislation in this country, he would find that on every occasion the same statements have been made. It is never practical politics. We do not accept that argument. He says the Princes will not come in. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) yesterday pointed out that at a certain meeting certain fundamental objections in his mind to the passing of the Bill had been made manifest. The Secretary of State replied that the objections might be very great, though they were not so great but that they could be negotiated. If we get these people together, I do not believe there is a single objection that could not be got over. If he is clever and able enough to get over the objections that we discussed yesterday, I think he will be clever enough to get over the objections that might be raised by the Princes to these Amendments. If one lot of objections can be got over, why cannot others, particularly in view of the fact that everyone agrees with the principle that is laid down?
I have heard it said time after time that some of the Princes are very enlightened persons, and that they give better conditions to their people than exist in the Provinces. If that be so, I imagine that it would not need much argument to bring such Princes over to accept these Amendments. If they are putting into operation the principles embodied in this, why should they object to their being put into the Bill? The Under-Secretary says the Amendment is not wide enough and it does not embody all that we want, because the largest part of the States is agricultural, and presumably no provision is made for those people. If these particular Princes are not going to be affected by the Amendments, they wall not have much objection to them. There are enlightened Princes on the one hand who are already doing 1191 better than we are asking; there are others who will not be affected by it, and there are the persuasive powers of the Secretary of State himself and, in view of all that, why on earth should we not accept the Amendment?
§ 6.33 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
The hon. Member has made so attractive an appeal to me that I cannot ignore it. The Opposition are under a good many misapprehensions. They seem to think, first of all, that we should improve matters if we passed this Amendment. Secondly, they seem to think that the federal centre is necessarily going to be more progressive in its outlook on social questions than the federal units. I deny both those conceptions. Taking the second to begin with, it is very probable that the more progressive units are likely to the federated units rather than the centre. They will be much more closely in touch with social questions. They will be on the spot, and if hon. Members will look at the nonfederal subjects they will find on the whole that it is the non-federal subjects that principally affect the daily lives of the men and women living in the federal units. Therefore, it is likely that in the future the call for social reform will come much more from the federated units than from the centre, whose main duty, according to our conceptions of the Bill, is of a more technical character.
Secondly, it is suggested that if we pass this Amendment we are going in some way to improve the position of the inhabitants of the Indian States. That is not the case at all. If we pass the Amendment we shall destroy federation altogether. The States have said quite definitely that they will accede to federation only over a certain field of federal subjects. They will not accept subjects in the concurrent list as subjects upon which they are prepared to accede, and the only effect of accepting the Amendment would be, not to improve the condition of the Indian States at all, but simply to make all federation impossible. I should have thought much the wiser course is to get federation started, and by that means to get a much closer contact between British and Indian India, and you are much more likely to get a strong body of opinion growing up on social questions. Then you leave these 1192 changes to come from the Indians. But nothing that we are going to do by rejecting the Amendment, as I hope we shall do, will stop the Princes taking action on these lines if they wish to take it. It is much better to leave it on that optional line rather than attempt to impose it by coercion, the only result of which will be to make federation impossible altogether. In view of all these considerations, and admitting that we all wish to see the standard of living raised in British India as well as in the India of the States, it would be unwise to attempt to impose coercion, which would only lead to the failure and disappointment of the hopes that we all have in our own hearts.
§ Miss RATHBONE
Am I right in thinking that, if legislation on any social subjects within the concurrent list is passed by the Provinces, which the right hon. Gentleman has described as likely to be more progressive, it can be permanently blocked and overridden by legislation passed by the federal centre with the aid of the Princes whose States are not yet affected by the legislation which they pass?
§ Sir S. HOARE
The answer is No, but we had better discuss the question in detail when we come to the lists. The Provinces could not legislate for federal subjects. The two fields are distinct.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
We had better deal with that when we come to it. It does not seem to be appropriate to this Amendment.
§ 6.39 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The Secretary of State talks about coercing the Princes. There is no question of anyone being coerced. If they wish to come into federation, as we are told they have offered to do, it will be a voluntary act. My right hon. Friend has repeatedly assured us that in no circumstances is pressure to be put upon them to take this step. But, if they take the step, surely we are entitled to press upon them the importance of this class of subject being included in those to which they subscribe. Surely we are entitled to do that. The Imperial power does interest itself in the fortunes of the masses of 1193 India and in their well-being, and now Parliament is asked to leave this on one side. The object is to get federation. Surely if we are going to have federation, if this great design is to be carried to completeness, it should be a federation which has as one of its central points a desire to raise and to unify labour conditions throughout India. In the present circumstances the very greatest difficulties will arise. One very revealing remark fell from my right hon. Friend when he said he thought the Federal Assembly would not be so favourable to progressive social legislation as would be the federal units. Here is a clear admission that he is trying to set up what is thought to be a reactionary—
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I was merely replying to the statement of the Secretary of State. He said that the body at the centre would be less likely to concern itself with the well-being of the masses, with factory legislation and so forth, than the federal units, even than some of these despotically governed Indian States. It is a terrific statement.
§ Sir S. HOARE
My right hon. Friend is unintentionally misrepresenting what I attempted to say. It is obvious, if he looks at the list, that the subjects concerned with the daily life of the people are provincial subjects, and always have been. That being so, it must be the Provinces which will be most closely connected with questions of social reform, and the movements for social reform are much more likely to come from the Provinces.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The proposal that is put forward is that an effort should be made to clothe the centre also with these functions, and that the Princes who accede to the Central Legislature should place themselves in a great area in which there will be an endeavour to establish uniform labour conditions as far as possible, and it is obvious that if there is not that attempt, all progress is arrested. Here is an opportunity for Parliament to strike this note in favour of not neglecting our duties to the great proletariat of India, and of placing before the Princes the fact that, now that they are coming into this system of 1194 federalism, which the Government assure us and them will be so greatly to their advantage, the least the Government can do is to endeavour to negotiate with them and ask them whether they cannot be induced to take on this burden. The most effective way of influencing the Government in that respect is for us to support our opinions by our votes. In all these matters Great Britain is making enormous sacrifices, and if the Princes wish to have this federal system they should, in my opinion, share in those sacrifices too.
§ 6.44 p.m.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The right hon. Gentleman's reply does not seem to be quite satisfactory or quite logical. There must have been a particular reason why these matters were put into the concurrent list, the object being that the Central Legislature might legislate as regards these matters as well as the Provincial Legislatures. They must really have contemplated that there would be occasions on which it would either be necessary or advisable for the Central Legislature to legislate upon these matters. If that be so, surely it applies just as much and perhaps more so, to the position of the States, and where one finds vital matters of this sort, it is not, in our submission, a satisfactory answer to say that this may defeat federation. We do not believe in federation for the sake of federation, unless it is going to produce a desirable result in a federated community. One cannot just say that this or that is undesirable, because it may make it more difficult to get the Princes to come in. That is, in our view, a wholly unsatisfactory way of approaching the position. One has to say, What are we out for as the objective of this federation? Are we out for improving the conditions of the masses in India, or are we out merely for setting up a structure and a constitution which will operate despite the masses, and perhaps even adversely to the masses?
We believe that the three matters which are mentioned in the first Amendment are all absolutely vital as regards the conditions of the people in the Indian States, and that a, federation which is brought about upon the basis of neglecting these fundamental rights of the inhabitants of those States cannot be a 1195 satisfactory form of federation. In fact one can put it in this way, that a Prince who is unwilling to submit these matters to the ultimate decision of the Federal Legislature is not such a person as can be properly, within a federation, entrusted with legislation and supervision on these matters over his subjects uncontrolled by the Federal Legislature. Therefore, we feel that even if it were true—which we do not for a moment accept—in the sense that it was accurate, we do not accept that this would stop the Princes from federating. We do not think that that is any good answer to the argument if one accepts, as I understand the right hon. Gentleman does, the basis of the Amendment in this sense that these are matters which are urgently necessary to be legislated for in India whether federated or unfederated, and it should be an essential part of the basis of federation that matters of this sort should have very early attention. When the right hon. Gentleman says that probably the more progressive units are likely to be federated units, one is entitled to say that that does not hold out a very happy prospect for the progressiveness of the Centre in these circumstances. If those units are likely to be more progressive, I can imagine no more healthy thing for India than that they should be able to utilise their progressive tendencies in the Federal Legislature so that those progressive tendencies would spread over as wide an area as possible, and for these reasons we certainly press this Amendment.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. TINKER
The Secretary of State in his reply put the point that the Princes would not come in to the legislature if this Amendment were passed. One of the things for which we are asking is that regulations for working the mines should be recognised by the legislature and the Princes. I have been getting some figures to-day from the "Colliery Guardian" on the position of mine workers in India, and I find that 12,799 women are employed underground. Let us assume that the legislature decided that women should not be employed underground. Would anyone in this House think it right for the Princes to say that women must be employed because they desired it in their Provinces? I 1196 think that the House would say at once that if the legislature decided that women should not be employed, the whole of the Princes should agree to it. The Princes will have a chance in the legislature of putting their point of view. They almost have full power there, and when once such a thing is decided by the legislature they ought to accept it as a body. If not, we should have the intense competition of undercutting each other.
We have always tried to avoid that sort of thing here, and one of the arguments used by all Member of the House is that we are not able to compete with other countries because of the better conditions in this country, and we are trying to get the conditions of other countries made equal to ours. But if you allow the Princes to have the power to undercut each other, you will never raise the status of the Indian workers as it ought to be raised. Whatever may be the fate of this Bill, unless it embodies in it the welfare of the masses as a whole, this House ought to say that we cannot have it for the time being. It is an impossible situation to say "We will get this Bill through because we must do it this way in order to get the assent of the Princes." I do not put so much value upon them. I really put most value on the working class opinion of India—not on the Princes. I hope that the Committee will recognise the matter in that sense, and that the result of the vote will show their true feelings.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ Mr. E. WILLIAMS
I have listened to the whole of the Debate, and certainly it is the most interesting we have had, except perhaps that of yesterday, upon the India Bill. I was surprised to find the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary refusing to accept this Amendment. It seems to me that in rejecting the Amendment the Committee will acquiesce in the conditions that now obtain in the Indian States, and that no other conclusion can be drawn if the vote is cast against the Amendment. We have had reports read to us by my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Banfield) and my hon. Friend the Member for Normanton (Mr. T. Smith) from which no other conclusion can be drawn but that the conditions generally in the Indian States are much worse than in the Provinces. It is the only conclusion to be 1197 drawn from the reports which have been read, but one has to assume, of course, that they are accurate. I have heard the Secretary of State on many occasions in this Debate state the importance of making the Federation an effective federation. How is it possible to have an effective federation if you have conditions that are so distinctly variable as between the Provinces and the States themselves. I look upon the Bill as really a superstructure that will rest upon a distinct foundation, and the foundation in all these matters is really the economic foundation which not only prevails in India but also in this country. Unless you can have some kind of economic homogeneity as between Provinces and States, it will inevitably give rise to political difficulties and probably political unrest, and difficulties of major importance from time to time. I am stressing this point because I think that the Minister will have to admit that, if you want effective administration in this matter, you must have conditions relatively equal as between the States and the Provinces.
I was amazed to hear the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy). We have had evidence during various discussions of the last few weeks that there are some Conservative progressives, and that there are in the House a dozen or probably more hon. Members who designate themselves the Y.M.C.A. They are persons who believe in economic planning, and that there is need within the Government of evidence of progression and things of that kind. I was amazed to find that, in connection with this matter, something which obtains in the United States was thrown in our faces. It is true that it has been refuted by the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench on this side, but I am astonished to find that there is evidence of reaction coming from a quarter which boasts of progressiveness on matters that arise from time to time in this House concerning this country. I can still substantiate the statement that those who vote against this Amendment, obviously, will indicate that they are countenancing in India, particularly among the reactionary Princes, conditions of this kind.
I hope that we shall have the support of all persons in the Committee, particularly the Conservatives who in this House state that the Conservative party 1198 as such have been responsible for progressive Labour legislation in this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Surely this is the time, if the echoing of those sentiments means that there is agreement, when they ought to cast their votes in favour of the Amendment. I wonder where the Liberals are in this connection. We have not had a single speech from the Liberal benches either for or against these Amendments. There is one Amendment which concerns the International Labour Office. Will not they support us in saying that what is decided by them shall apply to the Indian States equally with the Provinces? Are we not to have a word from the Liberals in this matter, or are they going to sit tight? I hope we shall have the support of the Liberals and of the progressive Conservatives who from time to time pose as being planners of the new philosophy, and that philosophy ought to be permeating the Government at this time.
