§ 4.9 p.m.
§ Mr. RAIKES
I beg to move, in page 11, line 37, at the end, to add:Provided that the Governor-General may extend the life of the Assembly in pursuance of a resolution to that effect passed by both Houses of Parliament.This Amendment I can move very briefly, although it is an important one. Its object is to give the same power to the Governor-General as the Viceroy possesses at the present time, if necessary to extend the life of the Assembly by a resolution to that effect passed by both Houses of Parliament. The object is a very obvious one. It may, indeed, happen—it happened in the past—that at a time when the Assembly would naturally be dissolved, there might be a state of unrest in the country, and it might be unwise to (have a general election at such a time for fear of party intimidation. As a result of what has happened earlier on this Bill, this Amendment assumes perhaps greater importance than it has ever had before. The result of this Committee deciding on the principle of indirect election versus direct election at the Federal centre, whenever there is an election it will mean that a comparatively small number of persons will have the privilege of electing once again those who are to serve at the centre, and whatever may be the merits of indirect elec- 226 tion, undoubtedly the fewer the electors the more easy and possible it is for them to be intimidated by various powers from outside. We all know that, not only in India but even at home. Efforts of intimidation are sometimes made, and we are most anxious that if ever this Bill passes into law, which I very much doubt, the Indians themselves should have every opportunity of using their unfettered and free judgment when it comes to these elections. Therefore, I do ask my right hon. Friend to melt his stony heart just a little this afternoon, to think of those unfortunate electors who may be facing the storm and stress' of intimidation, and to say that once in a way he will look in a very generous spirit at an Amendment which is merely asking that the Governor-General shall have power in time of riot so that the Assembly shall be prolonged until it is safe, reasonable and proper for an election to be held in the interests of the electorate, and in the interests of India itself.
§ 4.12 p.m.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Butler)
The Committee will have a fellow-feeling for the hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes) this afternoon, but I am afraid that in answer to his Amendment I shall not be able to exhibit those feelings of tender heartedness for which he appeals. I must give the Committee one or two reasons why we have to be comparatively stony-hearted on this Amendment, The Assembly, under the terms of this Measure, will have a life of five years, which I may remind the Committee is two years more than the life of the Assembly as at present, which is three years. Moreover, the Government at the Centre will be, according to the terms of this Bill, a responsible Government subject to the various provisions of the Bill as we know them, and we do not think it desirable, under the system of government we are setting up at the centre, to make it different from that which prevails ordinarily in responsible government in this country. We believe, therefore, that it would be unwise to include a provision of the sort proposed. When we come to examine the actual terms of the Amendment we see that it is to be donein pursuance of a resolution to that effect passed by both Houses of Parliament.227 I think it would be very inappropriate to demand a resolution of both Houses of Parliament to deal with this particular form of emergency, even if we had thought it wise to include it in the provisions of this Measure. We think that it is much better to leave this provision to the man on the spot. Therefore, we think the terms of the Amendment inadvisable and inappropriate, and I regret very much that we are unable to accept it.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ Lord SCONE
One of the chief reasons put forward by the Under-Secretary against this Amendment, namely, that it is not in a form which the Government can approve, I think falls to the ground by its own weight, because it is obvious that the Government might do something if they felt inclined. As regards the other point, I would like to supplement what the hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes) has said as to the causes which might bring such an emergency about. It need not be merely a question of intimidation. It might well be that, despite all the efforts made to avoid these disasters by the British Government during the last few years, we might again be faced by wholesale famine or an outbreak of something like malaria or plague throughout India. Can it be suggested as desirable that a general election should be held in such circumstances, and thereby, undoubtedly, very greatly increase the risk of disturbance and cause disaster to assume still more widespread proportions? I cannot say that the arguments brought forward against the Amendment are of a very substantial nature. I should prefer that the Government would give us some indication that they have real reason for opposing the Amendment and that they are not merely instigated by the reasons given by the Under-Secretary, one of which falls to the ground and the others of which I respectfully submit, are not by any means of any great weight.
§ 4.16 p.m.
§ Mr. AMERY
My hon. Friend the Noble Lord has overlooked the fact that elections to the Central Legislature are indirect. There is therefore no danger of a general election involving contact with cholera during time of plague, or involving general disturbance. All that would happen would be that the candi- 228 dates would get into touch with the members of the Assembly in the provincial capitals and the elections would be far less disturbing and difficult than now. I am afraid therefore that that part of his argument has no great force.
§ 4.17 p.m.
§ Mr. OSWALD LEWIS
It seems to me that the point raised by the hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes) is of considerable constitutional importance. In order to understand it we have to get rid of the false analogy that may be made between the position of the British Parliament in this country and the other Parliaments within the Empire. His Majesty the King and the Lords and Commons acting together are a truly sovereign power. Therefore, it follows that the British Parliament cannot bind its successors. Take the case made by the hon. Member. Suppose this Parliament were to pass a law that no future Parliament should have the power to prolong its own life. The very next Parliament could if it wished repeal that law. That is an attribute of a sovereign power, but it does not follow that because the British Parliament has the power of prolonging its own life it is necessary or desirable as a part of a parliamentary system. We have it because in effect we cannot get rid of it. If we look at the other Parliaments in the Empire, the Parliaments of the great self-governing Dominions, we do not find that power, and I do not see why that power should be given to India when it is withheld from the Parliaments of the self-governing Dominions.
The hon. Member urged the question of a state of unrest. He thought that the time of the election might come along and be unfavourable because of a state of unrest. That brings one to the principal argument against the Amendment. The very fact that a popular assembly has to be dissolved within a limited number of years is a very useful safety valve for the Parliamentary system. Let us take, for example, the position of the Opposition in this House. We always know that within a comparatively few years they will have an opportunity of putting their case before the electors and there will be a chance that, if they do it well enough, they will take the place of the Government in power. I regard that as 229 a vital feature of Parliamentary government, and it is moat important that it should be conserved in the Constitution that we are giving to India. It would be a great mistake to prevent that safety valve from acting. I would further observe that where in other countries of the world this safety valve is not allowed to operate, as is commonly observed, for example, in South American Republics, where the Government of the day succeeds by some means or other in preventing the Opposition from getting a fair chance and the Government of the day seeks to prolong the period of its own life, there is a violent upheaval, which often causes the downfall of that Government. That is a striking illustration of the value of this safety valve and the necessity of a periodical verdict of the electors. I hope the Committee will insist upon that condition being upheld in the Government of India Bill.
§ 4.21 p.m.
