§ 3.46 p.m.
§ Mr. VIANT
I beg to move,That, in the opinion of this House, the university franchise should be abolished.The subject for discussion this afternoon is one that has caused considerable controversy, not only in this House but in the country. To most people, the existence of university representation and university franchise is somewhat of an anomaly in a democratic State. We have, in the main, what is known as adult suffrage, although it is not quite complete; none the less, adult suffrage in its completeness is the aim and the object we have. When one approaches the subject of university representation and the university franchise, one naturally asks oneself when they were instituted. After research, one finds that they were introduced for the first time in 1603 by James I, but no one seems to be able to say for what reason. No reason can be advanced for special representation of universities. Such eminent authorities as Lecky and Bryce express very strong opinions concerning university representation and the university franchise. In 1884, when the subject was under discussion in this House, Professor Bryce, speaking of the representatives and the members of the universities, claimed that it was bad for them, because it introduced political questions into educational questions. He objected also that no constituencies were less independent than the universities, and he said:The time has now arrived when it becomes desirable to dismiss the device of the Stuart Kings to the limbo to which so many other of their devices have been relegated.We have no reason to take exception to that point of view this afternoon. Lecky, in his History of England, used these words:The political influence of the universities has been almost uniformly hostile to political progress.I believe it is almost common experience that, with very few exceptions, the universities, while they have given a considerable amount of knowledge, have none the less, through their representatives, been averse to all progress. My feeling is that those who have been through a university must feel that there is something wrong when some of them get up in this House and claim that they 470 speak for their university. The universities have adequate representation in this House, without having a special representation.
During the history of this century, when the subject of the franchise has been under discussion, various tests have been advanced whereby a basis might be established upon which the franchise could be given. A few years ago, when considering this subject myself, I was fortunate in obtaining two volumes of the Socialist Library, published by the Independent Labour Party. They were entitled "Socialism and Government." The writer of those two volumes was at that time a Member of this House, and is at the present time the Lord President of the Council. I may say that I rather regret his absence this afternoon. For the purposes of greater accuracy, I am going to read a few quotations from this book, on the subject of the university franchise. The author is trying to suggest in this chapter a sound basis upon which a franchise should be granted. Discussing the university franchise, he says:Here a further proposal suggests itself. Can we not devise some educational test which might have the effect of reducing the influence of the demoralised section of the electorate? Might we not give the holders of certain educational degrees two votes and so extend the principle of the separate representation of universities? Or, might we not impose some educational qualification upon applicants for the franchise in the same way as immigrants to the United States are tested? Once more the practical difficulties first of all press themselves upon us. What are we to test? Obviously, not merely knowledge, for the wayside loafer would not be weeded out and there is much knowledge inside prison gates. If it is anything, it must be character, judgment and intelligence. But these are just the qualities which elude school-book tests such as this would have to be. The ranks of university representatives consist of an almost unbroken line of men whose academic and professional distinction seems to have prevented them from attaining to Parliamentary influence and outstanding political eminence…. The almost uniform lack of political enlightenment which university representatives have shown, so far from recommending an extension of such representation, has brought it into disrepute… A successful career at a university is occasionally the indication that a vast darkness has settled down upon a man's mind on all matters of human concern… Civic capacity, and college and examination capacity, are very far from being one and the same thing. Dealing with only one point of difference, it must be obvious to everyone that educational tests are not tests of an educated opinion 471 so much as of a class distinction which can pay high fees, and an intellectual mechanism which is no indication of anything beyond the fact that at the time of examination it could answer certain questions.
§ Mr. VIANT
I understand that to-day the qualification for the university franchise is that a degree shall have been obtained at any university forming, or forming part of, the constituency. The representation of the universities to-day is far in excess, even if the principle were admitted, of what it should be, considering the representation of other parts of the country. The Oxford University electorate to-day is 22,414, and it has two Members; that of Cambridge University is 33,617, and again there are two Members; London University has an electorate of 17,817, with one Member; the combined English Universities, 26,809, with two Members; the University of Wales, 7,325, with one Member; the Scottish Universities, 52,981, with three members; and Queen's University, Belfast, has an electorate of 3,729, with one Member. The universities are represented by 12 Members, and their total electorate is 164,692. In addition to this undue representation, one has to consider the other aspect of the subject. It perpetuates plural voting; it gives an unfair advantage to a section of the community whose interests are invariably well cared for in this House and in the country at large.
That is not all. Let us consider the disparity in the representation in this House as between the 164,692 university electors and the electors of some other constituencies. The 12 representatives in this House of the universities represent, on an average, an electorate of 13,724 each. The electorate of the Welsh boroughs exceeds the electorate of the universities by more than twice, yet they have one Member less. Nor is that all. The most important place on the map this afternoon is Willesden. We have an electorate in Willesden of 127,122, yet we have only two Members in this House. 472 Here are some other constituencies: The Moseley Division of Birmingham has an electorate of 101,169; Romford, 167,939 electors, or 3,247 more electors than the whole of the universities and with one Member as against the universities' 12. There is no sense or equity or justice under these conditions even if the principle of university representation be conceded. Then there are Dartford, with an electorate of 106,043; Harrow, 130,716; and Hendon, 164,802.
It may be argued that these conditions have grown up since1918, when the last redistribution took place, but none the less it is grossly unfair, and that in itself is logical and sufficient ground to persuade the House of the reasons for supporting my Motion. But let us get nearer to the actual facts. Let us come down to consider the votes that were given at the last Election by the university electorates. The votes cast in 1935 were: Oxford, with its two members, 19,044 votes, out of an electorate of 22,414; Cambridge, 17,972 votes cast with an electorate of 33,617. or just over 50 per cent.; London, 12,876 votes cast out of 17,817; Scotland, 27,125 votes out of a possible 52,981. Those are the General Election figures. It appears to me that even those who are entitled to cast votes in the University elections do not value those votes, or they feel that it would be an outrage upon their own consciences to take such an undue advantage. I believe there are conscientious people in the Universities. But let us consider the method of voting in this enlightened age. The university voter has to obtain his ballot paper through the post, and when marking it he attaches his signature to it.
§ Mr. VIANT
That is just the point. Certain persons are nominated to watch the progress of the election, and when the ballot papers are sent in they, in conjunction with others watching the interests of the candidates, see that the 473 ballot papers are checked by the register and see precisely how the votes are cast. Worse than that, quite a number of these people are members of the appointing bodies, and many of these University voters make application for certain posts, and their position is prejudiced by their political views.
§ Mr. VIANT
You may endeavour to argue that not a word of this is true; you may endeavour to persuade me that no such influence is brought to bear; but no man of the world, no one who has been the subject of victimisation and no one with experience of elections will be persuaded that nothing in the nature of victimisation takes place. Apart from that, is it fair that the university voter should in any circumstances be deprived of enjoying the secret ballot? The secret ballot is treasured, or should be treasured, by each and all of us. I suggest that in common decency this House ought to take immediate steps to see that a proceeding of that kind ceases. There can be no freedom of conscience under conditions of that kind. It is a thing that should no longer be permitted. Surely no one is going to argue that when a voter has to sign a ballot paper the way in which he has voted is not known to those who check the registers. I should be surprised if sufficient evidence is not forthcoming in this Debate to convince the House that during the last General Election it was known to certain persons how electors had voted at the university elections simply because they had signed their ballot papers. Those who read the pages of "The Times" will be acquainted with the facts.
This subject was discussed in the House on 3rd February, 1931, when the Representation of the People (No. 2) Bill was under discussion. The then Prime Minister, now the Lord President of the Council, took part in that Debate, and I am going to trouble the House with a quotation from the pages of the OFFICIAL REPORT because the right hon. Gentleman's contribution to the Debate on that occasion will, I feel sure, be appreciated by hon. Members opposite. The right hon. Gentleman said:At the present moment university representation is simply plural voting.…Our view is that, if there be any 474 special institution requiring representation here, it is certainly not the universities, because the universities pervade the whole atmosphere of this House, right and left of me, behind and in front of me. The univerties cannot help being represented here. There are here Members who have had the good or the ill fortune, I do not kn which, to be educated at Eton or at Harrow and to have gone up to some of the colleges at Oxford. They are not here as university men; I do not believe they ant to appear at university men. The great value of university education and the great honour we pay it, are due to the fact that the enlightenment from univertities has shone through every. class of society and every profession; and we have it here pervading our institutions. We do not want to give the vote to those who become graduates and have to pay, I think, I for it. We do not want to pay honour to a university by saying to it 'We are going to give you special representation in in the House of Commons." I say to the universities, 'You are represented in every party in this House; you are represented on every bench of this House." If not directly, at any rate there are men here who owe their culture to the spreading of enlightenment by universities. That is the best representation that they can have."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd February, 1931; cols. 1670–71; Vol. 247.]To that statement we can take no exception. There is the strength of our case. There should be no need for this special representation. Neither should anyone who has enjoyed the advantages of a university education want the dual advantage of a university franchise and the franchise of the ordinary citizen. In the 1929–31 Parliament one out of every three Members had graduated from one or other of our universities. I would hazard a guess that the number is greater in the present House. If by good fortune any man or woman has had the advantage of a university education they should be capable and well equipped to hold their own with others in the ordinary run of life without asking for special advantages. A man or woman who is specially gifted should be able to obtain a place in this House at an ordinary election. The universities should not be used as incubators for would-be politicians who cannot withstand the climatic conditions of an ordinary election. Recent elections have caused quite a large number of people to feel that university representation is being used in a manner, to say the least, which is not democratic, and I say that advisedly when candidates can be overwhelmingly defeated in one constituency and returned for a university.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ Sir J. WITHERS
I must thank the hon. Member very sincerely for the absence of any personalities in his speech beyond saying that we were incubated, and so on. One has to remember two mottoes on an occasion of this kind which are formed upon one, namely, qui s' excuse s' accuse on the one side, and self-praise is no recommendation on the other. Those are the two limits that one has to put to a speech of this kind. I shall try to avoid any excusing of our existence, and I shall also avoid any praise of the institution itself.
§ Sir J. WITHERS
Qui s' excuse s' accuse means, he who excuses himself accuses himself. The second is that self-praise is no recommendation. What are the facts? In 1603 James I by charter gave two Members to Oxford and two to Cambridge. He did it, I understand, on the advice of Sir Edward Coke, one of the greatest constitutional lawyers we have ever had. Curiously enough, from that time forward not only has it not been done away with, but university representation has been gradually increased until in 1918, by a definite arrangement, I understand, a coalition Government increased it to 12 Members. There it has remained down to the present time. In 1931, as the hon. Member well remembers, because he was a Member of the House at the time, and his right hon. Friend the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) led the argument on this point, an attempt was made by the Labour Government to upset the university vote, and it was only beaten, after very considerable discussion, by four votes. I was never more surprised in my life than when I saw the Clerk hand the paper to the Opposition Whips. Now it is raised again on a Private Member's Motion.
This is not a general attack on plural voting. It is an attack on one particular form of plural voting. When the Labour Government brought in their Bill in 1931 they left unassailed the City qualification. I was very much impressed by the reason why they did it. As far as I can remember, the reason given was that it was a very ancient and picturesque institution—it was so nice to see the two Members for the City of London on the first day of the Session sitting on 476 the Government Bench with their top-hats on. That was the reason, as far as I could gather, why the City qualification was not attacked. [An HON. MEMBER: "From whom are you quoting?"] I am quoting from my memory of the facts. Of course, there was a great deal of talk about it but that is really what it came to. If plural voting is going to be allowed anywhere it ought to be for the universities, and not for offices in the City. Surely the Labour party, if it stands for anything, stands for the claims of education as opposed to the claims of property; so that the first thing to do, I should think, would be for the Labour party to attack plural voting, and particularly the City vote. In the exercise of this franchise you get the opinion of a great mass of people of extended education.
