HC Deb 12 March 1935 vol 299 cc262-91

6.10 p.m.

Mr. D. D. REID

I beg to move, in page 15, line 10, to leave out paragraph (d).

I submit that this paragraph is very vague and that it is difficult to know what it is meant to do. I assume that it is designed to deal with any question of bribery or other matters such as come under the Corrupt Practices Act in this country, but instead of specifying the offences provision is made for defining offences by an Order in Council or an Act of the Federal Legislature. I suppose the provision as to the Order in Council has been inserted in case the Federal Legislature should think it better to have no legislation at all, and to leave every candidate a free hand. I feel that it would be better either to leave this paragraph out altogether or to put in some provision showing what the offences are to be which will disqualify a member.

6.11 p.m.


This paragraph has to be in the Bill because the Bill is saying what persons shall be disqualified. It necessarily cannot be in a completely final and detailed form, because if abuses do appear the Federal Legislature has to pass fresh legislation creating fresh election offences, and therefore it is worded in such a form as to show that disqualification attaches to a person if he has been guilty of any offence relating to elections which has been declared by Order in Council or by an Act of the Federal Legislature to be an offence conviction whereof is a disqualification. The effect of leaving out the paragraph would be that offences directly related to elections would not be a disqualification, and we have to have in this Constitution a paragraph of this kind which will cover future legislation dealing with election offences. In view of that explanation, I hope that my hon. Friend will not press the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

6.12 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 15, line 21, to leave out paragraph (e).


The next Amendment on the Order Paper, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Chertsey (Sir A. Boyd-Carpenter), the hon. and gallant Member for Portsmouth (Sir R. Keyes), and the hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox)—in page 15, line 27, to leave out from "years," to "has," in line 29—is one which, I think, could be discussed on this Amendment, if they wish to do so, and they could have an opportunity of taking a Division on it afterwards.


I do not know whether the other hon. Members will wish to discuss their Amendment, but I only wish to discuss the omission of paragraph (e). That paragraph says that a person shall be disqualified from being chosen as and for being a Member of either Chamber: (e) if, whether before ox after the establishment of the Federation, he has been convicted of any other offence by a court in British India or in a State which is a Federated State and sentenced to transportation or to imprisonment for a period exceeding twelve months, unless a period of five years, or such less period as the Governor-General, acting in his discretion, may allow in any particular case, has elapsed since his release. My hon. Friends who, with me, have put down this Amendment have chosen me and others to speak on this subject, because we are in the position that many of our people both in this country and in India have been and are likely to be in. There are, or there were, in India during our administration of affairs there, some tens of thousands of persons imprisoned for long periods and short periods, some without trial and others after trial. I am aware that this paragraph states that the person shall be disqualified if he has been convicted of any other offence by a court in British India or in a State which is a Federated State. I am not suggesting that if a person has not been brought to trial he would be disqualified, but this is not as easy a matter as some hon. Members might imagine. This House has witnessed men who have been sentenced and who have served terms of penal servitude. On one occasion a Member of this House had been sentenced to death for high treason. No one who knew Michael Davitt who was sentenced to penal servitude, or who knew my good friend Colonel Lynch, would for a moment say that either of them should have been excluded from membership of this House or from standing for election.

In addition to that, there have been a very large number of men who have committed political offences. Most of the people who will be covered by this paragraph will be persons who have been in prison because of political offences; that is, they have offended either by speech, writing, public meeting or in some other way against the law. That has been the position of people in this country, certainly of Michael Davitt and Colonel Lynch. I take their cases because they are so thoroughly well known. No one would say that they had committed anything but political crime—if there is such a thing as political crime. In the case of the 33 Poplar councillors who went to prison—[An HON. MEMBER: "They should have left them there!"] Probably they should have left us there, but they sent me here instead, and they put me in the Government. I do not know which was worse. Some people do not get their deserts by going to prison and other people are sent there who ought not to be sent there.

The point I am making is that political offences are widespread in India just now, and have been for some years past. To have a paragraph like this saying that a large number of men and women shall be ineligible for election is dealing out to the Indians what I am quite sure would not be the law in this country. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Ireland?"] I should not think it was so in Ireland.

This House has had experience of that sort of Member. In the two cases I have mentioned the men were sentenced for what appeared to be terrible crimes, but when they came here they were recognised as good citizens whose only crime was that they were a little in advance of their time. We have now given Home Rule to Ireland. Michael Davitt wanted to abolish the land laws of Ireland, but it was left to a Tory Government under the late Mr. Wyndham practically to wipe them out. We bought them out, and the great row now is as to who should pay for them. That is only by the way. What Michael Davitt agitated for became the law, and everybody recognised that it was right, but it did not happen to be recognised as right when he joined the Fenian movement. [An HON. MEMBER: "He was a dynamitard!"] No, he was sentenced to penal servitude long before the dynamitards. Michael Davitt was sentenced for what was then a crime but was afterwards accepted by all parties in this House as a rational proposition. Colonel Lynch wanted a South African Republic; I believe he fought for it, and then was put on his trial. A very short time afterwards, the Liberal Government of the day established the South African Federation as we know it now.

One can use the same argument in regard to those Indians who are now fighting for their national freedom. They sometimes do many things which people who have got old and respectable, like myself, think they ought not to do, but here is this House of Commons, with the assistance of the Minister, about to give them a constitution. The right hon. Gentleman wants reforms in the administration of affairs in India, and many of those men want to do the same thing. I am not arguing for assassination and that sort of thing and I do not want to be told that I am supporting it. I am not. I am supporting the proposition that men and women—there are women as well as men in this—who have been found guilty of offences against the law during the period before India has obtained self-government should not be debarred because of those offences from standing for election or sitting in the new Indian Parliament. There are thousands of women in this country who deliberately broke the law, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) knows quite well, and thousands of them are sent to prison, but none of us would say that they were guilty of the sort of crime that would prevent them, or ought to prevent them, from sitting in this Parliament, or in any other Parliament. I want the Indians to be treated in exactly the same way, and this paragraph taken out.