§ Mr. COCKS
This Amendment would be very undesirable. If both Houses of Parliament were put into the position of being able to pass a resolution prolonging the life of the Indian Parliament, they might take it into their heads to pass a resolution prolonging the life of this Parliament. That is something to be guarded against. We oppose the Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 4.22 p.m.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
Before we give power to set up this Federal Legislature it is only reasonable that we should be fairly certain that the particular form of legislative machinery that we are setting up is one that is best suited to Indian needs and Indian mentality. The only data we have to guide us in this matter is the operation of the Act of 1919. In the opinion of the Statutory Commission that Act has not been in force for a sufficient length of time for any real judgment to be formed as to whether the particular legislature that has been given under that Act is one that is best suited to Indian needs and Indian mentality. It is necessary therefore before we 230 duplicate what is being set up in the Provinces that we should be reasonably certain that it is the best form of legislative and administrative machinery. The Statutory Commission in reporting on this matter said that before proceeding with Federation we must be reasonably certain that the form of government now in force is the right one.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member must recollect that this is not the occasion for making a Second Reading speech on the Bill. The question of Federation has been definitely discussed and decided upon. The hon. and gallant Member must confine his remarks strictly to the contents of Clause 18 and avoid discussing those questions on the Clause which have already been fully debated such, for instance, as the issue of direct or indirect election.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
I accept your Ruling, but as we are setting up this Federal Legislature I thought that I was entitled to argue that India was not ready to accept the particular form which we intend to set up.
§ 4.24 p.m.
§ Mr. COCKS
Before we pass from this Clause, I should like to say a few words on it. I think the Clause embodies one of the greatest mistakes that the Joint Select Committee made in departing from the original scheme of the White Paper. In that White Paper, as a result of the Round Table Conferences, the' scheme was very different from this one. We had a lower Chamber directly representing the people of India and we had a revising Chamber representing the lower Chambers of the Provincial Legislatures? All that has gone. The original upper Chamber has become the lower Chamber, and in place of the lower Chamber we have a Chamber representing the Princes and the upper Chambers of the Provinces. We have there reaction doubly enthroned.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Surely the question of whether the Council of State shall be constituted by the votes of the upper Chambers of the Provinces will not be discussed on this Clause, but will come up for discussion on the Schedule. I want to reserve the right to discuss that matter later. If it were dealt with now we might be precluded from discussing it later.
§ Mr. COCKS
I did not intend to say any more than to make that statement. We have in the proposed second Chamber all the interests and all the despotisms. We have the money Barons and the Maharajas sitting cheek by jowl and turban to turban, and they will present an insuperable barrier to social reform and progress.
The Secretary of State is a very difficult man to argue with. For the last two years when I have listened to him in the Joint Select Committee I have come to the conclusion that he is a reasonable being. When I have heard him arguing with the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) I have thought that he acts as a very reasonable man, but when we try to move him with the voice of sweet reason he is quite a different person. He then turns on us a stern and implacable front. When he is arguing with the right hon. Member for Epping I sometimes forget that he is a Conservative, but when he argues with us I see that he is one. Then, what I thought was reason hardens into prejudice and what I thought was logic hardens into authoritarianism, and he falls back on his majorities. That being the case, I do not think that it is any use arguing on this Clause any longer. I simply want to put it on record from our point of view that we regard the change which the Bill has made from the original scheme of the White Paper as a great mistake, and we believe that the future history of India will show that we are right.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I find myself in general agreement with the condemnatory epitome of this Clause which has fallen from the lips of the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks). It is one of the most important Clauses in the Bill, because it presents to us the structure of the new Assembly which is to exercise responsible government over all India. I have asked myself whether, upon the whole, the scheme of this Clause, set where it is in the general articulation of the Bill is not the worst legislature that ever was planned. Perhaps I ought to abate a little the rigour of my assertion, because no one can have an exhaustive knowledge of all the legislatures that ever have been planned, but certainly this is the worst that I have ever seen brought 232 before this House and the one least likely to give contentment or proper government to the persons for whom it is designed. What the hon. Member for Broxtowe has said seems to be true. The Government have taken away from the people of India, from the electors, 1,500,000 of them, direct election to the existing Assembly, and in place of that they have substituted indirect election, which the Secretary of State opposed, which the Government of India opposed, which the White Paper opposed and which was introduced into the Joint Select Committee as the result of all kinds of negotiations, over which the veil of hitherto unviolated secrecy had been thrown.
I certainly was told that one of the reasons which weighed with the Commissioners who went out there in advocating direct election was the danger of a caucus, the danger of corrupt influences being brought to bear on the comparatively small number of people who now will choose. That danger resumes itself in all its force, and at the same time the salutory relief of a dissolution, is practically robbed of its efficacy. The same answer will to a large extent be returned even if the Assembly is sent about its business. One of the greatest safeguards of parliamentary institutions is the power of dissolution, the certainty, that assemblies can be scattered to the winds, and there is what is called a new deal operating in parliamentary and political affairs. But for that destruction would overtake all legislative assemblies. They would become odious to those in whose name they presume to act. In this system you will have an assembly increasingly hide-bound and stable. You will take away altogether from your Indian polity that indispensable device—namely, a dissolution, and a new set of men, which has everywhere been found necessary for parliamentary procedure.
As for the second Chamber, I suppose it will be about the richest body in the world, man for man. It will certainly be a chamber which will be well able to protect the rights of property, I do not mean the rights of British property, but Indian property. They may not take a very high view about the interests of British merchants and manufacturers, or of the Lancashire traders, but I think it will be very strong in interpreting the rights of property when it is a question of the interests of the Ahmenabad or 233 Bombay mill-owners, who are large subscribers to the funds of the dominant party in India. It will be strong in enforcing the sanctity of contracts and the interests of the money-lending classes, and will no doubt take a robust view of the interests of landed proprietors. In religious matters it is highly probable that their bias will be strongly conservative. As for the general questions of social legislation and so forth, it is unlikely that any strong initiative will come from this body. And remember that this institution which you are now imposing on India, which you are now ramming down the throats of Indians, whether they like it or not, will be largely unalterable. There they will be, and there they will remain. You are riveting the shackles of the worst aspects of capitalism without its progressive reforms, and without its continued elections and refreshed assemblies. And you are riveting these shackles upon the people of India for an indefinite period.
