HC Deb 27 May 1936 vol 312 cc2029-97

Order for Third Beading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

3.43 p.m.


I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That." to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: realising the urgent need for raising the school-leaving age, this House regrets that a Bill for this purpose should be largely nullified by provisions calculated to encourage the entry of children into industry whilst still of school age. Before coming to the main subject of this reasoned Amendment, I should like to say that I think in future years the most remarkable period in the history of the passage of this Bill will be taken to be about half-past ten last night when the great denominational controversy passed through the Report stage without a Division in less than a quarter of an hour. That represents a new perspective among all the denominations and interests which have been parties to this conflict, and I think the President will agree that in this settlement in Committee on certain occasions the Opposition made its contribution.

Coming to the main part of the Bill, the Clauses dealing with the raising of the school age, I notice that there is a great peculiarity about the first seven Clauses. The first raises the school age to 15, and the remaining six arrange for a series of exemptions by which practically any child who can obtain an ordinary job will leave school at the same age as he does to-day. This, of course, is why one hon. Member opposite was able to point out yesterday that at the last Election supporters of the Government were able to say they were going to raise the school-leaving age, and to point out in the same breath that this would be accompanied by the right to exemption for what is called beneficial employment, which means any ordinary, average job. That justifies the description that we have given of the Bill. It is not an Education Bill, but a juvenile employment Bill. I doubt whether there is any other case of a Bill being introduced and carried through in the teeth of the almost unanimous opposition of those who will have to administer it. From the very beginning local education authorities have told the Government that these exemption Clauses would render the Bill practically meaningless, and all the discussions in Committee and on Report have not shaken them in that view. Indeed, I notice that in the Committee every Member who has been a chairman of a local education authority, with perhaps only one exception, pointed out that these exemption Clauses would practically sterilise the operation of the Bill.

There was one feature of the discussions in Committee which I found very remarkable. In the Second Reading discussion we confined ourselves, as it happened, almost entirely to the effect that the exemption Clauses would have in urban areas. In Committee one or two Members dealt with these results in the counties, particularly the right hon. Baronet the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) as chairman of the county education committee. They pointed out that what was bound to happen in the counties would be that the exemption Clauses of the Bill would have to be administered by a number of local sub-committees, each sub-committee perhaps covering the area of the school attendance officer. The central local education committee may indeed view a Bill if this kind from its educational aspect, but local sub-committees will take local rather than educational considerations into account, with the result that exemptions will be almost indiscriminate. That explains why it is that in counties such as Cornwall, which started to raise the school-leaving age with great hopes, but in which, in fact, the exemptions have amounted to over 90 per cent., the whole effort has really petered out. There is Po reason to suppose that the results in the future will be any different from those which experience has already proved them to be.

Really our Amendment is directed to one point of the Bill, and, indeed, the characteristic of the Bill is the question of exemptions, and I wish to deal with the central argument which the President has used to justify these exemptions, and to predict what the results will be. Broadly, he has said that, after the schools have been reorganised, the fourth year will be so attractive and valuable to the children, that parents will voluntarily leave them at school in increasing proportions, until, I suppose, eventually the exemptions will practically die away by the process of exhaustion. The President has entirely failed to take into account the enormous pull which is going to be exerted in coming years, much more strongly than in past years, in the opposite direction. We are now on the eve of a period when there will be a shortage of juvenile labour, and, from the point of view of employers, an increase in the demand for children of 14, and when the wages of children of 14 are probably going to rise. In these circumstances the immediate temptation to parents will be greater than it is at present. Undoubtedly, if all the parents were in the same position they might be willing to accept the sacrifice which the Bill, as it is at present framed, would impose upon them, but even the President begins on the assumption that 50 per cent. of the children will be exempted. What right has he to assume that, if you start with 50 per cent., the proportion will stop there? The parents of the remaining 50 per cent. will see their neighbours' children going into employment and bringing back wages of 12s., 15s. and £1 a week—wages which will get higher probably in the years to come. The very fact that those children are in employment will give them a. kind of superiority over children who are not in jobs, and in those circumstances there will be competition and even jealousy among parents in respect of these exemptions. The right hon. Gentleman has no right whatever to base his Bill on the expectation that exemptions will diminish when there is every reason to suppose that they will increase.

That is the central tragedy which a Bill of this kind now brings before us. One must take into account, what has become clear in the Committee discussions, that the phrase "beneficial employment" is euphemistic to the point of being misleading. Beneficial employment, the President himself says, means any suitable job; any job that is suitable according to the accepted ideas of the area. That means the average job in the particular area. The Bill therefore means that any child who can show that he can get an ordinary job has, under the Bill, the right to exemption, as the President himself said yesterday on one or two occasions. This is the tragedy. What does the Bill in its present form really mean? It means that the Government and the President have had during this year an opportunity of carrying through a reform such as no Government have ever had before. The President has not always had good fortune, but on this occasion he came to the Board of Education in a fortunate hour. All the difficulties which befell the administration of the Act of 1929 have settled themselves. The denominational issue, As a result, not of the particular action of politicians but of the interval of time, is on the point of being settled by general consent. The great employers of labour with few exceptions indicated that they preferred children of 15 to 14, and even in the Debates in the House of Lords it was clear from their tone that the House of Lords had practically led us to expect that they would now pass a Bill.

There has never been such an opportunity. The final result is that the Government have, in fact, spoilt the opportunity and spoilt the Bill. They have introduced a Bill which nominally raises the school age but which introduces exemptions which past experience has shown, when once they are loaded like an incubus on an education authority, take about 20 years to get rid of. The Government have used the chance to bring in a Bill, the full fruition of which they practically postpone for a generation. They postpone a great step forward in civilisation, when with a little more firmness in following the advice of their supporters on local education authorities, it could, in fact, have been taken to-night.

In dealing with the important point which the President made that the fourth year would be attractive, I would point out that in that contention he has not been supported by any teacher who took part in the discussions in Committee, whether on our side of the Committee or on the opposite s de. Education is a thing of the spirit. It depends upon the keenness, zest and willingness which the children bring into the class. How can there be any keenness or zest in any class when the children who remain see their fellow-members, other boys and girls, leaving at the end of each term, and who themselves are looking towards the door? I was very much struck by a description of the result which was given by one who, I suppose, is the oldest teacher in the House, the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville). He pointed out that a class is an entity, and that the value of the class as an instrument for character building depended on using the strongest spirit in the class, and that that was not possible if the strongest spirit was leaving at the end of the term.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

I think the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) was directed to pupils leaving during the term and not to those leaving at the end of the term.


indicated assent.


The hon. Member's argument may have been dealing with a particular Amendment relating to the middle of a term, but obviously the same argument applies to children leaving at the end of a term. I would here ask the Minister whether he will clear up one point. What does he envisage as the number of new classrooms that an education authority will need to build in a new school? Take a simple case. Suppose that there is a school with 60 children in each school year. You divide the children into two classes of 30 each, one class for the more academic and one class for the less academic. There will be two classrooms kept for children between 11 and 12, two for those between 12 and 13 and two for those between 13 and 14. How many classrooms will the authority have to build for the children of 14 to 15 years? If the right hon. Gentleman's assumption is correct his answer ought to be that the authority should build two. It will be interesting to see whether the right hon. Gentleman's theoretical prophecies work out in practice.

I now come to a point which we discussed to some extent on the Second Reading of the Bill. What is the reason for introducing these exceptions? Everyone knows that the reason is to avoid maintenance allowances. After having heard all the discussions, I say that the attempt to avoid maintenance allowances is a piece of the most utterly selfish class legislation. I say that for this reason, and it is an argument that has not been answered: As a matter of fact maintenance allowances for educational purposes are given to the entire middle class; they are given to the great bulk of Income Tax payers. They are received by about four-fifths of the Members of this House, I should imagine. What is the position? Under the Income Tax Acts there is an exemption allowance of £60 a year per child up to 16 years of age. If the child remains at school or in any educational institution after 16 years the educational allowance is continued because the child is still beng educated. That is a maintenance allowance. It is 4s. 9d. in the £ on 260, which comes to rather more than 5s. a week, and is more than the maintenance allowance included in the Labour Government's Bill of 1929.

Of course the parents of elementary school children do not pay Income Tax. But they pay taxation. A man with £3 a week pays a larger percentage of his income in taxation than the man with £500 a year. He pays through Customs and Excise. If you are to put these people into the same position as the Income Tax payers, the comfortable classes, the only way in which you can do it is to give them maintenance allowances. A system which provides maintenance allowances for all the better-off sections of the community and refuses allowances to the workers, is a system based upon stark naked class legislation.

We come back to the question which has been asked all the time. The Bill refers to "beneficial employment "Beneficial to whom? That is the central question. It has been shown that the employment might occasionally be beneficial to parents whose immediate necessities are opposed to the ultimate interests of their children. It might be beneficial to that class of employers who want small fingers to fit into their machines. But the test of an Education Bill is the benefit to the child, and there is no factory or mine or mill which is so beneficial to a boy or girl of 14 as a good school.

4.7 p.m.


I make no apology for doing what I expect we shall almost all be doing this afternoon, and that is dealing mainly with the question of exemptions. Whatever difference of view we may have about it—and we do differ—most of us will agree that it is rather a pity that our correct procedure, as interpreted by Mr. Speaker yesterday, prevented us from expressing our opinion on some very important matters connected with the question of exemptions without having to record a vote against the Third Reading of the Bill. I wonder whether hon. Members have seen a rather interesting leading article in the "Times" newspaper, which said that the part of the Bill which puts up the school age to 15 is still likely to prove a dead letter unless the exemption Clauses are modified, and after drawing attention to the proposal not to give exemptions until 14½, and the other suggestion not to give exemption until 14 plus one term, said this: No pledges so far as a careful reading of the documents on the subject concerned can show, are inconsistent with the acceptance of this Amendment One does not know the view of the Minister on either of those Amendments, but if they had been in order—


The right hon. Gentleman will remember that one Amendment, the 14 years and 6 months Amendment, was in order in Committee and was fully discussed. I then gave my views and the Committee voted on the Amendment.


I had forgotten that for a moment. That is quite true. The Minister, of course, might have taken a different view after reconsideration, but I am not suggesting that he would have done so. It is a fact that if the lesser of the two Amendments, that for adding a term to the 14 years, had been in order for incorporation in the Bill, there would have been a real chance, I do not say of an agreed settlement of a difficult question, but of a fairly friendly settlement of what I am afraid is bound to be, with the Bill in its present form, a matter of uncertainty, doubt, difficulty and distraction to those who have to administer the Bill. In the Standing Committee we had what were almost sneers now and again at people who were called educationists, and it was suggested rather that they valued education without any real perspective and without seeing that it is not the most important thing in life, not the most important prepara- tion for life. My experience, as an education administrator, of those who are associated with this business, is that they are not really concerned in pushing up the school age regardless of consequences or common sense, but rather that they want, in whatever they do, to have a workmanlike job to do in a workmanlike way.

The clearest and ino4 elementary point which all of us will have to make about this Bill is: If you are going to make provision for continuing education up to 15 it is desirable that you should have some certainty of a reasonable number of children up to that age who are to be taught. It is going; to be very difficult, if we have to provide what ought to be provided in the senior school—classrooms, gymnasia, school gardens, large playgrounds and so on—and to employ the teachers, if we are not to have any certainty as to the number of children to be taught. I am not going to read all the letters I have ever received on the subject, as an hon. Friend of mine did on the Tithe Bill, hut there is one short letter that I would like to read. It is from an education administrator, not in my area, from one who is not at all of my politics, a solicitor who just does his best to get the work done. He says: I personally, am neither against exemptions nor in favour of maintenance allowances, except in a very limited sense, but if the extra year is to be of the least use (except to increase the number of employed teachers and provide a lot of pretty light and very unprofitable jobs) we must have at least a known number of pupils for each term and a fair number for all terms of the new year. The heavy expenditure on new schools far more elaborately equipped than hitherto is unjustifiable from the economic point of view, unless the places are to be reasonably filled. You may not quite agree, but this Bill in its present form seems to me to break every rule of sound legislation as surely as Snow-den's beer tax broke every sound principle of taxation. It involves heavy expenditure, gives little benefit to the children and will in practice create confusion and irritation.


Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that writer's views on the beer legislation? If not, why does he quote the letter?