6.23 p.m.


I do not often find myself the recipient of support from the right hon. Gentleman who leads the Oppo- sition, who indeed hardly ever misses an opportunity of opposing me in the ordinary course of business. The Government should give us some explanation of the form in which they have cast this Clause. Prima facie it seems to affect two very large principles. The first is that a man who has served his sentence has purged his offence. If the offence has been a very grievous one the sentence will have been a very long one. There has always been a broad principle on which we have worked here that when the full time of servitude has been undergone, that is the end of the story. Just as a man is innocent until he is proved guilty, so, after he has satisfied the severe and dread demands of the law, he is cleared. That is a large principle, and I should like to hear from the Attorney-General or the Secretary of State why it is necessary to frame this Clause in a way to overset that principle.

Then there is the principle of the right of the elector to choose freely. It is true that in by-gone days, in Ireland and elsewhere, the electors have chosen men who have served terms of penal servitude for political offences or for grave offences connected with political agitation, and have sent them up to this House just because of what they had done. I am sure my right hon. Friend would not take so gloomy a view of the healing effects in India of his legislation as to suppose that anything like that will occur in these new legislative bodies. I am accused sometimes of taking a gloomy view, but that would strike a knell which would extinguish what little hopes I have. If he imagines that after those Indians have received the Constitution, are exercising all their rights of responsible government and have the whole of the advantages that are offered to them, they are going to pick out persons of criminal record and send them up to the legislature for the purpose of making a grimace at the British Government and the high authorities, and that that is a matter which requires to be so seriously legislated for, that is a revealing sidelight on the interior feeling of the Government as to the character and constitution of their legislation.

If the Government say that this is really necessary for the safety of India and to the efficiency of their institutions, and that otherwise they would be overrun by people from the Andaman Islands—there will almost be a migration from those remote and, I am told, beautiful islands to the legislature at Delhi—and if they really think that the danger is so formidable, I should not feel justified in giving a vote in the Lobby against them. It occurs to me that a better way of dealing with the position—I throw out the suggestion—would be to attach loss of civic rights to a particular sentence, as is done in many other countries. Loss of civic rights for so many years is made part of the original sentence. That seems to be a way to avoid debasing this Act of deliberation with a Clause which has quite a clang of the authoritarian chain about it.

6.28 p.m.


The Committee would welcome from the Minister an explanation to show that we are not getting into difficulty in passing this paragraph. I agree with what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). This House has always insisted that the right of the elector should not be affected by the supposed offence of a man who has been brought under trial of the law. That was an essential principle during the struggles of John Wilkes, out of which struggle arose the establishment of a great deal of our Parliamentary and constitutional liberty. There must be many in India who have been brought into conflict with the law for the prosecution of what they believe to be their rightful aims. We hope under happier auspices and better conditions that many of them will be taking their share of the economic up-building of their country, when we have rid that country of sterile political controversies.

The Committee would like that assurance from the Minister, because prison itself is not a sinister bar. If we took into consideration those who would have been disqualified by the mere fact of imprisonment we should have to think of Mr. John Burns as well as of John Wilkes, Sir Robert Walpole, who was Prime Minister in this country, Sir John Eliot, whose statute I hope will one day be erected within the precincts of Parliament, John Hampden, and even the Apostle Paul. In these circumstances, seeing that sometimes to-day imprisonment is an honour rather than a mark of shame, I hope the Minister will give the assurance, if this Amendment cannot be accepted, that at any rate the protest which has been made is one to which he will have regard.

6.30 p.m.


It will be remembered that the White Paper contains no provision for the exclusion of persons convicted of crimes of this kind. The question was considered by the Joint Select Committee, who decided by a vote that the law on that subject, which has existed for a considerable number of years, should be retained. It must be remembered, first of all, electors in India take quite a different view of these crimes from a British electorate, so that a man who had been committed of a disgraceful crime might, in the absence of a provision of this kind, be elected by an electorate in India.

The second point is that, in pursuance of what is called a political object, very dangerous and savage crimes are sometimes committed. For example, the terrorists are not always committing the crime of murder, but both they and other revolutionaries resort to a system of political dacoities for the purpose of raising money for their cause. In the course of these dacoities they torture people to get them to show where their property is, and very often tie up their hands in cotton wool, put kerosene on it, and make torches of them for the better lighting of the hut or house in which the dacoity is committed. Undoubtedly we have to make people of that kind ineligible for election, because in India the check of the electorate is not nearly so potent as it would be here.

One recognises, however, the kind of crime to which the Leader of the Opposition has referred, and for that purpose the period of disability does not extend to more than five years. It only deals with people who have been sentenced for a year or more, and the disability remains only for five years after that. Then in order to meet the kind of cases about which the right hon. Gentleman has spoken, the Governor-General, in his discretion, may in any particular case allow the disability to be removed in a lesser period. It seems to me that the Clause as drafted meets all the necessities of the case. It provides for those cases in which, naturally, desperate and dangerous criminals would not be elected in this country, but might be elected in India. These are debarred from getting into the Legislature for a long period. It provides also for persons whose offences are of a minor nature, involving no real moral turpitude, and who can be exempted from this disability after such shorter period as the Governor-General may determine. That having been already the practice under the Morley-Minto and Montagu-Chelmsford constitutions, it seems to me that it might well be continued under the new Constitution, having regard to all the circumstances which distinguish India from England in this matter.

