§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I beg to move, in page 270, line 23, to leave out paragraph (a). 1360 Hon. Members will know that paragraph (a) contains the declaration that although the Government propose to repeal the Government of India Act, 1919, nothing in the repealing section shall affect the Preamble of that Act. I am moving that that proviso shall be removed and I dare say hon. Members will wonder why we on this side of the House are taking this line. I have no doubt that many hon. Members who have followed these discussions have a shrewd suspicion why we are moving the omission of these lines. The Preamble to which I refer is in general terms known to all who have followed this discussion in the last two or three months. It is a Preamble which presents very generally what was deemed to be the declared policy of Parliament when it carried the Government of India Act, 1919. However appropriate that Preamble may have been in 1919, in our judgment, in the present circumstances in which we discuss this matter, the Preamble is hopelessly inadequate and very inappropriate for inclusion in this Bill. In any case, I ask the question which I have asked before: What is the value of repealing the whole of the Act of 1919, leaving suspended as it were in midair this Preamble? I asked the Attorney-General some weeks ago when we discussed this before. The Preamble leads up to certain provisions. It anticipates certain provisions in the Act. If you remove the provisions in the Act, what does the Preamble anticipate? It seems to me that it is a Preamble to nothing. It, therefore, has no meaning whatsoever except being a sort of general declaration on the part of the Government that the Preamble of 1919, though it was the Preamble to that Act, is equally acceptable as a declaration of the present policy of the Government in 1935. In order to get this matter clear to the minds of hon. Members, I will read the Preamble itself:Whereas it is the declared policy of Parliament to provide for the increasing association of Indians in every branch of Indian administration, and for the gradual development of self-governing institutions, with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible government in British India as an integral part of the Empire:And whereas progress in giving effect to this policy can only be achieved by successive stages, and it is expedient that substantial steps in this direction should now be taken:And whereas the time and manner of each advance can be determined only by Parliament, upon whom responsibility lies for the 1361 welfare and advancement of the Indian peoples:And whereas the action of Parliament in such matters must be guided by the co-operation received from those on whom new opportunities of service will be conferred, and by the extent to which it is found that confidence can be reposed in their sense of responsibility:And whereas concurrently with the gradual development of self-governing institutions in the Provinces of India it is expedient to give to those Provinces in provincial matters the largest measure of independence of the Government of India, which is compatible with the due discharge by the latter of its own responsibilities:Be it therefore enacted.That is a declaration of policy adumbrated by the Government that was in existence in 1919. The Act of 1919 might fairly have been deemed to have been the realisation of the policy therein embodied in the Preamble, but much water has flown under the bridges since then. It is one thing to say that the Preamble of 1919 was appropriate in 1919 but it is an entirely different thing to say, 16 years later, that the same Preamble to another Act is appropriate to present conditions.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
The hon. Member is saying that it is not appropriate at present. Is there anything in the wording of the Preamble to which he takes objection, having regard to present circumstances
§ Mr. JONES
The hon. Member anticipates what I have to say. Why do I suggest that this Preamble is not appropriate in present circumstances 1 In the Preamble one of the vital principles laid down is that there should be co-operation, thatthe action of Parliament in such matters must be guided by the co-operation received from those upon whom new opportunties of service will be conferred.The condition foreshadowed in Subsection (4) of the Preamble is not present in the situation to-day, and that readiness to offer co-operation is not present because of certain events which have taken place since 1919 and 1920. Cooperation depends to a degree upon the psychological attitude towards a given problem, and in this matter the Government have sacrificed and are in danger of further sacrificing that willingness to co-operate on the part of the Indian people by their insistence upon the letter of the Preamble of 1919. 1362 I said that certain events have taken place since that date. Everybody in every part of the House will agree that it is of first importance for the success either of this Measure or of any other Measure that we should be able to carry with us the hearty good will of the Indian people. Unless we can secure that good will no Parliamentary instrument which we forge can avail the Government or any one else. The Government not merely recently but constantly since 1919 have induced the Indian people, not by theobiter dictaof a particular individual or of unimportant members of the Administration, but through the mouths of distinguished and representative speakers, to anticipate that a new status would be conferred upon them through the medium of this Act of Parliament. If that be so then this Preamble is hopelessly inadequate for the needs of the present situation.
