§ The CHAIRMAN
The first Amendment I select on Clause 9 is that in the name of the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams)—in page 7, line 3, to leave out Sub-section (3).
§ Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT
Is the Amendment in my name and that of several of my hon. Friends—in page 6, line 41, to leave out, "required so to do, "and to insert," not debarred from doing so,"—not in order?
§ 4.6 p.m.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
I beg to move, in page 7, line 3, to leave out Sub-section (3).
I take it, Sir Dennis, that you have selected this particular Amendment because it enables us to discuss all the major problems which arise under this Clause—the problems of the relationship of the Governor-General to his ministers. There are in the Sub-section the words "in his discretion," and also the words "his individual judgment." I want to be clear that I have interpreted the significance of these words accurately, and perhaps the Secretary of State will be good enough to contradict me if I am inaccurate. I gather that when the Governor-General acts in his discretion it is a case where he acts without being under the obligation of consulting his ministers at all, and that he acts perfectly freely. On the other hand, when he exercises his individual judgment, that is a case where he consults his ministers but is not obliged to take their advice, and, therefore, his final decision may or may not disagree with the advice tendered to him by his ministers. I hope that I have got the correct interpretation, because it is necessary in discussing this most important constitutional issue that we should be all quite clear as to the meaning of the words we are using. As my interpretation has not been challenged, I assume that I have correctly 1328 interpreted the significance of these words.
Quite clearly in this Clause we are setting up a system which is not the same as the system that prevails here. Where there is a relationship between the Sovereign and the Ministers here, the Sovereign acts on the advice of his Ministers, that is to say, the Sovereign does not act in his discretion and does not exercise his individual judgment so far as constitutional issues are concerned. But, under the Constitution we are building up, there are three ways, apparently, in which the Governor-General may act. First of all, there are cases described in the Measure where he makes his own decision, subject only, of course, to the provisions of any Instrument of Instructions issued to the Governor-General as provided in Clause 14, but, subject to that limitation, at least so far as ministers are concerned, it does not matter to them what his relationships may be with the Secretary of State when he is acting in his own discretion. That is the first case where he acts without reference to the ministers at all. The next case is where he asks his ministers for their views, and, having obtained them, he then takes his own decision, again, however, as I understand, subject to the provisions of Clause 14. Finally, there is the case where, presumably, under the Bill the ministers who are appointed, as will be seen in Sub-section (1) of this Clause, not merely to aid him, but to advise him. In those cases they are entitled to tender advice, as ministers here tender advice to the Sovereign, and in that case the Governor-General is bound to take their advice, subject however, of course, to the provisions of Clause 12, where the question of the special responsibilities of the Governor-General arise.
It is right, I think, that we should attempt to explore what is quite frankly a new system of ministerial responsibilitiy. I do not know whether there exists in the world anything quite like this, except to the extent that it maybe said to exist partially under the present system of Provincial government, and before we let go this Clause it is very desirable, not only that we should realise, but that those in India who are following our deliberations should realise, precisely what degree of responsibility we 1329 are proposing to confer upon the ministers at the centre in India. The full interpretation of that, of course, means reading the whole of the first 45 Clauses of the Bill at any rate. But at the moment we are not considering all that. We are considering it in principle rather than in detail in this Sub-section.
There is the further point that the person who has to interpret where discretion or individual judgment is to be exercised is to be the Governor-General himself, and there may be cases where the Governor-General may act in his discretion or exericse his individual judgment 'In a way which, in fact, may be in conflict with the principles of the Act, or, at least, cases where the ministers may think he is acting in conflict with the principles of the Act. That raises curious points and, possibly, difficulties. I see the risk of a very undesirable conflict between the Governor-General and his ministers in respect of a matter which the ministers believe is one where they are entitled to give advice and are entitled to expect the advice to be accepted, and where the Governor-General thinks it is not a case where he is obliged to accept their advice, and can act quite freely. Of course, there is the overriding authority of the Secretary of State, and, clearly, if a Governor-General were taking this course—shall I say stupidly?—there would be the check of the Secretary of State. But if we take a case where both the Governor-General and the Secretary of State are in agreement, and where the ministers take the view that there is, in fact, a constitutional breach, then, I think, certain difficulties might arise with people who, whatever their merits or demerits may be, are peculiarly sensitive.
There are great risks, I think, in dealing with people who are, perhaps, more sensitive in public matters than we are. We have all got a little hardened by our past experience, but we are dealing here with a peculiarly sensitive body of people, and we may be creating a system which is bound to give rise to friction. I am, for the moment, assuming that this Bill will become an Act substantially in the form in which it now appears, though I hope not, but for the purpose of my Amendment I am basing myself on that assumption. I think that we want to have the conceptions underlying this Sub-section very clearly outlined. We 1330 want to hear from the Secretary of. State a clear interpretation of how this Subsection is going to be worked, and when we have had that we may come to the conclusion that it is necessary to define with rather greater precision what discretion means, what judgment means, and in what place it is to be applied. One thing which rather perturbs me is the relationship of this Sub-section with Subsection (2) of Clause 12 which says:If and in so far as any special responsibility of the Governor-General is involved, he shall, in the exercise of his functions, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken.If my earlier interpretation is correct, then the Governor-General has to consult his Ministers, and to consult them conceivably in circumstances where it may be necessary for him to take drastic action against his Ministers and to tell them in advance what he is going to do. I give that by way of example. My object in moving the Amendment is not that there should not be some appropriate Sub-section here, but that the real significance of this Sub-section may be clear to hon. Members in this Committee and to others outside.
§ 4.17 p.m.
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
I should like to ask one or two questions on this Sub-section, which does raise some rather important points. In the first place, I should like to ask whether under the Second Schedule this is one of the matters which may be altered by Amendment. As I read the Second Schedule this may be altered by Amendment and would not affect the Instrument of Accession if it were so altered. Suppose the Sub-section were altered to read that the Federal Court shall be empowered to decide this particular matter instead of leaving it to the decision of the Governor-General, then the words in the Second Schedule are:Save with respect to the exorcise by the Governor-General…of the functions of the council of ministers, and the choosing and summoning of ministers and their tenure of office; the functions of the Governor-General with respect to external affairs and defence.As far as I can see the Second Schedule does not deal, in the savings in Part II, Chapter II, with the question of whether the actions of the Governor-General are to be decided to be within the Act by some other authority than the Governor 1331 General himself. That raises an important point, as to whether such alteration can be made. In the second place, I should like to ask whether Clause 203 applies to a situation which may arise under this Sub-section? That is the power of the Governor-General to consult the Federal Court—If at any time it appears to the Governor-General that a question of law has arisen, or is likely to arise, which is of such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Federal Court upon it, he may in his discretion refer the question to that court for consideration, and the court may, after such hearing as they think fit, report to the Governor-General thereon.I can understand that if a discussion arose between Ministers and the Governor-General as to whether a particular matter came within the Governor-General's discretion or within his powers of acting on the advice of his Ministers, it would be a matter of vital public importance. One would assume that the Governor-General has the power, if he wishes, under Clause 203 to refer the matter as to whether it was within his discretion or not to the Federal Court. That may provide a safety valve on matters of dispute between the two. In the third place, I should like to ask a question under Clause 198, Sub-section (2), which says:Nothing in this Part of this Act shall be construed as derogating from any prerogative right of His Majesty to grant special leave to appeal in any criminal case.It only purports to deal with criminal cases, but I should like to ask whether the power of His Majesty to refer any matter to the Privy Council as a consultative body, is still left? If a dispute arises as to the interpretation of this Constitution between the Governor-General and his Ministers will the Crown be able to refer that matter, if it is considered necessary, to the Privy Council for discussion, argument and recommendation? There again it might be a very important safety valve as regards disputes which might arise in India. Lastly, I should like to ask whether if none of these means are available it will be possible to raise in this House the question of the exercise of particular powers by the Governor-General when a dispute has appeared and Ministers claim that he should exercise those powers of consulting them and 1332 accepting their advice. Unless one or other of these methods are available the Sub-section means the complete dictatorship of the Governor-General, because he will be able to act in any matter, and, if he says that he did it in his individual judgment, he cannot possibly have it disputed by any one at all. I am anxious to know if any of the methods I have suggested are open for getting the matter decided by someone other than the Governor-General, and, if so, which of these methods are available?