I can give one instance to show the kind of difference in feeling that there is. I was instrumental at one time in getting a man convicted of a very gross forgery. In order to deprive another man of a field, he forged a complete set of accounts, which were absolutely bogus, and that was followed by a forged bond. He was sentenced to seven years, and when he was released a year before that time, on account of good behaviour, a very respectable banker met him at the gaol gate and offered him a new appointment, though he had not known him before. That shows clearly that people in India do not take the view of these matters that is taken here, and therefore, I suggest that the Clause be left as it is.

6.36 p.m.


It may be for the convenience of the Committee if at this stage I say a word or two regarding the Amendment. As to the history of the matter, I think that under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909 there was a similar disqualification, but it was for life, though it could be removed by the Governor. At the time of the Act of 1919 and the Southborough Committee, the period was reduced to five years, but I think there was no dispensing power. By 1925 the dispensing power was introduced, and the Sub-section which the Amendment seeks to leave out perpetuates in effect the present position. As my hon. Friend the Member for the English Universities (Sir R. Craddock) told the Committee, we are in this matter following the recommendation of the Joint Select Committee, who said they thought it would be unwise to abandon, as the White Paper proposed, this dis qualification—which under the existing rules is subject to a dispensing power— on conviction for a criminal offence in volving a sentence of imprisonment exceeding one year. The right hon. Gentleman rather suggested that this was being imposed on India by an authoritarian exterior force, but that is not so; the statement gives quite a wrong impression. If one looks at the constitutions of the Dominions, one finds a similar provision in the British North America Act, in the Constitution of Australia, and in the South Africa Act. The South Africa Act imposes a disqualification for five years after the imprisonment has expired, and it provides a dispensing power, but only in the case of an amnesty or free pardon. Being limited in that way, it is rather less wide than the dispensing power proposed in the present Bill.


Is the minimum disqualifying period of imprisonment one year?


I did not want to complicate the matter with too much detail, so I said that there was a somewhat similar provision. The South Africa Act provides that a candidate shall be disqualified if at any time he has been convicted of any crime or offence for which he shall have been sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine for a term of not less than 12 months. Our own Local Government Act contains a somewhat similar provision with regard to candidates for election to local authorities. This is not something new in principle—


Is it for a political crime?


I cannot deal with more than one thing at a time. It is something in the first place which carries on what is already the rule in India; and, secondly, it is not something which is to be found in this Bill and nowhere else, but is a provision similar to that which other Dominions, who in effect drew up their own constitutions, thought it wise to insert in those constitutions as a reasonable provision. The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) asked if it was for a political crime. Under the words I have just read from the South Africa Act, it is not; it is at large. I think the Com- mittee will realise that there is great difficulty in trying to draw any line by words, and, indeed, it is undesirable.

The right hon. Gentleman asked us to consider the case of a man who was sent to prison for something which clearly would not be' regarded by any sensible person as a disqualification for membership of the Legislative Assembly. That is provided for by giving the Governor-General a dispensing power, as is proposed in the Bill. It has been found to be, and I think the Committee will realise that it would be, difficult and undesirable to try to draw a line between the different types of crime. I admit at once that, as the right hon. Gentleman and other Speakers have said, a number of good men have been in prison, but, on the other hand, it will not be disputed that a number of very bad men go to prison, and there are others outside as well. We provide for that by giving the dispensing power which has been used in the past, and which is certainly intended to be used in proper cases.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) put two points. He said, first of all, that this challenges, or appears to challenge, the general principle that when a man has served his sentence he is free and it is all over, but I think that in a Clause of this kind one is considering a different point. It is not a question of placing a further punishment on the man for his crime; the question is whether or not it is a useful provision in a Constitution that those who have served a sentence of this sort should be disqualified for a period of five years unless the Governor-General decides otherwise.


A very large number of persons have been confined under the civil disobedience movement. There must have been 200,000 persons, or something like that, practically all political classes. Is it not so?


It would clearly depend upon the sentence. Undoubtedly they would be disqualified unless the dispensing power was used. I understand that it has been used.


Surely the right hon. Gentleman is referring to the people who have been interned. Would they be affected?


No. The right hon. Gentleman to put his question properly, referred to the people who served terms of imprisonment. That is that all the Clause deals with. Mere detention would not bring them within the Clause.


Is it not a fact that under the ordinances to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) referred, we had numbers of people who were sentenced to more than a years imprisonment for simply leaving their houses and matters of that kind?


I am told that the dispensing power has been freely used in the class of case to which the hon. Gentleman refers. I am trying to put the argument for the Clause in its proper perspective in a constitution of this kind. The second point which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping made was that this impinges on the right of a democratic electorate to choose whom they wish to elect. I agree at once, and the question before the Committee is whether it is wise in this constitution as in the South African, and, in slightly different terms, in the Canadian and Australian, to have a provision of this kind.


Did you do it in the Irish Free State constitution?


I do not think we did. We are not anticipating an ugly rush from the Andaman Islands to the hustings throughout British India. This is a less ambitious Clause than that, but it is a Clause which may well be of use in preventing undesirable circumstances and incidents arising, and one to which existing governments in India attach some importance, and we do not believe that it will have the evil results which have been suggested.

6.48 p.m.


There is an old saying that A fellow-feeling makes one wondrous kind, and the reason I rise to speak on this matter is that as an old lag I feel very keenly for those who are to be visited with this political disqualification in India. I am very much obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman—and I am sure that I speak for a very large class in this country—when he says that he regards very many of them as very good men very badly used. It is very kind of him to give that testimonial. But the point which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) made still stands. It has not been adequately controverted. He said that there are two points involved in this Clause. One is that once a person has been imprisoned he is presumed, anyhow, in this country, to have paid the penalty for his crime whatever it may have been. The second point is that the Clause involves an interference with the right of electors to determine who should represent them in their Parliament. Many Members who have already spoken on this matter have shown how this Clause, if it had been applied in this country, would have involved famous characters in our political history, and the same thing applies in India. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India knows that one of the first Ministers to operate the reforms in India was Sir Surendranath Bannerjee who was a leading agitator against the partition of Bengal. Although he had been in prison, he was in due time elevated to a position of great authority and of political leadership in his country. That is not the only instance. Many other similar and parallel instances could be cited to the Committee to show how a person who to-day may be regarded as following a somewhat criminal course of procedure may to-morrow be elevated to the position of great government trust. There are many instances which can be stated in our own country in recent years of the operation of that same fact.