§ 6.57 p.m.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
The hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. E. Williams) stated that anyone who voted for this Amendment would be acquiescing in the present conditions. That I deny. It seems to me to be a preposterous argument that anyone who supports Federation because we are inviting the Princes to join this Federation must be presumed to acquiesce in all the existing conditions in the States. I put it back upon the hon. Member, or upon anyone who supports the principle of federation, if his argument is true that by inviting the States to come into this Federation we are acquiescing in the conditions that obtain throughout those States. I do not acquiesce in any of the conditions obtaining in any of the States. I deplore them where they are below ordinary standards. I had an opportunity of dealing with that matter in earlier Debates in this House. There are in many of the States to-day conditions obtaining, especially if we were immediately concerned, which would be regarded as being intolerable, and I expressed the hope that we might be able to improve those conditions in two ways. If the representatives of the States came into a federation and had to work side by side with the elected representatives of the Provinces there would be a tendency to raise the standard in the States, and when the States were all brought to- 1199 gether those that were below the standard of the other States would be brought up to a better level. I think that as a result of federation things will not be worse than they are; I think they will be better as a result of the consultation and debate that must go on.
The position I take up is that on this Amendment no one is better qualified to judge than the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State put in unmistakable language his argument for believing that the carrying of this Amendment would defeat federation. I am quite sure he would not have said that unless convinced by the experience that he possesses more than any other Member of this House. If that be so, then I want federation. I am not going to cast a vote, which, in the opinion of one best qualified to judge, would defeat what is the main object of this Bill. If that be thought to be inconsistent, it is the comment of many with the expressed intention of supporting the Amendment, because they do not want federation at all, because they want to defeat the Bill, and, not being able to do it by the Motion
§ yesterday, are seizing this as another opportunity. Inasmuch as their face is set in one direction and mine in another, I propose to accept the invitation given to vote with the Government. It may be said that we are acquiescing in the present conditions in the States. If that be said, those who say it do not believe it when they say it, because it has been made clear that there are other conditions in the States—besides that in the Amendment—which call for condemnation
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 75; Noes, 234.1201
|Division No. 64.]||AYES.||[7.3 p.m.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col, Sir William (Armagh)||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Nunn, William|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Balley, Eric Alfred George||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Banfield, John William||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Bracken, Brendan||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Grundy, Thomas W.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Buchanan, George||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Burnett, John George||Hicks, Ernest George||Scone, Lord|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Jenkins, Sir William||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Cleary, J. J.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Thorne, William James|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Kimball, Lawrence||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Knox, Sir Alfred||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove, William G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Lawson, John James||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lees-Jones, John||West, F. R.|
|Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Levy, Thomas||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Daggar, George||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lunn, William||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Donner, P. W.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Edwards, Charles||Nathan, Major H. L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Mr. John and Mr. Rhys Davies.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th.C.)||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)|
|Anstruther-Gray. W. J.||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Brown, Brig. -Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Blindell, James||Buchan, John|
|Assheton, Ralph||Bossom, A. C.||Bullock, Captain Malcolm|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Boulton, W. W.||Burghley, Lord|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Butler, Richard Austen|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Bainlel, Lord||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Brass, Captain Sir William||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Horobin, Ian M.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Rasbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Ruggies-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm.,W)||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Iveagh, Countess of||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Jennings, Roland||Salt, Edward W.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Ker, J. Campbell||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Kerr, Lieut-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Knight, Holford||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P,||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Shute, Colonel Sir John|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Cuiverwell, Cyril Tom||Law, Sir Alfred||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Curry, A. C.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine,C.)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Liddall, Walter S.||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Dickie, John P.||Liewellin, Major John J.||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Doran, Edward||Liewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Drewe, Cedric||Locker-Lampson, Com.O. (H'ndsw'th)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Soper, Richard|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Mabane, William||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Eady, George H.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Eastwood, John Francis||McKie, John Hamilton||Spens, William Patrick|
|Edmondson, Major Sir James||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Stevenson, James|
|Eimley, Viscount||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Emrys- Evans, P. V.||Magnay, Thomas||Storey, Samuel|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Maltland, Adam||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Evans, Capt, Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Fleiden, Edward Brocklehurst||Milne, Charles||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Mitcheson, G. G.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Gibson, Charles Granville||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Morrison, William Shephard||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Munro, Patrick||Train, John|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Tree, Ronald|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Goff, Sir Park||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||North, Edward T.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Wallace, sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Patrick, Colin M.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro',W.)||Peake, Osbert||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Grigg, Sir Edward||Pearson, William G.||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Penny, Sir George||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Percy, Lord Eustace||White, Henry Graham|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Hamilton. Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Pybus, Sir John||Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Radford, E. A.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzle (Banff)|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Cheimsford)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noake)|
|Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Rickards, George William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hornby, Frank||Robinson, John Roland||Major George Davies and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
§ Amendments made: In page 3, line 38, leave out "to this Act."
In line 38, at the end, insert:
to the provisions of this Act so far as they are applicable therein by virtue of his Instrument of Accession.
In line 39, leave out "a declaration may be made," and insert:
an Instrument of Accession may declare that the Ruler accepts this Act subject to such provisions, if any, as may be specified
in the Instrument, being provisions which are by this Act expressly authorised to be included in an Instrument of Accession, and that his acceptance of any matter as a matter with respect to which the Federal Legislature may make laws is subject to such conditions and limitations, if any, as may be so specified.
§ (2) An Instrument of Accession may be executed."
§ In page 4, line 5, leave out "declaration," and insert "Instrument."1203
§ In line 7, leave out "conditionally or otherwise," and insert "with or without conditions or limitations."
§ In line 11, after "condition," insert "or limitation."
§ In line 11, leave out "declaration-.made by him," and insert "Instrument."
§ In line 13, leave out "A declaration," and insert "An Instrument of Accession or supplementary Instrument."
§ In line 13, leave out "the declaraiton of," and insert "executed by."—[Sir S. Hoare.]
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
I beg to move, in page 4, line 19, to leave out Sub-section (4).
This Sub-section is not very easy to understand. I say definitely that I do not understand all its implications, and I very much doubt whether anybody else does. I remember many years ago, when I was a boy at school, a member of the Austrian Parliament, for the purpose of obstruction, spoke for thirteen hours. If we were obstructing this Bill I could beat that record, because in order to explain the Amendment it would be necessary for me to read the whole of the Bill. If hon. Members will refer to the Second Schedule, which begins on page 275, they will discover that this Sub-section deals with the matters in that Schedule. The Sub-section says:The validity of any declaration under this Sect ion shall not be affected by any Amendment of the provisions of this Act mentioned in the Second Schedule to this Act.When one turns to the Second Schedule one observes that practically the whole of the Act is mentioned, with certain exceptions. The exceptions are very numerous, and they are not expressed in precise terms. They are not expressed in the terms of the Bill which enable one to take out the various Clauses and Sub-sections to which Sub-section (4) applies. To go through the Second Schedule with another copy of the Bill, endeavouring to mark in the other copy of the Bill those features of the Bill to which the Second Schedule does not apply, because they are among the savings therein specified, means a task of many hours. I suggest that when we divide on this Amendment, if we do divide on it, no Member of the Commit- 1204 tee will be quite certain what the effect of his vote may be.
We are all agreed that this Bill is a credit to the draftsman, but here is a case—I am not blaming the draftsman—where the circumstances are such that the significance is almost unintelligible. When I read the Second Schedule it looks substantially that if any Amendments are made in respect of the major matters in the Bill, the really big issues, then the declaration which the Princes have made is a declaration made under conditions which are going to be fundamentally changed. In other words, the alterations that can take place without the Princes having any grievance are alterations in respect of a great mass of matters each of which is relatively unimportant. On the other hand, where a matter of major importance is altered it seems to me, from the study that I have given to the "savings" in the Second Schedule, that the position of the Princes is altered. In that case, does it bind them?
I do not know whether I am quite clear in this matter, because it is in itself in herently complicated. A Prince enters into a contract with the Federal Government. Having entered into that contract it is made perfectly clear that minor amendments when the Bill becomes an Act can take place without any particular Prince having a ground of grievance, because those alterations can take place, and it is part of his contract that they may take place. Suppose that later on when this Bill has become an Act, if it does become an Act, Parliament alters it in some major matter. Then the original terms on which the Prince made his accession are fundamentally altered. In other words, one party to the contract has proposed to vary the contract. In those circumstances is the Instrument of Accession still binding on the Prince?
I often have to say that I am not a lawyer but only an engineer, and I find these things rather difficult to understand, even in spite of my association and friendship with the distinguished and learned Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson), from whom I have learned many things. Can a, Prince resign? Let us suppose that 10 years from now, because of our experience, the then Government comes to the conclusion that this constitutional Act, as it then may be, requires amendment in respect of 1205 certain fundamentals which are included in the innumerable savings which appear on pages 275–278. Is every Prince then released from his contract, if he so desires? Clearly, we on our side will have broken our part of the bargain because we shall have Altered the Act fundamentally. This seems to me to raise issues of very extraordinary importance. If, on the other hand, the legal interpretation is that in fact the resignation—if I may use the phrase—does not properly follow from an amendment among the savings in the Schedule, then the Princes are, in effect, going to be bound by conditions which they did not contemplate. That, in turn, would be a gross breach of contract on our part.
Once we have passed this Bill with Sub-section (4) in it, are we not in honour bound never to amend it in any fundamental direction? That seems to me to raise a very difficult point, unless my interpretation is inaccurate, as it well may be. I am not professing that I am right, for I feel that I am face to face with a problem of great difficulty. This is a Sub-section the reading of which is difficult, and I hope that we shall have some assistance from my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bridgwater, who is an ardent believer in the Bill. He supports it on all occasions, and therefore I have not the slightest doubt that he understands it. If he does understand, perhaps he will tell me and other Members of the Committee precisely what it does mean. Are we going to have a Sub-section included in this Clause of such a character that in some circumstances it may mean that the whole structure of federation may collapse, because if we make 'certain Amendments the Princes may withdraw? It is assumed that we cannot have a federation without the Princes. On the other hand, if the Princes are deemed to be bound for all time once they have come in, and it means that we cannot amend whatever faults are found in the structure of the Act, then we are face to face with a Sub-section of extraordinary difficulty which the Committee ought not to agree to until we have had it explained in a manner which makes the situation clear beyond any doubt, and makes it certain that none of the dangers that I visualise are real. I am not saying that they are real. I have tried to understand the Sub-section to 1206 the best of my ability, but I cannot understand it properly. It is most complicated, and I hope that we shall have the best legal assistance from the Government and from other quarters in order that our minds may be perfectly clear as to the significance of it.
§ 7.25 p.m.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I want to ask two questions. Under this Sub-section suppose there is an Amendment and a ruler does not accept it, will that mean that there will be two different bases for the Federation—one for the ruler who has not accepted the amended Act, that is, the original Act, and another for the rest of the Federation, the amended Act; one governed by one statute and another governed by another statute, differing in material particulars? Will a Prince be able to contract out of this Sub-section as a condition or limitation in his Instrument of Accession? Can he say, "I will accept, provided that no Amendment is made in the Act" or, "I will not be bound even by the Amendments that are authorised in the second schedule and if any Amendment is made to the Act then, so far as I am concerned, I come out." Will the right hon. Gentleman explain those two points?
§ 7.26 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
This looks a very complicated question, but it is not half so complicated as it looks, and I hope that even a layman like myself will be able to explain the position in a few sentences. The dilemma with which we are faced is this. Can you make alterations in any part of the Bill without impinging upon the Princes' Instrument of Accession? If we cannot make alterations, are we not setting up an excessively rigid states of affairs, particularly for British India? That is the dilemma, and the way the Joint Committee dealt with it, and the way we deal with it in the Bill is this, that we put into the second schedule the provisions of the Bill that affect exclusively British India and do not affect the States. If hon. Members will look through that very formidable schedule they will see that it contains all the provisions of the Act, or most of them, that affect only British India. Questions of that kind obviously should be amenable to future Amendment without endangering the basis on which the Princes have made their accession. If anyone looks through that long schedule 1207 I think they will find that there is no provision in it that could be said to affect the instrument upon which the Princes have acceded.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
There is the part which relates to the Commander-in-Chief. The Commander-in-Chief is to be appointed by warrant under the Royal Sign Manual. That can be amended. The Commander-in-Chief may be appointed by, let us say, the Prime Minister of India, and that might make a very big difference to the whole situation. As I read it, that is something which can be amended without any of the Princes taking exception.
§ Sir S. HOARE
And for the reason that the Commander-in-Chief is essentially a British India appointment. The Commander-in-Chief has not that kind of official status in the Indian States that apparently my hon. Friend thinks he has.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I do not think that a question of that kind arises here. I do not admit the contention of my hon. Friend, but when we come to the Schedule, if he then thinks fit, he might move an Amendment, and that would be the time to discuss a question of that kind. The broad answer is that these are conditions which affect British India, in which the States have no interest arising from their Instrument of Accession, and that the provisions in the Schedule can be amended without endangering the Princes' Instrument of Accession at all. If you amended the parts of the Bill which affect the States, obviously you would be altering the conditions on which they have acceded, and that would certainly create a situation in which the Princes could rightly claim that their Instrument of Accession had been altered. I hope that answer clears up the doubts of the hon. Member.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Not in the least. When you enter into a contract it is not merely the terms of the contract which matter but what is done. If one enters into a contract under certain guarantees which become entirely valueless because you have disturbed the rest of the native States, then matters outside his contract are of the utmost importance.