In using that language it may be said that by inference I am making a charge against the. Government. We have heard frequently the statement made that whatever declarations Ministers may have made they are in no way binding upon the Government unless they are embodied in an Act of Parliament. It is one of my complaints and contentions that this Preamble will not be acceptable as a statement of the aim of the Government by reason of the declarations of policy and intention that have been made since the Act was placed upon the Statute Book. Let me read a statement made by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) on a recent occasion in this House. He said:No pledge given.by any Secretary of State or any Viceroy has any real legal bearing upon the matter at all. The only thing that Parliament is really bound by is the Act of 1919.I daresay that the hon. Member was strictly within the truth when he made that statement. Parliament is not bound even by the statements of Ministers unless those statements are embodied in some statutory form. Therefore, we plead that this Preamble shall not be embodied in this Act of Parliament because in our judgment it is hopelessly inadequate for the present condition of things. Am I not entitled to complain that the Indian people have been hopelessly misled in their anticipations of the intention of this Bill? I could give the Committee a whole host of quotations, 1363 not by unimportant people but by people speaking in a representative capacity, declaring the intentions and policy of the Government of this country. Everyone knows that the late Viceroy of India, the present President of the Board of Education, Viscount Halifax, declared that the intention of the Government was the granting of Dominion status to the people of India. That was the declaration of the Viceroy speaking officially on behalf of the Government of the day. I might summon to my support a declaration made by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) when he was at a much earlier date a responsible Minister in this country. He said:We owe India a deep debt and we look forward confidently to the days when the Indian Government and people will have assumed fully and completely their Dominion status.I know that the right hon. Gentleman explains that statement away somewhat airily now and says that when he used the phrase "Dominion Status" he was speaking in a ceremonial sense; but in a speech delivered at Cannon Street at the beginning of this controversy he said that there could be no offence of which any public man could be more guilty and no offence which could more thoroughly be deplored than the offence of using language which could be interpreted in one sense by the people of this country and in an entirely different sense by the people of India. Therefore, he must accept some responsibility with other people for having created the belief in the minds of the Indian people that this Preamble is not in any way the sort of thing which the Government intended to do in its present legislative efforts.
I say boldly, and I see no reason why one should make any apology for saying it, that the Indian people have been encouraged to believe that the status which was going to be conferred upon them by this legislation, foreshadowed years ago, would be the status which would place them in a position of parity with the other British Dominions. Whatever powers, whatever legislative quality a Dominion Parliament should possess, those powers and that quality an Indian Parliament should possess. They should have whatever status within the Empire any other Dominion may enjoy. It is because I feel that the Preamble of 1919 1364 does not fulfil and scarcely goes any distance towards the realisation of the pledges made so frequently by spokesmen on behalf of His Majesty's Government, either here or in India, that I move my Amendment.
It has been conceded, it was conceded a few nights ago by spokesmen of the Liberal party, that so far as we can discover there is very little indication that the present legislative proposals are being accepted with any readiness by the Indian people or by those entitled to speak on behalf of the Indian people. Whatever may be said of the merits or demerits of the Bill, it is certain that its ultimate success depends on the measure of good will on the part of the Indian people which the British Government can summon to its support. These proposals are bound to fail very substantially unless the people of India feel that they are to have a larger measure of autonomy than this Bill foreshadows. I plead very earnestly with the Government at this late hour, which is perhaps the 59th minute of the 11th hour, but I hope that it is not too late, to take some step to redeem the pledges and promises which have been so frequently and so authoritatively made. While the Bill does not give in its legislative details the status of a Dominion to India, I am sure that an alteration in the Preamble, in the sense of adumbrating a Dominion status, would go a long way towards changing the mentality of the Indian people and possibly winning, even for this Bill, a larger measure of support than now seems available for it.