I should have thought the Labour party would very much appreciate that. Their choice is undoubtedly well-balanced. See how it has resulted. Take the present constitution of the university Members. There are six Conservatives, two Liberals, three Independents and one National Labour. I do not think you can complain that that is at all a hidebound suffrage. The last time that this subject was discussed one of the principal arguments against the university vote was that the Members returned were unsuited to represent the people of the country. I remember replying that, so far as the other Members were concerned, I knew that they were suitable and, as far as I was concerned, if I was unsuitable I was very sorry. I say it again. If that argument is used to-day, I accept the blame and apologise. My idea of a university Member is that he should naturally come into the House with a label of some kind—Liberal, Labour, Independent or Conservative—and I think he ought to have a certain amount of freedom from ordinary party considerations, and be able to form an independent opinion as and when he likes. That is generally what is done by university Members now. That is what I try to do, anyhow.
The Opposition, when they talk about representation of the universities being a class representation forget, when they read an old book published in 1908, that since the War there has been a very great change. Certainly I can speak for Cambridge, and I understand it is the same 477 at Oxford. When I went to Cambridge over 50 years ago the undergraduates mostly consisted of public school men of one particular class, but now it is vastly different. Half the undergraduates go to the university either with scholarships, or sizarships, or charitable aid in some form or other. The whole idea and the whole constitution and character of the undergraduate world has changed. It represents an entirely new world, and we Members for universities appreciate that very much. We are not representing one particular class of the community, and I am glad we are not. We are trying to represent a very much larger class. These undergraduates get their degrees and form our constituencies. I think this must have been realised by Members of the Opposition, because not so very long after the last Debate in 1931 Sir William Jowitt, who took a prominent part in it against the universities, went so far as to stand for the Combined Universities. I think something must have happened in his mind to change him. I would remind the House that the Prime Minister of the party who actually proposed the disfranchisement of the universities in 1931 is himself a university Member.
§ Sir J. WITHERS
I do not say that the hon. Member appreciates it in that sense, but that he appreciates it in the sense of understanding. Reading between the lines, I cannot help feeling that naturally this matter has been raised because of the recent by-election in the Scottish Universities, and I suggest that the Motion might be amended by adding that the constituency of Ross and Cromarty should also be disfranchised.
§ Sir J. WITHERS
I am sorry to have been frivolous about it, but this is really an important matter, and is raised on a private Member's Motion. I do not think that I can carry the case any further, and I hope that Members on all sides of the House will vote against the Motion.
§ 4.33 p.m.
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
In rising to support this Motion, I wish to make it perfectly clear that I am not doing so in any antagonistic spirit towards the universities of this country. I spent two of the happiest years of my life in the university which the hon. Member who has just spoken represents. I owe a good deal to, and I am very proud of the fact that I am a graduate of, that university. I would go even further and contend that the universities have contributed to the spiritual and intellectual wealth of this country to a greater extent perhaps than we have ever ostensibly recognised, and even to-day they are the leaders perhaps of the movement which goes to enrich our national culture, for which we owe them our thanks and our appreciation. This afternoon we are discussing a simple proposition: Is it right that there should be separate university representation?
I have tried to ascertain a single argument in favour of the proposition that the universities should be separately represented. First of all, we may ask ourselves, is there something special about university electors? Have they qualifications different from the qualifications of the rest of the community which entitle them to elect their own Members of Parliament? I remember that in my day a very large percentage of those who obtained degrees obtained what are called pass degrees. I doubt very much whether any Member of this House who is a graduate or who has been to a university would for one moment suggest that those persons have any very particular qualifications. We may ask: Have the university electors special interests? Is it that they are so primarily concerned with matters of education that we should have the benefit of the presence of their representatives in this House? Some of the greatest exponents and most expert Members of this House upon matters appertaining to education have never been to a university, and they do not seem to lack very much as a result of that disability. Is it that university electors send a particular brand of representative to this House of which we should be deprived if we abolished university representation? I am prepared to pay tribute to the Noble Lord the Senior Member for the University of Oxford (Lord H. Cecil). Every 479 Member on this side of the House would acknowledge that he is one of the greatest Commoners of the last 50 years.
§ Mr. HENDERSON
Not one of us is perfect. Then, of course, we have the Junior Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Alan Herbert). On many occasions when I have been travelling abroad, I have been told that the average Englishman lacks a sense of humour, but at any rate we have the advantage of the presence of one of the greatest humorists in this country, and an hon. Member who, I hope, will add to the debates of this House along the lines on which he is such an expert. Even the hon. Gentleman himself would not for one moment suggest that he would not be considered a fit and proper person to be a Member of this House in the event of his becoming a candidate in a non-university constituency, and I suggest that his chances of election for a typical Conservative seat would be very high, having regard to some of the competition he would have to face. So I doubt very much whether it can be argued that they send a special brand of representative.
Take the professions. It has been suggested that this system enables the professions of this country to be adequately and effectively represented. The head of the branch of the legal profession to which I have the honour to belong, the present Lord Chancellor, is not a university man. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), one of the greatest Statesmen—whatever one may think of some of his weaknesses—that we have had during the last 100 years, is not a university man. The right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council, who is now, I was going to say, the white-haired boy of the Conservative party, or at least he was until about six months ago, is not a university man. I could mention two dozen and more, men and women in all spheres of life who have 480 rendered great and distinguished services to the community, who have not had the advantages of a university education. Therefore, I respectfully submit to the House that on those three heads at any rate, no case at all can be made out for this separate method of election.
The basis of our case is as follows: Members on this side of the House stand for what has been described as an equalitarian democracy. I do not suggest for a moment that every person born into this world has the same amount of natural and native ability, but we are striving to bring about a system whereby, as far as possible, people should have equality of opportunity. But we do not suggest, and it would be foolish to do so, that everyone is born with the same degree of ability. But what is the system? Under the electoral laws of this country a vote represents one unit of electoral power. I am not very much interested, with great respect to the Noble Lord who represents Oxford University, as to whether the vote is a right, or whether it is a pubic function. I am rather disposed to agree with the Noble Lord, that, if we were among a gathering of lawyers, the general consensus of opinion would be that the vote is in essence a public function rather than a legal right, because a right, as far as lawyers are concerned, means something that you can enforce against another person. The vote is merely a unit of electoral power. We on this side of the House say that the ordinary citizen, man or woman, should be content to exercise one unit of electoral power, but, whether it be the business vote or the university vote, we have a system whereby a limited number of electors exercise two units of electoral power, and that we say is wrong.
While it may be true that, in the conference that was held in 1918, there was a consensus of opinion, which, at any rate, as far as one can ascertain, did not demonstrate any feeling against universities, may I remind the hon. Gentleman who represents the University of Cambridge, that the conference was composed of diverse elements all of whom were seeking something? They hammered out what was nothing more nor less than a compromise agreement, which was eventually embodied in the Representation of the People Act passed in that year. In any event, that was nearly 20 481 years ago. The Lord President of the Council wrote a book years ago expressing disagreement with university representation, and the suggestion is that he has changed his mind. I ask hon. Members on the opposite side of the House to realise that those who belong to my generation are not necessarily bound to accept everything that was done by the generations that have gone before. We seek to establish an electoral system whereby each man and woman over the age of 21 shall exercise one unit of electoral power, and no more. Hon. Members opposite who are afraid that the great question of education may suffer as a result of the deprivation of universities of the right to send 12 representatives to Parliament, need not be afraid of anything happening as far as we are concerned to damage or to weaken the educational system of this country. On the contrary, there is no organised party, either inside the House or outside, as anxious to strengthen and extend the system of education in this country as are the Members to be found sitting on this side of the House. We realise only too well, that one of the greatest obstacles with which we are faced to-day is that of ignorance. We want to see an intelligent and enlightened democracy. Therefore, if that is the fear of hon. Members opposite, I should like to reassure them upon that point.
Whatever may be the views of those who think that there is something to be said for plural voting, I think they will realise that we on this side have our point of view. We believe in a particular form of State, not the oligarchic State to which the Noble Lord referred some years ago. It is not a question of oligarchy, because an oligarchic State does not depend upon the consent of the people. The government of our people must rest on the consent of our people, and we wish to see that consent expressed in "One man, one woman, one unit of electoral power."
§ 4.46 p.m.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
This Debate has been interesting, particularly to those who recollect the last Debate which took place in 1930, because it is strikingly less animated by conviction and by expectation of success on the part of those who urge a change in our representative system. The heart has a good deal gone 482 out of the agitation against university representation in those five years. A good deal of the speech of the Mover of the Motion was occupied in reading from the past works of the Lord President of the Council. That was instructive and interesting. It is always rather fun to have a kind of rehearsal of the day of judgment, where somebody plays the part of the recording angel. We know that the Lord President of the Council has in some respects changed his opinions, and we also know that whether he has changed his opinions or not it makes no difference to the case for or against university representation. Perhaps he has not changed his opinions. If you have been a severe critic of the furniture of a room and think it in bad taste or inconvenient, it would not, surely, expose you to criticism if, suddenly feeling fatigued, you took a chair in the very room you had criticised.
I have been rather interested in trying to discover what was the underlying theory that lay behind the speeches of the hon. Member who moved the Motion and the hon. Member who has just spoken. I thank the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) for his very courteous and indeed very extravagant reference to myself. Nothing which either of those hon. Members said showed clearly what their theory of representation is, or what their theory of the value of education is. If education makes everyone reactionary and darkens the mind and makes a person not conspicuously fitted either to vote for or to sit in this House, I cannot see why we spend so much public money in, as it were, enticing the guileless youth of the country down the path of political incompetence. Hon. Members constantly speak of the advantage of university education. What is the advantage? If university voters are so incompetent, it would appear to be not an advantage but a disadvantage. They are worse off, so far as one can judge from the arguments of hon. Members. Therefore I think there is a certain inconsistency in that attitude. If education is really a valuable thing and increases efficiency, it is quite right to spend money in promoting it, and it is quite right to put a certain degree of confidence in those who have received it.
As to the theory of representation, the hon. Member for Kingswinford spoke of 483 electoral power, as if there was in his mind a conception of a kind of prodigious machine, full of cogs and pistons, which labours to develop power until the twenty million electors have elected 615 Members of this House, who all the time are acting under the impulse of this power. That may be a very pleasant dream, but it is only a dream and it bears no correspondence to reality at all. The voter does not, really govern the country. He does not really determine any political question and certainly he does not determine it in equal measure with other people.
§ Lord H. CECIL
No, I think it is more mechanical than a question of education. Consider the position of a, person who is a, convinced member of the Labour party but lives in Hertfordshire. How much control does he exercise over the Government of the country? He is always in a minority. He has the fun of going to the poll and making a mark on a paper every three or four years. That is all he has. The country will be governed in exactly the same way, despite his periodical marking of the paper, until the sad day comes and he passes beyond the confines of this world. Nothing is changed. He has exercised no power and when he goes no power is lost. It would be just the same if I lived in the county of Glamorgan, in one of the mining districts. I should have no electoral power whatever. I should start no chain of cogs and pistons which would ultimately operate in sending a Member to this House.
The function of the voter is only to choose between the candidates whom various active-minded people submit for his choice. Let me relate an experience of my own. In the General Election of 1906, when there were a very large number of political issues, one of the most prominent issues was between Free Trade and Tariff Reform. I was a Free Trader and a Unionist. When I went to record my vote in the city of Oxford, where I have chambers, I read the addresses of the two candidates who were offering themselves for election, and I found that I thoroughly disagreed with both of them. The extent of my electoral power was not to govern the country but to 484 choose which of my opinions was subordinated to the other one. I had no real share in the government of the country, but I had a perfectly real share in choosing the person who was to sit in the House of Commons. That illustrates the sound and unsound view of representation. If you think of representation as the delegated power of exercising political government, then our system is quite unreal. There is no effective control by the voters over the determination of political issues in Parliament, but if you think of the voters as choosing typical Commoners who are to speak in the name of the whole Commons of the realm, then they do fulfil a useful function. The whole House of Commons represents in a real sense the whole commonalty of the realm.