§ 4.24 p.m.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Butler)
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I indicate the attitude of the Government towards this Amendment. As to the important and rather technical points raised by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps), they will be answered in due course by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. I regret that the Government are quite unable to accept the Amendment. In fact, the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) addressed most of his argument to the general points in connection with the Clause. Let me draw his attention to what would happen if we were to accept the Amendment and omit this Subsection.
§ Mr. BUTLER
The Amendment having been moved, the Government desire to pay due attention to the views of those who have moved it, and, even if valuable time is taken up, it is in the interests of the Committee that the Government should indicate their attitude.
§ Viscount WOLMER
The hon. Member is aware that Amendments are frequently moved in order to elucidate points.
§ Mr. BUTLER
I quite understand the Noble Lord's interjection, but I am trying to give to the Committee the effect of the Amendment if it were carried, and I think that I am quite as much within the Parliamentary rules of order as the Noble Lord was in his interjection. The Sub-section is vital to the scheme on which the powers of the Governor-General and his relations with Ministers is built up. It enables him to decide 1333 finally whether a particular question falls within his discretionary powers, and prevents questions being raised in the courts or otherwise as to whether he has or has not exercised his discretion and his individual judgment in any case. It is essential in these matters of the relationship of the Governor-General to his Ministers that the discretion in these matters should rest with the Governor-General himself; otherwise, there would be great opportunities for confusion as to whether they fall within a reserved department or within his special responsibilities. For these reasons, we cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I hope we shall get A reply from the Attorney-General to the points that have been put.
§ 4.26 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)
I was making inquiries on one or two matters which have been raised during the debate. The first question which the hon. and learned Member for Fast Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) asked was whether the Sub-section could be amended in accordance with the provisions of the second Schedule. The hon. and learned Member referred to certain exceptions in the rather long paragraph with regard to matters an Amendment whereof is not to affect the validity of the Instrument of Accession. He read a few words, but if he will read a little further down he will find these words:and the discharge of his functions by or under the Act in his discretion or in the exercise of his individual judgment.That answers his question as to whether the Sub-section can be amended under the provisions of the Second Schedule. The answer is "No." His next question was whether Clause 203 can be used for the purpose of taking the opinion of the Federal Court. The answer is in the affirmative. The provision in Clause 203 quite plainly leads to that conclusion. As to the powers under Section 4 of the Privy Council Act, with reference to the power of His Majesty to refer any questions to the Privy Council for their advice, the answer is that that provision remains unaltered by anything in this Bill.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The words of the Section are very wide indeed, and I have no doubt, speaking subject to any correction which I may desire to make after looking at the precise words of the Section, that the power of His Majesty is unfettered and that he may refer any question to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council under Section 4 of the Privy Council Act, The hon. and learned Member also asked whether the action of the Governor-General in relation to his powers under this Sub-section can be called in question in this House. The answer is "Yes." These are matters for which the Governor-General and the Secretary of State are answerable and, therefore, are matters which can be discussed on the Floor of the House.
§ 4.29 p.m.
§ Sir H. CROFT
May I ask for your guidance as to whether there is any possibility in the near future of raising a question which is not, I understand, in order on this Amendment, namely, that part of the Bill which appears to quarrel with the report of the Joint Select Committee as to what the Governor-General may do.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think that the hon. and gallant Member should defer his remarks until I put the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The matter can only be raised, I understand, on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" This particular point of principle could not be raised at any later stage on a specific Amendment to enable the Committee to decide aye or nay, but can only be raised on the Clause. In the proviso to Sub-section (1) there appear the words "Whereby or under this Act he is required so to do." We wish to raise the issue whether he is debarred from doing so. Where could that point be raised?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Gentleman has definitely based his point on an Amendment which was on the Order Paper and has not been selected. Of course it is always possible that the Chair, in exercising the right of non-selection, may have missed a point which hon. Members desire to raise. In the event of his having done so the point can be raised on the Question, "That 1335 the Clause stand part of the Bill." With regard to the right hon. Gentleman's other point, I am afraid that I did not sufficiently understand it to say whether on any subsequent Clause it would be admissible to deal with it. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to raise a particular matter on words in this Clause, he can, of course, do so on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Amendment negatived.
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ Mr. BAILEY
I beg to move, in page 7, line 12, at the end, to add:(4) (i)In this Act the expression 'in his discretion' when applied to any act of the Governor-General or any exercise of his functions or powers means that such act may be done and such functions and powers may be exercised by the Governor-General without consultation with his Ministers.(ii)In this Act the expression 'his individual judgment,' when applied to any act of the Governor-General or any exercise of his functions or powers, means that such act may be done and such functions and powers may be exercised by the Governor-General only after consultation with his Ministers but notwithstanding any advice given to him by his Ministers.I do not want to occupy any length of time in moving this Amendment, the point of which shortly is this: It seeks to clarify the possible distinction between "discretion" and "individual judgment." I should be very grateful if the learned Attorney-General would say what is the view of the Government's legal advisers as to the distinction, if any, between discretion and individual judgment, and whether or not—this is most important of all—the Governor-General may use his individual judgment without consulting his Ministers.
§ 4.33 p.m.
§ The SOLICITOR- GENERAL (Sir Donald Somervell)
In moving this Amendment, my hon. Friend has confined himself to asking two specific questions. He asks what is the distinction between individual judgment and discretion. The Bill has been drafted in this way: The words "individual judgment" are used in relation to actions by the Governor-General on his individual judgment in the ordinary sense of the word within the ambit in which normally he would be acting on 1336 the advice of his Ministers. If within that ambit it is sought to give the Governor-General special powers or responsibilities, then the words "individual judgment" are used. They are found, for example, in Clause 12. The words "in his, discretion" are used where the Governor-General will be acting on his own judgment but in an area outside that field. For example, in Clause 11 the functions of the Governor-General in respect of defence are to be exercised by him in his discretion. It is a matter of drafting which, once apprehended, I think it will be agreed, is convenient and useful.