Compared with the present Assembly this new federal structure is at a serious disadvantage. We are told how much stronger it is to be, and how we are escaping from the defects of the present weak Assembly. It has not worked so ill. The people have got used to it, they have voted for it, and have associations with it. It is true that the Government defer too much to it, although not perhaps too much, having regard to the tolerant working of British rule in India. In its place you are substituting this new body in Clause 18, this new organism, with what are called responsible powers. I think that the Government have throughout proceeded upon a wrong assumption in regard to the part which will be played in the Chamber by the Princes. All through our Debates we have heard the suggestion that you can safely dispense with the official bloc; that you can safely entrust what is called responsible government to the new Assembly because of the representatives of the Princes of India who will be there, who are expected to sustain British interests and give stability and responsibility to the structure. We are asking the Princes to become as it were the champions of British action in the Assembly and the defenders of the prerogatives of the Governor-General and the safeguards. That is a strain to which 234 it is very unfair to expose them in the eyes of their fellow countrymen.
I believe also that you are putting a burden on the Princes which they will not accept, even if they come in. Nothing is more remarkable than the quickness with which solidarity has been established between the Princes and political forces in India. The Secretary of State and the Conservative party who are going forward on this issue, suppose that they are going to have a bulwark and security in the Princes which will counteract the subversive and violent forces which exist in India. I think they will find that they are on very insecure foundation. You are asking more than you ought of the Princes in asking them to undertake such responsibilities. In principle this abstraction, which you are clothing with reality and which you call the Indian nation, will act together in all matters or in almost all matters on which the cleavage is between Indian national aspirations and the safeguards retained by the British executive.
I have not had time to count the numbers accurately, but I think there are some 600 gentlemen, or 615, who will be gathered at Delhi. I agree with the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) that they will have very little to do. What are they to do?. You have only to read Clause 12 and see what they may not do to realise that it utterly destroys the reality of responsible government. No one can read that Clause and the Clauses which immediately follow, which enable the Governor-General himself to legislate by ordinance or by proclamation, or to take over at any time the entire Constitution, in conjunction with Clause 18, and imagine that what is being given to this new body, to these institutions, is responsible government or anything like it. It is a farce and a mockery on the name of responsible government. When we are told that the Princes insisted on responsible government and now say that they will not come in, they have a right to say that the condition of responsible government has not been made good.
You are not giving them responsible government. What are you giving them? You are giving them something which is more dangerous than responsible government; you are giving them the power to extort responsible government by all the 235 weapons of Parliamentary procedure. They will have very little to do except to find fault, to press for the abolition of the safeguards. They will have very little to do except to carry out those tariff wars against South Africa and Australia, to which the Secretary of State referred the other day in terms from which a suspicion of gusto was not wholly excluded. They will be able to deal with tariffs—they are under their control—so long as they do not discriminate against British trade; and by raising their tariffs they will be able to bring endless pressure to bear on the Governor-General by maltreating Lancashire trade and British trade until he accepts their point of view or the Government dispenses with these indispensable safeguards. And you are inducing the Conservative party to become the draught animals to drag this Bill through. It is not responsible government.
The Clause sets up an arena of strife, in which will be fought a controversy not novel in the world, a struggle which we went through in the 16th and 17th centuries, between representative institutions, which had one set of ideas, and the prerogative of an almost potentially absolute monarch on the other. The friction will be endless. This will be an assembly given over to politics. It will occupy its time with politics. It will seek to gain for itself those attributes of that responsibility which you have pretended to confer upon it, and in that process you are inaugurating a decade of friction, tumult, disturbance, disorder, irritation and anger in India, at a time when the healing processes of constructive economy and of industry should repair the depression through which the country is passing and make some definite inroad upon the awful poverty in which the great masses of the Indian people are plunged.
We see in this Clause a bad piece of work. Happily I do not think that it will come to fruition. I do not think that it will ever emerge from the paper form in which it has darkened the pages of this bulky Bill into actual operation. I predict that that will not be so. The Princes will not come in, and, if they do not, then obviously the whole of the structure is meaningless and invalid. The Lord Chancellor said some time ago that 236 the Princes would not dash the cup from the parched lips of India. They have dashed the cup from the parched lips of India, from one end of the country to the other, and drawn forth a chorus of jubilation hailing them as deliverers. The policy of the Government, the aim and the ideal they set before themselves, is a united India. We may congratulate them. They have united India from one end to the other, from Karachi to Rangoon, from the Khyber Pass to Tuticorin, from rajah to ryot, from untouchable committee to mahasabha. All, without exception, have joined together, united, speaking with one voice and one heart, and repudiating this scheme of which Clause 18 is one of the central and perhaps the most peccant part.
§ 4.46 p.m.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Sir Samuel Hoare)
The hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) referred, more in sorrow than in anger, to my dual personality, and I am not quite sure in which capacity I am addressing the Committee at this moment.
§ Sir S. HOARE
Yes. Let me for a moment turn from the pessimistic prophecies of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), to the wording of this Clause, which sets up the Federal Legislature. There is one serious question at issue between the various sections of the Committee, namely, the question between direct and indirect election, and we have discussed that in some detail. Apart, however, from that, there has been through all the long discussions which we have had on the constitutional question a remarkable body of agreement about the structure of the Federal Legislature generally. It seemed to me, listening to my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping, that he did not realise the kind of legislature which we were setting up, namely, a federal legislature. A federal legislature differs in many respect from a unitary legislature. A federal legislature has a definite sphere of activity, in this case to a great extent of a technical or semi-technical character, and it is essential that a federal legislature should be in the closest touch with the federal 237 units. That is the justification for the structure of this Legislature, firstly, that it is a legislature with certain definite duties, unlike this Parliament, with authority over all the field of legislation, and, secondly, that it is a legislature which it is much more important to keep in the closest possible touch with the federal units, namely, the provincial Legislatures, than with a rather shadowy central electorate in a great continent like the Indian continent.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
Can my right hon. Friend tell me of any other important federation like this one which it is proposed to set up?
§ Sir S. HOARE
The hon. Member very often asks that question, and my answer is always the same. The case of India is indeed in many ways unique. I do not want to refer to the arguments, which we have all heard over and over again in the course of these discussions, but that is the main justification for the structure of the Federal Legislature. Now let me come to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping. We are getting used to that type of speech. It is obvious what my right hon. Friend is trying to do. He is trying, on each and every occasion, to put up scarecrows to warn various sections of Indian opinion against any possible acceptance of this Bill. We had a very good instance of his endeavour this afternoon, when he came out as the great champion of the rights of the small people and held up the Federal Assembly as a body that was going to rivet the shackles of the worst aspects of capitalism on India for ever. That was a scarecrow set up to warn the smaller people in India against the acceptance of this Clause or this Measure. Then my right hon. Friend had a word about the Princes. There again he had his scarecrow for them. He was really addressing the Princes, if I may say so, much more than he was addressing this Committee this afternoon. He was in effect saying to them: "Do not have anything to do with this accursed Clause, because, if you do come in, you will be swept on by these nationalist Waves, and your presence will not be of any value to a body of this kind. Keep away from it."