Because the writer happens to be a Conservative and happens to disagree with me about beer legislation, I do not see why I should not quote his very sensible remarks about education. I rather agree with him about the beer, but I will not go into that question now. An hon. Gentleman above the Gangway has repeated almost verbatim the point I put in Committee twice—without getting an answer—as to the difficulty of buildings provision in the two-stream school. Either you have to provide two classrooms for the last year, or one or none. If you provide two, there will inevitably be a waste of space and of teachers; if you provide one you will have to bring together at the top those who have been in two different and divergent streams all the way up; and if you provide none then those who do stay beyond the age of 14 will be marking time and will not be able to have a separate teacher for a proper continuation of their courses.

One finds it very difficult to prophesy how the Bill will work. It may be that some of us are pessimistic, but one thing is certain, and that is that at the start there will be a great deal of diversity. That is inevitable, because the chances of employment differ in different localities. I think the diversity will be partly because different. authorities will tend, even after all the precision we have tried to put into the Bill, to read the Measure rather differently. The fact is, and I hope the House will agree with me in this statement, that almost any employment is beneficial compared with no employment, but very little employment would be beneficial compared with an extra year at school, if the school is teaching what it ought to teach and what we hope it will teach under the reorganisation scheme.

The defect, I think, will be that some authorities will tend to say: "The only question for us is whether a job is better than none "while others will tend to say: "Will it be a greater benefit in our district for children to get jobs at 14, or should they have an extra school year and get the same jobs a year later after they have had the benefit of their year's training" Although there may be that divergence at the beginning there will, I think, be a tendency to get more uniformity, which is in itself desirable, later, and that will be brought about by the gradual extension—as has been found to be the case by the authorities who tried it—of the exemption system in its practical working.

Many authorities started with the best intentions, but they found after a year or so that they were granting something like 80 to 90 per cent. of exemptions. There is no possibility in those circumstances of making any special provision for those over 14, which is such an essential part of the whole scheme based on the Hadow Report. I am afraid that the best children will go, because jobs will be offered to them; the children of the poorest parents will go because they will try to get any job to which a wage is attached, and we shall have only a small residue left, who will inevitably tend to mark time and not get the extra advantage from the additional year, in which really they could learn very much and get from it what would prepare them for the career that is in front of them.

I now come back to the point which my right hon. Friend has made and which I made in Committee, and that is that the actual work of judging the applications will have to be done by sub-committees, which will see inevitably the advantages of a job more clearly than the advantages of an extra year's schooling, and whose recommendations the main committee will have to accept. The sub-committee will not go on working and making their recommendations if they are turned down by the main committee before whom the recommendations go. I have received a few words from a director of education in a rural county, couched in moderate language. He says: One of the difficulties that I foresee is that the district committee will be fairly representative of the agricultural element, and it is our experience that the farmers are not always as considerate as they might be of the value of education; on the contrary, they do not ignore the possibility of obtaining cheap labour I am afraid that there will be that tendency in the rural sub-committees, at any rate, and the exemptions, therefore, will be many, and the difficulty of organising anything at all useful in the. last school year will be intensified. It is difficult to prophesy, and prophesying is always dangerous, but I think we shall find in a great number of areas that more than half the children will go at the end of term in which they reach the age of 14, which is the earliest time, and there will be a fairly considerable proportion going in each of the two terms following.

It will make it intensely difficult, administratively, to organise what should be a four years course in the senior schools, which one has always looked forward to ever since one became acquainted with what the senior schools can do. The children get from these schools much more than they can get from any ordinary village school, and it may be that the children in these days will have such influence with their parents that they will insist upon keeping on at school. I hope that that will be so, but I am afraid that that will not be so. From what one has seen of senior schools, one has hoped for much, with the prospect of one extra year at school from 14 to 15, from the children's keenness and interest, and feeling of responsibility, the feeling that the training they are getting is something really valuable and something that will decide their future life and career. When that feeling has developed for the first time, one realises that if only there was a certainty of getting a fair proportion of the children through the final year, that final year would be worth any two of the preceding years, but if they want to get out of the school door as soon as they are 14, it will be a very great pity. I think a great chance has been lost by the Government in what I think was an unwise election pledge.

On other matters I think the Minister has been fortunate and very skilful. He has done extremely wisely and well in his handling of the denominational question. It is remarkable what success he has achieved. A good deal of that is due to him personally, and I should like to congratulate him warmly upon it. The fires of educational controversy have died down a good deal in the country, and it is a good thing. That fact has helped the Minister, and he will readily acknowledge it. I should like to tell the House a little story which illustrates how these things really work out in practice. In a village which I know there is a good deal of denominational controversy. There is a Wesleyan school and a Church school in the village, one directed and fostered by a Methodist alderman of the county council, and the other by an equally militant canon of the Church of England. They both canvass among the parents to get children into the rival schools and, in a gentlemanly way, do all they can to fan the flames of religious discord. The curious result is that nearly all the children who go to the Church day school go to the Wesleyan Sunday school, while nearly all the children who go to the Wesleyan day school. go to the Church Sunday school, the reason being that they come in for two treats a year instead of only one. I think that is a good omen for the way that these things present themselves where the parents and the children are concerned. I should like, in conclusion, to extend my very warm congratulations to the Minister for the courteous but firm way in which he handled us in the Committee and in the House yesterday, and I hope that the Bill will have better fortune than I fear it will.

4.25 p.m.


I do not think that it is entirely clear beyond question that from every point of view the most useful educational reform at this moment is to increase what may be called the number of child school hours. But it has been assumed almost everywhere that that is the step that should be taken now and that that step ought to be taken at once. No one in the Second Beading Debate or throughout the Debates on the Bill—it was perhaps difficult owing to the rules of order—has argued what education is, what it can be or what it ought to aim at, or what alternatives there might be to the plan of simply letting the tap run on a little longer by continually raising the age. These things have not been discussed. There seems a general willingness to assume, at any rate on the opposite side of the House, that education is definable somewhat on the lines adopted by Disraeli, I think, who was once challenged in this House to say what an archdeacon was. He explained that an archdeacon was a man who performed archidiaconal functions. When he was further challenged to say what archidiaconal functions were, he explained that he believed them to be the functions performed by archdeacons.

There seems to be an inclination on the other side of the House to assume that education is the stuff provided by education authorities, and I am afraid that in practice it is in many minds what is provided by the local education authorities and the National Union of Teachers, in the main. These bodies and the organised representatives of them have been, as we have been continually told, almost unanimously against exemptions. Upstairs, in Committee, some resentment was expressed when they were compared to admirals, and it was suggested that unanimity among admirals on having more battleships was not a conclusive argument. That was considered to be rather an offensive comparison. I do not know why admirals should not be regarded as a respectable body of men. I hope that it will not be considered offensive if I compare those bodies to cobblers, who are respectable, and traditionally radical. Cobblers are inclined to think that there is nothing like leather. I would not go further and compare them—if I may allude to what I believe is called syllabus religion—to silversmiths, who took the same line as cobblers, with the added feeling that this our craft is in danger to be set at nought I do not think that it would be fair to say that teachers in general and local education authorities are interested in education mainly in that sense of the word "interest" It would not be fair for supporters of exemption to make that sort of point in a controversial spirit, but it has been thought fair for attackers of exemption to point it out. The hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. E, J. Williams) said yesterday: I wonder whether the education authority would have the right to consider the educational aspect before granting an exemption He went on, rather amusingly, to explain what he thought was an educational aspect; and the educational aspect, apparently, was the effect upon the number of teachers employed. The hon. Member proceeded to say: I think that is vital. The problem confronting us in the secondary schools is the number of teachers that we have in proportion to the diminishing number of pupils.…Unless the education authority has prior rights over the juvenile unemployment authority, they may so denude the school of pupils that they will have a substantial residue of staff"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th May, 1936; cols. 1912–13, Vol. 312.] On what I may call the cobbler and silversmith principle and the perfectly respectable professional deformation—every profession has a professional deformation—I have no doubt that all hon. Members think politics a great deal more important than politics are, and it is not unreasonable for those associations to think that education, especially the sort of education which they exist to provide, is much more important and far more above criticism than it is.

Of the main arguments that have been used against the exemption principle, the first and the most important is that it puts the parent under an economic duress. It is difficult to define exactly what the word "duress" may be supposed to mean in such a connection. Certain authorities whom I have been able to consult, including the head masters of great secondary schools in both prosperous and unprosperous areas, have unanimously assured me that many parents wish their children to leave secondary schools at the earliest possible age, even in cases where economic duress cannot be said in any reasonable sense of the words to exist. Economic duress may be said to exist in all cases in the sense that everybody wants to have more money and to spend less. I had an acquaintance who said that he could not live on £6,000 a year. [An HON. MEMBER: "He ought to have died"] Somehow or other he persuaded the world that he ought to get more, but I am not suggesting that that is a good plan or even assuming that any one should be able to adopt it. There is always economic duress in that sense.

If, however economic duress is to be taken as meaning compulsion, I could not withhold my sympathies from parents who are under that sort of compulsion, but I think it fair to say that very many, perhaps most, of the parents who are doubtful about the value of the additional year at school are not entirely controlled by motives of economic duress. Indeed, the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) practically said as much yesterday, when he told us that the more prosperous we were as a nation, and the more work was available, the less substance there would be in the Bill. But surely the more prosperous we are the less unemployment there will be, and the higher will wages be, and the less reasonable will it be to say that economic duress is causing parents to doubt the usefulness of this additional year.

The second main argument against exemptions has been on these lines. It is said that the Government are either trying to play a sort of three-card trick or else that they have been guilty of a piece of imbecility in their exemption proposals, and that, one way or the other, either knowingly or unknowingly, the point of the exemptions is to nullify the raising of the school-leaving age. It is argued that that is the intention of the Government; and, that being the intention, it is also argued that the local education authorities will not be able to resist the pressure from the parents. Again there has been evidence to the contrary from the other side. The right hon. Gentleman who opened our Debate to-day has been in two minds on this subject—in fact in three minds. On the Second Reading he said that experience showed that once the principle of exemption was admitted it became increasingly difficult to get parents to give it up. If that were so, from being increasingly difficult it would become infinitely difficult and once exemptions started, it would never be possible to get rid of them. But exemptions having in fact been got rid of in relation to the previous raising of the age, the right hon. Gentleman observed the logical difficulty in which he had placed himself, and to-day he says that all experience shows that exemptions go on for 20 years. In between those two statements, while we were considering the Bill in Committee, he told us that he looked forward to a situation in which the number of exemptions would diminish.

There have been other voices from his latitude arguing along that line. The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Marklew) said he believed it to be the desire of the Government that there should be as few exemptions as possible, and the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) said that paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of Clause 2 proved that the Government did not wish or intend that exemptions should be granted adlib. I do not think it can be supposed that there is anything fraudulent or even imbecile about those professions. Nor do I think the arguments which has been used about the local education authorities have always been valid. The by-law authorities as a matter of course—because they would not be called by-law authorities if they were not exceptional—are no fair analogy of what will happen when the rule, with the regulation about beneficial employment, is applied all over the country. Nor is the arithmetic which has been used with reference to the by-law authorities altogether fair. People say that under tee by-law authorities there are 90 per cent. of exemptions. I hope I may be corrected if I am wrong in thinking that if all the children under by-law authorities got exemptions on the day before their fifteenth birthday, it would enable hon Gentlemen opposite to say that there had been 100 per cent. of exemptions. That seems to be an argument which can hardly be used by a candid soul if he has himself ever reached the top standard it, an elementary school.

The fact is, so far as I can inform myself, that under the by-law authorities the leaving age has been put up from 14.3 to 14.6, and I he estimated effect of the Bill before us. an estimate which is at least as respectable as that of private Members opposite, is that it will put that figure up to 14.9. It seems to be an abuse of language to say that that is not raising the school age, or even to say that it is raising the age with 90 per cent., or even 50 per cent., of exemptions. In any case, all these arguments about the ill-intentions of the Government and the weakness of the local education authorities only represent another way of saying that the parents do not want the extra year. The right hon. Gentleman opposite told us earlier that this last year at school was when the children were fairly mature—when they had reached the age of 14 or 15. I noticed that yesterday when we were discussing the Bill on Report they were described as young children, but when we were at another point they were described as mature children. We were told that they could not be expected to make much use of the last year unless they entered on it with willingness and zest. That is no doubt true; but surely the way to secure that is to have schools which the children will, less and less, wish to leave before their fifteenth birthday.