My hon. Friend asked one further point, whether when the words "individual judgment" are used the Governor-General can act without consulting his Ministers. The answer is that as quite obviously that action is in the field where normally he would be acting on, the advice of his Ministers, no cleavage between them as to right actions can possibly have arisen, except of course as a result of something that has happened and has been discussed; but, of course, once he had decided that within that field action must be taken, he would take it. Take quite an impossible case. Suppose that Ministers simply do not turn up. Then, of course, he must take the action in order to carry out the obligations conferred upon him. I do not think that the sort of test of consultation or non-consultation is really the clue to the meaning. The clue is that the words "individual judgment" are used in respect of powers within the area in which normally in ordinary times he would be acting on the advice of his Ministers. The words "in his discretion" are used in respect of powers and functions outside that area.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is, of course, a very convenient distinction between the two functions, and, if my memory serves me right, it is fully explained in the report of the Joint Select Committee. Undoubtedly there is great difficulty in describing this action and the rights of a Governor-General under the two specific and separate methods. I am hound to say that I agree with the Solicitor-General that if there is a difference between the Governor-General and his Ministers and he exercises his individual judgment because previous consultation with them has broken down, he will not be under the 1337 need of consulting them any more. All parleys having come to an end he will take the matter into his own hands and act freely. I gather that that is so?
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
Yes. Of course he can, if he thinks proper and if all friendly relations have broken down, proceed to act on his own responsibility. I do not mean to imply that in those circumstances he is precluded from consulting his Ministers. At any point he may think it right to consult them.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Even when they differ? I may be in error, but I have not seen any definition of these two convenient terms in the Bill. I do not think that there is any definition. This Amendment is an attempt to give a definition to these two new terms of art which are being introduced into our legal terminology. Are the Government sure that there is no need for definition? In what way will this definition be conveyed after the Report of the Joint Select Committee has been relegated to the Library and this Bill constitutes the only current vehicle for the transaction of business? It may be that there is no need for this definition?
§ The SOLICITOR - GENERAL
My right hon. Friend will appreciate that I did not deal with that point because the Mover of the Amendment did not do so. I quite appreciate the point. As my right hon. Friend will see, this matter will not be a matter in the ordinary sense of going to the courts. That was dealt with in Sub-section (4). These definitions are not definitions in the ordinary sense of the word. My right hon. Friend asked what would be the position when the report of the Joint Select Committee has faded from our minds. The method of application and explanation of these words will occur in the Instrument of Instructions. In our view that is the right place for them.
§ 4.41 p.m.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I fear I am not content with the statement that the explanation of these two very important terms is to be only in the Governor-General's Instrument of Instructions. I think they ought to appear in the Con- 1338 stitution Act, not only as a means of distinguishing these two sets of responsibilities, but also in order to put it beyond a shadow of doubt that the Governor-General has the power to act both in his discretion and on his individual judgment. I am confirmed in this view by the fact that The Government of India Act of 1919 gives certain special powers both to the Governor-General and to Governors, powers which in many cases I believe it has been found extremely difficult to exercise. Section 4 (12) of that Act gives the Governors power in regard to transferred departments. It says that the Governor shall be governed by the advice of his Ministers unless he sees sufficient cause to dissent from their opinion, in which case he may require action to be taken otherwise than in accordance with that advice. That means that to-day the Governor of a Province has unlimited power to dissent from the advice of his Ministers in regard to the departments handed over under the 1919 Act, and yet Governors have found it very difficult to exercise that power.
Let me give one or two instances. Number 12 of the devolution rules made under the 1919 Act gives the Secretary of State in Council power to fix the number of officers of the Indian Medical Service which shall be employed by each provincial Government and to say what appointments they shall hold and on What terms and conditions. The Secretary of State in Council has laid down that in one Province at least 25 officers of the Indian Medical Service shall be employed as civil surgeons. Yet an ex-Inspector-General of Civil Hospitals has told how that number has declined in that province and how the health service has deteriorated as a result. He told the Joint Committee how he had repeatedly gone to the Minister of Health and protested against this reduction, and how he had always been put off. He also told the committee of the many appointments made by the Minister of Health otherwise than on merit, which again had seriously added to the inefficiency of the service; and he stated how he went to the Governor repeatedly on this and other points affecting the efficiency of this all-important health service, and could never get the Governor to exercise his powers.
§ Earl WINTERTON
On a point of Order. Is the Noble Lady entitled to discuss the question of Governors' powers on the Amendment? It deals only with the Governor-General.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That, of course, is the point. At the same time the Noble Lady would be entitled to refer to them as illustrating her point. I am bound to say I was listening very carefully to try to see how her arguments were applied.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I raised the point of order, because I do not think she is accurate in her description of what occurs under the existing law. If she is allowed to refer to these matters, it will be open to others to answer her.
Duchess of ATHOLL
It is not a case of argument but of what was stated as a matter of fact to the Joint Select Committee, of which my Noble Friend was a member.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I was merely using this as an illustration of the difficulty that had already been experienced in exercising a clearly defined power stated in the 1919 Act. I can give my Noble Friend another respect in which the Governor-General has apparently found it—
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is exactly one of those cases where, as I have tried to explain, it is legitimate to quote a case, but it is not, to my mind, legitimate to go into that case at length. The Noble Lady will see at once what has already arisen as the result of her long description of a particular incident which led another hon. Member to discuss it because he regards it as inaccurate. It is as well when quoting illustrations merely to quote them and not to go into long details of them.
Duchess of ATHOLL
The Governor-General under the same devolution rules has power to suspend or revoke any powers which have been transferred, which have been seriously abused.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Whether transferred powers have or have not been abused is not a question that arises on this Amendment. It is really a very narrow point 1340 indeed of drawing any distinction between two particular expressions.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I thought my right hon. Friend had raised the wider point. I mentioned that it was on the wider point that I wished to speak, namely, the necessity of putting beyond the shadow of doubt in the Act of Parliament what those powers are which may be exercised by the Governor-General.
§ The CHAIRMAN
No, the Noble Lady is wrong. This is not an occasion on which there can be discussed in any way the merits of any particular subject of procedure under the Governor-General's responsibility.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
But is it not an occasion when it is open to discuss whether this definition of these two new terms of art, if any definition is to be given, should figure on the face on any Instrument of Instruction?
Duchess of ATHOLL
That is the point that I wish to make, the necessity for having those powers put beyond a shadow of doubt in the Act of Parliament. When these powers were reserved under the 1919 Act, I do not believe there were Indians who then objected to them, but the Indian delegates to the Joint Select Committee made clear—
Duchess of ATHOLL
I do not wish to discuss the powers, but it seems necessary to put them in the Act of Parliament. As a matter of fact, a very strong opinion came from Europeans in India as to the importance of showing that these powers were intended to be used if necessary, and were not merely illusory powers.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I hope the Secretary of State will say a word on this. I have an open mind, but I should like to hear what there is to be said. I thought from what the Solicitor-General said that the Instrument of Instruction was satisfactory, but it would be better if the Secretary of State made it clear that the strength of these two new terms of art will not in any way be detracted 1341 from if they are not put on the face of the Statute. At first sight it appears that they would seem to be detracted from, because the Instrument of Instruction can be varied by an Address to the Crown by both Houses, whereas the Statute requires an amending Bill. Therefore, there is a change. We should be much obliged if the right hon. Gentleman would give us guidance on the point.
