§ 10.6 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I beg to move, in page 8, line 39, to leave out "the draft of."
This is the first of four Amendments standing in our names, the most important of which is last of the series, which, in line 42, proposes to leave out from "Governor-General" to the end of the Sub-section. If these Amendments were carried, the Clause would read:The Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament any Instrument of Instructions which His Majesty may issue to the Governor-General.1888 We want to see, not a draft instrument, but the final form in which the Instrument of Instructions must issue from the Secretary of State. The second and third Amendments are consequential upon the first, and I will apply myself to the fourth. As it now stands, the Clause would involve that, whenever any subsequent Government, by virtue of changed circumstances, might desire to effect some change in the Instrument of Instructions, it would have to do so, and it could only do so, after an Address had been presented to the House of Commons and had been approved by it. I want to be perfectly frank with the Com- 1889 mittee. I am thinking in terms of a Government of my own political complexion, and I am assuming that such a Government might desire, in view of certain changed circumstances that might have supervened in India, to effect an alteration in the Instrument of Instructions.
We argue that our Government should be entitled to effect such alterations as it thought fit, but under present Parliamentary circumstances, whatever the complexion of the Government in this House might be, there would be another Government of another complexion across the way, and so a Labour Government, in seeking to make any alteration in the Instrument of Instructions, would be held up, not by a majority in this House, because that, of course, would be of its own complexion, but by a majority at the other end of the corridor, which has been, and I suppose always will be, opposed to a Labour Government. We say that that is an unfair barrier to impose upon a future Labour Government. In effect, it works out in this way, that the Tory party, not through its work in this House, but in another place, would be able to exercise a permanent bar upon the freedom of a Labour Government in its relation to the administration of affairs in inclia, and it is in order to emphasise the right of a future Government to freedom in this matter, that we propose these Amendments.
§ 10.11 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) has raised two points. There is, first of all, the point about the draft Instrument of instructions, and there I can reassure him. The Instrument of Instructions is in draft because it is a prerogative document issued by the Crown, and this and another place must therefore describe the document that they have before them as "the draft," even though in actual practice it may be the final form. There is, therefore, if I may say so to the hon. Member, no substance in that point. The bigger point is as to whether the Instrument of Instructions and future amendment should be subject to parliamentary sanction or not. It is a point which we have touched on more than once before, and I submit that in the case of a type of document as important as this Instrument of Instructions obviously is, there 1890 should be the safeguard of parliamentary sanction.
Obviously, from the speech to which we have just listened, there is in the minds of hon. Members opposite the possibility of making drastic alterations, and if that be so, surely there should be parliamentary sanction behind them. Changes as big as that ought to be undertaken only by the medium of an amending Bill or by formal Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. Indeed, it is interesting to remember that more than once the Select Committee attached importance to the safeguard of parliamentary sanction, for the reason that in these Instructions there are several paragraphs—the paragraph, for instance, about the gradual development of responsible government and the paragraph about the Indianisation of the Army that are regarded as most important from the Indian point of view; and so far as I can remember it was Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru who himself originally suggested, in view of the importance of the Instrument of Instructions, that there should be Parliamentary sanction behind it. That being so, we could not accept the Amendment, and once again I must reaffirm the need of having behind a document so comprehensive and so important as the Instrument of Instructions evidently is the parliamentary sanction of a Resolution of both Houses.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Could the right hon. Gentleman enlighten us a little further on this aspect? I understand that the Instrument, of Instructions can only be varied by an Address from both Houses—that there would have to be a majority in a single division in each of the two Houses of Parliament to justify any alteration, or any serious alteration, because I presume that the entire Instrument could be redrafted and altered in 50 different ways, and a single division in each House of Parliament would carry this out. It is not a question of every Amendment having to be passed through, as in the case of a Bill. The right hon. Gentleman seems a little to associate these two processes, but nothing could be more different than the process we are now going through, of passing a Bill through Parliament, and a mere vote by a temporory majority in the House of Commons. They are two entirely 1891 different things. The right hon. Gentleman talks about an amending Act—if there were large alterations in the Instrument, there would be an amending Act. But there is no means of enforcing that on the Government of the day in possession of a temporary majority. They can redraft the Instrument of Instructions in such a way as completely to transform the emphasis and character of the Bill, and a single division, a majority of 20 or 10, will be enough in this House. What happens in the House of Lords? This is a very important point, and raises very far-reaching constitutional issues. I wonder how it strikes the Lord President of the Council, who, I see, is in his place. Both Houses of Parliament have to concur in the alteration; you have to have a majority in the House of Lords. The right hon. Gentleman is very proud of his majority in the House of Lords at the present time.