This proposal is very stupid on two grounds. I remember that this very disqualification was applied to me. I took a certain line in respect to the late War for which I paid the penalty, as it is said, but in addition to that I was mulcted in the penalty that I should not for a period of five years exercise the right of an elector, and yet I was returned as a Member of this House before the five years disqualification had been exhausted. It is an extremely difficult thing to apply a proposal of this sort. You have to keep very close touch with each of the individuals who are so dis qualified. I do not mind saying now that I was able to evade the disqualification. I became an elector very quickly. But here you have an electorate of millions of people and you have to keep a very close record of the tens of thousands, or perhaps more, who are scattered all over India. How can you possibly do it? If they move from the area where they originally lived to some other area, how can you be sure that their names do not get on the register? What is the good of passing legislation like this?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)

I think that the hon. Gentleman is misunderstanding the purport of the Amendment. It does not affect the electors, but the elected.


That is quite true. Perhaps I strayed a little too far, and I will abandon the argument on that point. Let me take the other point. It is foolish because it is very difficult to keep a man out, and it is also foolish because we ought not to attempt to keep him out, and for this reason. Let us remember that there are undoubtedly tens of thousands who participated in the civil disobedience campaign in India who will be affected by this Clause and precluded from election to Parliament. Who are these people? They are, in the main, young Indians. They are young people who might have been misguided but who believed very intensely that they were, according to their lights, serving their country. I know that the law can say to-day that this shall be done and that shall not be done, but there comes a time when individual citizens of the State have to determine for themselves whether they ought even to obey the law. I recall these lines, I forget who wrote them, but they run something like this: We owe allegiance to the State but truer, deeper more To the consciousness which God hath within our spirit's core. Our country claims are fealty. We grant it so. But then Ere man made us citizens, great Nature made us men. I think it is something like that which implies the feeling that they must serve their people whatever the law says. That has governed and dominated the minds of these people. They are not vicious people by nature or by intent, but they have felt that the condition of their coun- try demanded, temporarily anyway, that they should set the laws of their country at defiance. They are young people, and if their enthusiasm and their deep feeling were properly directed on behalf of the country and for the help of the State, they would prove to be people of tremendous worth to the community to which they belong. If you adhere to this particular Clause, not only will you find it hard to apply in practice, but if you apply it in practice you will only alienate that large body of young people, who, in the condition of the new constitution, ought to be summoned to the aid of the new Indian Government. It may sound a comical thing to many people, but the Government need not create new difficulties, as there will be plenty of difficulties in any case. If they can only summon to their aid and mobilise this wonderful feeling of good will in the country which these young people, mistakenly perhaps, have shown in other ways, I think that the Government will do well to do so.

There were tens of thousands of young people involved in the civil disobedience movement. Some of the offences were very small, and to us seemed paltry. If the Courts which presided over those cases had known that there was a possibility of these young people being disqualified in the sense of this Clause, the chances might have been that the sentences would have been deliberately below 12 months so as not to disqualify them from the function we are discussing. I think that the Government are blundering unnecessarily at this point, and adhering to something which they might easily overlook. They should start with a clean slate as far as possible. They should draw the sponge over these dreadful records of the past and let these young people begin in an atmosphere of good will towards the new constitution which we are now forging in this country. For that reason I support the Amendment.

6.54 p.m.


I want to appeal to the Secretary of State and to ask him whether, if he feels it necessary to have a Clause of this sort, he can at least make a longer disqualifying sentence than 12 months. My hon. colleague the Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir R. Craddock) spoke of disgraceful crimes, which, he said, ought to disqualify the persons concerned. We shall all, perhaps, agree that such crimes should disqualify a man from being a member of a legislative assembly, but surely crimes of that sort usually receive a severer penalty than one year. The objectionable feature about this particular period is that it is just the period that may very well catch a large number of people of the kind to whom some of the previous speakers have alluded—people who have not committed any disgraceful offences, but are definitely political offenders and who, because they are political offenders, may be too proud to appeal for a special privilege from the Governor-General.

Three years ago I was in India at the time when the ordinances were being operated on a very wide scale and there were at that time an immense number of cases of this sort. A man or woman might be put under preventive detention for a period of two months. After the lapse of two months he would be released on the understanding that he reported to the police about every 24 hours. There were cases, however, where, if a man did not report almost within two hours of being released, he might be brought before the courts and receive a further sentence of six, or even 12 months, with the addition of a fine, which, if not paid, would result in a further period of three months imprisonment. I should like to know the number of people who would have been affected, if the new constitution had come into effect three years ago, as compared with to-day. Let us suppose—I hope it will never happen—there is a recrudescence of the civil disobedience movement followed by drastic measures. Do the Government really think it desirable that all people who committed political offences should be disqualified? I doubt if the effects of such action would be desirable. I should think they would want to get the flamboyant politicians into harness, into the regular stream of political life, where they would be more likely to give up their career of militancy. I would ask the Secretary of State whether he could not seriously consider, before reaching the Report stage, making this Clause a little less drastic, making the period two, three or five years, so that only the really serious offenders would be affected and that the minor offenders, who might include political offenders at a time of political excitement, would not be included.

7.3 p.m.