§ 4.51 p.m.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Sir Samuel Hoare)
I can satisfy my right hon. Friend in a sentence. The right course is to keep the definition in the Instrument of Instruction. He need not be worried about the powers. The powers to be exercised are set out in the Act. They can only be amended by an amending Act. It is much better, however, to put the definition into the Instrument of Instruction. Looking at it as a layman, it is safer.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 4.52 p.m.
§ Sir H. CROFT
The point that I wish to raise on this Clause, which seems to me of importance, is with regard to the actual functions of the Governor-General and the fact that the Bill as drafted does not appear to carry out the exact intentions of the Select Committee. In the report of the Joint Select Committee I think it was understood that the executive authority of His Majesty was vested primarily in the Governor-General, and in the case of the Provinces, of course, the Governors. This authority was to be so far regulated by the Instrument of Instruction that it was ordinarily to be exercised on the advice of Ministers, conformably to the constitutional practice which is now always understood in this country. At the same time the legal authority of the Governor would be unquestioned if at any time he had to exercise it even against the advice of his Ministers. Putting it in another way, the Governor-General could legally do on his own authority whatever any or all his Ministers could do. He might have to run a course absolutely counter to the decision of his Ministers and in that case, although he might be called up by a higher authority—it might be necessary for the Secretary of State to intervene—at the same time the 1342 position appeared to be quite clear that he had very full powers in this respect. It was pointed out in the Report of the Joint Select Committee that if the Governor-General found that there was any difficulty—a temporary deficiency might occur in the cash required to meet current obligations, such as the issue of monthly pay—he might have to take action, and the words used are:If need arose for the Governor to take special steps for the purpose, in virtue of his special responsibilities, it would, of course, be open to him to adopt whatever methods were most appropriate in the circumstances and, if necessary, to meet the situation by borrowing.In the Bill as drafted there are no actual words which specify that power, and that is why many of us were desirous of seeing put into the Bill alternative words to read that the Governor-General is not debarred from using those powers. That would place him in the same constitutional position that we have always understood in this country. I had hoped that the Secretary of State might accept that proposal. Perhaps he would consider it at a later stage, or he may be able to show me that it is not necessary, but it appears that the words of the Bill do not exactly interpret the intentions of the Joint Select Committee.
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I understand that the words do interpret the words of the Joint Select Committee. I am also informed that, as a matter of draftsmanship, the words suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend would really be restrictive words and that from the point of view of draftsmanship these words are better. If he will take it from me that these words carry out the Joint Select Committee's recommendations and that they are less restrictive than his own, I will undertake to look into it and to confirm that.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Prima facie it would seem to be the opposite. The mysteries of the law are profound, but, prima facie, if a man is required to do a thing it is more limited than if he is not debarred from doing it. But I think we must rest content with the undertaking that the Secretary of State has given that, if there be any substantial point in the matter, we may refer to it at a later stage.
§ 4.59 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
We should not like this Clause to pass without stating 1343 generally what we feel in regard to its merits. It seems to me—I hope I am wrong—that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who have been discussing the powers and functions of the Governor-General as they are defined in Clause 9 have really had in their mind the desirability of making as rigid as possible the final authority of the Governor-General. We take a different view. Circumstances have thrown us into the same Lobby as hon. Members opposite on previous occasions, and we shall have to make it clear that, if we found ourselves there again to-day on this Clause, we should find ourselves there for different reasons. We are very anxious about the success of the experiment if it is to be tried at the centre. Here for the first time we are trying to amplify—I hope that is an appropriate word to use—to extend the nature of the instrument of government at the centre and we are exceedingly anxious, therefore, that, so far as possible, there shall function at the centre a group of ministers who shall be as nearly as possible established on similar lines to a Cabinet in this country. That is, broadly speaking, our idea.
We had an Amendment on the Paper in which we proposed to bring out that idea, and I do not complain of its not being called, but the point which we want to emphasise is, that here is the Governor-General being placed in a very special position at the centre, and as we understand and interpret the effect of this Clause 9, for all practical purposes he will be a sort of dictator at that centre. We think it would be a bad thing if the Governor-General's council of 10 ministers should embark upon their task feeling in any way that their responsibility could be shunted off on to the shoulders of the Governor-General. There is nothing that will develop the sense of responsibility among these people more than the consciousness that they are answerable for their own actions as ministers, and we are exceedingly keen, therefore, that as early as possible these ministers should begin to function, not as a group of puppets whom the Governor-General can move as he thinks fit, but as a group of people exercising corporate responsibility in the same way as a Cabinet discharges its responsibilities here.
1344 We are exceedingly anxious that, so far as these 10 ministers are concerned, they shall act in the same sense as a group of British Ministers act who are in Cabinet offices. We want a, sense of Cabinet responsibility to grow in India, and I am sure that I am fairly right in my prognostication that unless that is speedily realised, there will be the same tendency under the new conditions as has prevailed in parts of India under the old, where, when an awkward situation arose or an awkward responsibility had to be shouldered, it was easy to say that the Governor-General or the Governor, as the case might be, was responsible. We want to bring home to these people at the very beginning that they must be responsible, not only for their successes, but for their failures as well, and there is nothing that will develop that sense of responsibility better than making them answerable not merely for their successes but for their failures.
I take the view that they must be free to make mistakes. They will learn by mistakes. That is how we all learn. That is how this Government is learning, bit by bit. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] My hon. Friends evidently see no signs of repentance in the Government even now, but I think I can see an occasional trace of a desire on its parts to repent. I sometimes have glimmerings of hope that there will be some sort of repentance in the dim and distant future. I want to make these people in India acquire confidence in the business of government by being confronted with the consequences of their own acts, and for that reason we are anxious to limit as far as possible the responsibilities of the Governor-General and mot to enlarge them.
§ 5.5 p.m.
§ Mr. SPENS
I could take up much of the time of the Committee in replying to the speech of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones), who has just sat down, but there is one point on the drafting of this Clause to which I should like to call attention. Subsection (3) makes the Governor-General a judge in his own cause. It puts him in the position of deciding whether and when he ought to exercise his discretion.
1345 Further, this Sub-section goes on to say thatthe validity of anything done by the Governor-General shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.When one studies the Bill, one finds out how in fact he does act on his discretion. One finds in Clause 43 and other Clauses that he is given certain powers which he can exercise, and one of those powers is the power of making ordinances. That is a power which he exercises in his discretion under Sub-section (5) of Clause 43, but when you look at Subsection (4) of that Clause, you find that his power to make ordinances is limited by the area in respect of which the Federal Legislature can legislate, and if he goes beyond that his ordinance is void.