Nothing could be more unsound than to make power dependent on residence and dependent on the machinery of the choice of candidates. The determination of any particular electoral issue on the theory of mandates, which we sometimes have brought up in debate, is utterly indefensible. You cannot say that any particular Member is elected with a mandate to do something. Sometimes it happens that the most important questions arise long after the election, and he has therefore no mandate necessary from the electorate to decide them. Take the Great War. That was unforeseen at the election which took place before it. The Government which, having the confidence of the House of Commons, came into existence as a result of that election, had no thought of a, war in the near future, yet they had to decide what should be done in that great crisis, with the concurrence of the House of Commons. If you conceive the picture of a machine working through the electorate and through the decisions by the Cabinet the whole thing becomes absurd and unreal, but if you think of Members of this House as typical Commoners speaking in the name of the Commons of the realm then the system is a reality. We can then see the truth of it.
We had a striking exhibition recently of public opinion in regard to the proposed Hoare-Laval peace terms, when the whole public opinion of the country moved, and this House with it. That is true representation. The House of Commons is representative of the whole of the people. It is the Commons of the 485 realm by representation, and being the mirror of the public mind it reflects the public mind and makes it effective. That is the true view and it does not really matter whether one man has a larger or a smaller share, in the hon. Member's phrase, of electoral power. On this theory, disproportion of the constituencies matters little. It has no practical importance.
The real thing is that the House of Commons is a. body representing the community. It is really the mind of the Commonalty of the realm which is spoken by this House, and from that point of view there is a good deal to be said for university representation. If we were to change our representative system at all it would be better to pursue the model of university representation and divide our constituencies not according to geography but according to vocation. There is much to be said for the view that different professions, different classes of labour and so on, should each send their representatives to Parliament. In that way you would much more nearly reproduce the whole effect of the life of the community and make the House of Commons a microcosm of the whole Commons of the realm. But such a change would be too drastic to consider at the present time.
Are we, therefore, not wise to keep this one example by which these professional classes are able to send to Parliament Members who will fulfil the purpose of representation as representing the whole Commons of the Realm? Do not let us make the mistake of thinking that we represent particular constituencies. As Burke said: "I am a Member of Parliament; I am not a Member of Bristol." We are Members of the Commons House of Parliament, which represents the whole commonalty. In that aspect is it not desirable to have, as Members of this House, persons, some with academic distinctions and others possessing other distinctions, well known to the professional classes of this country and trusted by that class? Is it not worth while to have them here, not representing the whole of the Commons but contributing their share to the functions of the Commons House of Parliament?
I am glad that the Scottish Universities have lately chosen the Lord President of the Council. I think it is one of the valuable things of such representation that it can choose an eminent man who 486 by the accident of elections in other constituencies has not a seat in this House. It is perfectly in accord with the traditions of university representation that distinguished statesmen not being Members of this House can be chosen by the universities, and thus work for the common good. If hon. Members would rise above partisan sentiment they would not suggest that it is desirable for any eminent man to be permanently excluded from this House—I do not speak of his own interests but in the interests of the Commons of the Realm. Therefore, I am glad of that election. I think it belongs to a good tradition. It is not by making our system uniform, always putting the same sort of burden on the representative, always turning out the same type of representatives, making it more and more difficult for people of weak health and advanced years to bear the strain of sitting in Parliament—it is not in that way that we shall add to the efficiency of the House of Commons. Dismiss from your minds that the vote is a right. Think of it as a public function—the function of choosing those who are to represent the whole Commons of the Realm and all the difficulties which hon. Members feel about university representation will dissolve and pass away.
If these particular considerations relating to university representation have some weight has not also the more general consideration, that the present time is singularly inopportune for tinkering with the great inheritance which has come down to us. Parliamentary government succeeds here; it can hardly be said to be successful in any other country. It has been cast aside in some great countries and in other countries it works uneasily and not with the sort of acceptance which we should desire here. In the United States a different form of democratic government, one which does not inspire our envy at any rate, has been set up. Is it not better then to rejoice that we are so fortunate as we are, that we have a Parliamentary system which safeguards liberty and forwards progress, and which makes many things from which other countries suffer quite out of the question. It is one of the merits of our representative system that while we differ about many things we agree about many other things incomparably more important than those about which we 487 differ. Any real attack on personal liberty, any really harsh confiscation of private property, any tyranny to the individual, is out of the question, I think, in the judgment of any political party. That is because we represent the mind of the whole people.
The Commons of the realm are here by representation. Do not let us spoil by meddlesome amendments what is working so well. Let us retain with pride and thankfulness that which has given us so much liberty and so much security, and be thankful that we cling as it were to a stable rock in the midst of a turbulent world and that while we look out on oppression and cruelty and servitude we are safe, for ours is the citadel of liberty, the home of progress.
§ 5.4 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I cannot hope to follow the Noble Lord into the clarified atmosphere into which he ascended. It was a good speech. I can imagine it having been delivered with equal force and to a large extent unchanged in form and when the first proposals were brought before this House to extend the franchise to ordinary working men. The Noble Lord sees Parliament in a different light from that in which I see it. The story of this House, as I see it, is a long continuous struggle by the majority of the people for some say, however, indirect, in decisions which affect their own destiny, and, secondly, having got that say, to use their power to redress the social grievances under which they labour. As I see the political history of the last 100 years it is the attempt of the majority of the people living in poverty, and at that time denied a say in the government of the country, gradually forcing their way into this representative Assembly and then, having got here, using their power as representatives in this Assembly to extract some measure of social and economic freedom for themselves.
I cannot see that in that struggle the common people have received the assistance from enlightened university representatives which in my younger days I imagined they would be only too glad to give. Then I saw education as the great liberator, and I gather from the interruption behind me that the hon. Member thinks still that educational institutions are the great liberators of the people. 488 I regret to have to say that in this House I have not seen university representatives taking the lead either for freedom or social justice, or standing boldly on behalf of the bottom dog. Ii, the years I have been in this House you could always count, on every proposal to improve social conditions, on 10 out of 12 university votes being cast for the meaner rather than for the more generous proposal. Quite frankly I dismiss the whole theory of and justification for university repreresentation as a theoretical consideration. I am not concerned very seriously with it. I am doing my best to abolish university representation in this House because I know from experience, as other hon. Members know, that it has always been a majority bloc flung on to the reactionary side.
§ Mr. MAXTON
There have been exceptional cases, I admit, where university Members have broken out in surprising places, and I am hoping great things in the direction of freedom from the hon. Member who has most recently come into the House—though his particular friends of freedom are not those for which I have any special need. I say quite definitely that, generally speaking, university representation here, from the point of view of the social struggle of the poor, has been a reactionary representation; in other words, anti-working class representation, and, therefore, I am going to do my best to get rid of people who constantly do their best to keep back the progress of those things which I want to see progress. That is a good, adequate and perhaps pragmatic reason for opposing university representation. I have to thank the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J Withers) for allowing me to know the origins of this business. I have always meant to dig up and find out just how this started and who the madman was who did start it. I am grateful to the hon. Member for saving me a somewhat painful research. I gather that it was James I, who was appalled at the general ignorance of the English people when he arrived here. I can imagine him, as he surveyed his new Kingdom, saying, "Are there no intelligent people here at all? There is a university at Oxford and at Cambridge and, presumably, they have some sort of standard of intelligence."
§ Mr. BELLENGER
Is it in order for the hon. Member to introduce this national spirit into our discussion?
§ Mr. MAXTON
The real reason, I understand, for this discussion is the Scottish universities. That was 300 years ago, and I am quite prepared to believe that there was a considerable cultural gap between a university man and a man who had not been to a university. I do not know; but, at any rate, at that time there was a thing called "Benefit of Clergy," which entitled a university man to commit murder and all sorts of other crimes and get away with it soft.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Yes, instead of being hanged; a reasonable option. If he was able to pass the test he escaped hanging. No doubt there was a cultural gulf, an intellectual difference, between a man who had been to a university and a man who had not, 300 years ago. Is there a cultural gulf now? Is there any gulf of any moment between a young fellow who has attended a good secondary school in an industrial town until 17 years of age and his chum who has spent three years at a university and got a degree? I do not know very closely the ways in which men enter different professions, but in the case of the chartered accountants I understand that a large proportion of the entrants do not take a university degree, although they may take a university course. The same applies to a marked proportion of those who engage in the legal profession, the solicitors branch and the barristers branch. In neither of these is the possession of a university degree an essential qualification for practice, and in the Army, I understand, that the officer class have a long and extended school course and then what is equivalent to a university course in a special military college. The same thing applies also to the Navy, and to other walks of life, where education of one kind or another up to the age of 21 or 22, which is the normal age of taking a university degree, is given. They have no special vote on educational grounds, whereas those who have gone to the university and taken a degree have this extra vote given them.
I am not prepared to prophesy what will be the future development of the 490 universities, but my own idea is that in future far more people will go to universities to obtain a special brand of knowledge—special training and experience in a particular subject—and will not worry about the taking of a degree. They will go to a particular school or college for specialised education in specialised branches of knowledge, and it will be considered that the general cultural side of education, which is now supposed to be represented by a degree, will have been adequately met by the secondary or grammar school education. I think that to-day it is preposterous and impertinent for a university man to come forward before the remainder of the citizens of this country and demand extra electoral power and extra Parliamentary representation on the grounds that he stands for something superior and particular.
We are in the fortunate position that in my small party of four, two of us—50 per cent., a very high percentage—have academic qualifications. The hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) and I have them. Two Members of the party are proletarians. I wish I could make the two proletarians see that with such a deep intellectual gulf separating us they should unquestioningly follow my leadership on the grounds of my superior intellectuality. That would make life infinitely easier and more pleasant, but I do not think it would make the work of the party in this House the efficient thing that it undoubtedly is.
If the claim is made that the universities have a special influence in the community that requires and deserves to be specially represented here, I would ask for the reasons. There are in the community other great aggregations of much more importance. Why should the Stock Exchange not be given special representation? [An HON. MEMBER: "It has now."] We do not provide specially for it—it just manages to get here. [An Hon. MEMBER: "Why not the football pools?" Yes, why not the football pools? Why not the elementary schools of the country, which represent a far bigger interest than the universities? Why not engineering, shipbuilding and mines? There are hundreds of interests in this country which include as many individuals within their scope and which are as essential a part of the national life as the universities.
491 I have good friends and amiable colleagues among the university representatives in this House, but I am not prepared to provide for them any better facilities for coming here than are provided for myself. I should be sorry to lose them if university representation was abolished, but there are 600 other constituencies to which they can go, with their superior culture, if any, with their special appeal, if any, with their power to sway the minds of the masses, and with their superior intellectual eminence. They can go to any one of these constituencies and have the same political machine behind them, for the most obvious thing about the Scottish University elections was that it was not a university election. It was not a university thinking in the interests of the university or concerning itself about the interests of advanced education in this country that returned the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council; it was the Conservative party implementing what it regarded as an honourable bargain entered into by it on a basis of give-and-take. The Conservative party went to the graduates of the Scottish Universities and made them do violence to their own conscience and to their own intellectual beliefs.
§ Mr. BAXTER
Does the hon. Member suggest that Scottish graduates have so little character that they answered to the crack of the whip of the party machine?
§ Mr. MAXTON
One of the extraordinary things about Scottish graduates is that in that respect they are exactly the same as English graduates. Just as in this House the hon. Member, with all his character and with all his capacities, will 99 times out of 100 obey the crack of a whip, so the Conservatives of the Scottish Universities obeyed the crack of the whips of the Conservative party. Let hon. Members read the correspondence in the newspapers and they will see how men were writhing in agony. Perhaps the best argument against the university vote is that there is not a single hon. Member on the opposite side of the House who believes that a university man has a conscience or political intelligence that is anything more than a subject for laughter. My own personal friends—conscientious Conservatives, if hon. Members opposite 492 understand the term, and not fellows who laugh at the idea of a conscientious Conservative—were torn between two things, either to give expression to their own political and intellectual conscience or to obey the tremendous pressure of a party machine. Scotland at least knows that the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council was not returned because he was regarded as being particularly capable of looking after academic interests; he was returned by the Scottish Universities because the Conservative machine told the Universities to return him.