The truth is that many people on the other side, and even some on this side—those with a professional deformation—seem to think the proper authority for all the looking after of all children is the local educational authority. Indeed, I think it was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) who said that the natural protector of the child was the local education authority. The hon. Member for the University of Wales (Mr. E Evans) said that we must not consider the particular child but the child generally. I suggest that the characteristic of the child is to be particular. Obviously, this House cannot consider every individual child, but it is its business to try to see that children are considered in the largest number of categories and as nearly as possible personally. Another hon. Member—an hon. Member on this side—said that every teacher must be against exemptions, and still another hon. Member on this side declared that between the ages of 14 and 15 the children should be under the supervision of those who were responsible for the educational, cultural and spiritual direction of their young lives. It seems to me wrong to suggest that local education authorities or the National Union of Teachers, or any other body, professional or administrative, is responsible for the child to that extent.


Or the Church managers.


Or the Church managers or anybody else. To suggest that they are responsible to that extent is altogether wrong. The word "responsibility" is used in a very irresponsible way. We talk about responsible Government having developed in this country, but there is one sense in which the opposite has happened. If responsibility means that when things go wrong you suffer for it, then there was far more responsibility in the days when unsuccessful politicians invariably lost their heads than there is now when all that happens to the unsuccessful politician is that he has to leave the Cabinet for 12 or 15 months and not always for that. Surely the people who are responsible in this sense are the parents. They are the people who suffer, in a way in which no teacher however devoted can even begin to suffer, if the child is any way badly brought up or badly educated, or if he misses the kind of education which he ought to have.

I suggest—I hope not controversially anti still less offensively—that if there is a real danger to-day, it is the danger of the development of a sort of educational sacerdotalism which would be worse than the old priest-craft because it would not be tied by responsibility to a theological system. And, in fact, it is true that parents have other reasons beside the economic reasons for doubting the usefulness of the extra year at school.


I should have, if the hon. Member were the master.


Did the hon. Member's parents doubt it?


I could answer all those questions, but I am anxious not to take up more time than is necessary, and I would prefer to pursue my argument. Shortly before his death I had the advantage of discussing this question with one of the most distinguished of His Majesty's Inspectors who was in every way most liberal—with a small "1"—most devoted to children and education, and in my judgment one of the ablest men I have ever known. He made some written notes of our conversation and I am able to quote what lie said. He said that beyond the age of 11, less and less could the great bulk of children get what they really needed educationally within the four walls of the school. Even if well equipped senior schools on Hadow lines were available, he doubted whether they would meet the requirements of children of 14 to 16, from whom the more academically-minded children had already been subtracted at the ago of 11 That is a point which has been dropped out in most of our discussions. My adviser went on to say that he thought a better thing than raising the school age to 15 would be to raise it to 16 or 16½ with some sort of half-time or sandwich system. It would, however, be out of order to go into that aspect of the question now. The hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) and the Noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl), and others I think, told us that, as matters stand in the schools, a considerable proportion of the children are marking time if they stay on for the extra year; but surely as the schools get better and better more and more children will want to stay in them and surely that is the way in which this ought to be done. A director of education who has written to me frequently on this matter and who is entirely against exemptions uses this sentence: The children who do well at school are (strange to say) generally reluctant to leave and the school-leaving age is gradually raising itself. I believe myself that when re-organisation in my own area is complete it will be a real advantage to the children to remain at school until 15 and that that fact will be recognised by managers, parents and the children themselves. That is the belief of one of the keenest and ablest opponents of the exemption principle, and, if that be so, it seems to me that the whole case for exemptions is given. If it be admitted that the school-leaving age is, in any case, gradually raising itself because the schools are improving so much, surely that is the best way to raise the school-leaving age, if it is agreed that raising the age is the right thing to do.


May I ask my hon. Friend whether the opinion which he has quoted is from an industrial or a rural district?


It is from a large county. I had some other things to say, but my argument has taken longer than I anticipated, and before I conclude I want to make what I think is the short point on the whole of this question. Quite clearly, whatever age you fix as the school-leaving age, there must be a year of marginal utility in the case of every child. You may say that the child had better remain on at school until 16 or until 18 or until 20, but there must come a point at which there is a year of marginal utility. When that year comes, and there is a reasonable doubt whether the child should stay another year or not, who is to decide? Is it to be decided by a majority of this House two or three years beforehand; or by the local education authority? I hope I may be allowed to be amused by the way in which the moral character of the local education authority fluctuates.

Hon. Members when speaking of local authorities upstairs always said that they have had a long experience of education administration. I think 28 years was the smallest figure mentioned: I could not compete, and did not discuss this part of the subject; but when thinking of himself primarily as an M.P. each Member considered that the local education authority was the weak point, but the same speaker when thinking of himself as a member of the local education authority spoke of it as being grand though rather hampered by sub-committees which were reactionary, sometimes fraudulent, at the worst even containing farmers. The short point is that there must be this year of marginal utility when there is a reasonable doubt; and then who is to settle it? Is it to be Parliament? Or the local education authority? Or has not the parent a reasonable right to have something to do in deciding it? That is the short point. When this year of marginal utility comes varies very much in different children and according to our personal prejudices, but surely what we are trying to legislate for is the people of England. It is inevitable that they will think that the year of marginal utility is the one above what they are accustomed to. As long as the year to which they are accustomed is 14 it is rather doubtful whether they will consider it necessary to stay at school after 14. The general public will naturally feel that the year of marginal utility is the year with which the Bill deals and, therefore, is it not reasonable that parents and children should have a considerable say in deciding the matter?

4.48 p.m.


I could not, even if I tried, follow the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) in his cynical speech. Throughout it was a cynical speech in regard to the working-class children of the country. I could not follow him intellectually; I have not the capacity; but I was wondering why on earth he has not left the quiet and secure places of Cambridge for the turmoil of the pits in the Rhondda Valley. His argument was an argument for the abolition of most of the universities and certainly for the abolition of the greater percentage of the great public schools. If the tests which the hon. Member wants to apply to the ordinary normal child were applied in these instances I imagine that the public schools would be largely empty. If the hon. Member wants to give to parents the duty of being the deciding factor, then I would ask him to put parents in an economic position to make the choice. Anyone who knows anything of working-doss life to-day knows that most people would keep their children in school if they were able to maintain them. It Is the poverty of the parents which compels them to allow their children to go into the larger field of industry and labour. I ask the hon. Member to look at the question of education from the wider economic, social and political interests of the nation. Education to-day, in a more real sense than ever, is a great social service which is absolutely essential for the economic wellbeing and even the political stability of the nation.

There has never been in my experience a Bill which has had such a mixed reception as this Bill. I frankly admit, indeed I am glad, that on the religious part of the Bill, the grants to non-provided schools, there has been general rejoicing. Without exception we are all glad that this part of the Bill has had a harmonious passage through Second Reading and Committee stage, and the good will which has been evinced will help to make this part of the Bill effective in operation. I for one appreciate the fact that the Minister on this part of the Bill has stuck to his word. We felt that he would do so, and that the compromise which was arranged would be put on the Statute Book. I wish this part of the Bill God speed. As to the other part of the Measure, where is there a single interest in the education world which rejoices about it? Where are the combined views of local authorities on this part? I follow keenly the official papers of education authorities and I do not know, although there may be, a single argument in which they show acceptance of the first part of the Bill. There is nothing but criticism.

Local administrators of experience know full well that the Minister is putting upon them an almost, impossible task. Three years hence we are to have the raising of the school age with exemptions. The number of these exemptions no one can foretell. The Minister himself cannot foretell. Right through Committee stage the right hon. Gentleman failed to give us any light or leading as to what beneficial employment is, and even after the Committee stage we are still left in the same vague condition so far as any definition of suitable employment is concerned. Yet the burden is being thrown on local authorities of making provision for an unknown number of children three years hence. That is an impossible administrative task to give local authorities. I am rather suspicious that the Minister expects many more exemptions than he has been prepared to admit.




No, that is not cynical. I am coming to the official pronouncement of the Conservative party and that is not a cynical piece of work. This is what speakers of the Conservative party were instructed to say: Lastly, owing to the prospective fall in the number of juveniles, there will he by 1939 a shortage rather than a surplus of juvenile labour, except in the depressed areas What is the inference to be drawn from that? If they were instructed to say that there will be a shortage of juvenile labour it is obvious that they were instructed to tell their audiences not. to worry because not many of their children would be kept in school; they would be wanted in the workshops and factories. Exemptions, right through the whole history of education, have been due to the demand for cheap labour by employers on the one side, and to the poverty of parents on the other.

Duchess of ATHOLL

Can the hon. Member tell us the document from which he is reading?


It is "Hints to Speakers, 1936, February"

Duchess of ATHOLL

That is not an official document of the National Government.


I did not say it was. I will read it in full—" Hints for 14peakers, issued by the Conservative and Unionist Central Office."

Duchess of ATHOLL

There is no pledge in that.


The Noble Lady has missed the point. I am saying that Conservative speakers were instructed to tell their audiences that there will be a shortage of juvenile labour and that their children would be wanted in the factories and workshops; they would not be wanted in school. From the beginning the Government have had no intention of making the school age watertight. They meant that there shall be a large number of exemptions allowing children to go into factories and workshops. Let me take the President of the Board of Education on his Second Reading speech. Quite frankly in that speech arid throughout Committee the right hon. Gentleman did not visualise or will not admit that he realises the real problem before us. The right hon. Gentleman says that there are no blind-alley occupations worth talking about.


Where did I say that?


I will give the right hon. Gentleman the quotation. He also minimised the unregulated trades. Those are two assertions and I propose to read a quotation. In his Second Reading speech the right hon. Gentleman said: We are dealing here with the case of the individual child and the individual job, and in the majority of cases the decisive factor as to whether the particular employment is beneficial or not is not the classification of the job but its conditions; not what the job is called, but whether it leads to further opportunities for the child, what are the conditions of hours and wages and the opportunities for recreation, leisure and education. I believe that you find very few jobs which you would never in any circumstances be able to say were beneficial. In almost every instance it would depend upon the particular conditions and prospects which it offered for the future Then comes the following sentence: Take what are loosely called blind-alley jobs Will any hon. Member say that that sentence gives any conviction that the Minister realises the realities of blind-alley occupations. You cannot define a blind-alley job as a particular trade A little further on he said: It is the same with what are loosely called unregulated trades "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th February, 1936; col. 1168, Vol. 308.] In reading that paragraph, the impression I get is that it does not show a real appreciation of the social, economic and industrial problem that is involved in the employment of these children; nor does it show any appreciation of the gravity of the position, or the nature of blind-alley occupations. If the Minister wishes to deny that, I shall be glad to give way to him.


I am sure the hon. Gentleman has not deliberately misrepresented me. I will begin by informing the House of the context of my speech. We were discussing the utility of central regulations, and I think the point I made is one which the whole House will see. The hon. Member might perhaps say that the occupation of a van-boy is a blind-alley occupation. Would he say that?




That illustrates the difficulty. Is it a blind-alley occupation if a boy is offered a job in a firm as a van-boy with the promise of promotion to the position of driver of the lorry when he becomes an adult? It is for that reason that I say jobs cannot be classified as blind-alley jobs. It depends upon the particular employment and upon whether the job into which the boy goes will lead to something else later on.


There may be promotion for one boy, but one out of how many? Hon. Members must consider this great social problem, and I would like to give some figures to illustrate its gravity. Twenty-eight per cent. of the youths who are registered under the new Unemployment Act are in the distributive trades. If one follows those distributive trades as a class of trades, what does one find? The curve of unemployment rises with the curve of age. I have here some most appalling figures, and since the Minister has challenged me, I hope the House will permit me to refer to some of them.


The hon. Member has not answered my question. Would he say that a boy going as a van-boy in a firm with a promise of promotion on reaching adult age was going into a blind-alley occupation?


Yes, and for two or three main reasons. One is that if the van-boy gets promotion, it is obvious from the figures of unemployment that he gets it at the expense of somebody who is older. If hon. Members will look into this problem they will see the tragedy of it. From the figures, I know very well that the vast majority of children (no matter what may be the firm with which they get employment) who enter the distributive trade, are entering a trade in which the menace of unemployment becomes greater as they grow older. It is the astounding fact that only 8 per cent. of the people who enter the distributive trades are found there at the age of 44. Let me give the House the detailed figures of various trades. In the distribution of coal, at 15 years of age one in 89 is unemployed at 18 to 20 years of age, one in 24 is unemployed. Confectionery: 14 to 15 years of age, one in 27 is unemployed; 18 to 20 years of age, one in 11 is unemployed. Groceries and provisions: at 14 to 15 years of age, one in 45 is unemployed; 18 to 20 years of age, one in 16 is unemployed. I have a list of figures concerning the meat, milk and dairying, fish, poultry, tobacco, drugs, ironmongery trades, and so on. They show that at the ages of 18 to 20 there is a big jump in the unemployment figures; at the age of 30 there is a still bigger jump, and again at 40 to 45. This does not merely affect the distributive trades, but the coal and textile industries. In the textile areas the parents will not put their children into the ordinary staple trades.