§ Sir S. HOARE
That is a general argument and does not apply to this position. If the hon. Member looks into the question in greater detail, he will see that they are British India conditions, and there is no reason why they should come into the Instrument of Accession in the future. If the hon. Member has any further doubts, I would suggest that he raises the matter on the Schedule.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Surely there are a number of matters in Chapter 2 of the Second Schedule as to which Amendments are permitted which are not excepted by the long list of exceptions to that part which may be amended. For instance, there is such a thing as is dealt with by Clause 15—the appointment of a financial adviser. That seems to be a matter which can be amended. It is a matter dealing with federation, and may deal with an important aspect of federation. That is not among the exceptions in the schedule and may, therefore, be amended without having effect on the Instrument of Accession. There are a number of matters of that sort in Part II of the schedule which affect the running of federation, and which have nothing to do with British India.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Yes. The heading of the Second Schedule is:Provisions of this Act the amendment whereof is not to affect the validity of the Instrument of Accession of a Statesave with respect to certain matters. Matters which are saved would affect the validity and are excepted; matters which are not saved would not affect validity. I give as an example the appointment of a financial adviser. He is not among the savings. I hear an hon. Member say something about financial stability, but financial stability and credit is dealt with in Clause 12 where the Governor-General has the special responsibility of safeguarding financial stability and credit of the Federal Government. All these matters mentioned in the savings come out of Clause 12, paragraph (b). There is the appointment of an advocate-general. It may not be an important matter, but it is clearly a federal matter and can be completely altered. You can repeal Clause 16 and have no advocate-general, and federation may get on just 1209 as well without, but it is clearly a matter which affects federation and has nothing to do with British India. Unless the schedule is meaningless Part II of the Second Schedule ought not to be there at all. It says that the things mentioned in Part II may be amended, except those matters which are detailed.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
The time to deal with this question is, I think, on the Second Schedule, but hon. Members imagine are agreed on the main argument put forward by the Secretary of State, that you must differentiate between the things which would justify secession and those things which would not. You have to guard against rigidity in this matter, and try to secure that in relation to British India there is a possibility of change and advance.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) forgets one thing. Suppose the Prime Minister of India were to appoint Major Douglas as his financial adviser. The Princes would feel that they were being grossly betrayed.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I am much obliged for the comments which have been made. I was generally correct in my answer to the hon. Member for South Croydon, with this one reservation that there are points of machinery, other than the items set out in the second Schedule, which can be amended without compromising the Instrument of Accession. The case he mentioned would be regarded as a question of machinery. The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol said that if the Princes were able to contract out it would result in there being two different systems of federation.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I was assuming that an Amendment is made, a material Amendment, in the Bill, and that the ruler of a State does not accept it. He need not, and does not accept it. He continues as part of a federation ruled by the original Act as unamended. The 1210 rest have accepted, and they continue under the new Act as amended. Therefore, there are two federations, one those who having accepted are under the new Act as amended, and those who have not accepted and remain under the old Act as unamended. They are running concurrently on the two different Acts. As far as I can see by this provision, having inserted the concurrence of the ruler, once you allow it, it does not affect his accession, he remains in, but you still have these differences between States who do not accept the Amendment, who remain under the original Act, and those who do. You may get every State under a different Act: Those under the original Act with one Amendment, those under the original Act with two Amendments, or with three and four Amendments. You will get the most extraordinary diversity of federation in India.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
On a point of Order. If certain States do something which will not justify their secession an Amendment made in the Constitution shall not extend to them. If you refer to the second schedule there are -such important things as the constitution and federation of the railway authority. You may have one set of regulations dealing with railway authorities generally, and in two different States you may have different regulations obtaining under the original Act.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
The hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) has put to me a very difficult question, but one which I think is very remote, and for this reason. An Amendment will have to be made by this House, and I cannot conceive of an Amendment of the kind he fears being made. Speaking off-hand, the result of such an Amendment, if it were carried, might be different in operation as between one State and another, but it appears to me to be so remote a case that I do not think we need take it into serious consideration.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
It comes to this that in actual practice if we want to amend the Bill we cannot without the 1211 prior consent of the Princes. Is that the condition to which Parliament has been reduced?
§ Sir S. HOARE
It certainly means that we cannot amend any part of the Bill which affects what is virtually the treaties under which the Princes come in. If we make such a change in the Bill as to strike at the basis of their Instrument of Accession, then, obviously, the agreement has been broken between the Princes and Parliament, and the Princes are free.
§ Major-General Sir ALFRED KNOX
There is a question I want to ask about the reservations in the second schedule and also the extra reservations set out there. Suppose it did happen that Parliament passed new legislation, would the Princes have the right to secede. If not, has secession been provided for in any part of the Bill?
§ Sir S. HOARE
The whole object of the Schedule is to set out the part of the Bill which can be amended by Parliament without any question of the Instrument of Accession being compromised. Parliament would be entitled to amend that part of the Bill without any question of secession arising. If, on the other hand, Parliament decides to make a change in the Bill which alters the conditions under which the Princes accede, then, obviously, the contract with the Princes is broken.
§ 7.44 p.m.
§ Colonel GRETTON
We are in somewhat of a dilemma. It would not be in order to deal with all the arguments on the Schedule, and I do not propose to do so. The Schedule, if it is passed in its present form, sets out a list of subjects to which the Princes are required to agree, and if any of them are altered by Parliament in any way it can do so without there being a breach of the Instrument of Accession. That is a large demand to make. Such a condition implies, as the Secretary of State has admitted, that there are a number of other conditions which would effect a breach of the Instrument of Accession. We are already going to have considerable variation in these Instruments of Accession. If Parliament finds it necessary again to legislate, and by that legislation violates the Instrument of Accession, what is the remedy? What is 1212 the remedy of the native States? It appears from the statement of the Secretary of State that if they can be so persuaded by the Secretary of State of the time, or by the Viceroy, they can come under the new arrangement, agree to the alteration in the Act and have the Instruments of Accession altered accordingly. The other remedy is to secede altogether. We are told that the Instruments of Accession are in the nature of treaties, and that if they are broken by one party the other party is free. Therefore the native States will have power to secede from the Federation. It is a point that we want to have made clear, that an alteration in the Instruments of Accession cannot be made by Act of Parliament only but must be agreed to by the rulers of the native States one by one.
§ 7.47 p.m.
§ Mr. CROOM-JOHNSON
I cannot help thinking that this is a somewhat unreal point. Once the Constitution is working and once the scheme is in operation, the hon. Members who have spoken seem to assume that opportunities will be afforded to this House on frequent occasions of amending the scheme in fundamental points. I cannot conceive this House being invited to amend the Constitution in fundamental points without the Government of the day having taken the opportunity beforehand to consult both with the people who are governing in the Provinces and with the rulers of the native States. That being so, the suggestion that the Government of this country would intervene in order to make a fundamental change without having got the assent beforehand of the other party to the contract seems to me to be something over which we ought not to take a great deal of time.
But there is then this other point of view, which is perhaps worth a little consideration, as to whether we might not provide in the Bill that if an Amendment is needed in the Constitution as affecting the native States, we need not be obliged to get the assent of every one of the rulers of the States. To provide for that in the Bill we might fix a majority of these native States and say that if they assent to some fundamental change—we might make the majority a high one—all the native rulers would be bound by it. I am only suggesting that as a way out of the difficulty if the idea of the Government is that the difficulty is a real one.
1213 But I cannot think that any British Government is going to make a fundamental change without having taken steps beforehand to ascertain the opinion of the other parties to the Treaty.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ Mr. ANNESLEY SOMERVILLE
Does my hon. and learned Friend imply that if a majority of the Princes accept an Amendment the minority must accept?
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
Would not such a provision in the Bill infringe the Instrument of Accession of those Princes who have not accepted?
§ Sir S. HOARE
It cannot be a question of majorities and minorities. Each agreement has been entered into by a Prince on the one hand and the Crown on the other. You cannot force any majority decision on a minority.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I suggest that the force of the Sub-section is emphasised by the Second Schedule. I know it will not be in order for me to discuss any part of the Second Schedule, but I would put this question to the Government: If we allow Sub-section (4) to pass without amendment and the Second Schedule becomes a part of the Bill, will the Secretary of State look at line 39 of that Second Schedule on page 275. It speaks ofthe Council of State and the Federal Assembly and the manner in which they are to be chosen.That is one of the parts of the Act that is saved from the provision here referred to. Do I understand that if we pass Subsection (4) and later on adopt the Second Schedule, any alteration in the manner of electing the British India representatives to the Assembly would justify some complaint on the part of the Princes that the Instrument of Accession was not being observed? It seems to me that that is the effect of the Clause. I can quite understand that we are not to be at liberty in this House or anywhere else later to come to any conclusion that is to affect those with whom we are entering into a treaty, but I hope that the Second Schedule will not allow the Princes to have any voice whatever in matters which affect purely British India. If we decided later on to adopt the sug 1214 gestion that was made by some on the Joint Select Committee, that indirect election be changed to direct, we could not make even that change without asking the consent of the Princes. That is my reading of the Bill.
§ 7.53 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I can reassure my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) at once. We must make the provision in the Schedule clear on the point. It is not our intention to exclude a question like indirect election from Amendments on the line that we have been discussing. What we are anxious to do and must do is to safeguard the position that is guaranteed to the State. When we come to the Schedule we can make that position quite clear.
§ Mr. A. SOMERVILLE
In this Subsection we seem to have come to serious difficulties that fundamentally affect the Instrument of Accession of the Princes. At any rate, the Princes may very fairly ask to know exactly what they are entering into. I suggest that the best course to pursue would be to withdraw this Subsection, redraft it and deal with it on Report.
§ 7.56 p.m.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
We are getting into a great dilemma. Either you give the Princes a power of veto on any amendment of this Constitution, or else it is quite clear that you will have two alternative constitutions running in different parts of India. I do not see any way out of that dilemma unless some amendment is made in this Sub-section. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson) said he could not imagine this Parliament making any fundamental alteration in the Constitution without securing the assent of the Princes. The Secretary of State says you would have to secure the consent of all the assenting Princes, which would be a difficulty. Some would agree and one or more might not agree to the amendment. Either you give a power of veto to the Princes on any amendment of the Constitution, or else you will have two concurrent constitutions in different parts of India.
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ Mr. THORP
This does seem to me to raise the whole question of the permanence of the Federation that is 1215 being set up. The hon. and learned Member for Bristol East (Sir S. Cripps) envisaged that what might happen would be that certain of the States were bound by certain provisions and that others which had not acceded were not bound by those provisions. That is a state of affairs which obviously will arise in the event of the ruler not assenting to any alteration of what I might call the matters mentioned on the right hand side of the Second Schedule. But there is another contingency. Where two people make a contract or treaty—this Instrument of Accession is a contract or treaty—if any alteration be made by this House in the matters on the right hand page of the Second Schedule, there is immediately a breach of the contract that has been entered into. Another hon. and learned Friend introduced some words of his own. He said, "If it was a fundamental alteration." The word "fundamental" does not arise at all. If it is the slightest alteration of any importance of what appears on the right hand page of the Schedule referred to, a Prince might say, "This is a variation of the contract into which I entered and, therefore, I am coming out of it." That means that he can secede.
Carrying the argument a step further, if the basis upon which the Princes come in is a majority basis and if one or two go out, then it may be said with considerable force and perhaps some degree of accuracy, "If these people are going out then the whole lot are entitled to go out." That means that either the Princes who have come in will be entitled to go out, or else they are entitled to come in on one basis and not upon the other. One of those two things must happen. Otherwise, if ever this Parliament, the only Parliament which can make any amendment at all, alters any one of the matters referred to on the right hand side of the Second Schedule, the whole structure may come down like a house of cards. The Princes would be entitled one after the other to say, "This is an alteration in matters which we deliberately accepted as the basis upon which we came in and therefore we are all entitled to go out."
The Secretary of State referred to this instrument as a treaty and used the expression that if that happened the ruler would be free. I accept that. The 1216 ruler would be free if any alteration were effected in these matters on the right hand side of the Second Schedule. In that case the whole thing might disintegrate. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson) said first that this matter was not of the slightest importance or that it would never arise or words to that effect. Then he went on to suggest that it was of such importance that it ought to be dealt with by some special provision.
§ Mr. CROOM-JOHNSON
My hon. and learned Friend must have misunderstood me. I did not suggest that it was of no importance but I suggested that it was not a thing which was very likely to arise. With regard to the second point I did not suggest that anything special should be done. I merely mentioned, as a helpful contribution to the Debate, the possibility of it being dealt with in a certain way, and the Secretary of State has since explained that that would be impossible.