§ Mr. BAXTER
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member again. Is it not possible that the graduates of the Scottish Universities felt that the defeat of the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council was a national stigma and that they returned him to this House in recognition of his great services to the nation and in order to wipe out what many of us on this side regard as an electoral blunder and misfortune?
§ Mr. MAXTON
That may appear to be quite an attractive and plausible reason to some hon. Members. I could find a hundred and one very plausible reasons, but I am giving the reason which the majority of the Scottish University men know to be the true one and which the majority of the Members of this House know to be the true one. It may have been perfectly legitimate from the point of view of the exigencies of government, it may have been perfectly sound and proper for the Government machine to wish to maintain its standing in the country and to present the appearance of being an all-party united front, it may have been that the Prime Minister felt his own personal honour to be involved—but I say that in doing that the Conservative party demonstrated more clearly than ever that the universities are centres from which political reaction flows, and centres from which we should try to take away representation as an enemy camp which has to be rooted out before working-class progress can be made.
§ 5.25 p.m.
§ Mr. J. G. KERR
One of the most charming experiences that a new Member has in this House is to learn of the generous indulgence which is granted to one who makes his first speech. I fully 493 anticipate that indulgence, but I rather anticipate that it will be given to me in a double degree, for I am one of those unhappy people whose early execution is asked for by this Motion. I confess that I have not been much moved, although I was greatly interested, by some of the arguments that have been put forward, some of them being of antiquarian interest and others theoretical. My special interest is neither in looking back into the past history of university representation nor in looking forward to its future. What interests me rather is whether or not this House feels that on the whole it gets from university representation something that is worth having.
It seems to me that university representation probably appeals to many Members of this House for two different reasons. In the first place, it appeals to them from the point of view of education in general. There is nobody who does not realise the tremendous part played by education in present-day history. There is no one here who has not during these last few weeks learned that many of the most admirable speeches in this House are delivered by the representatives of education, some of them by Members who have been teachers and others by Members who have been connected with administrative bodies. Many of those admirable speeches have been delivered by real experts in school education. But we also know that the universities, far from being reactionary, are really centres of progress in many respects. I feel sure that many Members of the House believe that it is only right that the universities should be represented, and that that representation should not be confined merely to those who happen to have spent three or four years in taking a university degree, and who, of course, are in no way expressly qualified to represent the university point of view, any more than are the great majority who spend years in the schools competent to express the point of view of education as regards the schools.
Apart from that general argument, there is a more special one which will, I think, appeal to many, and it is that university representation affords a means of bringing into the House recruits of a kind which would not otherwise be available. During recent days I have seen opposite me the representatives of a great 494 party, a party great in quality although unhappily few in number. I have heard the oratorical artistry of Bridgeton. I have listened to the mellifluous accents of Camlachie. I have heard the heartfelt expostulations of Gorbals. I have the resounding periods of Shettleston. As I listened to them I could not help feeling how absurd it would be for a retiring scholar, emerging from the cloisters of Gilmore Hill, to have any hope of getting the suffrages of the electors in an ordinary constituency. It is only by this easier method that these untutored men from the universities have any chance whatever of gaining entrance to this House.
I rather think there are many in this House who feel that these people, ineffective though they may be in many of the great electoral arts, ineffective though they may, perhaps, prove in this Chamber, may yet have their useful function in more obscure although not unimportant departments. Take the case of science, which appeals to me particularly. We all know how our present-day civilisation is infiltrated by science and the enormous power of science in the community. I think there are some in this House who believe that it is worth while to have representatives of general science in Parliament. I can imagine that some of the more cynical Members of the House might regard the representation of academic science as a not unimportant factor, in immunising the community against till effects from science itself. It is, unhappily, the case that science, like all other departments of progress, tends, as it moves on, to become more and more specialised, and it is unhappily also the case that to be a good specialist one must concentrate on a special aspect of a subject, thereby probably losing a sense of proportion. The scientific specialist, like the specialist in any other department, is convinced that his own speciality is the most important of all and that attitude, although it brings progress, also involves danger. As I say, I rather think that many Members of the House feel that, even as a safeguard against possible ills arising from science, the representatives of academic science are not ineffective. I venture to hope that there are many Members in this House who, instead of agreeing with the hon. Member opposite, that university representation ought to be brought to an end, will feel rather that if university representation has not 495 earned their admiration it is at all events worthy of a reprieve.
§ 5.33 p.m.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I take this opportunity of congratulating the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Graham Kerr) on a very reasoned and thoughtful speech. I am sure we shall all be glad to hear him on many future occasions, but he will forgive me if I find myself unable to agree with some of his arguments. He drew a touching picture of the academic man of culture, who would be utterly at sea if he had to appeal to mass meetings on Clydeside or in any other great industrial centre. He asked us to take pity on such a man, who would be a desirable acquisition to this House, and to provide him with some means of getting here. I suggest to the hon. Member that there are already splendid avenues to this House for such representatives. The Noble Lord who now represents the University of Oxford (Lord H. Cecil) once found a refuge in the City of London. There are other harbours to be found in Chelsea, in South Kensington, in Hillhead, in Bournemouth and places like that, where a candidate with the hall-mark of respectability, such as a university professor, will certainly receive the suffrages of the electorate.
I wish to counter one or two of the special pleading arguments used by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University. He gave us, as he always does, a brilliant dialectical speech but it contained little argument in favour of university representation. It was an indictment of democracy itself. He pointed out the difficulties and anomalies of democracy. I think we are all familiar with those, but we are concerned to-day not with the general defects of democracy but with the particular defects of university representation. We are not to be drawn off into a general discussion on democracy when we are considering that particular evil. He threw doubt on the whole theory of democratic government by suggesting that the electorate did not control legislation. I would recall the vote taken on this issue in 1931 when we were considering legislation to abolish university representation. That issue was decided by a majority of four and in the majority vote on that occasion, against the proposals to abolish 496 university representation were these 12 university votes. There is a clear illustration, a case in which the plural vote of the university materially affected legislation in this House. Our objection to university representation, however, is on broader grounds. Anyone who has been connected with the democratic party knows how heavily the scales are weighted against the poor.
§ Mr. H. G. WILLIAMS
Will the hon. Gentleman inform us which party he means when he refers to "the democratic party?"
§ Mr. THURTLE
I speak for the party of which I am a member, the democratic party. I say that, even now, in other respects, the scales are weighted tremendously against the poor. There is the wealth of our opponents, all the enormous social influence, the mass of the newspapers, motor cars and all those things which democracy, even now, has to contend with in trying to get its aspirations represented in this House. University representation is one other little weight in the scales. There could be no better description of the university constituencies than that they are pocket boroughs of reaction. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If you consider the record of the university representatives over a long period you will find that they have been, almost without exception, champions of the reactionary standpoint. It is not surprising that that should be so. It has been suggested that in recent years there has been a change in the character of the university electors. The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J Withers) almost suggested that large numbers of them might be said to represent the working-class or the petty bourgeoisie. I do not know whether I am to accept as an authority the hon. Member for Cambridge University, or the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University, who went out of his way to tell us that the university representatives were really the representatives of the professional class.
§ Sir J. WITHERS
As an instance of the truth of what I said, may I tell the hon. Member that a considerable number of young men, who are at present undergraduates in Cambridge, are the children of parents who are actually on unemployment pay.
§ Mr. THURTLE
They must be rare cases. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] They are sufficiently abnormal not to be taken seriously into account. As to the suggestion that there has been a change in the character of the university electorate I would put this point. It may be that young men going to the university towns, and coming into contact with university associations, have generous aspirations and enthusiasms, and come into contact for the first time with the realities of life and learn something of the hardships of the working people. Their imaginations are attracted and many of them become identified with more or less progressive movements. There have been large memberships in university labour clubs and even more advanced clubs. But it would be wrong to regard that change as typical of the university electorate.
Human nature being what it is, responds to its environment and when those earnest young men leave the universities and go back to their natural social surroundings, in the great agricultural estate or among the professional classes, or in similar circles, they tend to lose the advanced political views held by them earlier and to adopt once again the attitude and outlook of the typical Conservative. The present Minister of Agriculture was, I believe, in his university days an ardent Fabian. He has gone back to his true spiritual home. There is another Member of the Government who, as a young university man, fired by the feelings I have described, went to Toynbee Hall and spent, I think, a brief year there. He soon went back to his spiritual home and is now a Member of the National Government. We are not going to attach any importance to the suggestion that the electorate of the universities has seriously changed, but I put this question to hon. Members. Is it not true that the universities, as such, represent an outlook which is behind the times? [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."]
The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University will realise that his university is known as the home of lost causes. It is so known not because of any great pioneering spirit that it has shown, or because it has championed something in the teeth of the opposition of the age, something which it believes to be true. No, it has been so called because it champions causes which the country as a 498 whole regards as antiquated. It is true to say—the reverse of what is said about Lancashire—that what Oxford thinks today the rest of the country thought 50 years ago. There was a short time ago when my belief that Oxford was the home of reaction weakened to some extent, and that was when, to my astonishment and surprise, I found that the new junior Member (Mr. Alan Herbert) had been elected. I thought that was a sign of grace on the part of Oxford University that it should elect a young libertarian champion like that hon. Gentleman, but I remembered that even he could not avoid subscribing general support to this reactionary National Government.
If ever there was a case for university representation in the old days, that case becomes more and more remote, because what is the characteristic change which has taken place in this House in the last 30 or 40 years? It is that instead of being concerned with purely political or academic questions, it is concerned more and more with social and economic problems and with human relationships, and if there is one kind of person less fitted than another to deal with these social, economic and human problems, it is the academic person who normally represents the universities of this country. I will conclude by saying that in my judgment there is no justification whatever for allowing this anomaly of university representation to continue. It was conceived in snobbery, on a class basis. [An HON. MEMBER: "In 1600?"] Even in 1600 I have no doubt there were very marked class distinctions. It has been nurtured, and it is nurtured to-day, by sheer self-interest, and it is time it was swept away.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Sir ERNEST GRAHAM-LITTLE
The "Times" of yesterday suggested that the reason why this Motion was being brought forward was to have some fun at the expense of the Lord President of the Council. That fun is very materially diminished by the absence of the right hon. Gentleman, but if the attack is really a serious attack, and I suppose we must assume that that is the case, surely there are some quite sound arguments to put before the House for the retention of the university franchise. I would say that the charter for the university franchise is not the Act of 1603, 499 but the great Franchise Act of 1918, which was the outcome of a very serious and important conference of the then existing parties known as the Speaker's Conference. In that conference, as has been mentioned, an agreement was reached as a result of which the university representation, which at that time was nine Members, was increased to 12. I would point out that the other parts of that agreement have been kept, and what is the justification for nullifying this part of the agreement which concerns the university franchise?
It has been obvious, both this afternoon and more particularly in the Debate in 1931, that there are two views as to what the purpose and the meaning of the vote should be. We have the view, so eloquently expressed both in 1931 and to-day by the senior Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil), that the vote is a function to be exercised with deliberate care, intelligence, and knowledge to further the good government of the country, and that a vote obtained in that way will send to the House of Commons a representative Assembly which will reproduce the general complexion of citizenship throughout the country. In that Assembly, as the Noble Lord pointed out, the university representatives play a very definite part.
The opposite view, very fully and very ably expounded in 1931 by the then Home Secretary, now the right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes), is the view that the vote is a means of remedying social inequalities and should be used in that way, and that the less equipped, the poorer the individual may be, the greater should be his power of exercising that privilege of voting called this afternoon "the unit of electoral power." In the Debate in 1931 one Member of the Labour party expressed that view very definitely. It was a Lady Member not now in the House, but her view was that the voting power should be in proportion to the need of the person recording the vote, and she said quite distinctly that she would give 10 or 20 votes to every member of the unemployed. That argument surely is capable of being put to quite absurd extremes. The most afflicted, the most wretched members of our community, I would describe as the mental defectives, and unfortunately, they are a largely increasing quantity. Are they to have all 500 the votes because they are the people who are most unable to protect themselves? That is where that argument, I think, leads.