Well, we all understood that, and so, I feel sure, do the Indian Princes; so, I feel sure, do most of the other sections 238 of Indian opinion. They do not take my right hon. Friend's advice at its face value. They know what he is after, and that is, at any cost, by any means, by any brick taken from any heap that he can find gathered together, among hon. Members opposite or any other section of this Committee, to destroy the Bill. In the course of these Debates we have got used to this endeavour of the right hon. Gentleman which he is making day in and day out, in season and out of season. We have got used to his arguments, and I am quite sure that nobody in India takes him seriously. I am quite sure that there is nothing that he has said to-day that will have the least influence upon either Princes or persons in India, and I am equally sure that the pessimistic prophecy that he made at the end of his speech, namely, that the Princes have already destroyed Federation, will be proved to be totally without foundation.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Surely the right hon. Gentleman is going to try to answer some of the arguments which I have put forward? He has not answered one.
§ 4.53 p.m.
§ Mr. AMERY
I want to say a word about the argument that the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) addressed to us in a very long speech. I have been trying throughout these Debates to discover what is the principle of opposition to this Bill upon which my right hon. Friend acts. There was a time, earlier in the discussions, when I thought his principle was a determined vindication of the recommendations of the Simon Commission as an almost divinely inspired document. Of course, it was thrown over when it was unanimous on the subject of law arid order, and on other occasions, and now we find that it is thrown over equally on the subject of indirect election, which is treated as entirely preposterous and impossible. What other principle is there? At one time we were assured that the only principle was the authority of Parliament; at another it is the authority of Congress. I am really at a loss to discover any principle in my right hon. Friend's criticisms, except this, that every Clause and every line of a Bill promoted by this Government must be bad and must afford justification for a long speech of a portentousness to which few of us can 239 attain and which some of us sufferers find a little difficult to sustain. I only wish, on behalf of a considerable body of Members of this Committee, that we might sometimes have one grain of constructive criticism to a bushel of the purely destructive.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ Mr. DONNER
I only rise to make one or two observations arising from the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). I am sure that my right hon. Friend is more than capable of defending himself, but if he will allow me to say so, I think the attack delivered on him just now by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) was unjust—and I am within the recollection of the Committee—in view of the fact that the speech just delivered by my right hon. Friend did not extend beyond a quarter of an hour, which is surely not too long a speech on this vitally important Clause. The point that I wish to raise arising out of that speech is the position of the Princes in the eyes of the Government. They are regarded as a great stable and Conservative element in the Assembly which is to be set up by this Clause, an element on which we can in fact rely rather than upon the old official bloc which is now to disappear. My right hon. Friend drew attention to the fact that it was wrong to expect the Princes to pull our chestnuts out of the fire for us—a phrase used some months ago by the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer)—and surely if we regard this subject, we must realise the truth of that contention. By glancing at the map of India we see what we are asking the Princes in this Assembly to do. Most of these States in India are surrounded by British India, are surrounded, in fact, by territory dominated by Congress and Congress wallahs, and it will be simple for Congress agitators to cross the borders of the States and to cause riot and agitation in the States against those Princes who are following a policy in the Assembly with which they disagree. It is a well known policy, and they have a name for it, the word Jatha, which describes an agitation started in British India and then carried across the border and waged against the ruler of one of the States.
240 If any ruler in the Assembly were to take the line which His Majesty's Government hopes they will pursue, a pro-British or stable policy, then it will be-perfectly simple for these agitators to go across the borders into his State and cause as much commotion as they please. It will be easy enough to do so, particularly where the ruler belongs to a different religion from that of the majority of the population of the State, and, as the Committee knows, inter-racial antagonism is a powerful element to which to appeal. I think the Government are putting an undue strain on the Princes and placing them in an invidious position which no Government has a right to put them in. I have always understood that we, as the paramount Power in India, are called upon to defend the Princes both from external aggression and internal commotion, but if you set up this Assembly and ask the Princes to carry out the duties which you are now imposing upon them, you are not carrying out your obligation to save them from internal commotion, even if you are defending them from external aggression.
§ 4.58 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I do not entirely agree with hon. Members opposite that this Clause would be a very serious injury to the Princes in India. I should say that they have a great deal to get out of this Bill and this Clause, but I think the Clause should not go through without some expression of the feeling of the Indian people about this matter. There are only two things that the Indians really object to strongly in this Bill. One is communal representation and the other is the Federation, involving this strange new chamber. We all know that Federation has a magical attraction, as if this were a proper Federation, as if this new House that we are setting up to rule India at the Centre were indeed a Federation such as we have in Australia and South Africa, If that were the case, it would indeed be a very different attitude that we should find in India to-day, but the difficulty is that they have just discovered that this Federation, with all its apparent attractions, really means the establishment of an upper and a lower Chamber at Delhi which are a contradiction of everything that we understand by democracy.
241 While it is useless to continue to express that opinion indefinitely in this House the Government should realise that in passing this Clause they are creating a permanent, a fatal position in India. We know perfectly well that this is a substitute for the official bloc. The official bloc nominated by the Secretary of State is an infinitely preferable system to this facade which obviously involves a certain amount of difficulty on our part, and which, moreover, involves us not merely in India but throughout all the world in the charge of insincerity and hypocrisy. We are not giving something to India; we are simply substituting for a fairly honest form of British control a new form of control by people who have not our standards and traditions, who may be everything that Indians should be, but who cannot by the very fact of the form of their representation, by the fact that they are irresponsible, have the real good of India at heart, and ought not to be put on a par with Indians who do legislate for themselves and who represent either by nomination or election some people in India.
My consolation in the whole thing is that I think both upper and lower Chambers will not be very important bodies. The importance in India will gradually shift over to the Provinces, and the mere reporting of speeches in the Assembly will gradually die out. An Assembly which legislates less and less becomes more and more a function and a display of costumes. An Assembly of that sort will as time goes on sink in relative importance with the various Provincial Councils throughout India. It is inevitable that it should be so. Their powers of control over the Provinces are not very extensive as they are, and they will get gradually less. It will be more and more impossible for a central body chosen in this way to get their way if they are in opposition to a directly elected provincial council. The legislation they will undertake will be more and more circumscribed. Fewer people will seek a career by going to that Chamber. From that point of view, I think it is all to the good. We shall have the opening of the Assembly and the great processional road into Delhi will be filled with chariots and elephants. We shall see our friend Sir Akbar Hydari on an elephant, followed by his henchmen; Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru in his Rolls Royce; Mr. Joshi with his 242 attendant satellites. It will be a great and magnificent procession. White parasols and elephants—these are the flowers of Constitution.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am perfectly certain we could do as well if we had' the proper leader. I look forward to the time when the procession of elephants and what-not will be led by a proper Viceroy. It will be an official assembly I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will have. With all that magnificence to show, it is a fairly impotent body you will establish. It will have the solid virtue that it will always be predominantly Conservative. That virtue is, unfortunately, one that the Indian people can dispense with, for they think it is more in accordance with British ideas of democracy and constitution.