§ Mr. THORP
I am sorry if I misunderstood my hon. and learned Friend, but I suggest that the Committee ought not to pay particular attention to his powers of prophecy. He may, like all of us, make a mistake as to what is likely to happen in the future though as to the present or the past I cannot imagine such an extraordinary thing happening. But with regard to the point which I was making, I think the question put by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) might go a step further. He might ask (a) Are you going to have different rulers in the Federation upon a different basis and subject to different terms, and (b) If they take the view that any variation is of. sufficient importance, does it rest with them to say that they will wash their hands of the whole thing, causing the Federation to disintegrate? I suggest that that must follow and that the only alternative is that this Parliament is never to make any alteration in any of those matters.
§ 8.5 p.m.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) asked a specific question which my right hon. Friend through inadvertence omitted to deal 1217 with, and I shall answer that question at the outset. The hon. and learned Member asked whether a ruler could contract out of Sub-section (4); that is, put it forward as a condition of his accession that no amendment would be made even of the accepted subjects which might affect his interests. The answer is "No." The only general provisions of the Act which can be qualified in the Instrument of Accession are those which are expressly authorised by the Act to be included in the Instrument.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
No, Sir. If the hon. and learned Member will refer to the new words which have been inserted he will find that they read as follows:an Instrument of Accession may declare that the Ruler accepts this Act subject to such provisions, if any, as may be specified in the instrument, being provisions which are by this Act expressly authorised to be included in an Instrument of Accession, and that his acceptance of any matter as a matter with respect to which the Federal Legislature may make laws is subject to such conditions and limitations, if any, as may be so specified.I gave instances last night of matters which are outside that because there is no express authorisation.
§ The SOLICITOR - GENERAL
That deals now, as amended, simply with matters specified in the list. This is quite a different matter. As the Secretary of State explained the machinery of the Act is accepted and then as regards certain matters there is express authorisation as to qualification. Clause 124 also deals with that matter. I do not want to cover ground which has already been traversed but I would like to reassure the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. A. A. Somerville) that my right bon. Friend the Secretary of State does not feel in any dilemma in regard to this matter and does not feel that there is the slightest reason for not sticking to the Clause. The problem is one which emerged to my right hon. Friend and to the Joint Select Committee at an early stage in these discussions. It stands out at once. The States will only agree to federate in a structure which, 1218 within limits, is definite and certain and obviously we could not completely alter the structure afterwards. The purpose of this Clause is to lay down those matters which can be altered without being regarded as fundamental or as impinging on the Instrument of Accession. We think the Clause is adequately drafted and is in the best terms for that purpose.
If the structure were to be altered in fundamental respects, of course the States would clearly have the right to say, "This is not the Federation to which we acceded." One can always contemplate possible difficulties especially in constitutional matters. We have been engaged—quite rightly and I make no complaint about it—in what my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General the other evening, quoting from Lord Balfour, described as considering the grounds of divorce before entering upon the problems of matrimony. In regard to all these constitutional questions one can always imagine difficult situations arising, but I think as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson) said, it is difficult to imagine any Parliament in this country making any fundamental change without thoroughly exploring the matter with the States first, finding out their attitude and arriving at a workable solution having proper regard to the rights of the States under the Instrument of Accession.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Neither the explanation which we have been offered by the Secretary of State or that of the Solicitor-General is satisfactory. Surely it is the maddest thing in the world to go into a federation with a gap in your legislation and to say, "We do not think anything will ever happen." It is precisely that type of thing which wrecks a federation or anything else. The hon. and learned Gentleman, I know, will agree with me that, if it is possible, one ought never to get into a position of that kind. Something quite unexpected may turn up, something that was thought to be most unlikely, and then you find there is no provision by which you can deal with it. That is a fatal position into which to be led, especially when one can see in advance the possibility of difficulty arising as the right hon. Gentleman and the 1219 hon. and learned Gentleman admittedly do with regard to this Clause.
The right hon. Gentleman said he was trying to do two things here, first to attain a certain flexibility, which we all agree is necessary in a Constitution of this sort and secondly, to attain a certain degree of permanence in the Instrument of Accession. Equally we agree that as much permanency as possible is wanted in that respect if you are to have a Constitution of this kind. But if you say that you are going to attain the maximum of flexibility how can you say that the alterations which are going to be made will not matter? The whole object of flexibility is to make material alterations in the Act. These may be of two classes. They may be such as will affect the Instrument and then a Prince will be able to withdraw if he does not agree. That is not the case dealt with in Sub-section (4). Secondly, they may be alterations in this Act—which is to form the basis of acceptance by the British Crown of these Instruments—expressly stated by this Sub-section (4) not to affect the Instruments. Well and good so far.
If that were the end of the situation there would be no trouble, though some of these matters are of importance. There is, for instance, that dealing with the oath which is to be taken—a matter which has caused difficulty in other places in the British Empire. That is one of the things which can be altered. If that is altered—and the provisions here in Subsection (4) state that it shall not affect the Instrument of Accession—well and good. Everybody would be governed by it and there would be no trouble. The Act as amended would rule the whole Federation. The trouble arises from the fact that although you say that that is something which is not material enough to alter the basis of the Instrument, yet you also say that the ruler can refuse to accept such an Amendment. That is the illogical part of Sub-section (4). You do not put the matter right outside and say that it is so basic that the Instrument of Accession goes altogether and that there must be a new treaty. You say that it is not fundamental enough to alter the Instrument but you say to those who have come in on that basis and who, we are told by the Solicitor-General, cannot contract out, "We give you power 1220 when the Amendment is made to say that you do not accept it."
What will be the position supposing one of these Sections—for example, Section 15—is repealed and one of the Princes, one of these 300 or 400 Princes who, the right hon. Gentleman hopes, will be in by that date, says, "I will not accept that anyway; I have another little 'grouse,' and I will take advantage of it here"? I am just giving an example. Say the financial adviser has been done away with. He has to persist so far as that one State is concerned, he is still a part of the federal institutions as regards the one State which refuses to accept the Amendment, and therefore Section 15 is in full operation, and the Governor-General has to appoint some person to be his financial adviser. It is the duty of the financial adviser to assist with his advice the Governor-General, and he has to advise about that part of the federal structure which affects only one State.
I merely take that as an example. Such a case might arise and might lead to infinite possibilities of making difficulties hereafter, not necessarily real difficulties, but affording an opportunity for someone who has some other matter to complain about to make a difficulty with the Government of India and the Federation. I suggest quite earnestly—I am not trying to put this from any party point of view—that the Secretary of State might consider whether, once a matter has been amended and comes within the permissible Amendments which are the basis of the Instrument of Accession, it ought to be for the Prince to accept it or not. That is the only way that I can see by which the right hon. Gentleman will make this a workable thing at all and avoid what may be infinite difficulties in the future.
§ 8.17 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I will take note of what the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) says, and I will take note also of the spirit in which it has been said. The difficulty in my mind in going further is that outside the permissible field of Amendments there may still be questions which none the less impinge upon the Instrument of Accession; but I will keep the point in mind and see whether the words now in the Sub-section meet my difficulty and his.
§ 8.18 p.m.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I shall in a moment ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, having regard to the interesting statement of the Secretary of State. I realise that the issue raised by the Amendment is very much bigger than I at first contemplated. It seems possible that, if we passed this, we should create a constitution practically unalterable for all time. This Amendment has raised issues of such fundamental importance that, having regard to the declaration of the Secretary of State and the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps), and having regard to the fact that it is bound to come up again in detail on the Second Schedule, it is desirable that we should not challenge any issue at the moment, but that we should all realise that there is a problem still to be solved. I do not believe the solution exists in the Sub-section as it stands, and, in view of what the Secretary of State has said, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Amendments made: In page 4, line 19, leave out "declaration" and insert "Instrument."
§ In line 37, leave out "declaration" and insert "Instrument."
§ In line 38, leave out "declaration made" and insert "Instrument executed."
§ In page 5, line 1, leave out Subsection (7).—[Mr. Butler.]
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I beg to move, in page 5, line 5, at the end, to insert:(8) Notwithstanding anything in this section no Instrument of Accession of a State shall contain any provision by or under which that State is exempted from the operation of any provisions of an Act of the Federal Legislature which impose taxation on the Governors' Provinces.This again raises, in a rather different way, the whole issue of federation, in which certain parts bear a different relation to the central organisation than other parts bear. This is really the third time to-day that we have discussed this question. We discussed it on the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), in regard to labour conditions; we have just 1222 been discussing it on my previous Amendment whereby some amendment might take place in the Constitution so that the position of one State in relation to the Federation might become different from that of another State; and now we are raising the question whether a State shall be treated differentially in taxation from another State or from a Province. It raises matters of very great issue indeed. It happens to be true that I have not devoted as much time as I should have liked to the problem of the finances of India, and one of the reasons is that I find the problem very difficult because they wilt put their commas in the wrong place. I do not know who invented the system of lakhs and crores and all the rest of it, but we have learned much from the East in regard to arithmetic and algebra, which we inherited from the Arabs, and geometry, which we got from the Egyptians, but I wish they had got their arithmetic from us, because I am certain that the Secretary of State, who has been brought up on the good but irrational system of pounds, shillings, and pence, is in even greater confusion than was the late Lord Randolph Churchill when a fly walked over the Budget paper and there was a question as to what a certain mark meant. In these circumstances, I shall only raise the issue on the general principle. I have not studied it in detail, but I understand that the Noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) is anxious to raise the issue, which she has studied more closely than I have, in some detail.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. EMMOTT
I confess I am not prepared to deal with this subject in the way that I should have liked, but I think I may usefully occupy a very few moments in putting before the Committee certain considerations which arise out of evidence that was given before the Joint Select Committee. It will be remembered that important evidence was given to that committee by the gentlemen who represented the Chamber of Princes. I have studied that evidence with very great interest and attention and I should like to give to the Committee certain passages from it. It was laid down clearly that the view of the Standing Committee of the Chamber of Princes was that the proposals relating to federal finance which had been before them required further examination than they had re- 1223 ceived up to that time, and that no direct tax should be imposed by the Federal Government within the States. Then there is a passage in the memorandum placed before the Joint Select Committee on behalf of His Highness the Maharaja of Kashmir which I should like to read to the Committee. It is this:The Federal Government should, in no circumstances, be authorised to impose a direct tax or levy in Indian States. If, on the occurrence of an emergency, the resources of the Federal Government are so low as to make it impossible for them to meet the situation, it should not be difficult to devise means by which the States could make a contribution to the Federal fist on an equitable basis without undertaking liability for direct taxation … His Highness' Government are aware that the representatives of some States did, at the Third Round Table Conference, express their willingness to shoulder the burden of the Corporation Tax, or in the alternative, to pay to the Federal Government a sum equivalent to the estimated value of the Corporation Tax. His Highness' Government are opposed to the imposition of a Corporation Tax in any shape or form, direct or indirect.The four gentlemen who gave evidence to the committee on behalf of the Chamber of Princes were examined on this subject by various members of the committee. Lord Rankeillour, at question 2312, asked:I understand you are prepared to make a contribution to the common expenses of the Federation?The answer was, "Undoubtedly." The next questions and answers were:But not by way of direct taxation?—Not by way of direct taxation. That is to say, we do not desire that the Federal Government either directly to assess or directly to collect taxes from our subjects.But if you have to make a contribution and you do not make it by direct taxation, how would you propose to make it?—By the indirect taxes which will be entirely in the control of the Federal Government.In a later answer, one of these four gentlemen, replying to Mr. Zafrulla Khan, who asked what action would be taken by the States in certain contingencies, said:In the third alternative that is in case all other sources have been tried, and indirect taxation has been tried to the utmost, then it becomes not merely a question of normal balancing of the budget but of a financial crisis in which case extraordinary measures not of a general character, but of a special and specific character, will have to be taken. The normal resources of the Federation must come from its normal sources of revenue, 1224 and as normal sources of revenue, we are not prepared to consider direct methods of taxation; but in matters arising out of a crisis, or arising out of an extraordinary period of depression or suffering in credit, in such a case it becomes an extraordinary occasion, and, by extraordinary measures.There may be a misprint there, but that is how the answer is given. The reply continues:These are to be met either by way of contribution, or otherwise; we have no objection to meet a special situation; but as a normal course of procedure we are not prepared to accept direct taxation.Then he is asked:If for purposes of normally balancing the budget direct taxes have to be levied on British India that must be done on British India alone. The States are not prepared to come in on a proportionate basis?The answer was:We are not prepared to accept this proposal of direct taxation as a. normal procedure.All I want to say upon that remarkable series of questions and answers is this. It is perfectly plain that indirect taxation is the only kind of taxation that the rulers of the States are prepared to allow to operate within their States. Not one rupee will the rulers of the States allow to be levied by the Federal Legislature upon their subjects by way of direct taxation. Not one rupee will the rulers of the States allow to be collected by agents of the Federal Legislature from any of their subjects by way of direct taxation. Indirect taxation, it is true, rests on another footing. But is this a situation which British India will accept with equanimity? I cannot believe it. Circumstances may very quickly arise that will necessitate the raising of considerable revenue which will not be made available only by indirect taxation; yet here we have this absolute refusal on the part of rulers of the States to consider the application of direct taxation to their subjects. I seriously suggest to the Government that this is a fiscal problem which may very rapidly become one of great importance and difficulty. I am not prepared at the moment to carry the matter further than to ask the Secretary of State to indicate whether this is a situation upon which His Majesty's Government have formed any views which they can give to the Committee. I suggest for his consideration that the im- 1225 plications of the passages from the evidence I have read are of a serious nature; and on the deductions which it is proper to draw from them I rely in supporting this Amendment.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the DUCHY of LANCASTER (Mr. J. C. Davidson)
This Amendment raises a question of great importance, but I must say at the outset, for reasons which I will give in a few sentences, that we are not able to accept it. For one thing, under no circumstances would the Princes enter the Federation if this Amendment were accepted, and that is an object which we all desire to see achieved. The hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Emmott) quoted from the evidence submitted to the Joint Select Committee, but he did not quote or give the real reasons which have led the Princes to take the view that under no circumstances will they permit direct taxation to be imposed by the Federal Government in normal circumstances. They have expressed their unwillingness to do so on two grounds. The first argument which they used was that part of the expenditure of the federal fisc, to which they contribute by way of indirect taxation, will be solely for British India purposes, namely, to aid the deficit Provinces. They feel that they are making through the taxation which they are paying to the federal fist a direct contribution to British India and British India alone. They also argued that more than four-fifths of the central revenue will come from indirect taxation which will be paid equally by States' subjects and by British Indian subjects. It can be argued, also, that the salt tax is an All-India tax, and that, subject to certain provisions for immunity in certain States, States' subjects pay that tax as well as the subjects of British India.