I would like to make some mention of the changes which have taken place at the universities in respect to their democratic complexion and these are not expressions of opinion, but are founded upon figures. There was a very interesting report made in 1931 on the constitution of the undergraduate body at various universities. The undergraduate body in some of the Northern universities was found to contain 80 per cent. of students coming from working-class houses, and the percentage is about as high as that in many of the modern universities. At Oxford and Cambridge, which may be regarded as being the homes of privilege—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear !"] Wait until I have finished. In those universities the same change is taking place. There are more students at those universities coming from poor homes than from rich homes, and that ratio is increasing daily, so that it is quite untrue of the universities to regard them as the playgrounds of the rich.
The university representatives, it has been said—and, I suppose, quite fairly—have been less distinguished persons in the present than in past times. We had a history behind us 30 or 40 years ago of very great figures representing the universities. That is possibly to be explained, not as the fault of the universities, but by changed conditions. It is very difficult for a. man who is immersed in science or one who has received recognition and success in his own profession to come to the House of Commons, which means a very considerable sacrifice of time, of money, and of health. But that sacrifice is still made, and I contend that as long as that obtains, that representation is worth preserving. It is not true that the party machine is so predominant in university elections, and I can perhaps give my own experience in that regard. I have fought all the party machines in four elections, and I have beaten them all. I have never relied myself upon the party machine, and it is obvious that party ties do not have that predominating power which is present in the ordinary elections. It is quite common for a university elector to say, "I am going to vote for 501 my party in my residential qualification, but for my university qualification I shall use my own judgment, and I shall vote for that person who I think will advance the university best in Parliament."
Again, it has been said, and I think truly, that university representation does provide a means of bringing to the House some few persons who would not come otherwise. The expense of fighting a general election in an ordinary constituency is not, and cannot be, sustained by most university men. They are not a rich community as a rule, and it is gratifying to note that the pecuniary resources of a candidate are not considered in making a selection. How often is that the case with ordinary constituencies, where it is very common to find that a man is selected because he can spend money in his constituency? Is this the time to make this change? What have been the reasons adduced to-day for making such a change? I cannot see any very obvious argument that has been put forward so far. I do not think myself that this is a very serious attack, but I hope it will not succeed.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
I hesitate to rush in among so many distinguished academic representatives, but I think a word should be said on behalf of the party which has always been particularly associated with Parliamentary reform. I rise to say that my friends and myself support the Motion that is on the Paper, but that does not mean that we associate ourselves necessarily with all the observations which have fallen from hon. Members above the Gangway. Particularly I do not associate myself, if I may say so, with the observations that fell from the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle), who proceeded to use every stale gibe he could think of against the University of Oxford. He said it was the home of lost causes—a phrase we have often heard before; and that it was 50 years behind other parts of the country. In these days, I think, Oxford is becoming known, not as the home of lost causes, but as the university where most of the Labour leaders send their sons if they can. Only recently a degree was conferred upon the son of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood), who was saying "Hear, hear" to the phrase "home of privilege" a few minutes ago; 502 and also upon the son of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps).
The question we have to discuss to-night, however, is not the universities, but the university franchise, and the issue before the House is a very simple one: We have here a certain class of voters; are they to be permitted to have this additional representation? That is the issue which the House has to decide. Are they entitled to this particular form of fancy franchise? This is the class which already enjoys by far the greatest degree of political influence. It has been pointed out that a great number of Members of this House, whatever their political complexions may be, are always graduates of one or other of the universities, but the influence does not stop short at this House. The influence of the universities is very considerable in the ordinary constituencies throughout the land. I ask hon. Members to think of any village or small town with which they happen to be acquainted, and to consider who are the graduates in such a district. The graduates, who are the people who enjoy this additional franchise, are generally people of considerable influence in the neighbourhood in which they live. It will be generally found that the local doctor or the lawyer or the parson possess a university degree and is therefore a university vote. These are the very people, however, who are able to sway support from one party to another, that is to say, they are the very people who have a great political influence at the present time, and that fact makes it all the more unjustified that they should have this additional franchise bestowed upon them.
Those who have spoken in the Debate on the other side have tried to justify their attitude on the ground that voters in the universities have some particular quality. Can it really be said—I am not referring to the present representation—that the university voters have shown in the past such extraordinary political perspicacity that they should be entitled to a vote more than anyone else? The franchise can only be justified if the electors of the universities have in fact sent distinguished men who would not get here by any other means. We have had a speech from the Noble Lord the senior Member for Oxford University 503 (Lord Hugh Cecil), of which I happen to be one of the voters, and we shall all agree that in sending the Noble Lord to this House the University of Oxford has done itself honour. I am not sure, however, that it has always exercised the same degree of care in the choice of its other representatives. I am not making charges against the junior Member for Oxford University (Mr. Alan Herbert). While I do not want to introduce any personalities into the Debate, I would say that if any one in any part of the House were asked who was the most distinguished candidate, apart from the Noble Lord, offering himself for election for the University of Oxford during the last 10 or 15 years, there must be only one reply—Professor Gilbert Murray, who was a candidate on one or two occasions. There is not a Member in any part of the House who would not have been glad to see Professor Murray a Member of the House, and who would not have thought that this Assembly was enriched by his presence. Why was he not sent here? Not because he was not a distinguished man or was a man who ought not to have been in the House, but simply because he did not belong to the Conservative party and was not prepared to endorse its views.
It is a fact that a large number—I do not say necessarily the majority—of the university electors have shown themselves some of the most hide-bound partisan voters in the country. Until 1918, when there was introduced in the universities a system of proportional representation, I think I am right in saying that no one but a Conservative was ever sent to the House as a university Member. If one wants to see the kind of vote which is given by a great number of people to whom we entrust this additional franchise, it is not necessary to look further than the events of a few years ago. I would remind the House of what took place in the University of Oxford at the Chancellor's election of 1925 or 1926, when the first candidate to be nominated was Lord Oxford. I do not believe that any Member of the House will differ from me when I say that he was, in the words used by the late Lord Birkenhead, the most distinguished living Oxonian, and that there was no one better fitted for that post. Another candidate was put in the field at the last moment 504 simply in order to keep Lord Oxford out, and a great many of the more backward of the country clergy on the day of the election streamed in from places hundreds of miles around for the sole purpose of defeating Lord Oxford, not because they had anything against him personally, but simply because he was not a member of the Conservative party.
I think that a great number of those who are graduates, as I am, of the University of Oxford think that that was a lamentable decision which brought no credit upon the university. Although the electorate for choosing the Chancellor of the University is smaller, and although it is not the same register as the electorate for Members of Parliament, nevertheless, the people who were responsible for that decision are a considerable body of those to whom we entrust this additional franchise. Did they show at that time that particular impartiality, that appreciation of individual worth, apart from partisan considerations, which we are told to look for in the university electors?
The argument was put forward by the Noble Lord that the recent return to the House by the Scottish Universities of the Lord President of the Council was something to the credit of the Scottish Universities. I agree that it was a good thing that a man of the distinction of the Lord President should be able to find his way back into the House. The Noble Lord said that highly distinguished men should not be permanently excluded. I agree, and if the university constituencies acted in that way, as a means by which we could get back distinguished men who, by some electoral accident, happened to be out, university representation would be amply justified. Would the Lord President of the Council, however, for all his distinguished record and for all his services to the State on one side or the other, have been returned by the electors of the Scottish Universities if he had not been a supporter of the present Government? I referred just now to Lord Oxford, and I think that one of the greatest losses that this House has ever sustained was the defeat of Mr. Asquith, as he was then, at Paisley in 1924.
§ Mr. FOOT
I understood he was defeated by a Member of the party to which the hon. Gentleman belongs. I think that everybody agreed that that was a loss to Parliament. Everybody knows that it would not have been possible for Lord Oxford to go to one of the ancient universities or to the Scottish Universities and get back to the House by that means. I think it is also a matter of agreement that in 1931 a great many people, while they rejoiced at the defeat of the Socialist party, regretted that so many of the party's ablest leaders should have been for the time excluded from the House. It was a great loss to the House that the late Mr. Arthur Henderson should have been prevented for a year or two from taking part in our deliberations. There would not have been the slightest chance, however, of his being returned for any university constituency. When the argument is put forward that this method enables us sometimes to bring back distinguished men whom we would like to see, let us remember that it cuts only one way and in favour of only one side.
Some interesting observations fell from the Noble Lord on the electoral system. He rather approved, I think, of the principle of vocational representation. He then quoted Burke's famous speech in which he said, he was not the Member for Bristol but a Member of the House of Commons. It seemed to me there was some contradiction in those two ideas, because in a system of vocational representation each Member would automatically become a Member for a trade or profession and would receive mandates for certain things from that trade or profession; and it would destroy or, at any rate, greatly weaken the idea of a House of Commons which Burke put forward and of which most of us still approve. The Noble Lord referred to the miserable plight of a Labour voter in Hertfordshire or to his own position if he were an elector in the county of Glamorgan. That naturally appeals to those of us who sit in this part of the House, and I would ask the Noble Lord to consider the still more miserable plight of a Liberal elector living in the Abbey Division of Westminster.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) used the phrase, "one man, one unit of electoral power," which is an intellectual 506 way of saying "one man, one vote." I presume he means an equal unit of electoral power. I agree with what the Noble Lord had to say about the disfranchised elector in certain parts of the country, and I agree with the necessity of each voter having an equal unit of electoral power. I hope, however, that both the hon. Members above the Gangway and the Noble Lord will be prepared to follow out their ideas to their logical conclusion, for we must remember that there are great sections of opinion which have, not double representation, but no representation at all, because of the unjust workings of our electoral system. I hope that the Government will consider the matter, and consider it as part of the greater and vital question of electoral reform.
§ 6.15 p.m.
I find myself to-day in sympathy with those to whom I am often opposed and opposed to those with whom I am often in sympathy, but I have listened to none of the speeches in this Debate with greater astonishment than to that of the junior Member for. Dundee (Mr. Foot). He speaks as a representative of the once great Liberal party which always stood—of recent years —for the principle of minority representation. It has been the disaster of the Liberal party that it has only been able to perceive flaws in the electoral system when those flaws told against its own party. If the Liberal party had taken its chance years ago, when it was in power, to introduce Proportional Representation it would not have been in the position in which it is to-day. There would have been much less need to plead for the retention of the university vote, which rests very largely on the need for some form of minority representation. I know perfectly well that those who have spoken in favour of this Motion sincerely believe that they are representatives of progress and stand for the future. I suggest that they are living in the past, and that they are using arguments which are characteristic of those who have allowed themselves too little time to think and therefore have to use cliches, long out-worn, based on facts which have either already ceased to be true or are rapidly ceasing to be true.
What is the idea underlying this jealousy of university representation which from time to time springs up? 507 Obviously it is the idea that property and wealth and social position have too much influence and too much power already. So they have, but they do not owe it to their place in the representative system, but they get it in spite of that place. What are the facts about the representative system? There is only one Member of this House, as far as I know, the Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), who ostensibly stands for the principle known as the dictatorship of the proletariat, unless the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and his little group hold that particular view. The rest of the Opposition, both Oppositions, ostensibly do not ask that the underdog shall be the only person allowed to bark, but that the under-dog should do his fair share of barking. In effect, the representative system in this country today gives far more than that. It establishes in actual fact what is very nearly a real dictatorship of the proletariat.