§ 6.1 p.m.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
This subject was discussed during the Committee stage and, therefore, I assume that not many minutes are needed to deal with it now. I find myself in sympathy with a great deal of what the hon. Member has said, but I do not think that any Indian opinion will be placated by carrying the Amendment. What the hon. Member said was appropriate to the Third Reading of the Bill, but I do not think the rejection or acceptance of the Amendment will have any substantial effect in India. The Clause as it stands is the fulfilment of a pledge. On Second Reading the right hon. Gentleman the 1365 Secretary of State drew attention to an important controversy which had arisen, and also to the emphasis placed by the Joint Committee, on the Preamble to the Act of 1919. That Preamble was a statutory expression of the announcement made in November, 1917; I suppose the most momentous announcement ever made in our Imperial history, and, because of the Preamble and the importance which was attached to it by everyone who had considered the question, the Secretary of State on 6th March, in the course of his speech in introducing the Bill, made it clear that the Preamble to the Act of 1919 would remain unrepealed. He said on two occasions he attached importance to it.
Later on when my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) called attention to the wording of the Bill and asked that it should be made clear, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State rose and said that in the course of the Committee stage steps would be taken to ensure that what was a promise to the House would be carried out. Whether it was wise to make that statement does not enter into our discussion to-day, but I am sure that if the Government yielded to the Opposition and accepted the Amendment it would give rise to a great deal of uncertainty. Everyone would want to know why the promise made by the Secretary of State on the Second Reading was now withdrawn. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) brought forward many considerations as to the way in which the Bill has been received in India, but I am sure that the carrying of the Amendment would only give rise to doubts, apprehensions and uncertainty, and the many conflicting attempts to interpret the action of the House to-day would add to our troubles. No one can allege that what we are now Attempting is inconsistent with the Preamble to the Act of 1919. The emphasis which is laid on the desirability of co-operation I should have thought was a truism, which the House can accept. Therefore, inasmuch 'as I heard the promise of the Secretary of State, the question put and the answer made with regard to this pars of the Bill, I express my appreciation of the action of the Government in carrying out the promise they made.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
We have never accepted the offer of the Government 'as dealing with the point we raised as regards the intentions of the Government and the necessity of having a statement of intentions as to Dominion status. I should like to ask the Attorney-General what is the effect of a, Preamble without an Act? It seems to me to be about the same as the grin of the Cheshire cat without the cat. It may be interesting, but it does not effect anything. You have a Preamble which is a mere statement of intentions. What on earth can be the validity of that? Perhaps the Attorney-General will tell us. But let us see what the Preamble says. It is a Preamble to an Act to set up a system of dyarchy, responsibility in the Provinces and no responsibility at the Centre; and it naturally addresses itself to that form of constitution. It starts by saying:With a view to the progressive realisation of responsible government in British India as an integral part of the Empire.The whole point of the present Bill is that you are departing from the conception of British India and moving forward to a, united Federation of India; you have here the beginning of responsible government not only for British India but for India. The whole point is that the Princes and the Provinces in India are united. That conception is not expressed in the Preamble. It should be expressed in a preamble. If you read further on you find that in the latter part of the Preamble are considered the development in the Provinces and continuance of a government at the Centre, such as we had in the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. The whole thing does not apply in the least to this Bill. It applies to an Act which is now being repealed. There may be a case for saying that you should not have any Preamble at all. There is a, strong case, which I believe the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) supported, for having a proper Preamble, a proper statement, and for fulfilling the pledges given by the Prime Minister, the Viceroy, and many others to the peoples of India, and set that out in the Bill; but there can be no case for adding to a Bill without a, Preamble, a Preamble which belongs to an Act which is now being destroyed as a statement of further 1367 intentions with regard to the government of India.
What is the good of keeping alive intentions which have been changed quite definitely. In the Government of India Act, 1919, Federation was not suggested. There was no suggestion of responsible government for India as a whole. British India only was mentioned. Therefore, it is really an absurdity to suggest that the retention of this obsolete Preamble is going to please the Indian people. The hon. Member for Bodmin said that it would create doubt and uncertainty if the Amendment were accepted. You do not dispel doubt and uncertainty by keeping in the Preamble. Instead of—I am bound to say—this ridiculous suggestion to keep alive the Preamble to a dead Act in order to please the Indian people, you can put in a proper Preamble which will really fulfil the pledges given to the Indian people.