I think these arguments must be put before the Committee, because it is the other side of the case, which has not been equally explored. Further, profits, which are earned in considerable volume in the Indian States, are brought to account, and are therefore taxable, to a very large extent in British India. That is an argument which has been used and which, it must be admitted, has some force, by the representatives of the States. A last argument which they have used, and by no means the one which carries the least weight, is the fact that 1226 unlike British India they make a direct contribution by the expenditure of their own taxes in their own States, to the defence of India by maintaining, according to their requirements and in differing degrees, State forces which are available in some cases for overseas service, and are available in any case for the defence of India and for the maintenance of internal security. For these reasons, which they believe to be good, and which I do not think have been effectively challenged in any quarter, they have expressed their unwillingness to make themselves amenable to direct taxation, and I therefore have to inform the Committee that the Government cannot accept the Amendment.
§ 8.40 p.m.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I am afraid that I do not feel that I can accept my right hon. Friend's explanation of the Government's refusal of this Amendment as being at all satisfactory. In effect, he told us at the beginning of his speech that the Government want the Princes to come in, and therefore they are ready to accept a financial arrangement as between the States and British India which I believe to be without parallel. He indicated, I think, that the Government did not really approve of the arrangement, but there it was; they had to bring the Princes in, and so they were going to swallow this arrangement. My right hon. Friend has given us the reasons put forward by the Princes' representatives for their refusal, reasons which, to people living in a country where direct taxation plays so big a part in furnishing the revenue, seem very strange. But I do not think he gave us quite all the picture. He did not remind us, for instance, that the Princes had desired an assurance as to the solvency of this Federation before they came in. That was mentioned by Sir Malcolm Halley in his Memorandum of July, 1933, and it does seem very possible that it was fear of the financial difficulties into which the Federation might drift, owing to extravagant administration, that made them so chary of accepting what seems to us a natural share of the burden of federal defence.
My hon. Friend the Member for Spring-burn (Mr. Emmott) quoted some very important passages from the evidence in which the Princes' representatives made 1227 clear their refusal to submit to direct taxation except in an emergency, but he did not remind us of the fact that at one stage in the Committee's proceedings it appeared as if a formula had been arrived at by which this difficulty would be smoothed over. I think that was at the end of the Summer of 1933, when a formula had been found which seemed to satisfy the Princes; but in November, 1933, just before the Indian delegates returned to India, the Minister of Bikanir repeated the refusal made earlier in the year to the Joint Select Committee. He told the Committee that they would not submit to any form of direct taxation. I think that was a very significant declaration. It seemed to me at the time to indicate an obvious and a growing reluctance on the part of the Princes to enter the Federation, a reluctance which has been made very much clearer in the last day or two.
This is a very big question. We have this reluctance of the Princes on the one hand, fear of the insolvency of the Federation, and fear, upon various grounds, of entering the Federation. To us, accustomed to regard direct taxation as the most natural and fair form of taxation, if it be not excessive, it does seem a very strange refusal, and seems to make a very lopsided arrangement in finance. My right hon. Friend told us of the large share which, in other ways, the States were contributing to federal revenues, and how British India was going to benefit largely from those revenues, but he did not remind us that the States are also going to benefit directly through the remission of their tributes, which is recommended in the case of those who enter the Federation. Therefore, while I am sure that hon. Members on all sides of the House wish to see the Princes fairly treated in this Federation, and all their rights respected, this strikes us as being a very anomalous arrangement. It is an arrangement without parallel, I imagine, that one group of parties to a federation should have to submit to direct taxation, and, as at present, to surcharges on their direct taxation, while another group of parties refuse to submit to that form of taxation. To me that seems clearly to illustrate the unwillingness of the Princes to enter the Federation. On the other hand, I agree 1228 with my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn that it is likely to cause much ill-feeling among the representatives of British India. I can imagine that this refusal of the Princes may have been one of the factors that led the Indian Assembly the other day to reject the proposal for an All-India Federation. It is likely to cause friction between the two sides of the Federation, and therefore not to offer that promise of smooth working which, if federation is ultimately to come about, we must all desire.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The following Amendment stood upon the Order Paper.
In page 5, line 7, at the end, insert:
(9) The Secretary of State shall cause every Instrument of Accession which has been accepted by His Majesty to be laid before Parliament."—[Sir B. Craddock.]
§ The CHAIRMAN
I understand that the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir R. Craddock) wishes to move his Amendment in a slightly different form, and in the form in which he has handed it to me.
§ 8.47 p.m.
§ Sir REGINALD CRADDOCK
I beg to move, in page 5, line 6, at the beginning, to insert:As soon as may be after any Instrument of Accession or supplementary instrument has been accepted by His Majesty under this Section, copies thereof shall be laid before Parliament and.The Amendment which I have moved in its changed form is very simple, but it has had rather a chequered career. The first version of the proposal was:Authenticated copies of every Instrument of Accession shall be lodged by the Governor-General at the offices of the Judicial Court of the Privy Council in Loudon and at the offices of the Federal Court in Delhi and such authenticated copies shall be open to the inspection of any person.The object of the Amendment as then drafted, and of the one now before the Committee, is the same, namely, to secure that authenticated copies of these Instruments of Accession should be available in the proper place and at the proper time, whether before this House or before the courts. It was suggested to me by an expert that that object would be gained by simply requiring that authenticated copies of the Instruments of Accession should be laid before Parliament. Subsequently 1229 a further suggestion was made that, instead of introducing a new Sub-section (9), I should add these words to Subsection (8), because the Sub-section would then read better and would be more convenient. After considering that suggestion, I readily fell in with it.
I must mention a very small verbal Amendment which will have to be made in line 7 as a consequential Amendment. As amended, the new Sub-section (8) would read as follows:(8) As soon as may be after any Instrument of Accession or supplementary instrument has been accepted by His Majesty under this Section, copies thereof shall be laid before Parliament and all courts shall take judicial notice of every such instrument.The Amendments carry out the purpose which I have in view and emphasise how very necessary it is that authenticated copies of these documents should be available, not only in order that this House may be acquainted with them, but in order that there should be no risk of mistake being made because of an unauthenticated document being produced before a court which has to deal with federal questions. It has to be remembered that, as time goes on, points regarding the meaning and the wording of an Instrument of Accession may come before the courts many years after the original authors are dead, and contentions will be put forward with regard to the interpretation of the Instrument. It must also be remembered that other parts of the Bill provide that details have to be entered on such Instruments of Accession, namely, as to privileges and immunities and their annual cash value, as well as details as to how, if no cash value has been ascertained, that value should be ascertained. All these extra requirements in the Instruments of Accession, which require to be published in the court, makes it very necessary that no mistake should be made about the authenticity of the documents, and that the courts shall only take judicial notice of the document if it is authenticated. I am given to understand that if the document is laid before Parliament it will be a document of which the court can always take judicial notice
§ 8.52 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)
My hon. Friend has so fully and clearly explained this Amend- 1230 ment that I need say nothing about it except that we are very glad to accept it.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In page 5, line 7, leave out "Instrument of Accession" and insert "such Instrument."—[Sir R. Craddock.]
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
We do not intend to let this Clause go without saying a word or two about what it contains, and unless we receive more enlightenment from the Government Front Bench upon its provisions and some promise that the Government will fall in with some of our suggestions, I am afraid that we shall have to press our protest to a Division. I have followed the Debates on this Clause from the beginning and I had the honour to move an Amendment to it on behalf of the Parliamentary Labour party. Of course, the Government would not accept our Amendment but I notice that the Amendment of the hon. Member for the English Universities (Sir R. Craddock) was accepted at once.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I have the impression that it was accepted not because of its goodness, but because it meant nothing.
§ Mr. DAVIES
The Government are always ready to accept drafting Amendments, but as soon as we attempt to safeguard the interest of the working class of the Indian States they turn our Amendments down. If the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) were in his seat I would venture to tell him that I was a little surprised at the language which he employed on our Amendment. He said that the Secretary of State knew better than he did what was the best thing to do. If my mind were affected in that way, I would throw in the towel and join the Government. What is the good of being on this side if we say that those people on the other side know as 1231 well as we do? We say that they do not, and that we know better than they do. I say honestly and earnestly that we are a little disappointed with the reply of the Under-Secretary of State on our Amendment, and that the Government should have met the case.
I should imagine, in spite of the protests to the contrary, that negotiations must be entered into between representatives of the Princes and the Secretary of State as to the list of subjects to be accepted before the Instrument of Accession is signed. If that be so, and it seems to me that it is bound to be so, would it not be possible for the Government, in response to a very important Amendment which we put forward on this Clause, to argue with the Princes that it would be a good thing if they accepted that Amendment? Surely there would be nothing wrong in trying to do that.
I have often negotiated with employers of labour and other people, and I know that the first thing the employers say is, "We will have none of it." But, when we negotiate and argue, as we can on this side of the House, the employers are very often convinced that they are wrong and come a little nearer to our point of view. If the India Office would undertake to convey to the Princes the feeling of the House of Commons on the Amendment which we moved to-day, I should not be surprised if some headway were made with the Princes. I will quote the best of all arguments in favour of the Amendment which the Government have declined to accept, namely, what was said by the Joint Select Committee themselves. They did not deal exactly with this point, but paragraph 240 of their Report is a splendid prop in favour of the proposal which we put forward. This is what it says:It is proposed in the White Paper that such subjects as Health Insurance and Invalid and Old Age Pensions should be subjects of Provincial legislation. We see serious objection to this, and consider that they should be included in the concurrent list.That is a step forward from the proposals of the White Paper—from the provincial list to the concurrent list. Our Amendment would carry it, not from the provincial list to the concurrent list, but so as to cover the whole of India both States and Provinces, with one set of labour laws. Let us see the strength of 1232 the argument in favour of what we propose. The Joint Select Committee went on to say:While it is necessary that the more industrialised Provinces should be able to legislate on these subjects in the interests of the urban workers, and should not have to wait for the concurrence of those which are predominantly rural, it is undesirable to exclude the possibility of All-India legislation, which may well become necessary in order that there should be uniformity of treatment of the workers as between Province and Province, and that industry in one Province should not be burdened with obligations not imposed in another.The argument against imposing industrial and labour conditions in one Province as against those applying in another Province applies, in our view, exactly in the same way when you compare the States and the Provinces side by side. In spite of the hon. Gentleman's statement, may I ask whether it would not be possible still to try and plead with the Princes that they may do something to secure the end we have in view? The Government must take note of the Division that took place on our Amendment. If the Liberal party bad been good enough to vote with us, as I expected they would, we should have had on our Amendment the largest Opposition vote that the Government have experienced on this Bill. I am not going to try to explain the reason why hon. Gentlemen on the other side vote with us; it may be difficult to fathom the secret mind that moves them at times; but, anyway, I will take it for granted that they were genuinely in favour on this occasion of raising the standard of life of the working classes.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I must ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the words "on this occasion." It was the real Conservatives who started the whole of the legislation for social reform in this country, through the various Acts that they carried.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must point out that all this is very far from the Question, "That the Clause stand part."