I should like to make one suggestion. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman would consider dealing with a particular section of individuals for exemption? Would it not be advisable to extend the exemptions to all cases of political offences, rather than exercising exemption in the case of particular individuals? This would not get over all the objections to this Clause, but it would make it less objectionable if it did not apply to individuals chosen as individuals, but generally to certain types of political offences. Then all people guilty of such an offence would be freed automatically without having to go before the Governor-General.

7.5 p.m.


I want to support the rejection of this Clause. We are here giving a new constitution to India, granting it the benefit of our experience. The experience of this House is unique in dealing generously with people and peoples with whom we have formerly differed. For example, there was the suffragist movement when women were sent to prison and were considered outcasts. I remember two women horsewhipping the then Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith. I remember their being put in gaol. All manner of things were thrown at them and they were called all manner of names, and the people of this country believed they were these things. Yet we live to see no less a personage than the Lord President of the Council unveiling a statue to Mrs. Pankhurst, who in her day and generation was an outcast. The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) was at one time jeered at. I myself have been not only jeered at hut deported during the War, and that was no laughing matter. It was considered at that time that we ought to be put away, and that by people who thought better of it afterwards and sent us here.

The Solicitor-General mentioned South Africa. I interrupted him purposely because I wished to arouse the attention of the Committee with regard to South Africa. I am anxious that we should deal with our fellows in India just as generously and as intelligently as we deal with ourselves. I ask that we should treat the Indians just as generously as we treated the South Africans. In 1928 it was my privilege to be one of a delegation from this House to be the guests of the Canadian Government, along with representatives from every Parliament in the British Empire. On that occasion there were a number of delegates from South Africa and one, who was a member of the South African Parliament, had lost his leg fighting against us in the Boer War. One of the most outstanding statesmen in the world to-day, whose name is continually trotted across the Floor of the House, who is one of the most respected men in the British Empire, took arms against the British Empire—General Smuts. He was quite right. Is there any man who regrets the granting of those powers to give them the right to become part of the British Empire? Yet here we are putting strictures in this Clause on men and women of hardihood who have risen from a race that has been crushed.

What is the history of India? I have not been in India. Many of my colleagues have been there. Everyone knows the awful conditions under which the majority of the Indian peasants live, move and have their being, even under the British regime. From them have risen men and women who knew that if they took a certain line of action they stood the chance of being imprisoned, of being thrown into gaol, or being deported, as I was. None of these individuals is a bad man or woman. They were actuated with the highest sentiments that enter the human mind, sacrificing themselves on behalf of their fellows. It is not true to say that only a few individuals will be affected: there is an army who will be affected. The Secretary of State has granted me more concessions for Communists in India than I have ever obtained from any other Secretary of State during my service in this House in the last 14 years, even more than I got from the Labour Secretary of State for India. Therefore, I appeal to him, for there is nothing he need regret in what he did; I appeal to his sense of fairness on behalf of the individuals who will be affected by this Clause. I ask him now to be courageous, and to extend to Indians the right hand of friendship and to trust them. We are strong enough. A great, powerful Empire like the British Empire can afford at this moment to act in a generous fashion towards those individuals who will be implicated.

Will the right hon. Gentleman withdraw or modify this proposal in such a way as to ensure that individuals, irrespective of what they may have done, will receive fair treatment? It is no use trying to understand the history of the past few years, unless we benefit by the mistakes of those who have gone before. That is the only service of history to us to-day. The history of the political life of this country during the War and immediately following it places the Secretary of State in a position to know the people with whom he differed seriously and at one time thought a menace to the country. The fundamentals are here. This is a concession. This is what they have been fighting for. This is what they were prepared to die for. Let it be demonstrated to the Indians that Britain is in earnest, that this House intends, and that the Secretary of State for India intends to make it easier for the poor people of India to do right, whereas formerly it has been so easy for them to do wrong.

7.15 p.m.


I thank the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) for his tribute to myself and, much more important, for his tribute to this very excellent Bill. I, like every hon. Member, approach this question with a good deal of prejudice against these types of disqualifications. We have grown up in a different atmosphere. We do not like these disqualifications. Here in England we have come to think, and rightly so, that on the whole such disqualifications would have been unnecessary in our position. In many cases they would have been mistaken if they had been applied. What a calamity, for instance, it would have been if for a term of years the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) had been debarred from the service of this House. What a calamity it would have been if there had been a series of other exclusions of the great men whose names have been quoted in our Debate this afternoon. We all approach this question from that point of view. Here these disqualifications would be unnecessary. In actual fact they could be proved to be wrong.

Let the Committee for a moment think equally impartially about the position in India. I do not want to state the case too high. I want rather to put it before the Committee and to leave them to judge of the actual facts. In India, as in the case of other Dominions, a disqualification of this kind has been found to be necessary. In India, unlike the case of the other Dominions, the dispensing power has been very freely used. I will take, as an instance, and it is the best instance that I can give, the use of the dispensing power before the last election for the Indian Legislature. The election came at the end of a period in which many thousands of men and women had been convicted for civil disobedience offences. The dispensing power was used, I think I am right in saying, in all cases in which there had been no conviction for incitement to violence. The use of the dispensing power in actual practice was particularly noteworthy. If hon. Members will look at the present constitution of the Assembly they will find that practically every member of the Congress Party who has been returned as a result of the last election had the dispensing power given in his favour and was free to stand. I make that point to show that the dispensing power has been used in such a way as to prevent the exclusion of the kind of people who have been so much in the minds of hon. Members this afternoon.