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Sir B. PETO
I should like to ask one question. Some of my hon. Friends attach considerable importance to the retention of the Sub-section, but I should like to ask whether there is any precedent for the repeal of an Act and the maintenance and enforcement of its Preamble? In the second place, I want to know whether the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) was right when he said that the intention of the Government is to tack on to this Bill a Preamble which belongs to another Act. I do not understand that by leaving the Preamble you tack it on to this Bill; which has no Preamble. I do not want to rely upon something which has no validity, and, therefore, I should like to ask what is the real purpose, what is the effect, which is more important, of leaving this Preamble on the Statute Book, not a Preamble to this Bill at all, but to an Act which is repealed and whether it has any operative effect whether you leave it in or not?
§ 6.11 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I have made so many observations upon this question of the Preamble, and matters connected with it, that I almost apologise to the House for inflicting a further expression of my views upon hon. Members. The speech of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) went a great 1368 deal beyond the mere purpose of the Amendment, namely, to repeal the Preamble. It was a speech in the nature of a general attack on the Bill as inadequate or falling short of the wishes of the Labour party as to the degree of autonomy to be conferred upon India. There is a proper time for answering those far-reaching observations. I must not be taken as accepting for a moment statements based upon quotations, one or two of which he gave, that there is no readiness in any part of India to accept the Bill. That raises questions which can be discussed at another time, and I should certainly be prepared to meet the hon. Member on that point.
So far as the repeal of the Preamble is concerned, what the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) has said is undoubtedly the case. When the Bill was introduced there was nothing in it which would have prevented a repeal of the Preamble. It was, indeed, repealed together with the rest of the Act of 1919. When the Secretary of State was speaking he made observations as to the importance of the Preamble which led the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) to interpose. I think it is sufficient on this third occasion upon which the matter has been discussed for me to say that we desire to preserve the Preamble as a record of the intentions of Parliament; not the intentions of a party or of an individual or of a Minister, but the intentions of Parliament and, therefore, of the great British people with regard to the future of India—
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
—the intentions of Parliament and, therefore, of the people of this country with regard to the future of India. The hon. Member interposes, asking whether I mean the present intentions. It would not be possible to answer very correctly that question in the affirmative, because the present intentions of the Government obviously cannot be expressed wholly or accurately in the Preamble to a Bill of 1919, which became the Government of India Act of that year. But it is one thing to say that a Preamble does not contain a statement of the whole of the intentions of His Majesty's Government, and it is another thing to say that it is desirable to repeal that Preamble. We are constructing, I hope, a further 1369 stretch of a great Imperial road. The fact that we have passed a particular point at which a signpost was erected as to the end which that road was intended to reach, does not justify us, when we have passed the point, in destroying the signpost that was erected at a particular stage in that great constructive enterprise.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL,
The hon. Gentleman takes the view, which I feel sure the House as a whole does not accept, that we have destroyed the road and that the road is not going to lead anywhere. If for party purposes the hon. Gentleman cares to make that observation, I can only say that it is not likely to be helpful in that great country which I am sure he desires to serve as well as the rest of right hon. and hon. Members in this House. If he is content to take at their face value the statement which we have made from these benches as to the intention and desire of the Government, he will co-operate with us in constructing the road. He may quarrel with us as to the pace at which we are carrying out the enterprise. There are hon. Members who quarrel with us that we are proceeding too fast. I think views have been expressed that the Preamble to the Act of 1919 in some way required that the pace should be always a very measured one, which is true in a sense, but they interpret that as meaning that it should be much slower than the pace at which we are proceeding to-day. The Government do not take that view. We think that this Bill represents the exact stage in the development of the autonomy of India, if that is the right expression, which this Parliament and this country have always intended.