For many years the figures of unemployment have been round about 2,000,000. There is an absolute surplus of labour. In a speech the other night the Chancellor foreshadowed a decline in the trade cycle. We may be faced with further unemployment. My argument to the Minister is that this is not merely an individual problem. It is not a problem of a boy getting service under one good firm. It is a social problem and a great national problem. I say that in the first part of this Bill, owing to the poverty of the parents and still more owing to the fact that the employers will command and demand cheap labour, the Government have been afraid to face the great social responsibility that lies before them. While I welcome heartily the second part of the Bill, I do not believe the first part contains anything that can make any social reformer, whether he be an educationist or not, anyone who has any interest in the youth of our country, or anyone who has a vital interest in the economic, social and industrial wellbeing of our country, enthusiastic about it. The provisions of the first part are a mean and miserable contribution to a great problem. There is no substance and no reality in them and therefore, on account of the first part of the Bill, I shall go into the Division Lobby in favour of our Amendment to-night.

5.10 p.m.


After listening to the last two speeches, I say without hesitation that I prefer that of my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) to the tirade we have just heard from the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove). I do not think the speech of my hon. Friend the Member or Cambridge University was cynical. I thought it was much more a search after truth than the speech to which we have just listened. I think that in many respects the speech of the hon. Member for Aberavon did not do justice to the plain facts of the case. I felt I could not allow this Bill, in which many of my constituents take an immense interest, to pass without making a few observations upon it. A few years ago there was presented by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord Eustace Percy) a Bill to which my name was added, and I think that shortly afterwards there was introduced by the hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir Percy Harris) a private Member's Motion which took up what was almost that Bill and advanced it to the House as a great measure of social progress. So I took it to be, and so I still took it to be when I saw that the Government election manifesto had taken what was practically the substance of our Bill and that it was included in the Government's programme. I believed then that it was a big measure of social progress, and I still believe that.

Before I return, to the tirade of the hon. Member for Aberavon, I want to say a few words in preface to my arguments. I believe there was very great substance in the arguments about teachers put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University. I cannot help wishing that the National Union of Teachers was called the National Union of Tutors, because I believe that would have put the emphasis in the right place. The emphasis of "teacher" is surely on him who teaches, but the emphasis of "tutor" is on the child, because the tutor is the guide who is there to educate the child to draw out what is in the child, and not to teach or to inculcate what is in him. That is a distinction which really goes to the bottom of our education problem, and it is a distinction which I do not believe the hon. Member for Aberavon recognises. I hope he will not think I am in any way being academic. I shall go on to elucidate what I mean later on and that is why I introduce it at this moment.


Take it as read.


Take it as read if the hon. Member likes, but we should then have to take a great deal of what he said as read, and we would not like to do that. It is clear that the promise of exemptions as a right was in the Government manifesto. I believe that the hon. Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Markham) was wrong yesterday when he attacked the Minister. He could easily have said to his electors that the manifesto was a Government manifesto and that he disagreed with that point in it; he could have said he would oppose the Government on that point if he was elected; but what he could not say was that the Government manifesto did not promise exemptions as a right. It was there in black and white. I disagree equally with the point made by the Noble Lady the Member for Western Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) when she said that she regarded industry as requiring young people.

Duchess of ATHOLL

I said that young people were required in the case of certain processes in some industries, for instance, in the woollen industry.


The Noble Lady advances the argument that there were certain industries which required young people. I do not believe there is an industry which cannot very readily and quickly adapt itself to social legislation. Indeed, I could go to great employers and get any die-hard argument advanced if I wanted to, but I would stress the other side of the case. I believe it is necessary for some boys, if they are to train themselves for what their future life is going to be, to get into practical employment when they are young. That is the first of the reasons why I welcome the exemption system. This is an age of machinery, and however much we regret that it should be, it is likely to remain so. A portion of our community will be needed for brainwork in the future, but a much greater proportion will be needed for skilled manual work.




It is very true that under any system of government a very great proportion It ill be used in skilled manual work.


Can the hon. Member mention any employment of any kind that cannot as easily start at 15 as at 14?


Yes, 1 can. I think it is desirable for a good many forms of engineering apprenticeship to start early, and certainly n many professions, like dramatic art, and many skilled trades, like bookdinding, it is desirable to start early. I could no doubt get many more instances, but it is a question of which I should like to have notice. In the future many of our young people will be training for a life in which they will have to work machinery and use their hands. I believe that those children are much better in practical employment, provided the conditions are good, than they would be in school. The corollary was put by my hon. Friend behind me. The real educational approach to this problem is the selection of the vast numbers of those who are best suited to do brainwork who come from what we are pleased to call the working classes, although I believe that all classes work equally hard to-day, and that must come through the scholarship system, which has nothing to do with the raising of the school age. Under the scholarship system the boys who will get scholarships are already, to use a horrible phrase, creamed off by the time they are 11 years of age. They are in the secondary schools, and half the pupils in the secondary schools are there free. Our universities are crowded with young men who have gone up from the elementary and secondary schools, and even at Oxford and Cambridge, in 1934, out of some 670 awards, there were 369 granted to young people from the elementary and secondary schools. That is an advance on which we, as a nation, can congratulate ourselves, and we can really begin to say that poverty is beginning to be no bar to educational advance.

There is one other reason why I believe the scheme of exemptions is desirable, and that is that the parents are almost the only people who have not indicated a distaste for this Bill. They may not have expressed themselves very strongly on it, but many of them have expressed themselves very strongly against a system which does not allow of exemptions, and I believe that the parents want exemptions and want to see the gradual raising of the school-leaving age as well. In those conditions I believe the local authorities are really the right people to judge. Some people talk of local authorities at one moment as if they are capable of being entrusted with every kind of State function, and at the next moment they talk of them as if they cannot carry out a function with which many of them have been partially entrusted in the past. I am not now referring to those authorities which are running the exemption system, and I think it is particularly difficult for them to run an exemption system in a country which, in general, has a school-leaving age of 14; but I refer to those local authorities which have juvenile employment committees and which work them very well. Here in this Bill there are certain specific standards for the local authorities to judge by, and it is only fair to assume for the time being that the local authorities will administer those conditions well. I believe they will, and I hope the President of the Board of Education will emphasise this in his reply. Especially do I hope they will have regard to those provisions in the Bill dealing with the prospect of the child's employment. If my hon. Friend the Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) still radically disagrees with my argument on exemptions, the division of work, and the education of our children for the kind of work for which they will be needed in the future, he will indeed find most of that argument set forth in the political dissertations, the Communist dissertations, of Plato.

I just wanted to say, before I sit down, a word on that portion of the Bill which has vitally interested large numbers of my constituents—that dealing with non-provided schools. It so happens that my constituency is situated in an area in which there has been some local opposition to the provisions of this Bill, but, I think, a very misjudged opposition. As a whole I believe that the heads of both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church can be grateful to a limited extent for this Bill, and they have so expressed themselves. It has given them at least something which they have never had before. It has not given them what they would like to have by right so much as by privilege. But the President of the Board of Education has assured them that it is not a final settlement, and they regard it as a step forward towards the final settlement. In the words of one Archbishop, the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham: This Bill is an honest attempt to help our schools to take their proper place in the national system of education, and though it does not give us all that we ask for, anything which helps the Catholic school to overcome its difficulties is worthy of our grateful acceptance We do give our grateful acceptance of this Measure to the Minister and many of us would like to express our gratitude to those who used to oppose us bitterly in the past, for their moderation at this time and for their recognition of the part that voluntary schools play in the life of the nation.

5.25 p.m.


I should like to be permitted to congratulate the President of the Board of Education at any rate upon one portion of his Bill. I do not complain that he is at the present time no doubt having much needed refreshment, but I wish to congratulate him upon having succeeded where I know from memory a series of Presidents of the Board of Education in the past, including Mr. McKenna and the late Mr. Augustine Birrell, failed. I am glad that I am living in times when the religious atmosphere is such that the President of the Board has been able to make full use of his opportunities to allow all children to be able to be taught in schools which will be fit for them in every particular, and especially, so that they can take advantage, we are hoping, or we were hoping of that extra year which was promised to us in the Hadow Report; but I am sorry to say that the right hon. Gentleman has given to us a new meaning of the word "beneficial," and in years to come the meaning of that word in the dictionary will be something very different from what it is to-day. I regret that the President has come under the malign influence of the Noble Lady the Member for West Perth (Duchess of Atholl), even as much almost as when she was directly associated with the Board of Education and she had such a distracting influence over the Noble Lord the ex-Minister for hard thinking. The Noble Lady came to this House and told us what beneficial employment was. She said she had received a letter from a factory girl, I believe—

Duchess of ATHOLL

If the hon. Member had done me the compliment of listening carefully to my speech, he would remember that I quoted from information given to me by heads of firms who spoke of the very serious shortage of juvenile labour—which has been confirmed to-day by a speaker on the Front Opposition Bench—and who also said that they had machinery standing idle and adults unemployed because they could not be employed on that particular machinery.


I am indebted to the Noble Lady. She has told us she did not receive the letter from any of her girl friends, the factory girls, but got her information from captains of our industry, and she mentioned the word "Bradford." I will make the Noble Lady a sporting offer. If the Noble Lady will come down with me to Bradford and spend her Summer Recess there, I will undertake to go back to my own job and to initiate the Noble Lady as a doffer in some of our mills. I will undertake that her fingers and mine will be able to do the doffing that is necessary on the spinning frames. Speaking from my experience, I want to say that there is no excuse for this dreadful new meaning which the President of the Board of Education applies to the word "beneficial."

Duchess of ATHOLL


Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)

I would point out to hon. Members that every time an interruption takes place it lengthens the time of the speech of the hon. Member who may be speaking, and that a number of other hon. Members wish to speak on this subject.


What the Noble Lady is wanting is cheap, docile and disorganised labour. Her speeches and her attitude, even when she was at the Board of Education, take me back to the clays when some of our ancestors wanted some of us to go back, as we had to, to the mill the day when we were 10 in order to be strapped by the overlooker, and then to go to church with the same over-looker and sing the Noble Lady's favourite theme song, "Oh, what can little hands do" I regret that the Minister has not implemented a real beneficial Act of Parliament without exemptions which would allow children to benefit from the four years' programme as laid down in the Hadow report. I am afraid that the right hon. Gentleman will be inundated with many exemptions. Many years ago a former fellow-townsman of mine came to this House and sat on the Front Bench opposite in order, with great trouble to build a pioneer pathway of education—the late W. E. Forster. His ideal, in the midst of much religious controversy, which, I am thankful to say, is now absent, was to build a broad highway.

The right hon. Gentleman, I regret to say, is reversing the process, and I believe that what he wants to do is, as we say in Yorkshire, to take us down a snicket or down a ginnel. He may by his system of exemption be preventing some future saviour, some great public servant of the country, from being able to take full advantage of his educational opportunities. I admire the family of the right hon. Gentleman for its great traditions and its great public services to this country. I have tried to go back to the fourteenth century or thereabouts to find the beginnings of the family of the right hon. Gentleman. If it were to have its beginnings to-day, instead of about 1485, with the exemptions that the right hon. Gentleman proposes in his Bill, it would not have had the great opportunity of being able to render the great national and public service that it has been able to do.

5.35 p.m.

Duchess of ATHOLL

I feel I must enter a protest against the suggestion of the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Crossley) to the effect that I had been canvassing employers in order to support Diehard arguments. I would like to tell the House that, far from canvassing employers to find out what information they could give on the need of the textile industry for small lingers for a particular process, the subject was mentioned to me spontaneously several months ago before it was known the Government were going to introduce this Measure by a woman friend who is a strong supporter of the National Government and a director of one of these firms. She rather took my breath away by speaking strongly in support of the Government and then bursting out about the harm that would be cone to the woollen industry if the school age were raised. I was told then of the shortage of juvenile labour in the area of Bradford, and it was only upon than, entirely spontaneous expression of opinion, and assurance of the difficulty the industry was even then experiencing in obtaining juvenile labour, that I acquired the information which I have felt it my duty to put before the House. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) that, however interested one may be in education, one has to recognise that there is a danger of educationists taking too one-sided a view on these matters. There seems to me to be a distinct danger of what he called educational sacerdotalism. We want through an Education Bill to help the children, but we have to recognise, at the same time, the seriousness of putting impossible handicaps in the way of industry, and I support this Bill because it leaves open the possibility of exemption for employment under conditions which will make a great improvement in the employment of children. Now I should like to reply to the challenge of the hon. Member for Bradford—


East Hull.