I want to call attention to the point that apparently by Sub-section (3) of Clause 9 no one is to call in question the validity of any exercise by the Governor-General of his discretion, and yet by Subsection (4) of Clause 43 and by other Clauses certain exercises of his discretion are expressly said to be void or invalid. I suggest that these very definite words in Clause 9 require some limitation. It is a point which will require some consideration, but I put it forward so that the Clause shall not pass from us without a word of warning that the very definite wording of this Sub-section (3), making every action of the Governor-General in the exercise of his discretion unquestionable, is in fact in contradiction to certain other Clauses in the Bill, which specify that certain of his actions may be void and therefore, in my submission, subject to question.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If I may clear the point of drafting raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Spens) out of the way, I would suggest that he has confused two things, if I may say so with some trepidation. There is the power of the Governor-General to make an ordinance, which is dealt with in Clause 43, and if he has no power to make an ordinance, if he makes one which he is not competent to enact under the Act, it is to be void. But assuming that it is an ordinance which he is competent to enact under the Act, then the question arises as to whether 1346 that action is something which he is to do in his discretion or not, and the way in which he enacts the ordinance is a matter for him to decide. So far as this question is concerned as to whether he is to do it in his discretion or in his individual judgment, upon that point his decision is final under the Clause in question, but that does not affect the provision that if there is no power at all to enact the ordinance, it shall be void.
§ 5.9 p.m.
§ Colonel GRETTON
The speech of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) to my mind cuts right at the root of the Clause. The Clause gives the Governor-General those powers which he requires to exercise his discretion and those other powers which are in the terms of the Bill handed over to the ministers of the Federal Legislature. These powers of the Governor-General are one of the safeguards in the Bill, and we should look with the greatest alarm at their being frittered away or diminished in any sense by this Committee. One can see all manner of difficulties in exercising these powers, but at any rate they should be there to be exercised. The hon. Member for Caerphilly does not appear to realise that the powers which are ordinarily exercised by the ministers of the Federal Legislature are only to be taken over in case of a breakdown or emergency, and it was somewhat heartless of him, I think, to recommend that ministers should be able to go on indefinitely making mistakes and committing errors of administration to the detriment of the countless millions of India who would have to suffer from a breakdown in administration or from the errors which might be made. On that ground alone, I should urge on the Government as strongly as I could that these powers are of vital importance when setting up a new constitution and entrusting them, through unknown machinery, to those who are not accustomed to them.
§ 5.12 p.m.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I wish to call attention to much more than a drafting point, namely, the fact that this is the Clause which makes the great transfer of control at the centre of government in India, which is the chief point on which we take exception to the Bill. This is the Clause in which it first becomes 1347 apparent that the authority of the Federation, with the exception of the Governor-General's reserved and special responsibilities, will be exercised by ministers. It seems to me to be the Clause which first makes it clear that, except in special fields, the executive authority of the Federation is to be exercised by ministers responsible, not to the Governor-General, but to the elected Federal Legislature. That is a tremendous jump from the present position to a position in which all the provincial departments will have been handed over and all at the centre except the three reserved to the Governor-General and the field covered by his special responsibility.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am sorry again to interrupt the Noble Lady, but once more I think she has mistaken what the Clause does. This particular Clause merely sets up the council of ministers. It does not deal at all with what their powers relate to. That question will arise at different places in the Bill.
Duchess of ATHOLL
With great respect, Sir Dennis, I would ask you to observe the words at the beginning of the Clause, where the ministers are to be appointed to aid and advise the Governor-General, and I would ask you to remember that in the memorandum explanatory of the Bill it was declared that the right to advise, that is to say, initiate proposals, rests with ministers. That seems to be a very important power to hand over to the ministers. Though defence is reserved to the Governor-General, it will rest with ministers to initiate proposals in regard to railways, posts, telegraphs, arms, explosives, and munitions, and various other departments which may seriously embarrass the efficiency of the administration, and, of course, all initiative in regard to tariffs and commerce generally passes into the hands of ministers. The fiscal autonomy convention which, as my right hon. Friend pointed out on a previous occasion, contains some valuable safeguards if they are used, goes by the board. The control of the Press and the initiative in matters controlling what might be a reckless or seditious Press passes into the hands of ministers. The control of wireless also passes. That seems to me a point of enormous importance.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am sorry to interrupt again, but the Noble Lady is getting far beyond this Clause. We shall come to all these subjects when they are set out in the Bill in so many words.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I presume it would be in order to discuss on this Clause the inconvenience of dyarchy, because this is the machinery which sets up the dyarchical process at the centre, with the Governor-General on the one hand and the ministers on the other, with divided and alternating responsibilities.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is a Clause which sets up a council of ministers and discussion on the advisability of setting up such a council is distinctly in order.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I was trying to give illustrations of the powers which the council will have and giving concrete examples in order to bring home to the Committee what the proposals of the Bill will mean in practice. It is difficult sometimes to know what the wording of a Clause means, and I am not seeking to waste the time of the Committee, but merely drawing attention to what is in the Clause. It is, of course, a Clause in which dyarchy may become an actual fact under the Bill. No one in the Committee, I think, forgets how strenuously the Simon Commission opposed any suggestion of dyarchy at the centre. After investigating the idea of federation, they strenuously opposed the transfer of any responsibility at the centre. In a very interesting passage they seemed to me to indicate their doubts whether, if one day an all-India federation did become a reality, it would take the form of responsible government as we know it in this country. It is an extremely difficult matter which has not been sufficiently referred to in previous Debates. In spite of that grave warning, we have the Parliamentary system as we know it in this country transferred to the centre of the government in India with, of course, certain notable exceptions, which we in this quarter of the House feel that it may be very difficult to make really effective.
I would like the Committee to realise that the Governor-General has special responsibilities at the present moment, not only for peace and tranquillity, but for the interests of the Indian people. He will no longer be responsible for the interests of the people, but will have 1349 responsibilities only in regard to matters which are a menace to peace or tranquillity and to other matters to which we shall come on a later Clause. That means that, however gravely the interests of Indian people may be menaced by devastating epidemics, disease or other calamities, the Governor-General can do nothing. All that rests with his Ministers. We, therefore, feel that in this Clause the great danger of the Bill lies, and it is impossible to let it go through without trying to point out some of those dangers.
§ 5.20 p.m.
§ Mr. EMMOTT
It is plain from the submission which was made to you, Sir Dennis, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and from what you said in reply to him that an argument on the topic of dyarchy is in order on this Clause. Since this is the appropriate occasion, and so far as I can make out, the last occasion on which this issue will be clearly raised, I beg the leave of the Committee to address to it one or two observations upon it. This is the Clause which establishes the system of dyarchy, the system of divided authority, in the Central Government. The Noble Lady referred briefly to the report of the Statutory Commission, but I desire to bring once more before the Committee what was actually stated by the Commission on this subject. The Noble Lady had in mind, I think, the passage in paragraph 177 in which the Commission gave it as their view that there was a serious danger of development at the centre proceeding on wrong lines if the assumption was made that the only form of responsible government which could ultimately emerge was one which closely imitated the British Parliamentary system. I might refer also to paragraph 29 of the report, but I want to come immediately to the paragraph in which the Statutory Commission lays down in the most clear and specific terms their condemnation of dyarchy in the Central Government. Let me read what they actually said. It is in paragraph 165:First, we lay down without hesitation the proposition that dyarchy at the centre, or any system of divided responsibility resembling dyarchy, is quite impossible. Unity in the central executive must be preserved at all costs.1350 Where is your unity now? They go on to say:Dyarchy cannot be regarded as affording much training in taking responsibility for unpopular, though necessary, decisions, and it does nothing to guarantee unity of control and policy when unity is most essential and when the strength which unity ought to give is most needed.Did the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) bear that in mind when he was addressing the Committee upon the necessity of developing a sense of responsibility in Indian Ministers? Does he think that the system of government now to be established at the centre—the system of dyarchy—will develop that sense of responsibility?