Let us see what the position would be if we were to repeal this Preamble. Would it not open the Government to the criticism that they were in some way going back upon the declarations that were made in that historic instrument? That is a view which obviously was taken by the right hon. Member for Darwen in debate, and I think it was the view that was expressed in other quarters. When, on the other hand, we say that we do not propose to repeal this Preamble because we wish to preserve it as an indication of what the intentions of Parliament and of 1370 this country have been, we surely are justified in taking that course, and at the same time taking a further step which perhaps is not to be quite accurately described in the words of the Preamble. There is one statement which the hon. Gentleman did not refer to in his observations upon the Preamble. Let me read the concluding paragraphs of the Instrument of Instructions to the Governor-General, in which it is stated:It is Our will and pleasure that Our Governor-General should so exercise the trust which we have reposed in him that the partnership between India and the United Kingdom within Our Empire may be furthered, to the end that India may attain its due place among our Dominions.The criticism that hon. Members opposite may possibly make is that that paragraph does not contain the phrase to which they attach an almost magical value, the expression "Dominion status." I pointed out on the Second Reading that there will be found a much more accurate statement of this conception of the status of a Dominion in the operative part of the famous Balfour Declaration, than you will find in a cross-heading which gave rise to the expression "Dominion status." The due place of India among His Majesty's Dominions must be, in the very nature of the country, something not quite the same as the place, shall I say, of New Zealand or of South Africa or of the other Dominions. India is a far different proposition altogether. I have no doubt that if this Parliament represents the wishes and intentions of the British people, India will attain her due place amongst His Majesty's Dominions; but that is not to say that the problems with which she will have to deal, in the nature of external affairs or problems of defence, will be problems that will be settled in precisely the same way as those in which similar problems, if they arise at all, are settled in connection with His Majesty's other Dominions.
The British Empire is a great conception, but it is not built up by thinking of our Dominions as if they were all square edifices of precisely the same nature. India will take her due place amongst the Dominions, not because any of us was a sort of lawyer's conception of what Dominion status precisely is, but because by taking advantage of the powers and responsibilities conferred upon her by Parliament from time to time 1371 she takes what she desires to take, her due and proper place in this great union of Dominions and of peoples who have control over their own destinies and the management of their own affairs. We certainly did not propose, once the question was raised upon the Second Reading, to repeal the Preamble to that Government of India Act which was so notable an event in the history of the relations between India and Great Britain and the Empire. I believe not only that we were right in taking that decision, but I believe it would really disappoint the genuine aspirations of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite because it would give rise to misunderstandings in this country, and I believe in India also, if we had taken the other course.
It seems to the Government that we are much more likely to produce the impression which we genuinely desire to effect if we preserve that great instrument as a historic expression of the intentions of Great Britain at the time it was made, in connection with this Bill, which marks a further advance upon what was possible to be attained in 1919. The hon. Gentleman opposite poured a little ridicule upon a Preamble that will appear without any Act to which it is attached. That disturbs me, who am a lawyer, less than it disturbs the hon. Gentleman. As lawyers know, Preambles are sometimes treated in a curious way. I remember that the Preamble to the Naval Discipline Act was inadvertently repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act, and Parliament, having noticed this, almost a generation later solemnly re-enacted that historic instrument, although it was not operative in a single word. Why did Parliament re-enact it? Not because it had any effect on the Naval Discipline Act, but because Parliament desired to enshrine permanently upon the Statute Book a notable statement of the purpose that the British Navy has played in the defence of this country. Preambles have a value much more than their mere formal words. This Preamble, we think, has a value which will speak as eloquently as it has in the past of the intentions of this country to help India to attain finally the due place amongst His Majesty's Dominions to which we hope and believe this Bill will give further assistance.
§ 6.26 p.m.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has given as an example, and I presume the only example, that he can produce, of the Naval Discipline Act, where Parliament re-enacted a Preamble which had inadvertently been struck out of an existing Act of Parliament. That, of course, is not the case here. There there was an operative Act to which the Preamble was attached, but here there is a device which I think is probably without precedent, that is the device of repealing a complete Act of Parliament with the exception of this Preamble. As I understand the position, this Preamble will not in any sense govern the present Bill; that is to say, it does not in any sense become part of it. It does not operate as a Preamble usually operates, for the purpose of directing the mind of the court or any person who is interpreting the Statute when there is some difficulty of interpretation.
The object of a Preamble is to lay down the general tenour of an Act, so that if there is a difficulty in interpreting the words, or some phraseology which may be doubtful, the courts can say, "Well, Parliament has told us the general tenour, and therefore we must interpret the phrase in accordance with its tenour, which is expressed." That is the purpose for which Parliament makes Preambles to Statutes. That is, of course, in some cases a wise thing, and it has been a helpful thing in the matter of interpretation. But here, when this Preamble is left, as it will be, nakedly on the Statute Book, so far as the Statute Book is concerned it will have no possible purpose or function.