§ 5.9 p.m.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I should very much regret if the picture drawn by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is realised in the history of India. If it is, I am bound to say that that result will be largely attributable to the indirect vote which has been decided upon by this House. The only matter we are deciding in Clause 18 is that we set up this Federal Chamber, with a second Chamber and the Assembly, and we are deciding that they should sit for five years. I hope we are not deciding, by the passing of this Clause, that we are going to have a Council of State constituted in the manner outlined later on in the Bill. I assume when we come to that part of the Bill it will be open to the discussion of the House, and we are not committing ourselves in any way to the constitution of the Council of State on the lines which have been condemned by the right hon. Gentleman. We have decided one matter in this House. We have decided in the discussion of this Clause something that is not within the Clause; that is, indirect election. That is in consequence of the Amendment put down. It was important that that Amendment should be put down early, and we have to accept the decision of the House. I understand it is 243 not in order to discuss the merits of direct and indirect election, and we are accepting the ruling upon that. But a reference has been made, and that reference has brought me to my feet.
The Secretary of State said just now that one of the reasons for the substitution of indirect election for direct election was that there should be this close association between the federal units and the centre. I cannot accept that argument. There would have been an association between the federal units and the centre under the White Paper, until the alteration was made by the majority of the Joint Select Committee. That association would have been in the representation through the Provincial Parliaments to the Council of State. That would have maintained an association which certainly is desirable. If it is suggested that this additional association is needed, and that was the point of the right hon. Gentleman's speech in advocating indirect election for direct election, I put this question to the House: Assume that your members have been elected by these little groups of people in the Provinces and these groups disappear, as they might, in Province after Province. A new election might take place in a Province and the group that sent representatives on to the centre has gone. What this House has never answered in the course of the Debate, and what has not been answered to-day is: Who will these people at the centre represent in that event? Someone has elected them, but the electorate consisting, it may be, of six, seven, eight or nine people in a room in the Provinces has gone, in consequence of the disappearance of the Provincial Parliament in the meantime. You are left at the centre with central representatives at the Assembly who have no constituencies at all.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The hon. Gentleman ought to grasp the fact that the people we are responsible to are not the pople who elected us but the people who may re-elect us next time. I do not pay the slightest attention to the people who elected me last time; it is the people who are going to elect me next time I am after.
§ Mr. FOOT
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot brush aside the argument in that fashion, because 244 the difficulty I put was the difficulty present in the mind of the Government of India. If the right hon. Gentleman will read what was said in the Government of India dispatch in 1930, following on this recommendation of the Statutory Committee, he will see they attached great importance to it. There is no parallel whatever between the right hon. Gentleman representing a constituency that does exist right through the time of this Parliament, and the member at the centre in India representing a group which has since disappeared as a group. He will admit that in whatever he does now he is responsible to someone, who can watch his actions. There is no one in the circumstances that I have assumed who can watch the actions of the member at the centre, and you can have a system in which there may be a number of members at the centre who represent nobody at all. If the argument is set aside as being unimportant because I have submitted it, I would ask those who are concerned in this question to give their attention to it, because it was present to the mind of the Government of India—
§ The CHAIRMAN
No. Again, this is a case in which references may be made, but they cannot be followed up. I think the hon. Member will see what I mean. I interrupted him in the form of a question because he knows as well as anybody in the Committee what is in the Schedule, and the time to discuss that is when the Schedule comes before us.
§ Mr. FOOT
I quite agree. I will not go into all the merits of indirect and direct election, but when the point was put on the Floor of the House to-day that the indirect method would secure that connection between the centre and the Provinces, I thought as one who had been responsible for the Amendment discussed earlier it was my duty to refer to the point. I was interrupted by the right hon. Gentleman below me, and, if I went too far in answering his interruption, I accept your correction. Without 245 going into the merits of that vast issue, I can only express my very deep regret that the decision was on the lines the House took last Wednesday. I believe that the biggest opportunity we have had, in the course of these discussions, of conciliating Indian opinion was missed, and although I do not doubt the sincerity of the great majority who voted against that Amendment, I am afraid that the history of these proposals and of this Measure in the years to come will show how serious was the mistake that we made in the vote that we took.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. ANNESLEY SOMERVILLE
My right hon. Friend the Member for Spark-brook (Mr. Amery) told us that he could not discover why hon. Members opposed this Bill. I am presumptuous enough to be opposed to the Bill because in my humble opinion it will never work. The right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) have drawn attention to the anomalies that exist in the constitution of this federal parliament, and my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) seems to think that these Chambers are vitiated by the principle on which they are elected, to which, of course, I cannot refer. The anomalies inherent in this Clause, in this constitution, were very present to the minds of the Joint Select Committee. When they had completed their scheme and looked upon it and found it good, they wrote a brilliant survey, which fills one with admiration but regret. When they came to the consideration of the constitution of these Chambers they said:We have here an obvious anomaly, a federation composed of separate constituent units in which the powers and authority of the central government would differ as between one constituent and another.They were conscious of the anomaly. But they argued the matter, and chiefly for fiscal and economic reasons they decided in favour of the scheme before us, In my humble opinion the balance comes down on the other side. We have here two categories of members. We have elected members from British India and nominated members—two categories of differing status and powers. I ask the Committee, how long will the elected members from British India tolerate the 246 125 nominees of the lower Chamber having a full voice in the affairs of British India while the elected members from British India have a very small voice in the affairs of the States?
I would remind the Committee that it was considerations of that sort that killed the Home Rule Bills of 1885 and 1893. I heard Mr. Gladstone introduce the Home Rule Bill of 1893, and he was answered brilliantly by Sir Edward Clarke. The Bill proposed to bring in 80 members to vote on Irish questions but not upon Imperial questions, and when it was shown that these members would vote on the question of a vote of confidence the Bill was killed. I would that Sir Edward Clarke were here to deal with this Bill. It would take the combined genius of Alexander Hamilton and Lord Durham and Bismarck to make this Constitution work. There is another point, the communal point. What is the great question in India? It is the communal difference. It should be the object of statesmanship to try to construct a Constitution that will solve and eventually cause to disappear that great communal cleavage in India. But this scheme stereotypes that difference. You have your constituencies founded upon the communal question.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
I am sorry if I was wandering outside the Clause. Both for constitutional reasons and communal reasons, I find that this Federal Constitution which the Bill proposes at the centre contains in itself the germs of disruption. I believe it will never work. That being so, I find there is an air of unreality about the whole of our discussion. In order to make things real we ought to have a declaration by the Government of the exact position of the Government.