Duchess of ATH0LL

Perhaps in that case the hon. Member knows a little less about Bradford than he led me to expect. I can remember nothing that I ever said or did in the four and a-half years in which I was associated with the Board of Education that would justify a single word he Aid.


I was chairman of an education committee, and I had to administer some of the things which the Noble Lady was doing, and I speak from bitter experience.

Duchess of ATH0LL

There was certainly no attempt during the period I was at the board to do any of the things the hon. Member suggested and if we are issuing invitations, I suggest that it would be more to the point if the hon. Member would satisfy himself that machinery is now or recently has been standing idle in the mills to which I have referred and that adults are unemployed in consequence. He would then find out that what I have said is true, and it would be a more profitable way I think of spending his summer holidays than the manner he suggested.

I would like to pass to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) said about maintenance allowances. If I may say so, he referred to them in a manner that seemed to me misleading. Anyone not familiar with Income Tax law would I think have imagined that Income Tax payers are actual recipients of £60 per annum for every child that they have to educate, inasmuch as when maintenance allowances are talked of in connection with education it means a definite grant of money to the parent of a child; but in the case of the relief that is given to the Income Tax payer it merely means that £60 per child is not assessed for Income Tax. That is a very different matter.

Again, I think that most members of the House were rather surprised to find that the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) could find no difference between employment as a van boy offered to a boy who is told that there is every prospect if he does well of becoming one day driver of the van and the offer of employment to a boy when there are no such prospects of promotion.

Finally as to the percentage of children likely to be exempted—we have of course to recognise that it is impossible to say how large this percentage will be and I admit the difficulties that this is likely to put in the way of educational administration. It may be difficult to know what accommodation will have to be prepared, but it seems to me perfectly clear that as our senior schools, wherever they are well equipped and well staffed, make the children in them very happy, that factor alone will mean that more and more children will want to stay at school for the extra year. To-day children have considerable influence with their parents, sometimes perhaps more than the parents seem to have with them, and what we may be sure of in this Bill is, that if children for different reasons are anxious to leave school and to take employment, they will go into employment safeguarded in regard to health, hours of work, opportunities for recreation and for further instruction, and chances of continuity of employment, in a way that is not open to most children to-day. Therefore, I feel that the Minister has a right to speak of the conditions under which they wilt be employed as "beneficial."

5.42 p.m.


I am the last person to attack the Noble Lady for her attitude to education. I cannot help recollecting that she was a distinguished' Parliamentary Secretary of the board and that in those happy days she was more progressive and more liberal in her attitude than she has been in the last year or two. As for her arguments with regard to exemption and the demand—I do not question her facts at all—for labour in the textile trade, all I can say is that the very same case was put up against the abolition of the half-timers. I have a vivid recollection of the Act of 1870, which was called a wicked and cruel Act which would bring hunger and economic shortage to thousands of homes. There was the famous case of the matchmakers in which it was said that they could not do away with the little fingers to put on the match heads and that it would bring about ruin in the great match industry. That Act of Parliament meant the humanising of the match industry, which used to be something we ought to be ashamed of, and which is now our pride and one of the most efficient, up-to-date and well-conducted industries in the country. I cannot help thinking that, if exemptions were abolished, enterprising and clever manufacturers of Yorkshire would very soon adapt their machinery to do away with the need for little fingers and would find some machinery to do the work and probably to produce their cloth more efficiently and economically without cheap child labour. It is a pity that this argument, which is unworthy of the Noble Lady, was brought into this discussion.

I have never argued that there was a great popular demand from the mass of the people for this educational advance. That has never been the case with any great advance in education. The economic pressure in the small home is so great that it is natural to want to add to the family income by sending the children out to work, but it has always been held by social reformers that it is the duty of the Government to take the wider outlook of the well-being of the State. The Forster Act was not inspired by a desire for popularity, and it occasioned much criticism in many parts of the country, but it was felt to be in the national interest. The same observation applies to the Balfour Act. Mr. Balfour realised that his controversial Measure, which stirred up so much feeling, was not likely to strengthen his electoral prospects, but he felt it to be a necessary reform. It was the same, also, with the Fisher Ad; and I hoped that we should be able to associate the name of the present President of the Board of Education with a great step forward in education, but now that the Bi11 appears in its final form, after the Committee stage and the Report stage, I think there are very few people who will suggest that it will bring about an educational advance.

As far as I could make out the speech of the junior Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn)—and I emphasise that I am referring to the junior Member, because 1 do not believe he represented the point of view of the senior Member—he rather rejoiced that the Bill would not make a great educational advance. He did not believe that to be desirable, and his argument was based on the necessity of limiting the advantages of education to a comparatively small percentage of the population. The case of social reformers for raising the school-leaving age is a two-fold one. In the first place it will relieve the pressure in the labour market by stopping, to some extent, the inward stream at the bottom, making it easier for the older groups of young people to retain their job longer. The pushing-out of employment of young people as they reach the age of 17, 18 or 19 is one of the contributory causes of unemployment, and social reformers, irrespective of party, have pressed this Government and previous Governments to ease the pressure by checking the flow of labour from the bottom into the labour market.

The second reason is to be found in the recommendation of the Hadow Report, now many years old on the education of adolescents, that if full advantage was to be taken of our education system it was necessary to have two four-year courses—the first, the preparatory course, for those between the ages of 7 and 11, and the senior course for those between the ags of 11 and 15. School reorganisation has been going on for the last half-dozen years, and experiene has shown—and I am sure the Noble Lady the Member for Kinross and Western Perth (Duchess of Atholl) will agree with me—that if the senior course is to be of real benefit it must run the full four years and take in the children up to the age of 15. That is the whole foundation of the reorganisation scheme, and if the Bill is to achieve that most desirable end the local education authorities must have some certainty as to the number of children for whom they will have to provide, and there must not be too many exemptions.

Apart from the question of reorganisation we feel that the right place for a child up to the age of 15 is not the workshop or the factory but the school, first from the point of view of its spiritual well-being as regards the formation of character, arid, secondly, from the practical point of view of its education for life and for industry. What is going on to-day is a reorganisation which is introducing into education a technical bias, and to make that a success the four-year course is essential. An hon. Member opposite was good enough to refer to a private Bill introduced by me in the last Parliament, and to claim, as I believe the right hon. Gentleman the Minister has also claimed, that it afforded at any rate part of the inspiration for this Measure. My excuse for that Bill was that it was the only kind of Bill which I could introduce under the Standing Orders. I did not believe that it had any chance of becoming law, but obviously I could not introduce a Bill which would impose a, charge, and so I adopted a form such as the rules of the House permitted.


Surely the hon. Baronet is not telling the House that he introduced a Bill, and got a whole day's discussion devoted to it, when he himself believed that it was a bad Bill?


It was the best I could draft within the rules of order. Let us see what the Board of Education, said at that time. I do not mind quoting it, because it is a good criticism of this Bill. The present Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture said: I feel, as other people feel, that on the educational side it rather carries out the waiting-room policy in schools, where the children are kept in the waiting-room or in the cloakroom hung up on pegs until somebody comes along to take them down. He went on to say: Where schools are reorganised I believe that it would be difficult to plan proper educational courses with classes that are continually changing and shrinking. If the experiment were tried it might bring discredit on the whole system owing to the comparative educational failure of the new classes, and that is why I feel the cloakroom policy is not a good policy educationally."— [OFFICAL REPORT, 1st December, 1933; cols. 1268–9, Vol. 283.] That is a good description of this Bill. I am afraid that it will not be found to be a practical policy, and that it will discredit the whole idea in connection with advancing the school-leaving age. The working of exemptions will undoubtedly create discontent and friction among the parents of the children. Their attitude will be "All or none." They will not think it fair that their neighbour's children shall be able to go into industry and get good wages—partly because of the shortage of labour—while their own children have to remain at school; and the serious part of it will be that the good jobs will go to the children of parents who least need them. The child who is well clothed and well fed will, naturally, have more chance in the labour market than the child of a man out of work who is unable to turn it out properly clothed. Much of that difficulty would have been minimised if there had been maintenance allowances. There is a strong case against maintenance allowances if all children were required to stay at school, but an unanswerable case for them if you are only going to keep some at school, because I think it could be shown that the children who will be retained at school will generally be the children of those who can least afford to keep them out of the labour market.

That is a serious thing which, I think. will make this change unpopular with the people whose support it is absolutely vital to get. But on top of that I think the machinery will break down when the Bill comes into operation. How will it be possible for a local education authority to calculate the number of school places required, or the number of teachers? It will be difficult to anticipate how many children will be retained at school and how many will be exempted. I should have liked to have been able to support this Bill, because in its title, at any rate, it does attempt to do something for education; but I believe that Part I will break down because of the clumsy construction of its machinery and the impossibility of devisiong a satisfactory system of exemptions. It is true that Part II is universally accepted, and I think the right hon. Gentleman is deserving of credit for it, but I think we can share that credit with him. We are living in happier days when our main desire is to secure the well-being of the child, and I think it is unfortunate that advantage was not taken of the agreement come to on the denominational question to introduce a bold scheme of educational advance. The right hon. Gentleman has let that opportunity slip, and for that reason I must condemn the Bill.

5.57 p.m.

Colonel Sir JOHN; SHUTE

As one who has followed the whole of these debates since the introduction of the Bill and had the privilege of being on the Committee, and as one who has also taken part in education debates throughout the country for a great number of years, perhaps I may be permitted to make some observations on this Measure. As to the first part of the Bill, I am in complete agreement with the Minister that the Clauses which have caused so much discussion—the Clauses dealing with exemptions—were fully in keeping with and, in fact, were demanded by the statement which was made on behalf on the Government at the General Election. I would also say as an employer of labour both direct and in an administrative capacity, in which I have the overlooking of many thousands of people in Lancashire, that I am desirous of seeing the day come when the raising of the school-leaving age will be made without any exemptions whatever. Engaged as I am in trade and commerce and coming into contact with the post-war competition to which we are now subjected, I take the view that it will be essential for the youth of the country to have the advantage of prolonged education which will be given to them by this extra year at school if they are to meet the competition with which we are being faced.

Other hon. Members will speak on the earlier Clauses, but I wish to refer to the Clauses relating to the non-provided schools. I am speaking as one of the Catholic Members of the House. We have all been delighted to work with our Church of England and Jewish Friends, and I endorse and heartily welcome the spirit of good will and compromise which has existed throughout the discussion of this Measure, particularly in Committee. The comments that fell from the lips of Members of all parties showed that nobody desired to make party capital out of the Measure. Those were striking words by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones), when he said: I cannot adequately express the measure of my rejoicing at the fact that, at long last, this controversy is passing from the political arena."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee A), 7th May, 1936; col. 371.] I gratefully acknowledge the generous and general recognition that we have received of the special position of the Catholic body in this matter. I am particularly glad of that, because on every occasion upon which I have appeared on a platform in the country with regard to education, I have never failed to say that I could not understand the necessity for introducing religious bitterness into this question. As believers in the voluntary schools, we have always stated that the concessions which we have asked for or demanded for ourselves we would demand equally for any other branch of the Christian faith or for the Jewish community, should they desire them. We remain of the definite view, which we have never altered, that religious teaching and the creation of an atmosphere conducive to the promulgation of such teaching, so essential to the building up of the character of the child which we believe is even more important than mere book-learning. We therefore logically insist that those who teach must be professing and practising believers in the faith of the children whom they are called upon to teach. When we look around the world we see the open or insidious attacks that are made upon religion, and it is noticeable that those attacks always focus upon the child. I suppose it is obvious that at that immature age the effects are more lasting, for good or for ill.

The great bulk of the people of the faith to which I belong are drawn from the poorer classes. Those of us who are, fortunately, in a better financial position, can, and unhesitatingly do, send their children to great Catholic public schools like Beaumont, Downside, Stoneyhurst and Ampleforth, without any thought in our minds of any other course. Our poorer brethren, whilst equally earnest in their convictions, are left with the choice either of sending their children to a school in which that fundamental religious training and religious atmosphere, which they feel to be essential to the well-being of their children, is non-existent, or of finding, out of their own pockets, the money to build schools to house their children where such an atmosphere would prevail. During the last 30 or 40 years, the price that they have paid for that conscientious belief has been grave and onerous. The great bulk of the people of my faith, ravaged as they have been by unemployment, especially in the northern parts of the country, in which there are great numbers of Catholics, have shown unmistakably their definite determination to carry out what they believe is essential for the benefit of the children for whom they are responsible. I think no hon. Member would grudge the recognition that I ask for those people, and for the great sacrifices which they have made.