§ Mr. EMMOTT
I do not bring that accusation against the hon. Member, but he was apparently approving of the establishment of this system of Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Perhaps the hon. Member will refer at some time to the paragraph which I have read and consider it. Now let me come to the final words of this paragraph. They are:These are the main considerations which make any suggestion to introduce dyarchy into the Government of India wholly inadmissible.It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of these expressions. The condemnation by the Statutory Commission of dyarchy in the Central Government is absolute and unqualified. Now what answer has been given from time to time by Members of the Statutory Commission or on behalf of the Statutory Commission to those who have pointed out that this new system of government contradicts the conclusions of the Commission? The hon. Member for Finchley (Mr. Cadogan), in a debate in this House on the 19th February, dealt very fairly with this point. In fact, he went so far as to say that the statement to which I have just referred was one which even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping would not be able to explain away. Why he should think the right hon. Gentleman would wish to do so, I do not know. The hon. Member then said that he had expressed to his colleagues the opinion that the statement made by the Commission in regard to 1351 dyarchy was too categorical, and he went on to say:I wish to say that when the proposals"—that is, the proposals of the Commission—were examined by the Joint Select Committee that Committee came to the conclusion that, although our proposal was not dyarchy in form, it certainly was so in fact. I admit that we were wrong and that dyarchy at the Centre was inevitable."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th February, 1935; col. 287, Vol. 298.]I do not believe they were wrong. I believe that the Commission were right in condemning the system of dyarchy. One of the most extraordinary features of this business has been the way in which, since the report of the Statutory 'Commission, the conclusions at which they arrived have been more and more departed from by the members of it. I believe that the conclusions at which they arrived were perfectly correct. But now the hon. Member for Finchley, one of the Members of the Commission, says the Commission were wrong, and he is prepared to adopt the new system.
That, however, is not the answer which has always been given or suggested on behalf of the Statutory Commission. It has been suggested from time to time by various persons that the change, or a change, which has taken place since the report of the Commission has fundamentally affected the whole position. The change which is referred to is, of course, the declaration regarding Federation which was made by certain Princes at the first Session of the Round Table Conference. But the point I insist upon is this. How has that change affected the arguments used by the Statutory Commission against dyarchy? I cannot conceive how they have been affected at all. Of course, a change has taken place—it may be of greater or less importance—but has the change in the situation of the Princes eliminated the defects inherent in the system of dyarchy? I believe that it has not affected them at all, and that the answer which is given to justify the abandonment of the arguments of the Statutory Commission is completely unsound. I prefer to accept the position of the hon. Member for Finchley who now says clearly and frankly, "We were wrong; if we are to establish this system of government in the centre at all we must have a system of divided authority."
§ Earl WINTERTON
As the hon. Gentleman is giving us this exceedingly interesting and erudite dissertation on dyarchy, I would like to point out to him that the Joint Select Committee dealt with all those arguments. He will find it at the bottom of page 19 of their report, in paragraph 35.
§ Earl WINTERTON
In that case the hon. Member should make himself acquainted with it, because he is making an attack on the conclusions of the Joint Select Committee, and we have dealt in our report with the very point with which he has been dealing in his speech.
§ Mr. EMMOTT
I am much obliged to the Noble Lord for his intervention. I have the report now; but does the Noble Lord expect me to read whole pages of the report of the Joint Select Committee?
§ Earl WINTERTON
I thought the hon. Gentleman, in justice to the Joint Select Committee, ought to deal with the arguments which we give against the decision reached by the Statutory Commission.
§ Major-General Sir ALFRED KNOX
Surely the hon. Member can leave those arguments to be put forward by members of the Joint Select Committee?
§ Mr. EMMOTT
I am afraid I should hardly achieve the object which the Noble Lord desires if I acceded to his invitation. I wish to put my arguments quite shortly, and I have pursued the course I have pursued because, so far as I remember, the argument I am now putting forward has not hitherto been presented in this particular form to the House. I say that I frankly prefer the position of the hon. Member for Finchley, who asserts that the decision at which the Statutory Commission arrived was wrong, and holds that if we are to erect this system of government at the centre in India then we must have divided authority, that is to say, we must have dyarchy. But if that be so, then let it be recognised that we are establishing the central Government upon a principle of government which has been tried in the Provinces and found wanting. I remember that Sir Harcourt Butler, in a 1353 delightful book which he has written upon India., relates some stories to show that dyarchy, although its exact meaning may be but little understood in India, has come to be regarded almost as a term of abuse in that country. He relates how two villagers were heard quarrelling with each other, and one was heard to say abusively and angrily to the other, "You are a dyarchy." I do not lay too great stress upon an anecdote, but certain it is that this system of government which we ere now to establish at the centre has come to be hated in India.
Let me remind the Committee why the system of government by divided authority has broken down, in so far as it has broken down, in. India. We talk much in this House about dyarchy, but it seems to me that it is very seldom that any attempt is made to understand it tar examine its nature at all. The reasons for its failure are, I think, most clearly given by the committee that was appointed by the Legislature of the United Provinces to co-operate with the Statutory Commission. It will be remembered that the provincial legislatures appointed committees to co-operate with the Statutory Commission, and it is in the report of the committee appointed by the Legislature of the United Provinces that the reasons for the failure of dyarchy are most clearly and interestingly stated. I hope the Secretary of State will not think I am wasting the time of the Committee if I read a passage from their report. They stated that:A serious inherent defect of the dyarchical system was the weakening of the Governor in Council by the pressure of the Legislature on the Ministers,, and the weakening of the Ministers vis-a-vis the Legislature by reason of their connection with the Governor in Council.There is the gist of the whole matter—the weakening of the Governor in Council by the pressure of the Legislature on the Ministers, and the weakening of the Ministers, in their turn, by reason of their connection with the Governor in Council. Can we afford to set up at the centre a system of government which will be subject to such strains and stresses, and which will inevitably develop such fearful weakness? It is the desire of His Majesty's Government to establish at the centre a stronger central government. But do they really think they are doing so? How can they think so in the face of these conclusions? There will be a 1354 continuous and increasing and deadly pressure on the reserved subjects in the Central Government. The whole system of central government will be increasingly subjected to strains and stresses which will steadily weaken, and, as we believe, finally destroy it.
§ 5.37 p.m.
§ Earl WINTERTON
As my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn (Mr. Emmott) refused to accept my invitation I would like to draw attention, in a very few words, to what is stated in paragraph 35 of the Report of the Joint Select Committee:These are undoubtedly formidable objections, but they do not, we think, exhaust the question. It is impossible adequately to discuss "—[Interruption.] My hon. Friend gave me the impression that he had not read the Report.
§ Earl WINTERTON
Then I regret that he did not deal with it, because it is not fair to present one side of the case. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, if he will allow me to say so, can mind his own business and allow me to make my speech.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
So can the Noble Lord mind his own business. He has no right to instruct other people.