I was myself in some doubt as to the necessity for a disqualification of this kind. The Government did not insert it in the White Paper proposals. The proposal was inserted during the discussion in the Joint Select Committee, and I made it my business, upon the request of the Joint Select Committee, to inquire the views of the Government of India and of the Provincial Governments. I found that, without exception, they were all strongly in favour of a disqualification of this kind remaining, provided that there also remained the dispensing power. Particularly did I find the Government of Bengal very definite upon the question. We have been assuming in the discussion this afternoon that we are dealing with the activities, misguided it may be, of none the less sincere people whom none of us really wish to be excluded from the Indian Assembly. But do not let us ignore the blacker side of the picture. Not the civil disobedience agitation, not the people who have been guilty of little more than political agitation, but the really dangerous terrorists with whom we have been fighting and are fighting a very grave battle in Bengal, as a result of whose activities not only our own fellow countrymen but also Indian members of the Services have been and in some eases are in great danger.

The Government of Bengal, faced on the spot with that grim danger, took the view that a disqualification of some kind is necessary, or you may have, in view of the kind of emotional excitement that is apt from time to time to spread over people, some of these dangerous terrorists, after the expiration of their sentences, standing and using their candidature—this is a point made by the Government of Bengal—for the purpose of spreading terrorist propaganda, and then possibly being returned to the Bengal council. I believe that that kind of thing could never happen here, but it is the kind of thing that might well happen, in view of the highly emotional atmosphere, in Bengal. On that account I am loath to disregard the serious warning given to me by the Government of Bengal against withdrawing a disqualification of this kind. I have, however, been impressed in the course of the Debate by the appeal that has been made to me by various Members of the Committee, by the hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) and by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs, to draw a distinction, if a distinction can be drawn, between the class of people whom I think we all wish to admit to the Indian Legislature, namely, the political agitator who, from the point of view from which we have been discussing the question, is not a danger to the State; to draw a distinction between that class of person and the dangerous criminal class to whom I have just referred.

In view of what has been said I will look again into the question to see whether we can make the dispensing power attached to the disqualification apply to classes rather than to individuals and whether we can safely make a change in the length of time, namely, 12 months sentence, which is the disqualifying period. I cannot give that undertaking without saying at the same time that I must consult again the Government of India and the Government of Bengal, but I give the undertaking, subject to what they say, that I will give the question sympathetic consideration.

7.26 p.m.


I have been very much impressed with the words that last fell from the right hon. Gentleman. I understand that he does not commit himself finally except to an examination of the matter. On that understanding I should like, on behalf of my hon. Friends, to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, also on the understanding that we reserve to ourselves the right to examine any new proposals which the right hon. Gentleman may feel able to submit when we come to the Report stage.

7.27 p.m.


I think it has been a very good thing that we have explored this question. I raised my aspect of the matter for the purpose of eliciting from the Government a statement on the situation, but I little expected that the consequence of that would be the very grave offer and admission to which the Secretary of State has just given expression. When I spoke in perhaps a jocular manner of persons returning from the Andaman Islands to the Indian Parliament, I little thought that my right hon. Friend, in terms of the gravity of which the Committee must have felt immediately conscious, would have told us that there is real danger of dangerous terrorists, persons engaged in the gravest forms of terrorism, standing for the Legislature of Bengal in particular and being elected for the Bengal Assembly, unless this bar is put in their path. Be it observed that it is indirect election that we are talking about. Therefore, it is not a question of—I think the right hon. Gentleman said—mass emotion sweeping a constituency and influencing poor and more or less ignorant electors. These dangerous terrorists—the importance of the admission must not be lost sight of in the country—guilty of the worst of crimes, will be likely to be elected in Bengal by the Provincial Legislature of Bengal and sent to the Federal Assembly from that Legislature. That is the admission that has now been put before us. [HON. MEMBERS: "He did not say that!"] If I am wrong I shall be delighted to be corrected.


I was arguing the question on general lines. This Clause trenches on the provincial chapter as well as the federal chapter. In my argument I may have been arguing the provincial ease more than the federal case and I should certainly say that it is to me almost inconceivable that a terrorist could be returned by indirect election in any Province. But I equally say that if the disqualification remains in the federal part of the Bill it is difficult to remove it from the provincial part.


The right hon. Gentleman wants to have it both ways. But the fact remains that he was dealing with the federal part, and the federal part is the only one which it is in order to discuss on this Clause. We all heard what he said clear and plain, that but for this bar dangerous terrorists would be chosen for the Federal Legislature by the Provincial Legislature of Bengal. That is a most grave and serious admission, and after such a statement I cannot support the Clause. If it is a fact that under this constitution the Provincial Legislature of Bengal may select dangerous terrorists and send them to the Federal Legislature then all I can say is that I hope this will be noticed by people outside these doors.

7.32 p.m.


I have listened with interest to what the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) has had to say. He was a great antagonist of alleged terrorists in Ireland, but, nevertheless, he went down and met these alleged terrorists and handed them over a constitution which gave them the right to become members of the legislature in the Irish Free State, and also the right to run the finances of the country. I know it must be expected that there will be these tremendous contradictions when men are in or out of office. I am rather surprised at the attitude of the Government. I can quite understand them looking with loathing upon anything in the nature of assassination and murder. I have no love for crimes of that descrip- tion; and political assassinations, whenever they take place in whatever civilised society, should not be tolerated by any constitutional government. In this case the Government are attempting to prevent those who have probably been some of the most active elements in India during the political struggle for a constitution and the right to run their own country, being elected to the legislature. Because men have been guilty of political crime it does not mean that under a constitution of their own they would not be quite' good citizens and capable men. Men who have taken a leading part in agitation and seditious utterances are on occasions likely to be thrown by the mass of the people into positions simply because of the attitude they have adopted towards the government of the time.