No school that has been opened by the Catholic body has ever been closed. Year after year, with the growth of the Catholic population, schools are built or are in the process of building, to house the growing youth who desire to become members of those schools. In the English dioceses we now have 1,423 schools, with over 400,000 scholars. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan) can confirm because his division adjoins my own, the great difficulties that we have had, in our city of Liverpool, to find accommodation for Catholic children who are clamouring to get into schools which are already overcrowded. Intolerable extra burdens are placed upon the school managers and upon our devoted teachers, but from these overcrowded schools scholars of an equally high educational order are turned out as from any of the council schools in Liverpool or elsewhere, although the amenities of our schools are out of all proportion to those built by the general body of ratepayers, and to which we contribute our proportionate share.

The raising of the school-leaving age, based upon the decision of the Government to carry out the findings of the Hadow Report, entails further burdens upon us which it is almost impossible to meet, but we are desirous of taking our full part in the educational advance which has been foreshadowed. The Government, desiring the aid of the voluntary schools, promised some mitigation of our financial burdens, for a limited purpose and for a limited time, but that still leaves us to find from 25 per cent. to 50 per cent. of the cost.

I differ from hon. Members who say that the 1902 compromise has been broken and therefore some compensating gesture should be made by the supporters of voluntary schools. Without any desire to be controversial, I must be honest and say that I do not see the matter in that light. We are dealing with an entirely new situation which was never contemplated in 1902, and which has been brought about by a new elaboration of Government policy; but we recognise the spirit of good will that has already been referred to, and which, emanating from the Minister, has spread to all sections of the House. We desire to co-operate with that spirit, but we would have desired that the step which the Government have taken had been more generous. It would have been quite possible for the National Government to take a more generous step. However, we accept it definitely as a step in the right direction, hoping that the day will not be long distant when we shall get fair and equal measure with other schools doing work similar to our own.

I wish to say quite definitely, as otherwise it would not be fair to the House, that in the arrangements which we may make with local authorities we shall insist upon our right to have Catholic teachers for Catholic children in Catholic schools. I believe that the vast majority of local education authorities will be agreeable. In the single-school areas—I believe that there are not more than 14 individual schools throughout the country, housing some 600 children—doubtless a compromise will be made which will be satisfactory to both sides. I am profoundly thankful for the change of attitude suggested by the reception of the Bill. A distinguished Member of the Opposition —I do not wish to particularise him, as he was somewhat embarrassed by the very great compliments paid to him by Members of other parties—used words which I think he will recognise. He said: …a permanent recognition of the dual system. Inherent in this proposal is the permanency of Church schools."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee A), 28th April, 1936; col. 288.] I do not believe it can be long before we get the same financial aid that is given to council schools. And so believing in the justice of our cause may I con- clude with the words of Abraham Lincoln used on a great occasion? They are: With malice towards none; with charity towards all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in. I thank those who have differed from us in the past for the very fair way in which they have met us on the points at issue. We congratulate the Minister, not only for the Bill as a whole, but for the masterly grasp he has shown of the intricate details of the conflicting problems and diverse views held, and for the way in which he has overcome these difficulties. We are grateful also for his courtesy and consideration, and for the cleverness with which he has smoothed out all the rough points until he has brought the Bill to its successful issue. Nothing that the right hon. Gentleman has done in the course of his career has been better done than the work in which we are taking part to-day. It must be a very fine thing for him to be able to stand at that Box knowing that, for the first time for over 30 years, an Education Bill has been brought to this House one portion of which will be accepted almost unanimously, as I accept it on behalf of those whom I represent.

6.15 p.m.


We have heard two speeches from the other side of the House as to the need for children of 14 finding employment in certain occupations. The Noble Lady the Member for Kinross and Western Perth (Duchess of Atholl) made a statement regarding the declaration of a certain branch of employers as to the absolute necessity of employing children, and as to the harm that would be done to the woollen industry if the school-leaving age were raised. That sort of argument was very common in the time of Lord Shaftesbury when he was fighting on behalf of child slaves nearly a century ago. Then we had a statement from the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Crossley) in which he said it was necessary to get boys at a young age for certain occupations. Strangely enough, one never hears well-to-do parents, who can afford to send their children to secondary schools and public schools, advocating that their boys and girls should leave school at the age of 14 and go into these occupations. There was a time when it was our proud boast that we led the world in social legislation, but I am afraid that we cannot make that claim any longer. The attitude adopted by the British Government at Geneva during the past four years has certainly not enhanced our reputation abroad. As regards the school-leaving age, this Measure falls far short of the recommendations made at Geneva last year.


Would the hon. Member tell the House how many nations have actually raised their school-leaving age above 14?


The recommendation was only made last year Where I find fault with the Government is that they have not gone the length of carrying out that recommendation or anything like it, or of giving a lead. My contention is that this country ought to maintain its prestige by giving a lead in social legislation, but it has not done so for the past four years. That recommendation at Geneva was passed by 96 votes to 47. It is true that the British Government representative abstained from voting on that occasion, and probably that is the reason why the British Government say that they are under no obligation to carry out the recommendation. Under that recommendation the minimum age agreed upon was to be not less than 15 years. This Bill makes 15 the maximum, and not the minimum, whereas the Geneva recommendation was that there should be full-time attendance at school, until suitable employment was available, up to the age of 18.

Suitability of employment under the Geneva recommendation refers primarily to the continuity of the employment and the future prospects therein. I am not satisfied that this Bill sufficiently safeguards the interests of the child in that respect. I want to ask the Minister a question. The hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) has already dealt with the distributive trades. Would the Minister regard the distributive trades as offering suitable employment, when today, while the ratio of unemployment between the ages of 14 and 15 is one in 35, between the ages of 18and 21 it is one in 12? That means that, when suitable boys reach an age at which they require a wage on which they can maintain themselves, they are thrown on to the scrap-heap, and to-day 45 per cent. of those who are employed in the distribu- tive trades are under 21 years of age. I certainly do not consider that the distributive trades to-day can be regarded as offering beneficial employment.

With regard to the legal limitation of the hours of labour, there is no safeguard in the Bill as to excessive hours. It is a very heavy strain upon boys or girls to be taken away from school, where they have to work 28 hours in the week, and suddenly be dumped into an industry where the hours may be anything from 48 upwards. Juvenile employment committees all over the country have time and again emphasised how difficult it is for boys and girls, after working long hours during the daytime, to attend evening classes, and this Bill provides that they have to attend classes. The Bill throws a considerable onus on local authorities, and I am afraid it will prove to be anything but an education Bill in the real sense. It is very significant that education authorities all over the country have in the main condemned the Measure from an educational point of view.

6.23 p.m.


It is very pleasing to hear the many congratulations that have been offered to the Minister on the way in which he has piloted this Bill so far, and especially on the part he has taken in settling so amicably the vexed question of religious instruction, a, theme which in years gone by has occupied this House and other places with loud and bellicose debate. It has been urged throughout the discussions on this Bill that the main object of the Measure will not be achieved—that, owing to the exemptions which will be granted, the Bill will introduce merely the principle of a higher school-leaving age, and that the practice will be wanting. I do not share that fear, because I believe that a process in education has taken root so deeply that no influence or obstruction can arrest it or set it back. That process owes its origin, I think, to a change of mind. In the last century, when our system of State education began, it was only by the exertion of authority that the children of England were brought to the school gates. Parents then were looked upon as prospective enemies, to be coerced by the threat of summons and penalty. With this new century a better conception prevails, and I think the reason for it is that successive generations of children, grown to manhood and womanhood under this system of education, are now ready, as parents and citizens, to testify to its value and to claim its benefits for their children. Though Governments have given it guidance, and great men have inspired it, education now is essentially the concern of the people. I believe that public opinion today is on the side of the schools, and, therefore, I think we need not fear undue pressure for exemption, either from parents or from employers.

No question of principle divides educational reformers in all parties over the school-leaving age. I believe that all of them regard the raising of it as a great step forward. But the benefit to be derived from a longer school period must depend entirely on the quality of the education that we can give. The change which this Bill proposes will involve local authorities in a heavy task of reorganisation, and in a considerable expenditure of money. I hope that, with regard to the additional money to be spent, the education authorities will be urged to divide it fairly among all their educational needs. We do not want, for instance, to see new buildings so costly and pretentious that sufficient money is not left for the adequate supply of new equipment, new apparatus and new books. I want to draw the special attention of the Minister, if I may, to this last item, because I feel sure that he will regard it as a most important feature in the reorganisation that will take place.

One of the most serious responsibilities that faces those who are concerned with education is the selection and supply of suitable school books. Owing to recent developments in teaching, pupils are being trained now to gather information for themselves, rather than depend so much on class instruction. It seems to me, then, to be essential that full and accurate sources of information shall be available to the children, and that generous and well-selected supplies of school books and works of reference shall be at hand for them to consult. For some years past it has been felt that the books provided, especially for our public elementary schools, have been deficient in quantity and poor in educational quality. It was concern for that defect which led the Board of Education some years ago to appoint a consultative committee, who were authorised to look into the question of the supply of school books. The report which that committee presented showed that there was great need for improvement. They said that more books and better books ought to be provided, and it was stated, from data supplied to the committee, that the amounts spent on books—


The hon. Member is now going outside the Third Reading of this Bill.


I am only trying to show that, of the expenditure which this Bill will entail, it is very necessary that a sufficient amount should be spent on the books that will be needed for the schools. We want to feel sure that the pupils who have to spend another year at school shall not suffer from that deficiency when this Bill is in operation. Not only was the supply of books insufficient, but the quality was stated to be very poor, and I believe that even now there are books in our schools which are very poor in style and obsolete in matter. I have seen, for instance, books connected with our Dominions which are inaccurate and contain statements that are misleading. It might be wise if the statements in school books could be revised regularly.


These questions hardly arise on the Third Reading of this Bill.


I feel so strongly as to the importance of this matter that I would ask the Minister to give advice, if he can, to local authorities in connection with the Bill, so that we may not suffer from that defect in future. It is very certain that, if the rising generation is to keep its head clear and its taste unspoilt, the children must form the habit of intelligent reading while still at school. Let their books, then, be of such a quality that they may acquire some feeling of what is noble in literature and find in them food for their imagination and a tonic for their character.

6.31 p.m.


I fear that you, Sir, would preclude me from following the most interesting reflections of the hon. Member upon the character of the books provided in schools. If he raises the subject again when we arrive at the Education Estimates, we shall be able to have an interesting and more leisurely discussion on the subject. We are reaching the end of the discussions, as far as this House is concerned, on the Education Bill. It is only some five years ago that this House was engaged in a fierce controversy upon the subject of the non-provided schools. I cannot help but reflect with some pleasure upon the very remarkable transformation that has taken place in the attitude of Members generally towards this portion of our subject. They have, quite rightly, offered the right hon. Gentleman their congratulations upon the fact that the section of the Bill referring to non-provided schools has had so very little opposition. I join with them in those congratulations. The right hon. Gentleman will agree with me, I think, that there is one other person who is entitled to some meed of consideration in this matter. I refer to my friend Sir Charles Trevelyan, who was Minister of Education in 1931. I sometimes wonder whether hon. Members appreciate how very closely these non-provided school proposals follow those of 1931. There is virtually no difference whatever between them. Perhaps I may be forgiven if, not for the purpose of controversy, but in order to mark the change that has taken place, I draw attention to certain differences in our attitude towards the matter. In 1931 we were in the middle of a virulent campaign conducted by the various Churches concentrating upon our proposals. I do not wish to deny that it was not a particularly edifying spectacle. I should hope and pray that I may never again be involved in a controversy of that kind in my political life. Our Bill went as far as this Bill has reached to-night and an Amendment was moved by a Member on our side, which was supported by supporters of the Government. It went further than the proposals of the then Government. We were beaten. The Amendment was embodied in the Bill. The Bill went to another place and it was rejected in its amended form.


On other grounds.