§ Earl WINTERTON
Nor has the right hon. Gentleman any right, as Leader of the Opposition, to interrupt me.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not intend to allow the Noble Lord to lecture me. He lectured the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Emmott) as though he were a schoolboy.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think we are all rather inclined to lecture one another, and I am not sure that that is not one of the things that we are here for. I feel that if hon. Members were a little less thin-skinned we should get on better.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I am sorry if I said anything to which the Leader of the Opposition objected. I was under 1355 the impression that he was interrupting me, but if I am wrong I withdraw anything I said. May I just refer to these few words in this paragraph? I had not intended to lecture my hon. Friend, but I wished—with the greatest respect and submission to the Leader of the Opposition—to call his attention to them.
§ Earl WINTERTON
The report states:It is impossible adequately to discuss the real issues involved in a decision for or against the introduction of some measure of responsibility at the Centre if the discussion is confined to the Centre itself and is conducted in terms of 'dyarchy.'I do not think that anyone would quarrel with that. We go on to say:Like so many other words used in political controversy 'dyarehy' has collected round it associations which tend to obscure issues rather than to clarify them.This is the sentence to which I wish to call my hon. Friend's attention.The truth is that, in any Constitution, and above all in a Federal Constitution, there must be a division of responsibility at some point, and at that point there will always be a danger of friction.That expresses no more than the truth. Whatever central government is proposed, even one set up under the proposals supported by hon. and right hon. Members who differ from us, there would me, in the words of our report,a division of responsibility at some point and at that point there will always be a danger of friction.We go on, in what I venture to submit are carefully argued paragraphs—paragraphs which, I think, had the support of the whole Committee, and not merely of Members representing one party—to deal with almost all the arguments which my hon. Friend put forward. It is, therefore, not fair, in a discussion of this matter, to ignore what I venture to submit is the very wise contribution which the Joint Committee make to the matter, and the reasons which they gave in opposing, to a very considerable extent, the conclusions reached by the Statutory Commission. I might add that in the light of the fresh evidence brought to bear on the subject the Statutory Commission might well have been less definite in the decision they reached.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
May I ask whether it is any more fair to pay attention to the Majority Report than to the Minority Report?
§ Earl WINTERTON
No, but I was under the impression that as regards this particular matter—if I am wrong, I apologise to my hon. Friend who was such a valued colleague on the Joint Select Committee—he and others did not dissent from the conclusions of the majority.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
My Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winter-ton) has introduced a temporary breeze into the debate this afternoon, which I certainly think does not tend to accelerate our procedure.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am not so sure that it was good-humoured. The Noble Lord had no right to prescribe to my hon. Friend that he ought to state both sides of the case. I do not know how we shall ever get to the end of this Bill if it is to be an obligation of fairness and honour on each one of us to state not only our point of view but the point of view of the other side. I cannot imagine anything more likely to embarrass our proceedings. And then, of course, if we begin to state the point of view of the other side the further question will arise whether we are doing justice to that point of view. I think the debates would be endless if we were to embark on that course. The Noble Lord is a very keen supporter of this Measure, one of its principal promoters, one who has had the honour of sitting on the Joint Select Committee, and he has always, naturally, nursed a proper pride in his own handiwork. I must say that when he suggested to my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn (Mr. Emmott) that he had not read this re port, he did him a very severe injustice. I took the liberty of borrowing—I had almost said of purloining—his actual copy in order to refresh my own memory, and I have my hon. Friend's copy in my hand, underlined and underscored at every point, showing a most careful and meticulous study of it.
Earl WI NTERTON
Is that why my right hon. Friend was good enough to ask me privately if I could show him the place?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The Noble Lord—I am in the recollection of the Committee—referred particularly to paragraphs 32 and 33, and I was not quite sure whether I heard him aright. He then said, "Read down to paragraph so-and-so," and I was not quite clear as to what he had said. But I was quite able to find the place, because it was handed to me. I took the book from my hon. Friend when he had it open. But what is all the point of this interruption by the Noble Lord? Does he mean that I have not read the report? Is that what he is trying to suggest? I think it is rather unmannerly to criticise in this House the way in which Members give their time to the discharge of their duties. I am not aware that the record of the Noble Lord entitles him to any special distinction for perspicuity in the discharge of his public duties. If he has a claim to any special distinction in that respect, it has passed singularly unrewarded in his long career.
§ Mr. MOLSON
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the carefully annotated copy of the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Emmett) is his own copy or is the copy of the Noble Lady the Member for West Perth (Duchess of Atholl)?
§ Mr. EMMOTT
I think it is my own copy which the Noble Lady at some time or another has borrowed from me.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is quite clear, Sir Dennis, that an apology is clue from the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson) to my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn (My. Emmott). The hon. Member for Doncaster asked me to give way in order that he might make an intervention, and now he is proved conclusively wrong on a matter of fact. No doubt the hon. Gentleman will get up and say that he was wrong.
§ Mr. MOLSON
I asked a question, and if the Noble Lady the Member for West Perth will say that property in the book vests in the hon. Member for Springburn, I will certainly apologise.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is usual when an hon. Member makes a statement in this 1358 House, as did the hon. Member for Springburn, for other hon. Members to accept his bona fides, especially in a matter of a personal character of that kind. Now that the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham has forced into the centre of our discussion this general question of dyarchy, I am bound to address myself to it. I do not agree that this is the only point where the question can be discussed; the vice of dyarchy runs throughout this Bill. That is the hideous blemish. That is the cause of the evils which we see and apprehend. Again and again I have heard dyarchy condemned. I have heard supporters of the Bill like Lord Lytton, with great experience, condemn it in unmeasured terms. There are the words of the Statutory Commission's Report, words of the greatest weight, declaring that this very thing that you are now doing at the centre is inadmissible, and giving weighty reasons why it is impracticable and full of vice. You are departing from the Report of the Statutory Commission and you have cast that upon one side, although it was agreed to by all parties. You have left that safe, sure ground and you have embarked upon the very precarious and unstable footing of the Round Table Conferences, the White Paper and the Joint Select Committee.
Compare the Report of the Statutory Commission and the way it deals with dyarchy with the jejune apologetics of the Joint Select Committee; look and see how the Statutory Commission approached this subject with a view to ascertaining the truth, while the Joint Select Committee approached it with a view to carrying out the policy which was put to them by the White Paper. They were, as has been properly stated, a body to find reasons for supporting preconceived conclusions. When you compare and read those passages, I wonder that the Noble Lord had the face to get up and draw any conclusions. He mentioned paragraph 32 of the Report of the Joint Select Committee. Here is the explanation of why the solid arguments of the Statutory Commission have been thrown over by the Joint Select Committee. Paragraph 32, which the Noble Lord mentioned, furnishes the reason. Here is the reason for the tergiversations of the hon. Member for Finchley (Mr. Cadogan) and of his catherine-wheel contortion on that. 1359 subject. He was one associated with the weighty words of the Statutory Commission. As soon as he got into the Joint Select Committee he fell under the evil, ministerial influences with which that body was packed—hopelessly packed—and, of course, lacking the moral strength to stand against the tide and the prevailing currents of opinion—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Perhaps I ought not to put it in that way. Shall I say, allowing himself to succumb too easily to the seduction of drifting with the sea and floating with the tide, if my hon. Friend will allow me to substitute those words for the others which I inadvertently used? What is the reason given for the desertion of the opinions of the Statutory Commission on the subject of dyarchy and the substitution of the opinions of the Joint Select Committee? It is this—and I am going to read only a sentence:The Princes have … stated … that they are willing now to enter an All: India Federation—and they insisted on responsibility. I wonder indeed that the Noble Lord should raise that point to-day, because he is like a man standing upon the trapdoor of a scaffold, leaning forward to draw the bolt and to precipitate himself, in hopeless logical and argumentative confusion, into the pit. The Noble Lord has certainly not helped the case of the Government by the intervention, which, however ardently intended, has not been a fortunate one.