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am always hoping for the support of the respectable elements in our community in defence of the main assets and glories of the British Empire. Sometimes those hopes are not fully borne out by events, and the hon. Gentleman has the pleasure of exulting on those occasions. The point that I want to put to the Government, the Secretary of State, and the Lord President, turns on this veto of the House of Lords. As far as I make out, the passing of an Address by the House of Lords is not a matter covered by the Parliament Act—I mean that it is not a matter amenable to the procedure of passing the Address through the House of Commons in three successive Sessions in the space of not less than two years. It is not a question of a mere time veto; it is an absolute veto that is being provided in this respect in the House of Lords. The absolute veto of the House of Lords is being revived in this matter. I see that a, great constitutional revolutionary wishes, with legal authority, to instruct us, and I gladly give way.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The right hon. Gentleman will agree that you can pass a Bill to abolish the House of Lords.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Under the Parliament Act you can. If they refuse in a matter of this sort, you can abolish them, and then they could refuse no longer.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The hon. and learned Gentleman talks about abolishing the House of Lords, but it is very much easier said than done. The House of Lords are like a great many things that he wishes to abolish; they have a vitality and power of resistance that has never yet dawned upon our budding Socialist lawyer. The point that I put to His Majesty's Government is this: At the present time we are entrusting a first-rate function, one of the most responsible decisions, to the House of Lords without even the Parliamentary time limitation which was enforced by the Parliament Act, thus reverting to the pre-Parliament Act situation. That is what is called strong meat. It seems to be a formidable assertion for the Government to make, and particularly for the Lord President, who has so long refused to do anything to reform the Second Chamber in accordance with the Schedule to the Parliament Act. An unreformed Chamber, vulnerable as it has been found to be in the past, happens to be working with you at the present time in your policy. This body is to be put into the forefront of politics and, if in 15 months time a Socialist Government is in power, it proposes to remodel the Instrument of Instruction and to do various other things under the Bill which are to be done by a simple Address to the Crown.
I suppose the Conservative party are invited to lay comfort to their souls by-the fact that they can rely upon a veto—none of your whittled down Parliament Act vetoes. This is a good pukka veto. Are not the Government deluding their followers? Are not they inviting them to take their stand upon a most precarious and most insecure platform? Is it not clear that it would be most unfair to ask the House of Lords to take the responsibility of standing up against a widespread Indian demand supported by a majority in the House of Commons? In that case, where is security at all? Whichever way you look at, it, whether you take the point of view of reverting to the earlier form of veto which was abolished 20 years ago—[An HON. MEMBER: "By you."] Certainly, and 1893 no Measure that I have supported do I feel has better stood the test of time than the Parliament Act. It is true, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that it is open to the Socialist party, if they obtain a majority, immediately to introduce an amending Bill cutting out the whole of these safeguards or any other provisions in the Measure that they do not like, and run it under the Parliament Act for three Sessions in two years and it becomes law automatically. At the same time they can carry a Bill abolishing the House of Lords altogether, but still two and a half years is a certain security. The point that I invite the Government to pronounce upon is the old unlimited veto of the House of Lords, and I hope we shall have an authoritative answer from either the Lord President or the Secretary of State before we go much further in the Debate.
§ 10.25 p.m.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I was under the impression, until I heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) that nobody but the Socialist party objected to this proposal. I say that in no wounding terms about that party. They have every reason, holding the views they do, to object to it. It is true, as the Secretary of State has said, that, from the part India has played in this matter as represented by delegates at the Round Table Conference, they are in favour of this proposal. At the commencement of the right hon. Gentleman's speech I think I was in rather the position of agreeing with him, but I soon saw that it was by no means the case. I thought for a moment that I was back in the 1906 Parliament in opposition on the benches opposite, and that the right hon. Gentle-roan, with that command of argument to state the facts which has always distinguished him, was arguing in favour of the Parliament Act, and then I gathered that he was in fact doing so. In fact, in doing so he was embarrassing his own family party by arguing in favour of the Parliament Act, and for the first time almost since these Debates began they were reduced to silence.
Is it not really rather useless for my right hon. Friend to draw the distinction which he endeavours to draw? It is a 1894 simple proposal and is no trap. It simply says that before there could be an alteration of the Instruments of Instructions it should be put to the resolution in both Houses of Parliament. There is no mystery about the platter. It is true that the Parliament Act did not abrogate the right of the other House to pass an Address, and there is no need to ask the Government to answer that question. I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman, considering his responsibility with regard to the Parliament Act, should desire to ask the question, and I would take this opportunity of saying that the majority of the Conservative party differ entirely from his views on the effects of the Parliament Act. If he does not agree with that he had better go accompanied by his henchman, Sancho Panza—
§ Mr. BRACKEN
As the Noble Lord has referred to me, or has pointed in a geographical direction towards me, perhaps I may be allowed to suggest to him that I shall be no more successful in following the right hon. Gentleman than he will be in achieving the place he wishes to occupy upon the Front Bench.