That may be. I wonder what will happen to this Bill in another place. It is worth while pointing out, too, that our Bill raised the school leaving age for all children to 15. This does not. It is worth while pointing out, also, that our Bill provided maintenance allowances. This does not. And yet people who were vigorous and virulent in their attacks upon our Bill have been conspicuously silent in regard to this Bill. Not only that, but an Amendment was carried extending the measure of the financial responsibility of the State in regard to non-provided schools. The Government has in this Bill adopted the proportion that we laid down, namely, not less than 50 per cent. and not more than 75. I am so glad that the lead that we gave in 1935 has been accepted by the Government to-day. There is a Biblical phrase: The stone the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. It is certainly so in this case. Our proposals have been adopted by the Government, and they look like becoming the law of the land. I rejoice in the fact. Let us hope that the edifice that we are constructing to-night may be one in which the children shall gather together round a hearth, so to speak, where the fierce fires of religious bigotry and intolerance will be dimmed and they will enjoy the more comforting warmth of religious comradeship and friendship. I do not know for how long this compromise is to be accepted. Let us hope that it will be for a very long time. The non-provided schools are now to get more public money. Having got it, I trust that a vigorous educational standard will be established. It will not be denied that large numbers of our non-provided schools fall very far short of what is decent and proper in modern times. I can only hope that the provisions of this Bill will enable them to come up to proper and appropriate standards of building.

I pass now to the first part of the Bill. I think that pretty well all that can be said has been said upon the matter. Hon. Members have spoken from various parts of the House as to the implications of the Measure for those who are charged with the task of administering education. The right hon. Gentleman last night, playfully it is true, invited us to make our minds up to-night as to whether we regarded local education authorities as angels or as the opposite extreme. I wish he could make up his mind one way or the other, because, if he could look upon them in the way in which a Minister of Education ought to look upon them, I think he would have reposed in them a far greater measure of faith than, in fact, he does. Take the question of exemptions, for instance. So long as an employer of a child can assure the local authorities that the employment offered is beneficial, the local authority has no choice. It must give exemption. Hon. Members very often say—I admit they put it forward quite honestly and sincerely—that they are not convinced that it is good for all children to remain at school after 14. They differentiate between child and child and say that some will profit more by the education than others will. That is true, but under the operation of this Bill I submit to them that the child who is exempted will be not the slower child, but the smarter, brighter child, the child who would obviously benefit by a prolonged period of instruction. After all, if we were employers and desired to get a child in our factory or workshop and we had the offer of two children, one smart and the other not so smart, obviously we should choose the brighter child. It is the brighter children who stand the chance of securing employment, leaving a residuum of less bright children in the schools until they can secure employment later. It seems to me, therefore, that on that educational ground the provisions of the Bill are somewhat vicious.

I want to put another educational point which has so far not been developed by anyone. I return to the recommendations of the Hadow Committee. It is not right that hon. Members should think of raising the school-leaving age in vacuo. It must be associated with the other recommendations of the Hadow Committee, namely, reorganisation of education from the age of 11 upwards. The whole purpose of the Hadow reorganisation was to enable the child to receive one extra year of school life. When we think of the age of 11, we are apt to believe that every child from 11 to 14 gets three years, but, as a matter of fact, in practice, children do not go immediately at the age of 11 to a post-primary school, and consequently the average length of the present period from 11 to the school-leaving age is something like two years and three months, or two years and six months. If you add on to that the provision of this Bill, what happens? Do you now make the average of two years and three months, three years and three months? You do not. A child may get a job within a month, and the result is that he gets, say, two years and five months, and another child a month later, and the consequence is that the last, the most vital and fruitful educational year, is broken into by the provisions of the Bill. I submit to the Minister that he really is ruining the educational fruitfulness of the proposal of the Hadow Committee.

Hon. Gentlemen have frequently in this House urged—and I agree that it is a proper point to make—the claims of agricultural areas and said that children in agricultural areas ought to have education with a more practical bias. I will not controvert that at the moment, but I submit to the Minister that in agricultural areas the tendency will be to exempt nearly all the children on the ground that the prevailing industry in the area is bound to be deemed to be beneficial employment. You cannot expect an area where the employment is solely agricultural to be declared by the local authority to be non-beneficial; it is bound to be, in their opinion, beneficial. Therefore the applications for exemption will be on a wholesale scale in this matter.

Last Saturday the conference of the Welsh Federation of Local Education Authorities was held in Wales, and some one moved that for Wales, at any rate, there should be an agreement among all the authorities that there should be one standard of exemption applied all round. Two representatives of agricultural areas raised an objection because they said, "We cannot have the same standard of life in the agricultural areas as may be appropriate in the more industrial areas." That is what will happen. You will have exemptions on a wholesale scale in agricultural areas. Moreover, in an area where juvenile employment is at a premium, and where there is a great urge for juvenile employment, the pressure will be so great that it will be too much to expect complete resistance to it, and once you begin to concede it to some employers, it will have to be conceded on a very large scale indeed. I do not propose to detain the House any further upon the matter, because the ground has been largely covered by speakers in various parts of the House, and I should only be covering the ground a second time. However, my bon. Friends and I are glad that the second part of the Bill has proved acceptable, but in regard to the first part we to not believe that it will prove in practice easy and workable. We object, therefore, to the general tenor of the Bill. I cannot deny, however, one proposition. There are friends of mine—not many in this House I admit, but outside the House—who take the view that, in spite of its demerits, there is one merit in it, and that is, that it is worth while getting on to the Statute Book the declaration that the school-leaving age shall be 15. For what it is worth, I concede it. But in conceding that there is some advantage in getting that declaration upon the Statute Book, it is vitiated by the degree to which exemptions are to be possible. I deplore that fact.

I can understand the Minister saying, "But I am pledged by what I told the electorate." Governments must have regard to what they have told electors. I concede that, too, but it depends upon the emphasis, and perhaps I may venture to tell this story. It is the story of a Welsh Minister who went to a certain town, not his home town, and denounced a particular sin. He said, speaking of his home town, "The people of X would not do that." When he went back to his home town there was great excitement, for he had implied in the other place that his own people were much worse than those whom he was visiting. When they tackled him he said, "I will say the very same thing to you." When he got into the pulpit of his church he said, denouncing the sin, "The people of X would not do that." It is the emphasis. If you say that you are in favour of exemptions, that is all right, but did you assert that there was to be a right to exemptions? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] I wonder how it was put. It depends how the emphasis was placed. The right hon. Gentleman will be able to say, "There is the right in the Manifesto," I grant that, but it depends how you impressed this upon the electorate. I grant that a pledge was made, but I deny that anyone anticipated that even the pledge involved exemptions of a wholesale character. The Bi I undoubtedly will reach the Statute Book. It may be a landmark in our educational history. In 1830 or thereabouts the State made its first grant to education; in 1870 came the general provision of elementary education; in 1902, municipalities were entitled to take part in secondary education. In 1918 there was another landmark, and perhaps this Bill again is another one. If so, I, for one, shall have no regrets.

6.54 p.m.


This Bill falls naturally into two parts, and although there is a very definite connection between them, they raise entirely different questions. The effect of that division puts me in very considerable difficulties in replying to this Debate, because, whereas the first part of the Bill was of a controversial character in which the discussion was largely carried on along party lines, in the second part the co-operation of all interests and of all parties ensured a quick and happy issue to the deliberations. I should include among those who co-operated upon this second subject the Members of the party opposite. It is just the fact that I was in violent opposition to them in one part of the Bill, and received very considerable help from them in the second, which makes my task in winding up the Debate rather a. difficult one. I remember the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove), who spent the first half of the Committee stage under a shower of verbal brick-bats and the second half of the Committee stage under a shower of oratorical bouquets. He ended as a statesman, having begun -with epithets which were far curter and not so complimentary. So that, in my speech to-night, when I am dealing with the party opposite, I have to try to separate Dr. Jekyll from Mr. Hyde, or, to put it more colloquially, I have to try to separate Lees from Smith and Morgan from Jones. I am sure that hon. Members who dealt me many a bard knock on the first part of the Bill will expect that I shall do my best to return those knocks with interest, but they will realise, at the same time, that it does not mean that I am either unmindful of, or ungrateful for, the very real assistance they gave me upon the second part of the Bill.

In the time which remains at my disposal the best thing for me to do is, first of all, to dispose of some of the preliminary points before I tackle, as I want to do, the whole question of exemptions. To deal briefly with the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Holder- ness (Mr. Savery), I would tell him, that in my personal capacity I have made a rule for many years never to give a tip, and as President of the Board of Education, I am under a similar obligation never to recommend a school book, but as a preliminary to a solution of this admittedly important problem, I think that he will do well to have a conversation with the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Macmillan) who is responsible for the distribution of a large part of the literature enjoyed by our schools.

The first point with which I want to deal is that of the number of exemptions that are to be expected. It is a point with which I dealt at considerable length on the Second Reading, and it was dealt with at length when the Bill was in Committee. In spite of the arguments I have advanced, hon. Members have repeated, without any regard to the arguments, the statements they have made before, that the Bill would lead to wholesale exemptions. They have never adduced any ground for the mathematical calculations which they adopt. Their proportions of exemptions vary from 80, 90 to 100, and even more per cent., and I noticed in one quarter the other day that it was stated that this would actually lead to fewer children staying on than at present. In My Second Reading speech I tried to make an estimate of the numbers not for party political purposes, but for the purposes of the Financial Resolution of the Bill, in order to try to give an honest picture to Members of the House of the financial cost of the proposals. I am sure that hon. Members would not suggest that in that I should try to colour the estimate simply to suit the arguments that I was afterwards going to advance upon the Bill.

It is really unfair to reproduce this statement, which I see time after time, of the 90 per cent. of exemptions based on the existing by-law areas. I do not believe that you can take the existing by-law areas as a test. They have none of the restrictions laid down in this Bill, none of the protection against their neighbours, and I think, therefore, they are not a fair guide. But if they were, this test of the percentage of exemptions is unfair. The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) gave an exaggerated example, but one which could happen, that if every child left the day before the end of the period you would have 100 per cent. exemptions, but, in fact, the school age would have been raised to 15. The school age has been raised effectively to 14 years and six months, and I am entitled to assume that the additional safeguards in this Bill, the protection against neighbours and the incentive given to reorganisation, will result, as I estimated on Second Reading, in an immediate raising of the age to 14 years and nine months.

That may not be the whole thing of raising the age to 15, but nobody will deny that if that takes place it will be an effective contribution to educational progress, and one that cannot be referred to as a purely negligible and window-dressing measure. The right hon. Gentleman who tried to destroy my estimate on the ground that there would be a shortage of juvenile labour, and that the pressure on going into employment would be increased, defeated his own end. His argument was that there would be fewer children, there would be more competition for them, wages would go up and for that reason parents would want them to go. But if that is so, what becomes of the argument that the only reason for children going into industry before 15 is cheap labour? If the future is to see juvenile labour becoming dearer, it means that there will be an increased and not a reduced number staying in the schools.

The second point with which I want to deal is that raised by the right hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) and the right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland), the point raised so many times for the purpose of showing how impracticable and impossible is this Bill because of the difficulty of local authorities in estimating the amount of accommodation which might be required. The right hon. Gentleman said he would take as a test of my sincerity the answer I should give to local authorities on that point. I can give him that answer with complete clarity. I should not discourage any local authority from making provision immediately for the raising of the school age on the basis that 100 per cent. of the children were to stay in the school.


What about the teachers?


The hon. Baronet might allow me to develop the point I am making. We are shortly to issue a pamphlet dealing with elementary school buildings, and I may quote to the House a paragraph on this s abject which will appear in these suggestions: New senior schools should be planned with a school-leaving age of 15 in view, and though it may not always be possible to estimate the number of children who will remain to that age or beyond, and account must be taken of special local circumstances, it will be reasonable to take a four-years' course as the normal standard of provision. It might be said that that means great extravagance, because local authorities will be called on to provide accommodation which may remain empty for some years. That argument would be sound only if we were dealing with junior and not with senior schools. The real expense of the senior school is not the provision of the ordinary classrooms but the gymnasium, science room, playing field, facilities for gardening—they will all be required whether the proportion of exemptions is 10 or 50 per cent., or, as hon. Members opposite say, 90 per cent. The only expenditure that might be wasted is that on classrooms, and it will be interesting if I tell the House of an inquiry I have carried out in an existing by-law area, Chesterfield, which adopted the additional year three years ago, where the local authority has shown great energy and enthusiasm in working it, where it has met with satisfactory results, and where the proportion of exemptions is something like 70 per cent. Inquiries I have made there show that there is enough accommodation in the senior schools to take 100 per cent. of the children between 14 and 15 now, and yet in the whole of the town, with all that potential surplus accommodation, there is only one classroom not being used. That will demonstrate that this encouragement we shall give to local authorities to provide now for the full 100 per cent. which we hope. to get in future will not mean that there will be for long periods a large amount of accommodation lying idle and unused.