§ Mr. DAVIES
I am afraid the Rules of Order will not allow me to reply to the hon. and gallant Gentleman. But I want to say very definitely that we on this side regarded that Amendment, the object of which was to bring the whole of the working classes of India, in both States and Provinces, up to a higher level from the point of view of industrial 1233 legislation, as fundamental, and, so far as we are concerned, we shall vote against this Clause because our Amendment has not been accepted. Although we may be defeated the Government have not heard the last of our proposals.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ Major COURTAULD
I want to say a word on the last point mentioned by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies). I may say that I supported the Amendment for the same reason for which he supported it—a very obvious reason; and also for the further reason that, if we are going to have a federation in India at all, surely it would be better to have a real federation, without any reservations, than a make-believe federation, which, it appears to me, the Government are trying to bring about. We were told this afternoon by the Secretary of State that if the Amendment about which the hon. Member has been speaking were carried it would imperil the chances of an All-India Federation. I fail to respond to that argument in the least, because, if we are going to omit from the Federation things in which we all believe, what on earth is the good of having a federation at all?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must call the hon. and gallant Member's attention to the fact that we have passed the question of federation long ago, and that hot only does it not arise on the Amendment referred to, but it does not arise on the Clause that is now before the Committee.
§ Major COURTAULD
I apologise. I will take it, then, that the question of federation as such does not arise on this Clause. I think that what does arise on the Clause is the accession of the Princes to federation, and I will endeavour to confine my brief remarks to that question. The reason why I am not in favour of this Clause standing part of the Bill is that I do not think the Princes wish to accede to federation. I have never thought that the great majority of the Princes wished for federation, and that is confirmed by the events which occurred on Monday last, and by a certain amplification of that news which one has heard to-day. I have never thought that the Princes as a body wished to accede, by these proposed Instruments of Accession, to a federation. If I may give my reasons—
§ The CHAIRMAN
No. The hon. and gallant Member is now about to deal with a matter which was the subject of a four-hours debate on the Motion to report Progress yesterday, and before and afterwards of several hours debate on Clause 5. That cannot be repeated now.
§ Sir H. CROFT
It is competent, I presume, for Members to deal with any points raised by the various Amendments on the Clause.
§ Major COURTAULD
I am sorry that I have been transgressing. As regards the Instrument of Accession, I consider that the Princes will not be ready to accept it as laid down in the various points which they have to accede to before they can enter this Federation. I am convinced that the Clause, if included, will not be eventually of any use to us, because, if the Princes refuse to sign the Instrument of Accession, the Clause will mean nothing at all. If I am debarred from giving my reasons for thinking that the Princes will not agree to the Instrument of Accession, I find it rather hard to argue my point. In view of the events of which we were informed yesterday and in view of certain information which has arrived since, to include this Clause in the Bill would be of no use whatever to us. It will be found at a later date that we have been wasting our time. For that reason, I shall oppose the Clause.
§ 9.7 p.m.
§ Major NATHAN
I desire to ask a question which you, Sir, indicated last evening would be more properly raised now. The point arises on Sub-section (3) of this Clause, which provides that the Instrument of Accession is to be signed by the ruler himself and that, for every purpose except the signing of making of an Instrument of Accession, the term "ruler of a State" includes reference to any persons for the time being exercising the powers of the ruler of the State, whether by reason of the ruler's minority or for any other reason. The question I wish to ask is this. What is the position in the case of a State where the ruler is in fact a minor or is otherwise under disability and, therefore, not fully competent to make an Instrument of Accession. Suppose the ruler of a State were an infant of 12 months. Is it to be understood that until he had attained his majority it would 1235 be impossible, however anxious the State might be, to be the subject of an Instrument of Accession? Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will make some reference to that point, which though technical is not without its importance.
§ 9.9 p.m.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I am quite ready to believe that my hon. Friend who spoke a few moments ago was right in saying that we are wasting our time in discussing this Clause. Still, it is before us, and I should like to say with what concern I heard the Under-Secretary say that the only list which was the subject of negotiation for an Instrument of Accession with the Princes was the federal list. I feel that the concurrent list, especially Part II, contains a, subject of very great importance to the welfare and general well-being of India. I did not speak on the Amendment moved from the Front Bench opposite, but I only refrained from doing so in the hope that I might have a better chance of speaking on the Clause and bringing up many other matters which I regard as of great importance in that list, matters to which their Amendment did not refer. But I have full sympathy with that Amendment and I should like to confirm the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) that factories are actually moving from British India into some of the Indian States, I believe partly to get away from possible disturbing political elements, but also partly, as I have heard, because, though none of us think the standard of factory legislation in British India high, still it is higher than it is in the States. I feel very strongly that workers in British India may suffer seriously in employment if there is no provision for any uniformity, in labour legislation or social insurance, which may possibly in future be introduced, for India as a whole. But at least this can be said, that the matters referred to in the Opposition Amendment were matters made by man. The first matter that I would refer to is that of health. Provision 29 in Part II of the concurrent list—
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is quite obvious that it will be open to discuss that when we come to the Schedule which contains the concurrent list, and obviously it will 1236 be a much more convenient place. I do not think I could possibly allow a discussion here.
Duchess of ATHOLL
We spent some time this afternoon discussing other matters in that concurrent list on the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies).
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Noble Lady will forgive me for saying in the first place that, if I made a mistake once, it does not justify me in doing so again. As a matter of fact, I think I am right in saying that I stopped that discussion once before. There were certain subjects specially dealt with in the Amendment and reference was made, no doubt, to others as bearing thereon, but the discussion of a, matter which is included in the concurrent list certainly cannot be properly included in the discussion of this Clause. I think the Noble Lady will understand what I mean when I say, if it is to be discussed here, what are we to do when we come to the Schedule? We cannot discuss it all over again.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I must say, Sir, that I am very much taken aback by your Ruling. We debated the Amendment of the hon. Member for Westhoughton for some hours. I think it was you who selected it. I do not remember that anyone was stopped. If that Amendment could be discussed, I am unable to see why other elements in the same list cannot be discussed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
For the simple reason that they are other elements not in the Amendment, but in the list, which we have not yet arrived at.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I rise for a few moments only to call the attention of the Committee to the extraordinary discussion we have had on this Clause. This amazing federal system we are setting up, I think, must be getting more and more interesting to everybody present. We have had Amendments discussing some of the many sides of the question which we are to have before us later on. First of all, we are now all aware of the fact that, here you have this Federation with British subjects as to some three-quarters of the Federation and non-British subjects for the other quarter. We have, therefore, this extraordinary situation of 1237 different subjects under one scheme. My hon. Friend sitting next to me says that does not matter because, after all, there is a precedent. There is 'a little spot in Kenya where natives of Zanzibar still dwell, but really that is not a precedent for this vast reform where 6,000,000 people in Indian States are to come into federation, where they are not British subjects, and where they have so little in common, and actually will have so little equality of duty within that federation.
We come to the question which was raised by hon. Gentlemen on the benches above the Gangway of the various social matters referred to specifically in their Amendments, and we learn that there is to be one set of social conditions in British India and quite a different set of social conditions in the States. I interrupted the right hon. Gentleman who seemed to think that that matter was one which was solely within the prejudiced scope of the Socialist party. I reminded him that it was the real Conservatives of this country—who will be asserting themselves again in the near future, I hope—who were responsible for all the great social measures which were first brought into this country, while the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors were so busy with laissez faire in those days. It is interesting to see that the Liberal party contemplate with equanimity a future under which there is to be the highest possible form of social legislation in what was British India under the Federation, and alongside there are to be allowed conditions which some of them in the past have regarded as quite intolerable. Then there is to be the amazing situation that three-quarters of the inhabitaants are to be subject to Income Tax and the other quarter escape it. What a, wonderful country. I think some of the over-burdened taxpayers of some of these Western countries will desire to live in Indian States in future, where they will be free from burdens of the description they have found rather hard to bear in this old world.
We have this extraordinary situation. We have been discussing this Clause at the very moment when this whole question of the Princes' accession has been brought before the Chamber of Princes, where the Princes, over 100 of them, I understand, have in the most emphatic language explained how many difficulties 1238 there are in the Instrument of Accession to which they are to be subjected. I think it will be quite clear to Members of the Committee that it is on the very points we are discussing in this Clause that the Secretary of State will have to introduce all these Amendments. Therefore, it may be that we may have to discuss the whole question over again. The Bill may have to be recommitted. I do not want to spoil for Members the news in to-morrow morning's papers, but I think when they read the verbatim speeches of what happened in the Chamber of Princes they are likely to see that these fundamental differences in regard to the Instrument of Accession cannot be swept aside as easily as is suggested and cannot be met in other directions. They are really fundamental points.
For that reason, I think that the Government made a mistake in proceeding with Clause 6 at all this evening. It would have been far wiser to have ascertained from India the real fundamental objections of the Princes, and have seen if they could meet them on the question of the Instrument of Accession. Had those difficulties not been insurmountable, it surely would have been a wise course to put off the discussion at least a fortnight. I think we have a real reason to complain that the Government have insisted on forcing the consideration of the Clause before this Committee under these conditions, and that hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Opposition benches, although they may feel keenly on one side of this question, cannot feel so keenly as we do in the way the Committee has been forced to press on with the question. We really do not know for what we are voting to-day, because we have not the smallest conception of what the Princes are going to demand as a sine qua non and as reservations before the Bill can be finally established.
§ 9.21 p.m.
§ Sir CHARLES OMAN
The idea of federation is a 19th century and a 20th century delusion which has been founded upon an insufficient number of instances. We have heard a great deal about Canada, South Africa, Australia and so forth, but we have not heard about the numerous rolls of confederacies and federations all down history which did not come off and have ceased, and were 1239 incompatible and came to an evil end. The idea that the incompatible can be federated, because you call them federation is really a philosophic conception of the 19th century, and about as out-of-date, now as was the idea of "progress" which was taught us by 19th century economists and philosophers. When I say that I doubt the thing "progress," I ask hon. Gentlemen to look at the ruins of the Maya cities of Yucatan, or the excavations at Ur of the Chaldees, and ask themselves whether that represents progress—and whether in the general world progress is the ruling thing to-day or whether it is not really as dead a slogan as Free Trade. As Gibbon taught in the 18th century, or as Orosius taught in the fifth century, history is a cataclystic thing, where states and confederacies, monarchies and empires go up and go down—"decline and fall."
The events of the last few years have entirely upset the old theories of evolutionary constitutional history, and the theory that all human effort is towards progress. One has only to look round at what might be said to be the general effect of Europe at present. Has it recently advanced towards constitutional progress in due evolution? Can it be said, looking at the inner conditions of most countries, that progress is the main feature to be observed. No, cataclysms are what happen in history. History throws up its Julius Caesars, its Napoleons, its Hitlers and its Mussolinis, and they are quite incompatible with all ideas of proper evolution. I hear much talk that federation has become inevitable. This seems to me one of the most absurd things I have ever heard. Change and upheaval are the things observable. As Herodotus once very wisely observed "Any thing may happen in a long space of time." As to the political prophecies of which we have heard so much in this Debate, Prophecy, as a shrewd thinker once observed, is the most futile employment of the human intellect. To say that a thing is necessary and to prophesy that it is inevitable is to take us back to the days of the Old Testament when Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah and Micaiah, the son of Imlah, prophesied at each other in optimistic and pessimistic contradiction.
A very great leader promised us in a speech I well remember that within a 1240 short period we should lose India if we did not pass this Bill. A very great ex-Governor of the Punjab told me that if we passed this Bill we should lose India within 10 years. Both of them from their experience ought to know something. I regard them, however, as like the prophets who prophesied before Ahab. I merely look at the present and the past. I would like to call the attention of the House to the melancholy record of federations in the past.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I really was inclined to interfere with the hon. Member during the beginning of his speech, but I lived in hope. I must remind him that we are not on Clause 5, but Clause 6, which deals merely with the question of accession.
§ Sir C. OMAN
I will not talk then about the Hanseatic League or the ancient leagues of Greece, in deference to your Ruling, but merely say that you really cannot federate the unfederatable. All the cases quoted as justification for federation should be remembered with the fact that they were concerned with different branches of European people, like the French and the English in Canada and the English and the Dutch in South Africa. It is difficult, if not impossible, to federate in India two bodies of people, when one of them believes in the spiritual necessity for the sacrifice of cattle at fixed services in the year, while the other believes that the killing of cattle is a sin against the Diety to be suppressed by the force of lawlessness. Anyone who knows anything about this question knows that the regular start for a communal riot in India is an accusation by Hindus that the usual cattle killing by Moslems is about to begin. When faced with religions, one of which regards as blasphemy what the other regards as a necessary religious service, while both will proceed to bloodshed in defence of their theories, it seems to me extremely difficult even to think they should be federable.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid the hon. Member has forgotten the point on which I interrupted him. I said that we were proceeding with questions having reference to Instruments of Accession of the States.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
On a point of Order. I gather from your Ruling that 1241 we are confined to the Instruments of Accession, but that, of course, comprises the consequences of accession?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have listened to the right hon. Gentleman so often that I would prefer to rule in my own words than adopt his. We must not repeat the Debate we have already had on Clause 5.
§ Sir C. OMAN
If it is the federating of Princes you want, you shall have them. The most notable of such federations was the Holy Roman Empire.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have before me the speech the hon. Member made on that the other night, and he cannot repeat it.