§ Earl WINTERTON
If the hon. Gentleman objects to my description of him, which seemed appropriate, as Sancho Panza, I withdraw. With regard to the statement he has just made, I have not the least hesitation in describing it as entirely inaccurate and without any foundation of any sort. Knowing the hon. Gentleman I do not suppose that he is prepared to withdraw it.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
I am perfectly willing to withdraw it, but if the right hon. Gentleman tries to be offensive he must expect a response.
§ Earl WINTERTON
My hon. Friend apparently suffers from the same disease from which his right hon. Friend the leader suffers—if I may so describe his relationship with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping—in that he is very willing to make wounding and injurious remarks about others but is very indignant when they are applied to himself. I will not pursue the matter any further. I do not think that the right hon. Member for Epping has any 1895 justification for saying that this is not a real safeguard against an attempt of a government to alter these excellent instructions without a proper appeal to the constituted authorities, that is, this House and the House of Lords.
§ 10.31 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
In a sentence may I reply to the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). Resolutions of this kind are not subject to the Parliament Act. The right hon. Gentleman talked as though it were some revolutionary proposal in our constitutional system. This is the ordinary practice which has been in operation for years; and there is nothing new in it at all.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I desire to ask leave of the Committee to withdraw the Amendment and to say that we do not propose to move the next two Amendments but, with your permission, to take a Division on our Amendment to leave out from the word "Governor-General" to the end of the Sub-section.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I beg to move, in page 8, line 42, to leave out from "Governor-General," to the end of the Sub-section.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 283; Noes, 37.1897
|Division No. 80.]||AYES.||[10.32 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Copeland, Ida||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Albery, Irving James||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Cranborne, Viscount||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Craven-Ellis. William||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S.||Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Apsley, Lord||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Crooks, J- Smedley||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Assheton, Ralph||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hellgers. Captain F. F. A.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Cross, R. H.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)|
|Balllle, Sir Adrian W. M.||Crossley, A. C.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Holdsworth, Herbert|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Hornby, Frank|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Davison, Sir William Henry||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Bateman, A. L.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Beit. Sir Alfred L.||Dickie, John p.||Hunter. Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Donner, P. W.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Bernays, Robert||Duckworth, George A. V.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Blindell, James||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Dunglass, Lord||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Bracken, Brendan||Edmondson, Major Sir James||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Buchan, John||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Leckie, J. A.|
|Burghley, Lord||Everard, W. Lindsay||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lewis, Oswald|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Fraser, Captain Sir Ian||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Carver, Major William H.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Mabane, William|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Glossop, C. W. H.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||McCorquodale. M. S.|
|Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton le-Spring)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Graves, Marjorie||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Griffith, F. kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Grimston. R. V||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Conant. R. J. E.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian|
|Cooke, Douglas||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Manlier, Geoffrey le M.||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Stones, James|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Remer, John R.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Rickards, George William||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Maun, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Mills, Major J. D, (Now Forest)||Rothschild, James A. de||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Milne, Charles||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n.S)|
|Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Munro, Patrick||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Salmon, Sir Isldore||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Salt, Edward W.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Tree, Ronald|
|Nunn, William||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William Jamas||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Orr Ewing, I. L.||Saasoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Savery, Samuel Servington||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Selley, Harry R.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Peake, Osbert||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|Pearson, William G.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forlar)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Percy, Lord Eustace||Shute, Colonel Sir John||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||White, Henry Graham|
|Potter, John||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Smith, Louls W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Pybus, Sir John||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine.C.)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Raikes, Henry V. A M.||Smithers, Sir Waldron||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Somervell, Sir Donald||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Rankin, Robert||Soper, Richard||Young, Rt. Hon.Sir Hilton(S'v'noaks)|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Spens, William Patrick||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Ray, Sir William||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Sir George Penny and Lieut.-|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.|
|Held, David D. (County Down)||Stevenson, James|
|Banfield, John William||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Maxton, James|
|Buchanan, George||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Milner, Major James|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, Sir William||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cleary, J. J.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Leonard, William||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Dagger, George||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wilmot, John|
|Edwards, Charles||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||McGovern, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Paling and Mr. Groves.|
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.