What is a dictator? Is not a dictator a person who controls the Government and can change the laws if he so desires? And the proletariat, meaning by that term of course the weekly wage earners, their dependants, and persons of a similar economic status—there is nothing either derogatory or admirable in the term "proletariat," it simply describes a particular economic status—have just got that power to control the Government if they wish and to change the laws if they wish. They form the majority of voters, do they not, in nearly every constituency in the country? Indeed, I believe that if it were possible to have a census of the economic status of every constituency it might be found that even in those so-called middle-class constituencies which are permanently safe Tory seats the majority of voters are of proletarian status. The Representation of the People Act, 1927, was an admirable Act, it enfranchised women, but the change made in the balance of the electorate was due to the fact that it enfranchised domestic servants, and the effect of that on the proletarian majority has passed strangely unnoticed.
It is a fact of simple arithmetic that there is nothing to prevent the proletarians electing a Parliament composed almost exclusively of members of their own status, pledged to bring about any changes whatever which the persons of 508 that status desire; but why do they not do it? The hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) says, "We are looking forward to that." Why has it not happened already, when for many years the proletarians have been in the majority in the majority of constituencies? I suggest that it has not happened for two reasons, one a bad reason and one a good reason. The bad reason is that because proletarians, from no fault of their own, are so imperfectly educated they are easily bamboozled by candidates who can give them motor-cars and subscribe handsomely to football clubs, and are swayed by any cry which the opposite party machine can manage to get across the footlights. The good reason is that the British people are instinctively very cautious and very gradualist by natural temperament. The British public does not want to be hustled along too fast by people who promise it the millennium, and, also, it has a real respect for education and mistrusts the limitations of its own knowledge, and hence it seems to have a preference for persons who have received a superior, or at any rate a different and greater amount of, education.
The result of those two factors working together is that every enlargement of the franchise has always resulted in returning at first a much smaller proportion of the persons actually enfranchised than anybody expected, either the proposers of the change or the opponents of the change. Hence, even now the genuinely working-class representatives are in a minority, though in a steadily increasing number, and I expect the majority of those sitting above me would welcome the day when their numbers became proportionate to the electorates who return them. This helps to conceal from the public a fact, which is nevertheless a fact, that except through the university franchise the present Constitution provides no security at all for the direct representation in this House of what are sometimes called the middle and upper classes, but are much more the professional grades and the upper grades in industry and commerce, which are mainly recruited from university graduates.
Members of the professions, lawyers, doctors, and people very high up in commerce, are in this House, plenty of them, perhaps in too large numbers, but they are not elected by members of their 509 own class but are here by favour of the proletariat, and at any time that favour may be withdrawn. It is often argued that because the majority of the voters do return plenty of professional people, plenty of members of the learned professions and the upper grades, that we ought to be satisfied that those professions and those grades do not need any security from direct representation. I am a woman and I belonged, for the greater part of my life, to a grade that had not at that time either votes or anything except its influence to depend upon. We were always told that it was all right because we could influence men and from men we could get all we wanted. In the same way, the middle and upper classes and the learned professions are told that they do not need the security of direct representation because they can get representation enough through the favour of the proletarians. I suggest, if we take a broad view, if we really think of the theory of democracy, that that is not satisfactory.
What we want is a Parliament which represents all the grades of the community, which represents them not because they are wealthy but represents every aspect that can contribute something important to the structure of society. If you have a Parliament which only represents one class, even if it is the majority class, I say that that Parliament is not a true picture, is not a true mirror of the people. It is just about as much the mirror of the people as—I remember saying this here once before—a pot of Bovril is a true representation of an ox. I know that some people say "Well, what more do you want? We are not proposing to take away votes from graduates but suggesting that they shall no longer have representatives of their own." Does the House realise what percentage of the voting strength graduates have in ordinary territorial constituencies? It was reckoned a few years ago that there were, on the average, 300 graduates to an average territorial constituency of 50,000 votes. I suppose that now there are 400 graduates to such a constituency. What sort of real chance of representation does 300 out of 50,000 give? What sort of chance have they of securing that the men who are returned shall really think of the interests of this particular grade?
510 It is not so with any other of the big industrial occupations. Mining, textiles, fishing, and agriculture are all localised occupations. There are so many people in the different localities where those industries are carried on that they can practically return a representative directly to this House and we know perfectly well that when a debate is going on on agriculture, or mining, or fishing, the benches are crowded with the representatives of those particular industries and occupations, who speak directly for them and know all about them. Because the members of the professional occupations are so scattered, they cannot secure even a single direct representative of their own except through the university vote. I agree with the statement of the Noble Lord that in this Parliament we want something of functional representation. I should like to see more of it; though I detest Fascism in every other respect. I think this House would be a very imperfect representation of the real people if it were not for the accident to which I have alluded that most of the big occupations are localised and therefore can get representation without direct functional representation, but the learned professions and middle and upper grades can only get direct representation through the university vote.
I have a few words to say on the second charge that is always made against university representation, which is that in effect the political influence of the universities has been almost uniformly hostile to political progress. That was said many years ago by Lecky and we have heard the same thing said to-day. What a time lag in political thought that shows. Universities in those days, 60 years ago, were, indeed, a stronghold of social and class privilege. They have ceased to be that. Only this week I obtained figures from the eight universities which I represent and I found that the proportion of the students who began their education in the elementary schools varies from 33 per cent. in the smallest of the universities to 73 per cent. in the largest, and that almost 90 per cent. began their education in the rate-aided secondary schools. That is not much of a representation of privilege. The presence here of the junior Member for Oxford University (Mr. Alan Herbert) surely shows that another old theory about university representation has got to be 511 dropped. Can it really be said that he represents the worn-out adherence to orthodoxy which used to be expected of Oxford University, in view of his advocacy of law reform and divorce reform and all the things which Oxford University 60 years ago repelled with anathema?
The universities have ceased to be the storehouses and political strongholds of privilege and prejudice. It is possible that they are not yet what they should be, and that their representatives do not contribute all that they might give to the working of this House. I suggest that the real theory of university representation and its justification is that it should bring university representation and its justification is that it should bring into this House somethings of that atmosphere of impartiality and unprejudiced outlook upon the truth that has always been characteristic of the universities themselves. I have myself always held the theory that university representatives ought not to be attached to any political party, and I think that my own presence in this House is a sign that a good many university voters be-believe also in that theory.
I would suggest to those who are behind this Motion that they are barking up a tree for a prey that has long since taken refuge in some other House, and that what they should do is not to try to abolish university representation but to see that it does its job better; to see that universities are more representative than they are at present and become more representative every day of all classes in the community, and that they send the best possible representatives to Parliament. If those sitting above the Gangway who are responsible for this Motion propose to do away with every constituency which returns a Member of whom they do not approve, how many of the seats represented by hon. Members on the other side will be left standing? How many of those constituencies will continue, if the test is to be whether the constituency returns a Member who is pleasing to my friends above the Gangway?
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ Mr. BELLENGER
I hope that other hon. Members who are sitting in this House for universities realise the implications in the hon. Lady's remarks. She 512 has asked for a better quality of university representative. She also gave the illustration that she was sent back not to represent any party.
I should be sorry if the House were to think that I wanted better representatives than my colleagues, or that I was holding myself up as the kind of representative. I was talking generally, and not in personalities.
§ Mr. BELLENGER
I was drawing my implication from her speech, and she did make those statements. We notice that she is the only representative of a university who is really independent. All the other Members vote almost consistently with the Government and for a party. I would deny the charge which has been made by the hon. Member for the London University (Sir E. Graham-Little), which he said he got from the London "Times," suggesting that this Motion was not brought forward by us in good faith and that it was a Motion merely to attack the Lord President of the Council and not to deal with the main subject of the removal of the university franchise. I can assure him, and tie House too, that we are quite consistent on these benches, as far as the university vote is concerned. We are only repeating to-day what was said by our Members—and indeed, by the Lord President of the Council himself—in 1931.
§ Mr. BELLENGER
We have realised in this party that we have to go very slowly in the matter of reform. We can only go with the pace of this House, and I regret to say that the pace of this House is much slower than ours on these benches. The Noble Lord the Member for the Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil) almost convinced me that we might allow one university seat to remain. As I listened to his remarks, I was struck with the eloquence and the brilliance of that dissertation on abstract ideas. We are much more concerned on these benches with the concrete. We have to be. Although the remarks of the Noble Lord sounded very well, and probably will read better still, I suggest that they are more suitable for the atmosphere of the university than they are for this workaday Chamber, the House of Commons. 513 Whether it be true that the electorate have no direct representation in the affairs of the country or not, does not matter one iota to me. I am concerned more with the effect than with the cause.
I should like to refer to some previous speeches which were made by hon. Members who have spoken to-day. I have done a little research work, and I find that the hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little) said, when the House was discussing the same subject in 1931:The university electorate has particularly objected to caucus rule.… The independence of the vote in university contests has become more and more the rule and not the exception. The university, is non-party."—[OFFICIAL REPORT 3rd February, 1931; col. 1742, Vol. 247.]I ask hon. Members to relate those words to the actual facts, as we know them in the Scottish Universities to-day. I do not think it is a breach of confidence to say that many hon. Members on the Government Benches disclosed their opinion at that by-election, and their opinions are such that they cannot substantiate what the hon. Member for London University said in 1931, that the university is non-party.
Let us take the argument that has been put forward by most university Members to-day, that they are a class apart, a special class, that ought to have representation purely because they are the representatives of learning. What would one expect from such representatives when they come into this House? One would expect them to concern themselves with matters of academic interest. Let us take, for instance, the Junior Member for Oxford University (Mr. Alan Herbert). I think it is common knowledge that his—I will not say principal—concern, or two of his principal concerns, are connected with divorce and beer. I may suggest that both of those are misleading cases. Those are not the subjects one would expect a University Member to bring forward. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] When he does bring one of them forward he will not meet with the reception which he expects from the party sitting behind him.
Another quotation is from the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers). This is what he said in 1931—and I mention these quotations because we have been charged with inconsistency: 514The universities would be perfectly satisfied if it was decided that, after a careful consideration by all parties of the merits of the case, the university vote should be done away with… When it is done as a cynical bargain for party advantage, they submit a reasonable protest."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd February, 1931; col. 1697, Vol. 247.]Did they? In the Scottish University by-election did they submit a reasonable protest? It is for reasons like that that we say in good faith that the university franchise should be done away with. I admit many of the things that university representatives have said about the universities, so far as their knowledge and learning are concerned, and I assure them that we on these Benches want all that the universities can give us, except specialised representation. That is contrary to the democratic principle on which this House is founded. If you give representation to the university, why not carry the principle farther, to the public schools, for instance? Or is it perhaps that the public schools are adequately represented in our system?
No argument has been advanced from the Government Benches or from University Members. Whatever may be said about our argument for abolishing this franchise, and about retaining the university vote, it is quite contrary to democratic principles. The Representation of the People Act of 1918, although it extended that vote, was based entirely, or almost entirely, on geographical considerations, and that is the best system we can have in present circumstances.
§ 6.41 p.m.
§ Mr. PICKTHORN
I am sorry not to be able to carry out as fully as I could wish, Sir, your admonition as to the cut-and-thrust of Debate. There has hardly been an argument put from the other side to which I do not feel myself able to give some answer, but in the very short time left to me it is not possible to do more than make one or two positive points which I do not think have been put from this side. There are, however, one or two points from the other side to which I should like to reply, and the first is the logical fallacy so popular on the benches opposite, and repeated in the concluding remarks of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger). That fallacy is: "If this is a good thing, why not have more of it?" In other words, if half a pint of beer is a good 515 thing to drink, why not drink a lot more of it? There is no end to that argument. Another point is that about the universities being non-party. In what sense of party; in the sense of a confederacy of men to get the pleasures and profits of office? Another of the charges against university men is that they are ineffective, and that they are not successful. Indeed, the three charges with which the. Mover began, perform, what I should have thought the impossible feat for three charges, that of being each diametrically opposite to the others. He said in the first place that we are not independent enough, in the second place that we do not climb the Parliamentary ladder successfully and, in the third place, that we tend to be ex-Prime Ministers.