§ Sir C. OMAN
May I quote then Switzerland? There is the case of the Abbots of St. Gall and the Counts of Neuchatel who were Princes federated among the urban and rural cantons of that Federacy. I do not think what has happened to those rulers makes a happy prospect for any Maharaja to contemplate. The old princely States are now mere cantons—the Princes have vanished. The main thing I wanted to bring forward is that without going too far into ancient history, you find that the incompatible cannot be federated.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that is almost word for word what the hon. Member has said before. I must ask him to resume his seat.
§ 9.31 p.m.
§ Mr. TINKER
I would like to make a suggestion before the Under-Secretary replies. When the Princes are interviewed on this and other matters would it be possible for them to be asked if they would accept the several points brought forward in our Amendments—mining legislation, for instance, making it general? In this way if a legislature decided on certain conditions in mines, the whole of the Princes might accept them. Another point is that of workmen's compensation. If the legislature decides on that, certain of the rulers could get away from it in their States, and that would be entirely contrary to fair-play for all concerned. Workmen's compensation whenever adopted must be applicable to all. If only part of the people had to pay, one can realise what a burden it would be for those who have 1242 to meet it. In questions of workmen's compensation, mining legislation or factory legislation, no headway could be made if certain employers or rulers could get away from it. When the Under-Secretary does meet them he might put it to them that certain social conditions ought to be applicable to all. Cannot he get agreement on these points? If he could, Members on these benches would have great satisfaction in having made some headway for the workers in India.
§ 9.34 p.m.
§ Mr. BUTLER
I am sure that the Committee was interested to hear repeated some of the arguments which have been heard previously, in view of the great importance of this Clause. I do not propose to traverse exactly the same arguments put to the Committee on an earlier occasion. I shall try to answer one or two points on the Motion "That the Clause stand part." The hon. Member for Oxford University (Sir C. Oman) has a different conception of history from that on which I was brought up. Perhaps that is because I had the proud privilege of belonging to the opposite university to his, mine being Cambridge. At that university we had a history book called "The Idea of Progress," and on that very fine work I was brought up. My hon. Friend has a different conception of history from that which I have been led to believe in. I, like my right hon. Friend, have had the privilege of reading his books. I read his Life of Julius Caesar, and the Life of Lycurgus, the dictator of Sparta, and the thing that I remember is that he fell and collapsed and like all the great dictators of the world passed away. So with the evanescence of political institutions. Whether they be federations or whether they be
§ Mr. BUTLER
Or, as my right hon. Friend says, whether they be anything else, they have all passed away. So, in a phrase which has been quoted often in these Debates, let us pass on with this Bill. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) raised again the very sincere objections which he had to my inability on the last occasion that I spoke on this point to accept the Amendment which he moved, and he asked us to argue once more with the Princes to accept this Amendment. We have had 1243 the privilege of sitting with the Princes for over four years since they first took part in the Round Table Conference, and later when their representatives attended our deliberations on the Joint Select Committee, and it was on that account that when I previously addressed the Committee on this subject I gave them the conclusion of the Joint Select Committee on the question of the Princes' accession to questions in the concurrent list. Let me remind the Committee of what the Joint Select Committee said:We understand that the States, who are free agents in this respect, are likely in the first instance to take their stand upon the Federal List proper and to accept the jurisdiction of the Federal Legislature in nothing which is outside the boundaries of that list; but we hope that in course of time they may be willing to extend their accessions at least to certain items, such as bankruptcy and insolvency, in the concurrent list.That is in paragraph 236. The Joint Select Committee had the privilege of discussing this particular matter with the Indian States and it is due to many of those discussions with the Indian States that we have not been able to go further on this subject. There has been a certain amount of criticism of us when we have said that if we accepted this Amendment it would make federation impossible. The fact is that we have considered that the federal form, for reasons which have been given to the House on ninny occasions, is the best form of nexus to preserve the unity of India, which the British have attempted to give to India. We are trying to make the best form of Federation that we can in the circumstances, but our friends of the Indian States have informed us that they are not willing to the extent required in this Amendment to allow interference with the internal administration of such questions as these in the States.
§ Mr. BUTLER
To the Amendment referred to by my hon. Friends opposite, in regard to which they wished me again to traverse the same ground that we have covered previously. If the Indian States, as the Joint Select Committee expressed the hope that they may be willing to do, extend their accessions to certain subjects in the concurrent list, it would be a case of acceding in the first place to the legislative power, and I do not see any hope 1244 of their transferring the administration in relation to these subjects within the borders of their own States.
The hon. and gallant Member for Bethnal Green, North-East (Major Nathan) raised a question arising out of Sub-section (3), to which my right hon. Friend has already answered in the negative, namely, that 'a minor cannot accede to Federation. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) raised various points and repeated some arguments which he had raised earlier. He raised the question of discrepancy in regard to matters of taxation, which were dealt with in an Amendment previously moved on that subject. The hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) asked whether we could accept the question of mining, but I am afraid that that is included together with the factories under the same heading in the Concurrent List, and the same consideration, unfortunately, applies to it. The hon. and gallant Member for Chichester (Major Courtauld) and the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth raised the point as to whether it was worth considering this Clause at all. As I said at the opening of my remarks, I believe in progress. I need not repeat the many arguments that were used by my right hon. Friend yesterday, but I would draw the attention of the Committee to them. Believing in progress and having done my best to deal with some of the points that have been raised, I hope that we may now proceed to a Vote on the Clause.
§ Major NATHAN
May I point out that the hon. Member did not answer the question which I put to him? The question was not whether a minor could execute an Instrument of Accession. It is clear that he cannot do so, and I understand that the Secretary of State has so advised the Committee. My question was this—What is the position of a State as regards joining the Federation if the Ruler is a minor. Is it necessary for that State to await the time when the Ruler who is a minor attains his majority, however many years may elapse?
§ 9.42 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
We have now reached the conclusion of this Debate on the Question, "That Clause 6 stand part," and I venture to think that there is hardly any other question more momentous than the one with which we have to deal now. Here is the crux of the Debate. We have considered many Amendments, and we have now reached the point where the main issues are clearly before the Committee, and we are entitled to review them, seeing that the, Committee have to take a decision of such consequence. This Clause deals with, as the Chairman has pointed out on several occasions, the accession of the Princes. Without the accession of the Princes there can be no All-India Federation, and without an All-India Federation we are assured, though I do not myself adopt that view, that there can be no hope for the present Government of India Bill. Therefore we are absolutely at the cardinal point of our discussion. The Government attitude throughout has been that it would be of the very greatest advantage to the Princes if they accede to the Federation.
The right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), and others who have been enlisted in the Government scheme of very effective orators, through their association with the Joint Select Committee, has expressed on his high authority the view that it would be greatly to the advantage of the Princes if they were to sign the Instrument of Accession. That is the position of the Government. The Princes are, by association with an All-India Federation, to gain great facilities and great improvements in their customs arrangements and so forth, and in joining in general matters of interest for the great sub-Continent of India. 'hat is the position of the Government, their official and public position, but when one has a Debate such as we have had to-day one sees how very thin and threadbare that kind of argument is, what a bold bluff it is, what a sinking there is, what a hollow feeling there is behind all the confident asseverations of the advantage to the Princes, the great demand of the Princes, the surging of these princely figures towards the portals of All-India Federation.
In spite of this tremendous tendency to federation, this irresistible demand 1246 for federation, on the part of the Princes, the Secretary of State, with his liberal and humanitarian sentiments, has not dared to speak a word for the poor millions of India; he has not dared to say one word on their behalf. So near, so narrow, is the margin that he has not dared to say to any of these Princes, not even to the most enlightened of them whose labour conditions are better than those which prevail in British India, "Surely, in your Instrument of Accession you will agree to uniform laws for labour and social and health conditions." He would not dare to do it. The sense of advantages which the Princes have is not strong enough to bear the weight of that demand, and the Secretary of State, intent upon the political aspects of the great design which he has carried so far and fought for so valiantly and bodly, which he has lost himself in, absorbed himself in, has brushed aside all considerations affecting the well-being of the masses of India, who are regarded as pawns in this great game of empire unbuilding. His Majesty's Government do not dare to ask that any steps shall be taken in the Federation to secure decent conditions for the masses of the Indian people. That is an important point. One of the lines of the attack we make on this Bill, not only now but which we shall make as long as it is in any way presented as an issue in our public life, is that the interests of the masses of the people of India have been totally ignored.
The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) made a speech which I am bound to say did more credit to his fidelity to the engagements and associations into which he has entered than to the interests of working democracy. It was the sort of speech of a very old Liberal school. As long as they could preach liberty they cared little what were the conditions of the poorer people. But I must not allow myself to be drawn outside the scope of the discussion, and I think I rather caught your eye, Mr. Chairman, as though you were, shall I say, on the pounce. Therefore, I will not press my advantage against the hon. Member for Bodmin any further at the moment. I say clearly that the Government do not believe that this will be to the advantage of the Princes, or that the Princes have that idea, because they dare not ask us to insert the provisions. 1247 Indeed, the position of the Princes will be most poignant. I said so in the Debate on the Second Reading, and to-day we have had full confirmation of the fact. I did not know at the time of the Second Reading Debate that the Instrument of Accession would be interpreted to cover the very wide series of subjects, 45 topics, of which the great majority are obligatory. Then there is the expectancy that the voluntary list shall also be acceded to by the Princes.
I did not know, I was surprised like the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps), that all matters of the internal government of the States would be debatable on every occasion, on almost every pretext upon which you can hang a Parliamentary Debate. As hon. Members know a discussion may be raised on one point and at almost any distance from that point; but little did I realise that this would be possible by direct debate. I thought that by a side wind they would be able to call the Princes over the coals in regard to questions about internal administration, but only by a side wind. To-day the Secretary of State, speaking with great clearness, explained that in all matters of labour legislation and so on the Ministers will be advising the Viceroy and the Assembly will be influencing Ministers, although there is no direct surrender on the part of the States. It is clear that the whole of the affairs of these independent States will be debatable from day to day on the floor of the Indian Assembly. If we tried to debate the affairs of the Irish Free State in this House, I think we should be pulled up. I thought it would be only a limited debate which would prevail in the Federal Legislature as against the States. Not at all. It is -clear that all these matters can be debated. It illustrates the poignant position, the terrible position, of the Indian Princes.
What are they expected to do when they sign the Act of Accession? That is the core of our discussion. They are expected to be the stabilising influence in the Assembly. They are expected to be the conservative and loyal influence. If they move in that direction, and in so far as they do move, they will excite the animosity of those who hate our rule and who hate law and order in every 1248 form. They will be attacked first of all in their States, where disorders will be raised by agitators. They will be attacked in the Central Assembly, where the Secretary of State assures us there will be limitless opportunities for calling in question and debating every one of their actions. In the third place, these matters undoubtedly will have their repercussions over here. When a Prince has stood out for the Imperial -connection and gained unpopularity in India, has been attacked in his own State where agitation has been fomented against him, he may easily find people who will criticise him again over here. A horrible position for the Princes to be placed in. Is it to their advantage? I do not wonder that the Government dare not put another straw on the camel's back and. ask them to agree to decent conditions for the labouring people. The ice is far too thin for that.
But what is their actual view? What has astonished me more than anything else in the course of these discussions, through which we shall arrive at a true conviction of the issues in this enormous Bill, is that the Secretary of State, whose ability is so obvious, whose industry is so praiseworthy, who is so saturated with his subject and whose courage and qualities as administrator and parliamentarian are nowhere more readily admitted than by those who are fighting him in this matter, has not been able, as well as many of those who are acting with him, to understand the simple dynamics of the Indian situation. Why is it that the Princes are now boggling at the Act of Accession? Why are they now rising in such hostility and wrath against it, when you thought you had them all so tame and friendly? Why is it? The right hon. Gentleman said he was surprised. I am not surprised at all, and my friends are not surprised, not because of special information which reached us, but because it is quite clear to anyone who has followed this thing what are the dynamics and the articulations of the Indian situation.
You have a different situation from that of 1930. You are four years removed from then; this is 1935. In 1930 the Indian Princes had an invitation from the advanced political forces of British India to join them in a Federation, which it was believed, in the bad days of the 1249 Irwin-Benn regime of 1930, would have speedily led on to their practically taking over the goodwill of the whole business of British Government in India, lock, stock and barrel. But things have changed since then. They have changed from another cause. They have changed because of the right hon. Gentleman's firm administration and the much improved administration of Lord Willingdon compared with the previous regime, and also because some other people have put up a fight all the time to keep a strong resisting force operative; and now the Princes are not so willing to adopt this instrument of Accession. Why? Whereas they were invited by the political forces in British India in 1930 and 1931, there is no invitation to-day. The invitation is withdrawn; the political forces are not saying to the Princes, "Come on and share this Government of Federal India." They say, "No. Stand out of this. Do not you associate yourselves with this scheme, which we have repudiated. If you do, it will not be comradeship we shall give you. On the contrary we shall pay you out by all the means which this Bill will give us the power to pay you."