I remember reading in connection with a history of the Russian revolution that Lenin himself was compelled to warn people that they must not continually send men into the Soviet whose only ability and qualification was that they had been imprisoned for agitating for a socialist and communist state. He said that because a man is a good rebel and agitator it did not necessarily mean that he was a capable administrator, and he told the people that a man must be elected because of his ability as an administrator, not because of his ability as a rebel. That is good logic, and I agree with it. But the Government have pursued a policy in Great Britain which is diametrically opposed to the line they have taken in India. The Noble Lord the right hon. Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) said the other day that at one time we treated the rebels, the trade union leaders and agitators, with odium, we ostracised them, but that we had now changed that policy and were inviting them to have a cup of tea and take part in our discussions. The Secretary of State will agree, I think, that the policy of the cup of tea has been eminently successful in this country. And in India such a policy would be helpful. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) said that he was an old lag and had endured imprisonement during the War. I think the Secretary of State will agree that it would have been a disaster if we had been deprived of his company, advice and co-operation during the last four or five years.

Incidentally, the hon. Member for Caerphilly, who was debarred from service in this House through exercising the conscience clause, was a member of the Government who imprisoned Indians in India because they also exercised the conscience clause. These people have a right to consideration. There are many people in India to-day imprisoned as rebels or administrators who may be the future statesmen of the country. We have to take stock in this case, just as we did in the case of Ireland. If you deny a people the right to run their own country you drive them into underground channels, you make rebels of them against the Empire which controls their country. These agitators in India are mainly responsible for the Bill, and you are going to say that although they have taken part in the development of political consciousness in India they are to be penalised because we cannot envisage the time when India will be handed a constitution. The Government have quite enough security. They have put this constitution through a very fine mesh, and made it so that no real proletariat in India will be able to get into these assemblies. They are determined to prevent those who have gone to prison for political crimes having a part in the administration. If these men and women are capable of taking their part in these institutions the Government have no right to penalise them because they have taken part in agitation. The right hon. Member for Epping met the late Michael Collins, who everybody agrees was responsible for taking a gun in order to force the Government of this country to grant Ireland a constitution.

If there were no parliamentary institutions in this country but a complete dictatorship, the Secretary of State and the Attorney-General are just the types of people who would be most active in the revolutionary forces and would be prepared to use the gun in order to force a constitution on the country. In India, if the Government were wise, they would concede to them not only the right to rule themselves, but would say that they were going to invite the rebels and the terrorists of the past into the councils of the nation. They would say to them, "Give us the benefit of your knowledge and administrative ability. We will admit you, and probably at some future date you will be decorated by the King Emperor." That is what I should say if I were an intelligent Conservative, and I agree that there are intelligent Conservatives in this country. There is the right hon. Member for Clay Cross (Mr. A. Henderson) at the Disarmament Conference. He is a Member of the Opposition, and there is the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), who spent 12 months in prison for seditious utterances during the War. No one will say that the wisdom and agitation of the hon. Member for Bridgeton is not desirable in a working-class movement. I am amazed at the attitude of the Government which is supposed to be intelligently led. It is led by a man—


The hon. Member is now getting very wide of the Amendment.


I was only going to say that it was led by a man who may have been imprisoned during the War for utterances which he made. Many men went to prison for more moderate utterances than those which the Leader of the Government made during the War. The policy of the Government is absolutely wrong. They should pursue the policy of the cup of tea. Invite the rebels into the drawing room, treat them good and well, give them their place in the constitution, wean them from their rebel attitude and make statesmen of them. By doing so the Government would be doing the wisest thing from the point of view of India and the British Empire.

7.44 p.m

Major-General Sir ALFRED KNOX

I hope that the Secretary of State will not weaken on this Clause. The hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) will no doubt consider me as a not intelligent Tory, and I shall be proud if he does so. I consider that he does not know anything of the conditions in India. Any chance that the Bill has of being successful will be utterly wrecked if you allow people who have served 12 months in prison to be sent to the legislature. The Secretary of State has said that under the present Federal system dispensing power had to be exercised in the case of all the members who were returned by the Congress party. Look at the result. You have Government Measures continually being turned down by the present Legislative Assembly, and I suppose that when you get this Bill working, you will want some system of peace and good will. If people in India are imprisoned for 12 months, it is for some good reason, and we do not want them to represent their country in Parliament. I sincerely hope the right hon. Gentleman will not weaken on this Clause. If he does, we promise him the most strenuous opposition in this respect.


As the Committee did not wish this Amendment to be withdrawn, and it will, therefore, be put to the vote, we shall, of course, support the deletion of the Clause.

7.46 p.m.


This is only the second time that I have intervened in these Indian Debates, and I rise merely to reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox). What are the facts about men who get imprisoned? The dangerous men, as a matter of fact, never get sent to prison. Let me put the case of the general strike and look at the facts. During the general strike many men were sent to prison, but it was not the men who led the strike. In 99 out of every 100 cases—and this applies in India as well as in Britain—it is the simpletons who get sent to gaol, the mugs, and that is the fact. Nothing annoyed me more than this. I remember during the general strike, after the strike was over, you deprived every man who was active in the strike of his office as a justice of the peace, and it was impossible for him to sit on the bench, but the same week as you did that the leaders of the strike were invited by the Government to go to Buckingham Palace, and they met everyone there. The poor lost their seats on the bench, but the leaders went to Buckingham Palace. That is what happens always, and here you strike a penal Clause at the innocent and the simpletons who get sent to prison. That is the first point that I want to make. The second is—


Does the hon. Member then want to get the simpletons into the Legislative Assembly?


No, but I want to secure the right of people to be in it if the folk who elect them wish them to be in it. I am a simpleton in this House, and may I say to my Labour friends that I find difficulty in following them in this matter. They plead for the right of free election in India, but I often wish they would extend it to this country. It may be a personal grievance, but there is nevertheless reason to state it. To-day I am deprived of being a trade union Member of Parliament, and—


I think the hon. Member is getting rather far from the Amendment.