You cannot have any two of those. In regard to ex-Prime Ministers, we have heard a great deal too much about the Scottish universities for which, although I have a high respect, I have not so high a comparative respect as the leader of the party below the Gangway. It is not my fault and, as the hon. Gentleman who spoke for the Independent Liberal party said, it is not his fault. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is our misfortune."] Hon. Gentlemen opposite spent 35 years making him into an ex-Prime Minister. [An HON. MEMBER: "You did it in a day."] About universities being non-party, I began to say that it depends upon the definition of party. Certainly, in any university contest that I know anything about there can hardly be said to be any party organisation at all. I do not know what whips or scorpions are cracked on the banks of the Clyde or the Dee, but there are certainly none to crack on the banks of the Cam. The difficulty is that there is no party organisation. The difficulty in any constituency, except a university constituency, is to get nominated. The rotten part of our constitution, if there is a rotten part, is in the selection of candidates. [Interruption.] It is no more rotten on one side than the other. University candidates can perfectly easily get somebody to nominate them, and can be put up at little or no expense. The business of the electors is to choose between them.
Something has been said about victimisation, but I beg the hon. Member who said it to believe that nobody who knows 516 anything of the way universities are run could suppose that his statement had any relation to the facts. Another thing that was alleged, I think by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), was that we were peculiar and superior, and someone else said that we were a class apart. I should like to repeat that, as the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) said, we are not a class apart. To begin with, we are not a class. In the case of nearly every other constituency it can be said that the Member represents this or that class; it can be said of almost any Member of this House that he belongs to this or that class; but it would be found extremely difficult to say either of those things about the university Members.
§ Mr. PICKTHORN
No class at all, I hope. Firstly, we are not a class, and, secondly, we are not apart. If we were apart, we might be organised in different ways, and there might be representatives of us here, but it is extraordinarily difficult to suppose that there would be many, if any, representatives of us here without some special provision. If I may refer to the particular sub-species of university Member of which I am an example, I am sure the House will do me the justice of thinking that I have a very keen awareness of my own unfitness. How is it to be supposed that the practising don, the man who really is academic—I think I am the most completely academic person in this House—is ever to get the time or the money to fight any constituency? It is very nearly, if not quite, impossible. I do not suggest that he is a much better man than the rest, though I myself think that dons are a very admirable class. Is it fair that there should be only one of them in this House, or not more than one or two? It would be very difficult to get more than one or two by any other method. They have no trade organisation behind them; they have mostly no personal fortunes. People talk of this being a special representation for a vested interest. So it is, in the sense in which Oliver Cromwell or Benjamin Disraeli used the term when they spoke of the nation being made up of interests combined together; but it is not an interest in any sinister sense. If 517 anyone wishes to prove that, they can go back to Henry the VIII, who, when he had finished relieving the monasteries, thought of relieving the universities. After making inquiries, however, he said that he could not have believed that so many men were virtuously kept on so small an income. Inquiries about conditions at the present day will show that the same is true now.
So much by way of answering one or two things that have been said from the other side. There are one or two positive points that I wish to make. The first is about what I may call, as Charles Kingsley called it, arithmocracy. It has been argued by the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) that that is not, and should not be, the basis of our composition, and hon. Members opposite do not really want it to be. They made that quite clear the other day when we were debating the question of re-distribution, for they all assumed, and no fewer than three said specifically, that you ought not to consider only equality of numbers. That is not only not a good basis, but it is a basis from which hon. Gentlemen opposite are estopped. Secondly, as regards the representation of academic personages in this House, I have already pointed out that it would be extremely difficult for what I may call 100 per cent. academic persons to get into this House by any other method.
Another point is that every other interest in this nation is always represented on both Front Benches. There is always a Minister, and a gentleman waiting to be Minister, to look after the interests of everything else as they come up for discussion here. That is not true, and I hope it never will be true, of the highest organisation of education. For about 100 years we have been conducting the experiment, which most of us are apt to assume is a permanent dispensation, but which is really a highly transitory experiment, of trying to allow to participate in active Government people who do not agree on fundamentals. Most other nations that have tried it have given it up. Russia, Italy, Germany and so on have given it up; we are almost the only nation that has tried it and is continuing to try it.
I think that all hon. Members opposite say that they do not want totalitarianism, 518 although, if they get into power and stay in power long enough to socialise us to any purpose, they will find it very difficult to avoid. It is very difficult for Government Departments to control the production and distribution of everything else and not control the production and distribution of knowledge and ideas. But at present, at any rate, they admit that they are opposed to totalitarianism. If that is to be avoided, what is most necessary is, as the history of every country in Europe has shown, that the higher education should be free from the trammels of central and governmental control. The universities are not represented on the Front Benches by the Minister of Education, the next Minister of Education, the last Minister of Education, and so on. That source of defence and representation we have never had, and I hope we never shall have it. Here are 12 of us who, we have been told time and again to-day, are ineffective persons who do not talk very often and do not get on. Are we an excessive counterpoise to represent that interest as compared, with every other interest, each of which has Front Bench representation, with all the official and personal weight that it carries? I had a peroration, but I have already addressed the House as long as is proper, and I will say no more.
§ 6.54 p.m.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
I rise to make a few very brief observations on this subject. I think the House will agree that we have had a very interesting Debate, and also that we have had very interesting contributions from university Members. At the beginning there were some criticisms of the general quality of university Members from some hon. Gentlemen opposite, but for my part I take the view that their contributions this afternoon go far to disprove those allegations. Taking, for example, the speech of the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil), it goes without saying that it is a pleasure to everyone in the House to listen to him. Even the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) admitted that he was charmed, and I hope he was convinced, by that speech. The hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson)—he and I were at Cambridge together, and I hope are both electors 519 of the university at the present time—also referred to the Senior Burgess for Oxford University as perhaps the greatest commoner of the last 50 years. We also had what I thought was an extraordinarily interesting speech, and, if I may say so, an individual speech, from the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone), and another very interesting speech from the Junior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn), who, as not everyone in the House will know, is a very distinguished constitutional historian.
The point which I desire to make, and which I do not think has been adequately met on the opposite side of the House to-day, is that we do get, from the representation of the universities in this House, certain individual types which are valuable to this House and to the country, and which are not likely to be returned in sufficient numbers from the ordinary constituencies of the country. I do not think it is a sufficient argument to say, as some hon. Members have said, including, I think, the hon. Member for Kingswinford, that few of the able men in this House in the past have been returned by the university constituencies. That is hardly the point. It is not suggested that it is only university constituencies that return able men to this House, but it is suggested, as one justification for them, that they return a particular type of ability which could not come here in other ways. I do not think I can better explain what is at any rate my own attitude than by reading the following words of the late Lord Balfour:I am not going into details, and I am not going to balance one name against another name, but I boldly say that these university constituencies compare undoubtedly favourably with any constituencies in the country for the eminence of the men they returned. Even when they were not men who held great positions in history, they have in their time constantly been leading Members of this House, men having authority and belonging to a class, which some people think is a diminishing class, who held relatively independent positions upon public questions of the day.Of course it is not by any means true that there have not been men of outstanding ability representing universities; the names of William Pitt the younger, Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Gladstone are a sufficient indication of that. As to the general question, the position to-day with regard to university repre- 520 sentation is as it was laid down in the Representation of the People Act, 1918, as the result of a compromise between the parties, and I suggest that the onus rests upon hon. Gentleman opposite who wish to disturb this, arrangement, to prove fully to this House that a change from the present position is really required. I suggest that, whatever may have been the arguments in relation to this question in earlier days, the present position with regard to university representation is a case for its becoming stronger day by day.
Lingering in the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and running through all this Debate, has been the idea which was expressed in terse language by the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) when he said that university representation was the pocket borough of reaction. A case might have been made out for that argument in earlier days, particularly in the earlier part of the nineteenth century, when only the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge had representation, but since then the franchise has been extended to London University, the Scottish Universities, the University of Wales and the rest of the English Universities. That undermines the strength of the hon. Member's argument in the first place, but there are, of course, far stronger reasons to undermine it. One is the great change in the character of those who are full-time students at the universities at the present time.
Various hon. Members have mentioned that subject to-day, and I myself, regarding it as a subject of crucial importance in connection with this question, inquired of the University Grants Committee whether they could give me any definite figures about it. I will give the results of my inquiry to the House. I find that in their last report they state that no less than 45 per cent. of the total number of full-time students at the universities were in receipt of Financial assistance from one source or another. That is one point. The second point is that at least 50 per cent. of the students in the provincial universities of the country began their education in public elementary schools. It is not, however, in the least justifiable to assume that those who are outside these figures are necessarily the sons of people of the well-to-do or comfortable classes. It is within the knowledge of nearly every hon. Member 521 of this House that if there is one thing parents will make real sacrifices for it is to provide a university education for their sons. It was with these considerations in mind that the University Grants Committee stated in their last report:If, therefore, the impression still lingers in any quarter that our university institutions are only accessible to young, men and women in relatively easy circumstances, these figures may do something to remove it.I suggest to the House that the influence of the universities to-day is not static, but is increasing. It is not possible to represent the withdrawal of the university franchise as a withdrawal of representatives from a centre of privilege. It would be a withdrawal of representatives from the higher learning of this country.
There are two forms of plural voting, the university vote and the business premises vote. I cannot understand why hon. Members opposite should have refrained from attacking their bugbear of property and should have directed their attack against the higher learning. Apart from the increasingly democratic nature of the students at the universities I believe that there is no institution in the country which has conformed more completely to the modern age than the universities. They have developed the scientific side of their work. They have become more and more in touch with industry and all phases of the national life in need of research, and in general I believe that the universities are fulfilling their functions now as well as at any time in their history. I hold that the function of a university in a free community is a very important one. I would ask hon. Members not to tell me at this point that these are theoretical questions, and that they are concerned only with questions of economic and social importance. We cannot take that view in days like these. It is very important what the system of government is, and what is the actual balance of the community. It would make a great deal of difference to hon. Members opposite if they were to live not in this country but under some of the dictators in Europe.
The university is a centre of learning. It. maintains certain educational and other standards. It is the spring and source of new intellectual movements which may mould our whole community. 522 In order to perform that function it is vital that the universities should be free and independent, as ours are in this country, unlike those of many foreign nations, and that is an essential condition of their representation here, If it is important that their freedom and independence should be maintained, we have to consider the tendencies of the present day. There is a powerful tendency towards centralisation, the universities have to accept grants from central authorities, and any safeguards we can maintain which will help them to keep their independence is of considerable importance. One can think of no better safeguard for that freedom and independence than their representation in this House. Any tendency they may have through contact with the Government of the day to become subservient to it or to a Government Department, is reduced to the minimum. That is the consideration which we have to consider now.
The last time this question was raised was when the right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) proposed to abolish university representation. In the last part of his speech there were continual recurrences to the theme that it would be proper to do so because it was in tune with the rising tide of democratic practice. Could even the right hon. Gentleman talk of the rise of democracy to-day?
§ Mr. LLOYD
It is a very serious ebb at this time. I would suggest to the House that these considerations have much greater importance than they would have had a short time ago. We should bear in mind that much more elaborate democratic systems than our own have ceased to exist, whereas our own, in which there are a number of things which some people regard as anomalies, has withstood the difficult times, and there is nothing which gives the people of this country greater satisfaction. What are the things which have enabled us to withstand these critical days? It is the temperamental characteristic of this country and of this House that if it finds that a certain arrangement which, though it may be open to some theoretical objections, is nevertheless working well, they let it go on working well. If this House acts on that consideration, as I hope it 523 will, it will emphatically reject the hon. Member's Motion.
§ 7.8 p.m.