That is the explanation of the Princes' change. What is the good of pretending to be surprised at it? It is the working of remorseless laws, and I am astounded that the Government have not seen that that would be the reaction which would occur as a result. of these four years, and of the continued process of change which has governed their own course during that time. What is the present view of the Princes? My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State read this afternoon a telegram which he had received from Reuter's Agency in Bombay. I must say that if it had been an official telegram I should have given it equal credence—yes, equal credence. But we have now in our possession statements made by the leading personages upon this very question of Clause 6 and the act of accession. What. is so remarkable is that it is the very men on whom the right hon. Gentleman has been relying who are now most vehement against the Bill—the Maharaja of Bhopal, the Maharaja of Bikaner, Sir Akbar Hydari and Sir C. P. Ramaswami Ayyar. These are the Ministers and Princes who are most concerned in this matter, who are most in touch with the intelligentsia in British India, the Indian intel 1250 ligentsia. They are the very ones who have most denounced this Measure. That is a great fact. You may vote them down: you may vote us down; you may call your 200 gentlemen from the Lobbies and the smoking-rooms and Library and vote us down, good and plenty. Yes, that is what happens. You may do that, but nothing can alter the facts or the march of events. There is the point. The Maharaja of Bhopal said:The present scheme as put forward before us in the shape of the Government of India Bill and the draft Instrument of Accession, falls far short of many of our vital demands, and in regard to certain matters ignores agreements reached with His Majesty's government in London.And then Sir Akbar Hydari, the able Minister, said two days ago:
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Yes, but there is no reason why the House of Commons should not hear the facts. He said:These are matters to which we attach vital importance, and I really, for one, cannot understand why Section 6 (1, a) has been allowed to be provided in all its brutal absoluteness.I do not say whether that is right or wrong. I am not associating myself with the statement. But this is not our man. He is the Government's own man, and he is surprised that the Government have inserted Clause 6 in the Bill "in all its brutal absoluteness." It does not sound very much like mere trouble about drafting Amendments, a little difference here or there or some small matter of adjustment. It is most extraordinary. The quotation goes on:We cannot accept the entire Act as it has been enacted by Parliament. We have always protested against any acceptance of that kind. We have always held that we will be parties to a federation with regard to specific things and specific provisions. Here we are first asked to accept the entire Act, and then we are allowed to make reservations, not with regard to sections of it, but with regard to one particular Schedule of it, and in regard to all other matters we are asked to accept the Act. I think we have all unanimously agreed that this is a position which under no circumstances whatever we shall be prepared to accept.Then Sir C. P. Ramaswami Ayyar said:I appeal with all the force at my command that this Clause 6 is a dangerous innovation"—1251 What a comment on the brutal ease of a majority to violate the decent sequence of Parliamentary procedure when here at this moment you are going to vote on this Clause and carry it, no doubt with the usual 200 gentlemen. I hope they will long be. Here you are, and at this moment you do not know what are the opinions of the people on whose agreement you depend for the existence of your Bill. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham took a very strong line the other day and said: "We will take our path as the British Parliament and not pay any attention to these opinions." What nonsense, when you have said that the accession of the Princes is vital to your. scheme. How can you stride off and say that you care nothing for all this? But if you are doing your duty and they do not agree, the result is that all that is done will be ploughing the sands, a wasting of the time of Parliament. Sir P. Ramaswami Ayyar said:I appeal with all the force at my command that Clause 6 is a dangerous innovation. It marks the culmination of a process which began in 1930. From then down to 1934 it has been a progressive inclined plane and we are now at the bottom of the plane. This Clause is full of dangers, and I ask Your Highnesses with all the force at my command not only to disclaim Clause 6, but the spirit underlying this Clause.Ought we not to know that before we vote upon the Clause? Are we not right to tell this to the House? Is it not relevant to the Debate and to the decision that we have to take? The quotation continues:It is fraught with the utmost mischief. I am deliberately and firmly of the opinion that those features to which the Committee of Ministers has drawn attention are fundamental and vital, and unless there is a change in the spirit with which the Act is going to be dealt with hereafter, it would be a thousand pities if your Highnesses should join in a compact of which you know not the end.There are many more opinions of that kind. We are a small minority here, even though, on questions affecting the well-being of the masses of the Indian people, we have associates to whom in other matters we are bitterly opposed. But we are a small minority. You can mock at us because in the Division Lobby we can only produce 50 or 60 Members against hundreds brought up by the Whip and waiting to fall in when the moment comes. We know that. But this 1252 is not going to be fought out by numbers. From the very beginning I have been sure that it is not going to be fought out by numbers. It is going to be fought out by the force of events, and by the decisions which are taken in the minds of men outside this House and by the effect which is produced upon the spirit and determination of the Conservative party. There is what we rely upon in our resistance, and never did I feel more hopeful than I do to-night.
The Attorney-General mocked me—mocked us—the other day. He said: "We see your game." Our game! I suppose for Members of Parliament to devote years of time to this subject and to sacrifice many friendships and, in the case of some of the younger men, their political careers, in order to fight for this issue—that we are told is a game. But for the Attorney-General to take any brief which is offered to him—that is professional business. We have done the best in our power, and it seems to me that we are entitled to-night to ask the Committee not to pass this Clause in view of the vital decisions which depend upon it, and in view of the fact that we do not know any of the essential points upon which our decision ought to rest. The right hon. Gentleman has conducted his case so far with the very greatest skill and the very greatest courage. I am bound to say that I admire his performance in everything except its direction—its objective. But I think he would add greatly to his reputation if he said that in view of the facts placed before him now he did not think that it would be fair to ask the Committee to-night to come to the decision of placing this Clause among the approved Clauses of the Bill.
§ 10.9 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I am afraid that I must risk my reputation in the mind of my right hon. Friend and refuse to accede to the invitation which he has just addressed to me. Nor do I intend to make once again the speech which I delivered to the Committee yesterday afternoon. Unlike my right hon. Friend, I prefer not to go on saying the same thing time after time. My right hon. Friend has, time after time, arrogated to himself and to those who are working with him, an exclusive interest in the Indian masses. Let me say here and now that I dispute that claim. Our attitude 1253 over this Clause and the Amendment upon which we voted earlier, has no bearing whatever upon charges of the kind which he has hurled at us more than once to-day. We have as much interest in the future of the masses both in British India and in the Indian States as any hon. Members in this House.
Further, my right hon. Friend misrepresented—I' am sure quite unintentionally—what I said about the rights of the Indian Legislature to criticise the internal affairs of the Indian States. No doubt he was drawn on by the desire—very natural to him and those who think with him, and who are most anxious by any means to destroy the hope of an All-India Federation—to make an All-India Federation appear as dangerous and as unattractive as he possibly could to any Indian Prince and to the Minister of any Indian State. It was evidently his desire to make it appear that the Princes were incurring the greatest possible danger in entering an All-India Federation and that the Federal Executive and the Federal Legislature would be constantly criticising the internal affairs of the Indian States. That is expressly excluded under Clause 38 of the Bill. Criticisms can only be made upon the actual subjects which the States themselves have voluntarily surrendered to the Federal Legislature. Any question of further criticism of the internal affairs of the Indian States is expressly excluded under this Clause, May I suggest to my right hon. Friend that before he makes again any criticism of that kind ha should study in greater detail the provisions of the Bill.
§ Viscount WOLMER
The right hon. Gentleman says that such criticism is prohibited by Clause 38, but that Clause simply says that the Governor-General shall in his discretion after consultation with the President or Speaker, as the case may be, make rules for prohibiting such discussion. That is a very different thing.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I do not think it is. Anyhow, it is our definite intention that discussions of that kind should be excluded.
§ Sir S. HOARE
Exactly what I said. If my right hon. Friend will examine 1254 the Bill in regard to the 45 points and the Federal list he will see that that is a very different thing. My right hon. Friend really has not studied the Bill and that is the trouble with so many of his criticisms. When we come to Clause as we can discuss these provisions in greater detail. Let me say to the Committee here and now and particularly to the Indian Princes, that they should not assume that criticisms such as that to which we have just listened, have any foundation whatever. Next my right hon. Friend said that changes had taken place since 1931 when the Princes first made their offer. Many changes have taken place and I would say that the greatest change has taken place as the result of the long and meticulous inquiry of the Joint Select Committee. That Committee were carefully into all these questions connected with Federation and acceptance by the Princes, and by an overwhelming majority they came to the decision set out in the provisions of the Bill. That seems to me to be a very significant change since 1931 and it goes to show that after the fullest possible investigation in the last two or three years, subsequent events, so far from having undermined the offer that was made in 1931 have confirmed the wisdom of that offer.
Lastly, my right hon. Friend has read out a number of extracts from speeches that appear to have been made in the last 24 hours in Bombay. I have not seen as yet a detailed description of those Debates, and I note with interest the speed with which my right hon. Friend receives information of this kind.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
May I say that it is a criticism against the right hon. Gentlement that he is not equally well informed?
§ Sir S. HOARE
I cannot help thinking my right hon. Friend and his friends have known a good deal about the kind of pressure of which he often accuses me, the kind of pressure that obviously has been put in many directions from here upon some of the Princes who might presumably be critical or sceptical about federation.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I made a general charge, and I am prepared to-night to 1255 stand in every respect in the position that I took up yesterday. I believe, myself, that the description that I gave yesterday of the present state of affairs As far as the Princes are concerned is an accurate one, and I believe that I shall be proved to be right and that my right hon. Friend's pessimistic prophecies about the future will prove to be wrong. For the moment we must wait and see, he confident that, as a result of the attacks that he and his friends have made upon federation And the influence which they have no doubt brought to bear on the critics of federation in India, his prophecies are going to prove to be true—I, on the other hand, taking the view, and taking it quite definitely, that the
§ differences at issue between us are not differences that need permanently divide us, but differences that can definitely be settled. Holding, as I do, the view that there is every possible advantage to this country, to India, to the Empire, and to the Princes themselves in an all-India Federation, I ask the Committee not to be drawn aside by the kind of speech to which we have just listened from the right hon. Gentleman, but to maintain the attitude that it took up yesterday afternoon and to carry this Clause by an overwhelming majority.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided; Ayes, 211; Noes, 74.1257
|Division No. 65.]||AYES.||[10.17 p.m.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds,W.)||Duggan, Hubert John||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Eady, George H.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Edmondson, Major Sir James||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)|
|Apsley, Lord||Eimley, Viscount||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest|
|Assheton, Ralph||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Liewellin, Major John J.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Loder, Captain J. de Vera|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Mabane, William|
|Balniel, Lord||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Fremantle, Sir Francis||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kersey||Gibson, Charles Granville||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B, (Portsm'th.C.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Gluckstein, Louis Halls||McKle, John Hamilton|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Goff, Sir Park||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Bossom, A. C.||Gower, Sir Robert||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Boulton, w. W.||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Magnay, Thomas|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Grigg, Sir Edward||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F, E.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Buchan, John||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hamilton, Sir George (llford)||Milne, Charles|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Mitchell, Harold p.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Cadogan, Hon, Edward||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B, Eyres|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Morris, John Patrick (Salford. N.)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Cheimsford)||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Munro, Patrick|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hornby, Frank||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Horsbrugh, Florence||North, Edward T.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Howard, Tom Forrest||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||O'Donovan. Dr. William James|
|Copeland, Ida||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Iveagh, Countess of||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Jennings, Roland||Peake, Osbert|
|Crossley, A. C.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Pearson, William G.|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Peat, Charles U.|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Curry, A. C.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Ker, J, Campbell||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F (Somerset, Yeovil)||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Radford, E. A.|
|Dickie, John P.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C.||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Ramsay. T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Leckie, J. A.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Shute, Colonel Sir John||Tree, Ronald|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Smithers, Sir Waldron||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Rickards, George William||Somervell, Sir Donald||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Rothschild, James A, de||Soper, Richard||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Ruggies-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside)||Spens, William Patrick||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W' morland)||Windsor-Cilve. Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Stevenson, James||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Storey, Samuel||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKonzie (Banff)|
|Salmon, Sir Isidore||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Salt, Edward W.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Sutcliffe, Harold||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Tate, Mavis Constance||Sir George Penny and Lieut.-|
|Savery, Samuel Servington||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.|
|Shaw, Helen B, (Lanark, Bothwell)||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Donner, P. W.||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Edwards, Charles||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Balley, Eric Alfred George||Futler, Captain A. G.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Banfield, John William||Greene, William P. C.||Sandeman, Sir A. N, Stewart|
|Batey, Joseph||Granted, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Scone, Lord|
|Bracken, Brendan||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Grundy, Thomas W.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Jenkins, Sir William||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Buchanan, George||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Burnett, John George||Knox, Sir Alfred||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cape, Thomas||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon, Winston Spencer||Lawson, John James||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Cleary, J. J.||Lees-Jones, John||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lennox-Boyd, A. T,||West, F. R.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Levy, Thomas||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Daggar, George||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Milner, Major James||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Nail, Sir Joseph|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Nathan, Major H. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Dixey, Arthur C. N.||Nunn, William||Mr. John and Mr. Paling|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.