We take the strongest exception to this Clause, although, until we were provoked by the Noble Lord, the discussion had been conducted in a very quiet and good-tempered spirit. Yet it would be a mistake to suppose that the greatest objection cannot be taken to this Clause, and we are bound to vote against it. We are bound to testify against it, as it embodies the principle of dyarchy. The position of the Viceroy we begin to see in detail in this Clause, how he is to combine his strong executive function with the delicate handling of Ministers. We see the different points of view brought to a collision in the very central organism of the Government, and we see this central organism racked and strained in this way and in that by all those innumerable stresses at the very moment that, over the whole expanse of 1360 India, 11 provincial governments are being brought into existence. We are forced to express our repugnance and our destestation of this Clause at this time; it is certainly our duty to do so.
I do not intend to repeat upon this question arguments which I have used on Second Reading and at other times, but let the Committee realise quite clearly what they are going to do when they vote that this Clause stand part. They are introducing dyarchy into the centre of India on the sole pretext that the Princes wish to come in, which is not true, and that they have demanded responsibility. For that hon. Members are voting—for a basis which is going to be shorn from under their feet; for the establishment of a system so vicious that it has been condemned by every authority which has dealt with it, and by the highest authority which could be accepted in this House, namely, by our own Statutory Commission.
§ 5.54 p.m.
§ Mr. CADOGAN
I have been taken to task not only by the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Emrnott) but also by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). Apparently I have been taken to task for admitting that I was wrong. Unlike the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping, I do not claim infallibility for the Report of the Statutory Commission; in fact, for years I became quite accustomed to our Report being regarded as anathema by all parties, and it is almost embarrassing to find that what was originally rejected has become the head and corner stone of everybody's argument. The hon. Member for Springburn did me the honour to read out some passages from a speech which I delivered a few days ago, when the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) quoted this very passage. The hon. Member for Spring-burn left out a passage of which I would like to remind him. I said that while admitting that the passage was somewhat categorical, we asserted it rather courageously because, on the Statutory Commission, we thought we had found some way of circumventing dyarchy. When our scheme was examined by the Joint Select Committee, the Joint Select Committee decided that, while in was not dyarchy in form, it was in fact. We were compelled to agree.
1361 The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping has poured contumely upon my head for changing my mind; I suppose that the right hon. Gentleman has never changed his mind. At any rate, I can say this: It may have been somewhat of a shock to hear anyone admitting that he was wrong. I will not delay the Committee any longer because I understand that we are already behind-hand on our time limit. In spite of everything that has been said by the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Springburn, I still abide by the finding of the Joint Select Committee on the subject of dyarchy.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I do not intend to take up the time of the Committee for more than five minutes, but I ought in a sentence or two to comment upon the speech just delivered by my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). Let me congratulate him at once upon living up so effectively to the general proposition which he stated at the beginning of his speech, namely, that none of us should state more than one side of the case. It might be assumed from the right hon. Gentleman's speech that his conscience at any rate is clear; he and his friends will not touch the accursed thing called dyarchy. What is the real state of affairs? In the first place, they
§ suggest putting in the centre of the Government of India, if they had their way, the worst possible form of dyarchy, namely a complete gulf between the executive and the legislature. Secondly, they favour the proposition which is set out in the report of the Statutory Commission under which the Army in India would remain a part of the British Army and have no connection whatever with the Indian machinery of Government. What more outrageous form of dyarchy can you have than that? Surely this is the most conspicuous illustration of the catherine wheel of contortion—I think that was the right hon. Gentleman's expression—in his own line of argument. He supports a system of provincial administration in which the great subject of law and order would be divorced entirely from the responsible Government of the Provinces.
§ Let, therefore, the Committee note that while professing affection for a unitary Government both at the centre and in the Provinces, my right hon. Friend and his friends are really supporting a much mere extreme form of dyarchy than the form of dyarchy proposed in this Measure.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided Ayes, 234; Noes, 80.1363
|Division No. 67.]||AYES.||[6.0 p.m.|
|Albery, Irving James||Clarry, Reginald George||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Colfox, Major William Philip||Fraser, Captain Sir Ian|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Fremantte, Sir Francis|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cook, Thomas A.||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cooke, Douglas||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton|
|Assheton, Ralph||Cooper, A. Duff||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Cranborne, Viscount||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Crooke, J. Smedley||Gluckstein, Louis Halle|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.|
|Beauchamp. Sir Brograve Campbell||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Goff, Sir Park|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Crossley, A. C.||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd. N.)|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas|
|Blindell, James||Curry, A. C.||Grigg, Sir Edward|
|Boulton, W. W.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Grimston, R. V.|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Hamilton, Sir R.W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Denman, Hon. R. R.||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Denville, Alfred||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Dickie, John P.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n)|
|Buchan, John||Doran, Edward||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Drewe, Cedric||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Duckworth, George A. V.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Duggan, Hubert John||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Dunglass, Lord||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Hopkinson, Austin|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Elmley, Viscount||Hornby, Frank|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Horobin, Ian M.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Howard. Tom Forrest|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A.(Birm., W.)||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Iveagh, Countess of|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Janner, Barnett||Moss, Captain H. J.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine. C.)|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Munro, Patrick||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Spans, William Patrick|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||North, Edward T.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||O'Connor, Terence James||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Stevenson, James|
|Knight, Holford||Ormiston, Thomas||Stones, James|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Orr Ewing, I. L.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Patrick, Colin M.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Leckie, J. A.||Peake, Osbert||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Pearson, William G.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Lewis, Oswald||Petherick, M.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Potter. John||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Pybus, Sir John||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Radford, E. A.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Mabane, William||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Ramsay. T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|McCorquodale. M. S.||Rea, Walter Russell||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|McLean, Major Sir Alan||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||White, Henry Graham|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Magnay, Thomas||Rickards, George William||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Ropner, Colonel L.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M,||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col, Sir M.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Salmon, Sir Isldore||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Samuel. Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Sir George Penny and Dr.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Nunn, William|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Everard, W. Lindsay||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Alexander, Sir William||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Remer, John R.|
|Banfield, John William||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Batey, Joseph||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Groves, Thomas E.||Scone, Lord|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Grundy, Thomas W.||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Burnett, John George||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Kimball, Lawrence||Thorne, William James|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Knox, Sir Alfred||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Courtauld. Major John Sewell||Lawson, John James||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Cove, William G.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Levy, Thomas||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lunn, William||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||West, F. R.|
|Daggar, George||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Wilmot, John|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Mainwaring, William Henry||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Dixey, Arthur C. N.||Maxton, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Donner, P. W.||Milner, Major James||Mr. John and Mr. Paling.|
|Edwards, Charles||Nicholson. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.