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
I think all Members of the House have enjoyed the speech of the Under-Secretary, which has been marked mainly by its irrelevance to the point at issue. I imagine that this Motion will be rejected. All that "the old school tie" stands for is at stake in this Debate. But the day will come when other school ties, perhaps not so prominent, may get their way. I am sorry that the Lord President of the Council has not found it possible to be here to-day. I understand that he has a longstanding engagement in his new-found constituency which prevents him from being here. I am sure that the House would have liked to have had from him his confession on the spiritual change which he has undergone in recent years. We are deprived of that great testimony to the value of university representation, and the House will have to make up its mind without it. I am interested in this question as a university voter, as the President of the University Labour Federation which is pledged to support the extinction of the university vote, and I am interested in it also because I made the last speech in 1931 when the particular Clause in the Representation of the People Bill was defeated with the assistance of the Liberal party. I am glad now to think they have come to heel.
I wish to say nothing disrespectful about any university representative, but we are entitled to ask whether these representatives from the homes of learning are really more outstanding than other Members of the House. The Under-Secretary said that one of the great advantages of the university representation is that it brings individual types to this House. That may be true. The junior Member for Oxford University (Mr. Alan Herbert) is pledged, I understand, to produce a brighter House of Commons. But if it is to be a question of individual types, I have taken a few names at random—the hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten), a pawky Scottish lawyer whose name I shall not mention, the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and the right hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). 524 Are these not individual types, far more individual than the vast majority of representatives who come to this House from the university constituencies? If we were to parade Members of the House in three groups it would he an interesting spectacle. I should like to see first an array of the noble 12, the representatives of the universities. Following them, all the university electors in this House, including such diverse people as the Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Max ton) and myself. Thirdly, would be the rest of the faithful Commons. If that parade marched solemnly down Westminster Hall before the eyes of the people I suggest that nobody who watched would be able to know which were the really important.
§ Mr. PICKTHORN
I do not think it was suggested that university representatives were individual types in any sense of superiority or even of personal distinction, but that it might be possible for some professions to get representation here which would otherwise get little or none. The representatives mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman fall into three small classes.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
There were only two points made by the Under-Secretary in his speech. One was a defence of the universities and their place in the community, and the other that the universities did supply what he called individual types. All I am concerned to point out is that there is a larger variety of individual types outside the universities representatives than there is inside. As regards the common man, the majority of them would not reognise the 12 university representatives as being of any outstanding importance. No case has been made for the special representation of the universities. What it has come down to is special representation. When I heard the Noble Lord, the repository of our ancient, constitution, the upholder of all the oldest traditions in this country—I respect him, but I disagree with him—coming forward with a proposal of this kind of special representation, and the hon. Member for Cambridge University making the same point, I was astonished at the intellectual revolution which has taken place in the minds of university representatives: What are they asking for? The thing 525 that we know as syndicalism, the corporate state, representation of special interests, the totalitarian State. That is the logic of the case that has been put in this House to-day iii support of maintaining university representation.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
We stand in this House as the only true guardians of the democratic system. There is another subsidiary argument, which was brought forward by the hon. Lady the Member for the Combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone), namely, that what we want in this House is representation of the intellectual underdog. That is the ease that was put by the junior Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn). Those arguments do not influence us in the least. I have tried to explain our objections to the continuation of this form of representation in the Commons House of Parliament. In the first place, it is inefficient. If any rural district council ran its local elections as the universities run theirs, it would be made the subject of a question in the House of Commons. I could quote hundreds of cases of graduates, duly entitled to vote, who have never received their ballot papers. There were scores of them in the Scottish Universities by- election who never got a ballot paper. Why? Because with that fine efficience characterises our universities they are not able to produce a machine to send out a ballot paper. It seems to me almost as if anybody could get a ballot paper. I am not suggesting that ballot papers fall into the wrong hands, but I am suggesting that it would be possible for people with a list of university graduates to get enough ballot papers to make the difference in polling for the Scottish Universities by-election. If we had been wise enough or dishonest enough we might have done that.
To us on this side of the House, having regard to the victimisation of agricultural workers, the secrecy of the ballot is fundamental, but it does not hold in the case of the universities. The university voting paper hears the name of the voter, and the candidate, and the candidate or his representative can scrutinise the paper, and does so. I am glad that the 526 hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little) is here. He has beery telling us that they have no party organisation there, but I am bound to compliment him on having an excellent one of his own.
§ Sir E. GRAHAM-LITTLE
May I return my thanks for that compliment, and point out that the right hon. Gentleman is perhaps smarting under a sense of defeat, because the organisation that worked for his candidate was childish.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
That may be true. My point is that the hon. Member for London University is aware how the electors vote, and I say that that is. wrong. It cannot be defended. It may not happen in all universities, but it may happen in more than the case of London. In the case of London University he is not only Member of Parliament for the University, but he is a member of the senate and a member of the Council of the University. He has an influence on promotions within the University. When my hon. Friend referred to political influence, he was right. All universities are not as free as Oxford and Cambridge. In those universities there is a good deal of freedom of expression, which may account for the fact that the largest political clubs in the two universities are Labour clubs.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I will not stop to argue that now. It is very serious that university graduates who may be on the staff of universities may have even a shadow of fear that the way they vote may be used against them. The hon. Member for London University cannot complain that he does not know how people voted. He does know. He had a little trouble on the question of the London University site with a very distinguished scholar, Sir William Beveridge, the head of the London School of Economics. Sir William Beveridge is not a member of the Labour party. I believe he was attached to the party below the Gangway. At the end of a letter in which the hon. Member for London University replied to Sir William Beveridge, he said:Sir William Beveridge is the Director of the London School of Economics. Members of his School figured conspicuously, as was to be expected, in the published list of supporters of my Socialist opponent. Sir 527 William Beveridge voted for him but could not secure his election.He had no right to use that fact.
§ Sir E. GRAHAM-LITTLE
Every university has the same system of scrutinising the votes. That is the system upon which we work.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
That is my case. It is a flagrant example. In university voting there is no real secrecy. The elections are run most inefficiently. The truth is, that university representation today is an anomaly. It will be supported by hon. Members on the other side of the House because it provides a number of pretty safe Tory and independent seats, sufficient seats, perhaps, to make the difference between a Tory Government and a Labour Government in the future. They will hang on to these seats as long as they can. They are the last bulwarks of the Tory party. Apart from the City of London they are the only safe Tory seats that will be left in a relatively short space of time.
There is another reason, and a new one, which has come to light. Mr. Gladstone was rejected by Oxford University, and he said when he went away that he was then unmuzzled. A great constitutional historian has said that because Gladstone got his freedom and went to a Northern constituency he was able to become the leader of the Liberal party.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I think he was Member for South-East Lancashire. However that may be, university constituencies have not produced a large number
§ of Prime Ministers, but they have found a refuge for an ex-Prime Minister. The value of university seats to the National Government is to provide refugees for defeated politicians who are unable to get into the House of Commons by the front door. Reference has been made to the Scottish Universities bye-election. Everyone knows that that was not the free choice of the Scottish Universities. Everybody knows of the log-rolling that went on in order to persuade the Scottish Universities, especially Glasgow, to accept the ex-Prime Minister. I can well imagine the university seats remaining as long as the National Government and the Tory party can uphold them as possible refuges in time of trouble for people who cannot otherwise get into the House of Commons.
§ We do not propose this Motion because we do not want to see people from the universities in this House. We want to see people of all kinds of experience here. We oppose university representation for the very reason that has been put forward in its support, namely, special representation. It is double representation. If the case put forward to-day that the universities are becoming increasingly democratic and the students more and more representative, then there is less cause for this form of representation than there used to be. I hope that hon. Members will exercise some independence of judgment, and that those who are university graduates and voters who do not take party views, but look at things on their merits, will support us in the Lobby on this occasions.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 130; Noes, 227.531
|Division No. 62.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Adamson, W. M.||Compton, J.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Cove, W. G,||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Daggar, G.||Groves, T. E.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Dalton, H.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)|
|Banfield, J. W.||Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)|
|Batey, J.||Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Hardie, G. D.|
|Bellenger, F.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Harris, Sir P. A.|
|Benson, G.||Day, H.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Bevan, A.||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)|
|Broad, F. A.||Ede, J. C.||Hicks, E. G.|
|Bromfield, W.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Holdsworth, H.|
|Brooke, W.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Holland, A.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Hollins, A.|
|Buchanan, G.||Frankel, D.||Hopkin, D.|
|Cape, T.||Gardner, B. W.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)|
|Charleton, H. C.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)|
|Chater, D.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||John, W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Gibbins. J.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Messer, F.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Milner, Major J.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Montague, F.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Kirby, B. V.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Naylor, T. E.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Lawson, J. J.||Paling, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Leach, W.||Parker, H. J. H.||Thorne, W.|
|Lee, F.||Pethick- Lawrence, F. W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Leonard, W.||Potts, J.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Leslie, J. R.||Price, M. P.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Logan, D. G.||Pritt, D. N.||Walker, J.|
|Lunn, W.||Richards, R. (Wrexham)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Westwood, J.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Riley, B.||White, H. Graham|
|McGovern, J.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)||Whiteley, W.|
|MacLaren, A.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Maclean, N.||Rowson, G.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Salter, Dr. A.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Mander, G. le M.||Sexton, T. M.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Marklew, E.||Shinwell, E.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Marshall, F.||Short, A.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Mathers, G.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Maxton, J.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Vlant and Mr. A. Henderson.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Davison, Sir W. H.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||De Chair, S. S.||Latham, Sir P.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh)||Denville, Alfred||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Levy, T.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)||Little, Sir E. Graham.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.|
|Assheton, R.||Dugdale, Major T. L.||Lloyd, G. W.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Duggan, H. J.||Loder, Captain Hon. J. de V.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Duncan. J. A. L.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Dunglass, Lord||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Dunne, P. R. R.||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Eastwood, J. F.||McEwen, Capt. H. J. F.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||McKie, J. H.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Ellis, Sir G.||Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Elmley, Viscount||Magnay, T.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Emery, J. F.||Maitland, A.|
|Blindell, Sir J.||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.|
|Borodale, Viscount||Entwistle, C. F.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Errington, E.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Erskine Hill, A. G.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Bracken, B.||Everard, W. L.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)|
|Brass, Sir W.||Fildes, Sir H.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.|
|Brocklebank C. E. R.||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Nail, Sir J.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Ganzoni, Sir J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Gluckstein, L. H.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Brown, Brig. -Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Goldie, N. B.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Bull, B. B.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Patrick, C. M.|
|Butler, R. A.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Penny, Sir G.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Grimston, R. V.||Petherick, M.|
|Cautley, Sir H. S.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Pilkington, R.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Guy, J. C. M.||Plugge, L. F.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hanbury, Sir C.||Radford, E. A.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Hannah, I. C.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Channon, H.||Harbord, A.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Harvey, G.||Rankin, R.|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Clarry, Sir R. G.||Heneage, Lieut. -Colonel A. P||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Cobb, Sir C. S.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)|
|Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Holmes, J. S.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)|
|Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Craddock, Sir R. H.||Hopkinson, A.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)|
|Cross. R, H.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Russell. S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Jackson, Sir H.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Keeling, E. H.||Salt, E. W.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)|
|Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Wakefieid, W. W.|
|Sandys. E. D.||Storey, S.||Wallace, Captain Euan|
|Savery, Servington||Stourton, Hon. J. J.||Ward, Lieut. col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Scott, Lord William||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)||Ward, Irene (Wallsend)|
|Selley, H. R.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Shakespeare, G. H.||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Simmonds, O. E.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st),||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Williams, H G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Smiles, Lieut. Colonel Sir W. D.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Sutcliffe, H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Smithers, Sir W.||Tasker, Sir R. I.||Wise, A. R.|
|Somerset, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Withers, Sir J. J.|
|Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Somerville, D. 6. (Willesden, E.)||Titchfield, Marquess of||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Southby, Comdr, A. R. J.||Touche, G. C.|
|Spears, Brig. Gen. E. L.||Train, Sir J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Spender-Clay, Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.||Mr. Graham Kerr and Mr. Pickthorn.|
|Spens, W. P.||Tufnell, Lieut. -Com. R. L.|