§ 5.22 p.m.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I am very sorry to have to say it, but on many occasions in these Debates I have listened with great surprise to statements made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State, and on more than one occasion I have felt it my duty to point out that some of his statements would not bear examinations. I must say that to-day I listened with almost greater amazement than ever before to the 247 attack that he made on my light hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). It does seem to me that it ill becomes one who has at his back the faithful and dumb legions of the Conservative party and of the Liberal party to doubt the sincerity of someone who for over four years, with at first very few colleagues to support him, has stood up against these proposals. I claim that no one has the right to doubt the sincerity of any Member who will face the opposition of so great a majority. I am very glad indeed to remember that the Lord President of the Council, when he spoke in this House in December, repeatedly and emphatically said that he did not doubt the sincerity of those who differed from him in this matter. I would add that if there are people in India who to-morrow will read a report of this Debate, what it seems to me is bound to occasion most surprise on the part of the Princes will be to find the Secretary of State again ignoring the very strong indications that we have had of their opposition to these particular proposals of the Bill. It has been said that no shorthand notes were taken at the meeting of the Princes. We know now that that is not the case, and therefore there is reason to suppose that the accounts published are not at all far from the truth.
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) as to the unreality in which we are arguing this question. On many occasions I have felt that unreality, but never more so than now. My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping expressed doubts as to whether the Princes' representatives would be able to become a stabilising element in the Federal Legislature—the stabilising element on which the Government, we know, base their hopes. I would remind the Committee that the Princes themselves have shown their fear as to whether their representatives will be able to play that very important part, because their representative before the Joint Select Committee spoke of the desire of the Princes that there should be a confederation of their own order, which they wished to see every Prince enter if possible before entering the Federation, and it was shown that the reason for that confedera- 248 tion was that their representatives might go to the Federal Legislature pledged to act and vote as one. What does that mean? Obviously it means that the Princes are afraid that if there is not some compulsory pooling of votes in the Federation their representatives will not act together to form a solid bloc.
Recent divisions that have taken place in the present Assembly show the power of the Hindu Congress party to command votes, even of Moslems. Figures supplied by the Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for the English Universities (Sir R. Craddock) show that in some of the important recent divisions there were Moslems who voted with the Hindu Congress party. If that party can attract to itself Moslem votes when we know how bitterly divided these two communities are, does it not stand to reason that it may be very difficult for Hindu representatives of the States to stand out against the Congress—that is against the extreme nationalist opinion coming from British India? It is particularly important to remember that Hindus are in a much greater majority in the States than in British India, and that therefore the great majority of representatives of the States must inevitably be Hindus, who, as things are now as between Hindus and Moslems, may find it extremely difficult to avoid giving a general support to the policy advocated by the Hindus.
I feel that it is very unfair to put on the Princes the burden of standing up to the extreme views that are likely to be advanced by the politicians from British India, particularly as autocratic States may very well be in a very weak position. They have much to fear if their representatives really take a strong line in standing up to extreme opinion from British India, and I feel that the Government are building on a foundation of sand in expecting the Princes' representatives to form a stabilising element in the way that we would all like to see.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
I associate myself entirely with what the Noble Lady has just said, and I wish to protest most strongly, not only on my own behalf but on behalf of a number of my friends, at the way in which this Clause and a great many other Clauses 249 have been justified to the Committee, not on their merits but by continued and persistent personal attacks on my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). This is not a personal matter. It is a matter far transcending any personalities, and it is beneath the proper function of a Government to belittle this immensely important question of the Government of India by this continuous baiting and attacking of my right hon. Friend, who has most consistently on this question, for four years past, represented a minority in this House and a majority in the country. I can only suppose that the Government are beginning to get rattled at the reception of the policy of the Bill in the country and in India. It is an old saying that when you have no case you abuse the plaintiff's attorney. I suppose that my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping may be considered one of the foremost advocates on our side in this matter. Therefore the Government abuse our attorney instead of dealing with the Bill.
What is this Clause? It is a Clause setting up a Federal Assembly in India. The Assembly is to consist of 156 representatives of British India and not exceeding 104 representatives of the States. The Secretary of State and other Members of the Government have again and again stated that this Assembly is an impossibility without the representatives of the States. In fact it never would have been thought of by the Government had not certain conversations taken place and certain statements been made by certain Princes at one of the Round Table Conferences. I protest that it is beneath the dignity of the House of Commons to pass this Clause setting up a Federal Assembly when we know that the States are not prepared to go into that Federal Assembly unless the provisions of the Bill relating to it are altogether altered.
Only the other day the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes declared that the Federation sought to be imposed upon them and which was being "rushed through the British Parliament"—those are his words, not mine—without even waiting for their criticism, had nothing in common, except in name, with the scheme which in general outline they accepted at the first Round Table Conference. Is it not idle to go on saying that the Princes represent the funda- 250 mental basis of this institution, when the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes himself declares that the Government proposals have nothing in common with the scheme which they accepted? He also said addressing his colleagues:I appeal to you not merely as the Chancellor of the Chamber, which high office I hold by the suffrage of my brother Princes, hut also as the ruler of Patiala, to say in the most unequivocal terms that this Bill is utterly unsatisfactory and cannot be accepted.The House of Commons is being put into an impossible position when this Committee is asked in view of such statements as that to pass a Clause setting up in India a Federation of which the Indian Princes are supposed to be not only an integral, but a necessary part. I could read other statements of the same kind. The Nawab of Bhopal said:The present proposals do not meet our requirements and are wholly unacceptable.The great Princes are not prepared to accept these proposals. We know that they are not prepared to come into this Federal Assembly, at any rate as the Bill is at present drawn. Therefore, I hope that the Committee will decline to pass a Clause which is unreal and has no meaning.
§ 5.33 p.m.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
The major objections to this Clause have been so well stated already that I shall not attempt to restate them. The Secretary of State chided the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) on the ground that the right hon. Gentleman was forgetting that we were setting up a Federal Assembly. I ventured to interrupt the Secretary of State, and to ask him whether he could point to any Federation elsewhere which was at all comparable with these proposals, but instead of pursuing his argument he said in effect, "Oh, no, but this relates to India." The purport of his comment was that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping had forgotten the principles of federation but when I asked him what those principles were, as illustrated in other countries, he said that had nothing to do with the matter because we were dealing with India.