That may be, but you can draw the analogy that they too practise disqualification. I am for free election, and I say that every time you put in any kind of impediment, your impediment never does what you set out to do. Generally speaking it puts out the wrong person, and it is no guarantee against the person at whom you are aiming. I say that you are going in for free election or semi-free election. In certain Chambers it is direct and in others it is indirect, but in this part of the Bill we are discussing indirect election, and I say that inasmuch as you have agreed to do that, please allow anybody at all to stand. I hope, Captain Bourne, you will not stop me from saying that the terrorist is very like the street bookmaker, who does not make the book himself but tells someone else to do it for him, and the so-called terrorist here simply sets up another person to do his work and does not get sent to gaol himself. He puts his nominee there, his other person, the person who may just do it for him under a nom de plume. Therefore, your Clause will do nothing at all useful, and I trust the Government will give absolutely free election in these matters and will disqualify no one merely because he has been in prison.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'or' in line 27, stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 270; Noes, 36.

Division No. 92.] AYES. [7.54 p.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Aske, Sir Robert William
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Assheton, Ralph
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Atholl, Duchess of
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Bailey, Eric Alfred George
Albery, Irving James Apsley, Lord Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Patrick, Colin M.
Balniel, Lord Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'. W.) Peake, Osbert
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Grigg, Sir Edward Pearson, William G.
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Grimston, R. V. Perkins, Walter R. D.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th. C.) Gritten, W. G. Howard Petherick, M.
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Pownail, Sir Assheton
Bernays, Robert Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Pybus, Sir John
Blindell, James Harris, Sir Percy Radford, E. A.
Boulton, W. W. Hartington, Marquess of Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Bower, Commander Robert Tatton Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Ramsbotham, Herwaid
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Brass, Captain Sir William Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Rea, Walter Russell
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Reid, David D. (County Down)
Broadbent, Colonel John Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Brown. Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Hepworth, Joseph Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Rickards, George William
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Browne, Captain A. C. Holdsworth, Herbert Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hornby, Frank Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward
Burnett, John George Horsbrugh, Florence Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Butler, Richard Austen Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Carver, Major William H. Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Salt, Edward W.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Samuel. Sir Arthur Michael (F'nhsm)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Scone, Lord
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Jesson, Major Thomas E. Selley, Harry R.
Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Christie, James Archibald Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Clarry, Reginald George Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Shute, Colonel Sir John
Clayton, Sir Christopher Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dlne. C.)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Ker, J. Campbell Smithers, Sir Waldron
Colfox, Major William Philip Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger Somervell, Sir Donald
Cook, Thomas A. Kimball, Lawrence Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Cooke, Douglas Kirkpatrick, William M. Soper, Richard
Cooper, A. Duff Knox, Sir Alfred Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Spens, William Patrick
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Leckie, J. A. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)
Cranborne, Viscount Leech, Dr. J. w. Steel-Maltland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Craven-Ellis, William Leighton, Major B. E. P. Stones, James
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Stourton. Hon. John J.
Crooke, J. Smedley Lewis, Oswald Strauss, Edward A.
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Liddall, Walter S. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro) Lindsay, Noel Ker Summersby, Charles H.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lleweilln, Major John J. Sutcliffe, Harold
Cross, R. H. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th) Tate, Mavis Constance
Crossley, A. C. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Templeton, William P.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley) Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Thompson. Sir Luke
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Davison, Sir William Henry Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (lnverness) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Denman, Hon. R. D. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Denville, Alfred McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Todd. A. L. S. (Kingewinford)
Donner, P. W. McKie, John Hamilton Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Doran, Edward McLean, Major Sir Alan Train, John
Duckworth, George A. V. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Tree, Ronald
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Mander, Geoffrey le M. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington. N.) Manningham-Builer, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Dunglass, Lord Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R Turton, Robert Hugh
Eady, George H. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon. N.) Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)
Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsand)
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Wayland, Sir William A.
Erskine-Bolst, Capt C. C. (Blackpool) Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties) Wells, Sydney Richard
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Morrison, William Shepherd White, Henry Graham
Everard, W. Lindsay Munro, Patrick Wills, Wilfrid D.
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Nail, Sir Joseph Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
Fox, Sir Gifford Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Wilson. Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Fremantle, Sir Francis Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Wise, Alfred R.
Ganzoni, Sir John Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Peters'fld) Womersley, Sir Walter
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie [Banff]
Gilmour. Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Nunn, William Worthington, Dr. John V.
Gledhill, Gilbert O'Connor. Terence James Wragg, Herbert
Goff, Sir Park O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Q. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Greene, William P. C. Orr Ewing, I. L.
Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Palmer, Francis Noel Sir George Penny and Dr. Morris
Attlee, Clement Richard Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Milner, Major James
Banfield, John William Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding) Nathan, Major H. L.
Batey, Joseph Grundy, Thomas W. Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Jenkins, Sir William Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cape, Thomas Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cleary, J. J. Kirkwood, David Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Lawson, John James Thorne, William James
Cripps, Sir Stafford Logan, David Gilbert Tinker, John Joseph
Daggar, George McEntee, Valentine L. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) McGovern, John Williams, Thomas (York. Don Valley)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Gardner, Benjamin Walter Mainwaring, William Henry TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Maxton, James Mr. Groves and Mr. G. Macdonald.

Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

8.0 p.m.


I would like to ask the Secretary of State whether there is anything which prevents someone being at the same time a member of a provincial council and of the Federal Legislature. I think it is extremely desirable that people with experience of provincial problems should be able to sit and put in the Federal Assembly the point of view of their province. I think that it is the intention of the Government that it shall be possible for a man to sit in both Legislatures?

8.1 p.m.


Both the Committee and the Bill have left the question open. There is no disqualification against a member of a provincial council sitting in the Federal Legislature, although my hon. Friend will at once see that there will be difficulties as to time and space and so on in his way. The Committee left it open, and we have left it open in the Bill.

Clause 27 ordered to stand part of the Bill.