The Attorney-General speaks as if the Statute Book is the only sort of history in the country. If anyone wants to go back to see some great signpost in the legislative history of this country he does not look at the Statute Book as it stands at the moment and see how much of this or that or the other Act is repealed. He goes back to the original Act and reads the full Act to see what it was that was the great signpost in the advance along the legislative path. The right hon. Gentleman is suggesting that if this Act, like many other Acts, is repealedin toto,there will disappear from the history of the country this great signpost of advance along the Indian road. 1373 Nothing of the sort. This Preamble will still be there as part of the history of the advance but it will not be left on the Statute Book as part of the legislation applying to India. That is the difference between striking it off the Statute Book or leaving it on the Statute Book. The point is whether, when one is looking through the bundle of legislation applying to India, in force and on the Statute Book, one finds an isolated Preamble without any enacting Clauses following it, or whether one finds that that Preamble has disappeared into history where it can always be referred to as the Preamble of the original Act of 1919 as it was passed at that time.
When the right hon. and learned Gentleman refers to the signpost and suggests that we speak of the road being destroyed, I would point out that what my hon. Friend said was that a particular road was being destroyed and this road substituted for it. The whole object and force of the Preamble of the 1919 Act was to point out that British India was to become a new integral part of what was then called the Empire. The word "Empire" is, of course, no longer applicable if one is dealing with the Commonwealth of Nations. If one is dealing with the Colonial Empire the word is still applicable but if one is dealing with the Commonwealth of Nations, then, since the Statute of Westminster, the word "Empire" is no longer applicable. But this signpost to which reference has been made was an indication that British India would come in as part of that was then called the Empire. Now the Government have adopted a new entity. It is Federal India which is to come in as part of the Commonwealth of Nations. I understand that to be the purport of the passage which the right hon. and learned Gentleman read out of the Instrument of Instructions. It is not British India but "India" which is to attain her due place among the Dominions.
The effect of making a special and unexampled provision in this Bill as regards the non-repeal of this Preamble is to make people think, if they think 'anything at all about it, that the intentions expressed in this Preamble, which is left, are still the intentions of Parliament. That was why I ventured to interrupt the right hon. and learned Gentleman to ask him whether, when he used the 1374 expression "the intentions of Parliament" he meant the present intentions of Parliament. Naturally, he said, "No." On the face of it, the Preamble does not express the present intentions of Parliament. Then, why take this exceptional step in order to keep it in the bundle of legislative documents, if admittedly it does not express the present intention either of Parliament or of the Government? It is idle to say as an excuse that if it were repealed there would be criticism on the ground that we had departed from our intentions or the Government had departed from their intentions. There is a simple way of dealing with such a criticism, and that is to insert a Preamble in the present Bill stating accurately what the present intentions are. If it is desirable, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman says, to leave great sign-posts as we proceed along this path of development, in order to mark our advance, what more appropriate moment for erecting a great sign-post on the Indian path than to-day?
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Why not 'a Preamble? If the 1919 Act is so distinguished as a sign-post by its Preamble, which, alone, is to be left, then why are not future generations to have the advantage, in the case of this Bill, of being able to point to a great Preamble as a sign-post?
§ The ATTORNEY - GENERAL
A moment ago the hon. and learned Gentleman said that I accepted his suggestion that the Preamble did not express the present views of His Majesty's Government. I think he misunderstood what I said. I said it expressed the intention of His Majesty's Government at the time, but within that Preamble undoubtedly lies all that which has been expressed in different ways and at different times as to the great objective of the Parliament of the United Kingdom 'and the people of this country towards India.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Never mind about British India or India—towards India. I said this on Second Reading, and I do not want to repeat it, but I do not want the hon. and learned Gentleman to leave the impression that I have suggested that the Preamble of 1919 1375 is not adequate to, express, when it is properly set out in another Act of Parliament, the present intention of His Majesty's Government. It is all implicit in the Preamble, as I have pointed out, and it has been so explained over and over again.
Sir S. CR I PPS
I am obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman and naturally I do not want to misrepresent what I understood him to say. I feel certain, however, that he cannot really mean what he has just said, in this sense, that taking this Preamble as a written document and not as some vague conception, it does not foreshadow in the least any conception of Federal India. It is absolutely limited to the conception of British India becoming an integral part of the Empire. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman says that we are to attach no importance to Federation, that it is the same thing whether it is British India or Federated India—if that be the view of the Government then so be it. But to the ordinary person who looks at the development which has taken place—whether one thinks it right or wrong, whether one thinks it goes far enough or not—one of the striking features in that development is the conception in this Bill of a Federal State as against the conception of a British India which was the basis of the Act of 1919.