I sought to put a further point to him by way of interruption but he said quite properly that he desired to continue his speech and it was quite right and I sup- 251 pose also quite convenient that he should have claimed that privilege at that time. The Secretary of State spoke as if it were necessary that there should be contact between the Federal Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies, but that is by no means generally the case in other federations. In the United States there is not the slightest connection between the House of Representatives and the lower Houses in the State Assemblies. I am not sure whether every State Assembly there has two chambers or not, but at any rate there is no connection of the kind indicated. The House of Representatives is elected by the people in the various States and not by the State Assemblies. The same is true of Australia and Canada and also, I think, of the modified form of federation in the Union of South Africa. In fact I do not think there is a single analogy to justify the retort of the Secretary of State to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping.
I wish to deal, however, with a point of practical electioneering. The Clause provides that the Federal Assembly is to run for five years or less, and elsewhere in the Bill it is provided that the Provincial Assemblies are to run for five years or less. When the system starts, one presumes that the newly-elected Provincial Assemblies, in so far as they are the electoral colleges for the creation of the Federal Assembly—they are not entirely so but they are partly so—will be reasonably fresh and will elect a Federal Assembly which we can call representative of the opinions of the provincial legislatures, these in turn being representative, as far as the franchise makes them representative, of the views of the electorate. That is at the outset. But after a few years there may be a dissolution say in Madras, for some reason or other—before the five year period has elapsed—and perhaps a dissolution in Bombay and the dates of the dissolutions in the different Provinces will be spread out so that there may be one or two provincial elections occurring every year.
Now we come to circumstances which call for the dissolution of the Federal Assembly, either on some special occasion or through the effluxion of time. The Provincial Assemblies will then proceed to elect a new Federal Assembly, but in 252 a large number of cases the people who will then elect the Federal Assembly will be people who no longer retain the confidence of the provincial electors. They will be people who at the next provincial election will lose their own seats. If we assume that responsible representative government in India is going to reveal the same symptoms as responsible representative government elsewhere, then we shall have that mysterious thing called the swing of the pendulum which is simply the measure of the fact that every party at one time or another disappoints the electors by giving rise to excessive hopes. In that case you are going to have an extraordinarily anomalous situation, and you are never going to have the kind of Federal Assembly which you ought to have, unless it is proposed to reinforce the Federal Assembly each time a provincial election takes place, that is to say, unless when a provincial election takes place, those who represent the Provincial Assembly on the Federal Assembly automatically cease to be members of the Federal Assembly, their successors being appointed after the provincial election has taken place.
I do not see in what sense this Federal Assembly can be responsive, in the way that every elected assembly ought to be in some degree responsive, to public opinion. This difficulty does not arise primarily out of indirect election, but out of the way in which indirect election is to be managed in this case. I am not discussing whether direct election or indirect election is right. I am only showing that under the system proposed we may create the most unresponsive assembly which it would be possible to conceive, and I hope that that point may yet be examined.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I should not have spoken in this discussion at all had it not been for the fact that the preponderating part of the criticism on this Clause has come from a group in this Committee with whose opinions on this subject I am usually little in accord. I should not like it to go on record that the only section in the Committee which has objections to this Clause is that led by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). I see two grave objections to the Clause. The first is the extraordinarily reactionary 253 character of the proposed upper Chamber. Whatever may be the motives of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping—and the Secretary of State appeared to throw some doubts upon them—nobody can question the truth of what he said, that this Chamber is going to be one of the most plutocratic bodies the world has ever seen. It will be almost exclusively representative of great vested interests. There seems to be all the less justification for setting up that kind of second Chamber since the change in the method of election to the lower Chamber from direct to indirect. As it is, the lower Chamber itself will be a body very largely representative of vested interests and any sort of contact that it has with the poorer electors will be through the medium of the provincial assemblies. If there is to be that kind of lower Chamber I cannot see that the arguments which are usually employed to justify the sort of upper Chamber proposed here, can continue to have any weight.
The second objection is this. If there is to be this amazing kind of upper Chamber, why is it necessary to give the Princes the heavy representation which is given to them in the lower Chamber? I agree with the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) who doubted whether British India would long stand a form of central legislature in which the representatives of the Princes are to be so numerous in both Chambers and are to be permitted to interfere in many affairs which affect the poor. We all know the range of legislation which this legislature may dominate, and it is difficult to believe that British India would long endure such interference as is possible by the representatives of the Princes with all these subjects, while the representatives of British India themselves are not permitted even to ask questions about the way in which these same subjects are being dealt with in the Princes' own States. The whole influence of the Princes seems to me to be far weightier than the facts justify and far weightier than is fair to British India. When the Joint Select Committee thought it necessary to change the mode of election from direct to indirect I wonder that they did not at the same time recognise that that change, whatever its merits, did away to a large extent with any necessity for the 254 kind of second Chamber which we are setting up under the Bill, or for such a large representation of the Princes in the lower Chamber.
§ 5.44 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I wish to take the Committee to witness and also the larger public out of doors, that although for over two hours arguments have been used against this Clause from every quarter and every section of the Committee not the slightest attempt to answer any of those arguments has been made. The Secretary of State contented himself with the imputation of motives and with vague generalities. In no way did he attempt to meet the serious case, as I submit it will be found, which I unfolded upon this subject and which has been reinforced from almost every part of the Committee. Of course, when you have a majority of 200 gentlemen waiting in the Library and Smoking Rooms whom you can summon, you do not need, I suppose, to go into arguments and to deal with serious contentions when they are advanced. You merely call for your legions and invite them to perform what the Lord President of the Council once extolled as footwork—and so you move forward. At each stage of this weary process we shall endeavour to point out to the country at large that the ordinary processes of reason have ceased to operate on the side of those who are driving forward this policy and are simply relying on the remaining momentum and force of what I expect will be found to be a moribund majority.
I see that my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) has returned, and I must refer to one note which he struck to which I must take exception. It was when he appeared to voice the opinion of a great many Members that I should not address the Committee so often or at such length. Let me say that any intolerance of that kind on his part would not at all facilitate the speed with which this Bill is being carried through. We had great hopes of making considerable advance to-day and to-morrow, and I should very much deprecate this perfervid supporter of the Government introducing an element of warmth and even of acrimony which has so far found only a feeble echo in the speeches of the Ministers themselves. There is one thing which 255 my right hon. Friend said for which I am very grateful to him. He referred to the length of my speech, which was only a quarter of an hour, and he warned me on that point. I can assure him that on any question where I might be in danger of boring the Committee I will gladly refer to him for his advice and assistance, for I cannot feel that one can possibly have a greater expert authority on such a subject.
§ 5.49 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I have only two or three sentences to add to what I said earlier in the afternoon. I have no intention whatever, and I know that my right hon. Friend knows that that is the fact, of imputing any motives to anybody. What I did say, however, seemed to me to be a fair criticism of his speech, for he used a whole series of totally contradictory arguments all, however, with one objective, namely, an attack upon this Clause in particular and the Bill in general. To give a single instance: at one moment he was supporting the Statutory Commission and at another moment he was attacking indirect election with bell, book and candle. That is one of the many instances that seemed to pervade his speech this afternoon. As to the main issue upon this Clause, I hoped that on the Amendments that have been moved I had made my position and the position of the Government clear, and I do not want to repeat arguments which I have already used.
Let me, however, say once again that, apart from the question of direct or indirect election, there has been a very general agreement behind the structure of the Legislature set out in this Clause. For several years past we have discussed the question of one or two chambers, of the kind of chambers that they should be, and the number of members; and there is a general body of Indian agreement behind our proposals. That, I venture to think, is a solid answer to a good many criticisms that have been made. I do not think I need go into further details as to many of the other criticisms. In the course of this Debate speech after speech has cancelled many of them out. For instance, my right hon. Friend talked of us entrenching property and privilege. Then we had other speeches taking a diametrically opposite 256 line. We had my right hon. Friend taking the view that we were putting all sorts of excessive powers under the control of the Legislature, and then a right hon. Gentleman on the benches opposite said that it did not matter much because this Legislature would have very little power and would degenerate into nothing more than a ceremonial body. I was under the impression that arguments of that kind had been cancelled out time after time in our discussions. I have no intention of taking up the time of the Committee further this afternoon, but I did feel it necessary to make my position clear to my right hon. Friend on these two points.
§ 5.51 p.m.
§ Mr. BERNAYS
Before we pass this Clause I should like to make clear my deep regret, in company with my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot), that it contains provisions for indirect election. I do not think that—
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I would not have risen but for the speech of the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) in which he indulged in pleasantries with the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery). When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping was a Minister we had exactly the same experience of knowing that a couple of hundred Members were hidden away and could come out and vote us down every time. All Oppositions have to face that, and I think it is rather stupid of the right hon. Gentleman to complain about it.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman ought to be on the front Government Bench; why does he not go?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Because I am a realist. I am not stupid enough to com- 257 plain as the right hon. Gentleman did. When my friends get there they will do just as effectively what the present Government are doing. While it may be true that some people have agreed to the proposals in Clause 18, we are most emphatically against them. We are against the Council of State, not because of indirect election or anything of that kind, but because we do not want this sort of Council of State to be set up. We also think it is an outrage on what is called the democratic Constitution which the Government are bestowing on India that they should give such enormous powers to the Princes. Those are the main reasons why we are voting against the Clause. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to infer that there was no difference of principle. There is a strong difference of principle between
§ ourselves and the Government concerning this Clause.
§ Mr. BERNAYS
On a point of Order. When the question of direct and indirect election was discussed last Wednesday, I was not present owing to illness. It appears in the OFFICIAL REPORT that I had voted for, the principle of indirect election. I was not here and had I been here I should have voted against it. I felt I ought to have the right to make that clear.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member has had the opportunity of making his position clear, but it is beyond my power to enable him to make now the speech which he would have made then.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 273; Noes, 87.259
|Division No. 91.]||AYES.||[5.56 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Hammersley, Samuel S.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cook, Thomas A.||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Cooper, A. Duff||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L,||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)|
|Allen, William (Stoke. on-Trent)||Cranborne, Viscount||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Crooke, J. Smedley||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Assheton, Ralph||Cross, R. H.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Crossley, A. C.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)|
|Bainiel, Lord||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B.(Portsm'th, C.)||Denville, Alfred||Holdsworth, Herbert|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Doran, Edward||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Duckworth, George A. V.||Hornby, Frank|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Bernays, Robert||Duggan, Hubert John||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Blindell, James||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Borodale, Viscount.||Dunglass, Lord||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumlries)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Eady, George H.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Hutchison, W. D, (Essex, Romf'd)|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Elmley, Viscount||Janner, Barnett|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Fox, Sir Gifford||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Buchan, John||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Ganzoni, Sir John||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Knight, Holford|
|Cadogan, Hon Edward||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Leckie, J. A.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gledhill, Gilbert||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Goff, Sir Park||Lewis, Oswald|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Goldie, Noel B.||Liddall, Walter s.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Graves, Marjorie||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'. W.)||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Christie, James Archibald||Grigg, Sir Edward||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Clarke, Frank||Grimston, R. V.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Pybus, Sir John||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Radford, E. A.||Stones, James|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Storey, Samuel|
|McLean, Major Sir Alan||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Ramsbotham, Herwaid||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Rankin, Robert||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Mallalieu. Edward Lancelot||Rea, Walter Russell||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Held, James S. C. (Stirling)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Rickards, George William||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Ropner, Colonel L.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Milne, Charles||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Rothschild, James A. de||Tree, Ronald|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Morgan, Robert H.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsand)|
|Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Salmon, Sir Isidore||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Munro, Patrick||Salt, Edward W.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||White, Henry Graham|
|Normand. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wills, Willrld D.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Orr Ewing, I. L.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Owen, Major Goronwy||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Smithers, Sir Waldron||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Peake, Osbert||Somervell, Sir Donald||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Pearson, William G.||Soper, Richard||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Petherick, M.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bllst'n)||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Pickharn, K. W. M.||Spens, William Patrick||Sir George Penny and Dr. Morris|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Greene, William P. C.||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Banfield, John William||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Groves, Thomas E.||Milner, Major James|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nicholson. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersfid)|
|Bracken, Brendan||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nunn, William|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hartington, Marquess of||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Hepworth, Joseph||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Buchanan, George||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Burnett, John George||Jenkins, Sir William||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Carver, Major William H.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Scone, Lord|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cleary, J. J.||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Somerset, Thomas|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Kimball, Lawrence||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Kirkwood, David||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Knox, Sir Alfred||Thorne, William James|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lawson, John James||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Wayland. Sir William A.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H,||Leonard, William||West, F. R.|
|Daggar, George||Levy, Thomas||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Lunn, William||Wilmot, John|
|Dixey, Arthur C. N.||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Wragg, Herbert|
|Donner, P. W.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||McGovern, John||Mr. Bailey and Mr. Herbert William.|