If I may now revert to the point with which I was dealing when the right hon. and learned Gentleman was good enough to correct me, I would say that if it be true that the objective of these Preambles is the "signpost objective," to use the right hon. and learned Gentleman's phrase, then surely the present moment is the moment when the next signpost should be erected. We ought not to go back to the last signpost. We ought to erect a new signpost clearly pointing the road along which it is intended to proceed. There are phrases in the Instrument of Instructions to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman
|Division No. 230.]||AYES.||[6.43 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Broadbent, Colonel John|
|Astbury Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Blindell, James||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)|
|Balley, Erie Alfred George||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Browne, Captain A. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Burghley, Lord|
§ and the Government attach great importance. There is the phrase which he himself has just read. If that be a correct statement of the view of the Government to-day as to the objective of the present Bill—as it must be—why should not that statement be substituted as a Preamble for the statement of 1919 There can be, in my submission, no possible reason for preserving, as part of a Statute, as distinct from preserving it as part of history, a statement which on the face of it does not express the present intentions of Parliament.
§ If we leave it unrepealed we are, in effect, making a special provision which is equivalent to its re-enactment. The implication from that is that neither the country, nor the House, nor the Government has moved forward an inch since 1919, and that we desire to make it clear to the Indian people that our conception of the Indian position is exactly what it was in 1919. You could not make that clearer than by taking these special precautions to re-enact a Preamble, which then was applicable but which to-day is not applicable. We ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, instead of adopting this curious and unprecedented procedure, to make a new Preamble for this Measure, erecting a fresh signpost and pointing out the new road along which he and the people of this country are advancing and leaving no doubt in the minds of the Indian people about the fact that there has been an advance since 1919 in the manner of looking at their problems and the problems of Indian government. By so doing he will create more confidence among them, if he desires them to assist him in supporting and carrying through this scheme which, whether one agrees with it or not, is a great scheme.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 196; Noes, 37.
|Butler, Richard Austen||Hope. Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Hopkinson, Austin||Rickards, George William|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Hornby, Frank||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Carver, Major William H.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||James, Wlng-Com. A. W. H.||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Janner, Barnett||Salt, Edward W.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Jennings, Roland||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Joel, Dudley J Barnato||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Sandys, Duncan|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D,||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Selley, Harry R.|
|Colville, Lieut-Colonel J.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Cooper, A. Dud||Kimball, Lawrence||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine.C.)|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Knox, Sir Alfred||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. p.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Levy, Thomas||Spens, William Patrick|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunllffe-||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Dickle, John P.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Doran, Edward||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Drewe, Cedric||Mabane, William||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||McCorquodals, M. S.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton.|
|Dunglass, Lard||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Eales, John Frederick||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||McKle, John Hamilton||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Thomson, Sir James D. W.|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Manningham-Suller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Titchfleld, Major the Marquess of|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Train, John|
|Fraser, Captain Sir Ian||Milne, Charles||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Ward. Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Glukckstein, Louis Halle||Munro, Patrick||Wardlaw-Mline, Sir John S.|
|Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Golf, Sir Park||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Nunn, William||White, Henry Graham|
|Grenfell, E. C (City of London)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Patrick, Colin M.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S,)|
|Gritten W. G. Howard||Penny, Sir George||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Guinness Thomas L. E. B.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Windsor-Ctlve, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hales Harold K.||Pickering, Ernest H.||Wiss, Alfred R.|
|Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Hammersley, Samuel S.||Pybus, Sir John||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth,Kenningt'n)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Ramsbotham, Herwald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Major George Davies and Dr.|
|Herbert. Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Morris-Jones.|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Edwards, Charles||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Gardner, Benjumin Walter||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Banfield, John William||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Milner, Major James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Groves, Thomas E.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Cleary, J. J.||Grundy, Thomas W.||Thorne, William James|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jenkins, Sir William||West, F. R.|
|Dangar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lawson, John James||Wilmot, John|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leonard, William|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Logan, David Gilbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Dobble, William||Lunn, William||Mr. John and Mr. D. Graham.|