One word on the subject of the brighter child. That I believe to be a pure educational fallacy. I speak with deference to hon. Members who have much more experience than I have of educational methods, but let us remember that we are dealing here with children in school from whom the scholastic cream has already been taken. What are called the brighter children are usually those who are developing fast, whose curiosity and restlessness are developing early. It is found that such children in many schools to-day are able to get less satisfaction from education, and most from entering into life outside. Who are the dull type that Members complain of being left at school? They are nearly always the backward and retarded children to whom the extra year in school is of much more value than to those who are called the brighter children.

Passing to the general argument on exemption, I am not to-night going to refer to the pledge. A pledge was given, and in this Bill is being observed. But, after all, a pledge is made only because it is part of a policy, and a policy presumably is decided on only because those who decide on it consider that it is right. I am not going to shelter myself behind any pledge given at the general election; I am going to defend this Bill because I believe it to be right on educational grounds. I dealt on the Second Reading with other grounds, financial, historical and social, which have to be taken into account in any decision of this kind. A great deal of play, some a little unfair and some perhaps too bitter, has been made on certain speeches by the noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl). I do not pretend always that I agree with her in all her ideas or sentiments, but she has done a very great deal for education, and has shown a real belief in education. When she is discussing questions of employment do not let us forget that to a great many people in this world employment is, and under any system will remain, a great part of life, and if education is a preparation for life, what is the good of discussing that preparation unless we are entitled at the same time to discuss the life for which we are preparing?

I am to-night going to deal with this matter entirely from the educational point of view, because I sincerely believe that, apart from election pledges, and from financial or industrial considerations, educationally the method we are adopting in this Bill is a right one, the one most likely to endure and most likely to do good to education. Do not let us forget that education is not only educational administration. We are sometimes apt to forget it, and many of the arguments advanced against this Bill have been based on ease of administration. We want ease of administration when we can get it, but we cannot put that in the balance against education. Do not let us forget that the success of education in a country is not to be measured in terms of statistics, but in terms of the belief of the general public in its value and their desire to share in it. I agree that by the first test, that of statistics, everything shows how successful education has been in this country. The number of secondary school places, the expenditure on education, reduction in classes—every possible statistic of that kind shows what an increasing value in this country education has.

Can we say that the second test is so successfully answered? Can we say that public opinion is as satisfied, as perhaps some of us more intimately concerned with education are, of the value to the children of the education that we give? Special education, yes; and technical, secondary and university. But will public opinion answer that question on elementary education as readily or as fully or in the terms that we do? It has given me some cause for thought during the course of this Debate in listening to arguments used by bon. Members opposite. They have taken the child—how can you expect him to do any good when his eyes are always on the door and he is wanting to get out of school? They have taken the parent—how can you expect him not to take the shortsighted view of improved economic conditions? The local sub-committee—that includes a number of people not interested in education; you cannot depend on them. Even the local education committee, believing as they do in education—you cannot trust them to stand up to the public demand in their locality. If there are all these difficulties in all these quarters we have not yet got that unanimous answer from public opinion that education ought to, and will, get.

There are a great many mistaken people in this country who believe that education as a preparation for life is out of touch with life itself, who do not believe anything like as strongly as we do in the value of this extra year at school, and who do not see that the child who leaves school at 14, in its work, or its leisure, or its responsibilities as a citizen, is necessarily going to be handicapped through life as compared with the child who leaves at 15. I believe that in the past a great deal of that criticism was true. Education then—and I am not talking about the remote past—was, at any rate, becoming more and more out of touch with life. I do not believe that it is true to-day with the new concepts which have come over education, and in those places where these new ideas are being put into force. The chairman of the Education Committee of the London County Council, in a letter in the "Times," referred to this point of the new practical view of the last four years; the new view, as I would prefer to call it, of humanism in education. When we have that view, then public opinion will answer the question in the affirmative, but we have to get it over first.

On the question of reorganisation, there are people who say that we must reorganise 50 or 52 per cent. Reorganisation does not mean just dividing senior and junior children and putting them into different schools. That is not going to convince the parents. It has to go much deeper than that. It has to go to the buildings, to the teachers, into what is taught and the manner in which it is taught. In that reorganisation we have not yet got very far. That is why I sincerely believe that this Bill is a challenge to education. This Bill will succeed only if education can meet that challenge, and if education can get the public to answer that question in the affirmative. It is said: "The Board of Education, those who are responsible for education, ought to be leading public opinion." That is all very well. It should lead public opinion, but it should not lead it from so far in front that public opinion cannot even see it.

I am always being told: "What a niggardly, miserable, little Bill this is. Look at the great Education Act of 1918, which was passed by your predecessor, Mr. Fisher." What made that a great Act? What differentiated it from other Acts? That part of the Act which dealt with compulsory continuation schools. That was a proposal which was blessed by all the people who are now opposing the proposal of this Bill. The Association of Education Committees, the National Union of Teachers, and the Workers' Educational Association were all in favour of that great educational reform. Where are the compulsory continuation schools to-day? I think they are confined to one town in the country. Why? Because that reform, welcomed as it was by educationists, was out of touch with public opinion in this country. I hope as a result of this Bill to get at least some more solid memorial than the plaudits of pundits.

I want to say a few words on the second part of the Bill. It is a remarkable fact, to which the right hon. Gentleman opposite called attention, that the second part of the Bill passed its Report stage without a Division. That is not a matter of congratulation for the Government; it is a matter of congratulation for the House and the country. I can say that because, although many hon. Members have been very complimentary and kind in what they have said of me, I recognise perfectly well that it is not due to any Minister. It could not have been due to any Minister. It is due to the co-operation of all the interests concerned, the churches, the teachers, the local authorities, the various political parties, who were prepared to come together in a new atmosphere of conciliation and to show that they were able to give as well as to take. I should like to pay particular tribute to the representatives of all those interests who were on the Committee upstairs. The fires are damped down, but they are still there. An incautious word, a tactless remark, a failure to recognise the point of view of others, would very soon have brought them to the surface again. It is only because that tactless remark was never made, and that lack of generosity was never shown, that we have been able to arrive at what, I believe, is a satisfactory conclusion. It does not mean that there is any less real belief in the fundamentals of religion or of education, or that people hold their principles any less strongly than they used to do in the past.

This is not a settlement that has come from boredom or indifference, but a settlement which has come because people have realised that all that they need hold to are their principles and that their prejudices can be discarded. Above all, it has come because of the interests of the child, which have been ill-served in the past by some of the controversies which have gone on. I have never pretended that this was meant to be a, great, final settlement of this problem. It is only a measure to meet an emergency. It depends for its success upon good will. It is based upon good will. The plan is one of voluntary agreements between managers and authorities in the belief that in those agreements they will be able to safeguard their own point of view and yet be able to come to a common measure of conciliation together. I believe that the good will is there. I believe that these agreements can be made. If we can do this, then it will be best for all of us, best for the churches, best for the local authorities and best for education. Only if we are mistaken, if that good will is not there, and if these agreements cannot be made, then shall we have to say that what we thought the best way has failed, and some alternative solution will have to be faced.

There was one point which raised some difficulty, and that is the question of Clause 12. It is an agreement between the Church of England and the other interests, and is a concession made on good will. Before the Committee stage the Catholics were rather frightened of their position under that Clause, but I believe that the Amendments which were accepted in Committee by everyone without any division will go a long way to remove those fears and will stop the charge, which I should not like to be made, that we were interfering with the Cowper-Temple Clause. That is a thing that no Minister of Education would touch unless he was doing it by agreement with the parties whose interests might seem to suffer. I thought that, just as I had got an agreement with the Church of England, I had an agreement with the Roman Catholics; but I was mistaken. They were right in saying that no agreement had been made. But I believe their interests have been safeguarded, and that the practical effects so far as they are concerned, will be negligible. Indeed, the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan) expressed the view in Committee that they can now feel safe.

An Amendment has been moved by hon. Members opposite for the rejection of the Bill on the question of exemptions. I am told by several speakers that there is an immense public opinion behind their demand to oppose exemptions. I do not know where that public opinion is. I do not know whether hon. Members opposite have found it in their post-bags or at their meetings, but I will accept what hon. Members have said, and I am prepared to meet their challenge. The position is quite a simple one. This Bill does not come into effect until the autumn of 1939. During those three years much useful work will be done in re-organisation, in the building of schools, in the appointment of teachers, in the development of new training and curricula—three years which would have been occupied in exactly the same way if hon. Members opposite had been able to introduce a Bill which allowed no exemptions.

Not very long after the appointed day the natural life of this Parliament will come to an end, and we shall once again go to our constituents. Hon. Members opposite will be able to test then the strength of the public opinion for their proposals and against my Bill. They will be able to take a vote of the electors upon it, and they will have plenty of time for reflection. They will be able when that time comes to do what they have not done hitherto, and that is to specify to the electors the exact amount of financial inducement which they are prepared to offer to them if they will send their children to school. Sir Charles Trevelyan began the bidding five years ago at 5s. a week, but I think hon. Members below the Gangway and elsewhere will be raising the bid before the time of the election comes along. Then they will be able to explain to the electors the precise form of the means test which they propose to institute in connection with the maintenance allowances. No doubt they will be able to explain to the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) how it is that in this connection the means test is not a means test.


There will be no means test.


That is not the official policy of the hon. Member's party, and they will have to fight it out. They will have to think of an answer to the question of the man with four children under 14 at school, who will say: "Why am I getting nothing, when the man with one child at school between 14 and 15 is to get so many shillings a week from the State?" They will have to think what the answer will be, and perhaps they will bear in mind a maxim that they have used in the past, that in the long run everything falls on the worker. I am perfectly prepared when the time comes to face their challenge, and I await the result with calm and with confidence.




rose in his place, and claimed to move,"That the Question he now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 261; Noes, 101.

Division No. 208.] AYES. [7.30 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Drewe, C. Latham, Sir P.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G, Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Leckle, J. A.
Albery, I. J. Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Leech, Dr. J. W.
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Dugdale, Major T. L. Leighton. Major B. E. P.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Duncan, J. A. L. Levy, T.
Amery, Rt. Hon. L, C. M. S. Dunglass, Lord Lewis, O.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Eastwood, J. F. Liddall, W. S.
Assheton, R. Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Lloyd, G. W.
Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton) Ellis, Sir G. Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Elmley, Viscount Lovat-Fraser, J. A.
Atholl, Duchess of Emrys-Evans, P. V. Lyons, A. M.
Baldwin-Webb, Col. J. Entwistle, C. F. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)
Balfour, Capt. H. H.(Isle of Thanet) Ersklne Hill, A. G. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Findlay, Sir E. McCorquodale, M. S.
Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N. Fleming, E. L. MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.)
Bernays, R. H. Fox, Sir G. W. G. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)
Birchall, Sir J. D. Fremantle, Sir F. E. MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)
Blair, Sir R. Furness, S. N. Macdonald, Capt. p. (isle of Wight)
Blaker, Sir R. Fyfe, D. P. M. McKie, J. H.
Blindell, Sir J. Ganzonl, Sir J. Maclay, Hon. J. P.
Bossom, A. C. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.
Boulton, W. W. Gledhill, G. Magnay, T.
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Glyn. Major Sir R. G. C. Makins, Brlg.-Gen. E.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Gower, Sir R. V. Mannlngham-Buller. Sir M.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Markham, S. F.
Brawn, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.
Bull, B. B. Grldley, Sir A. B. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)
Burghley, Lord Grimston, R. V. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Butler, R. A. Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll, N. W.) Mltcheson, Sir G. G.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Guinness, T. L. E. B. Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R.
Cartland, J. R. H. Gunston, Capt. D. W. Moreing, A. C.
Cary, R. A. Guy, J. C. M. Morgan, R. H.
Castlereagh, Viscount Hannah, I. C. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Harbord, A. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Harvey, G. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Munro, P.
Channon, H. Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Nicolson Hon. H. G.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Chater, D. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Ormsby Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G.
Clarry, Sir Reginald Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Orr-Ewing, l. L.
Cobb, Sir C. S. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Palmer, G. E. H.
Colfox, Major W. P. Herbert, Captain S. (Abbey) Patrick, C. M.
Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P. Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon) Peake, O
Colman, N. C. D. Holdsworth, H. Penny, Sir G.
Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Petherick, M.
Compton, J. Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Plckthorn, K. W. M.
Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.) Horsbrugh, Florence Pilkingtcn, R.
Cooke, J, D. (Hammersmith, S.) Howitt, Dr. A. B. Ponsonbv, Col. C. E.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (Wst'r S.G'gs) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Porritt, R. W.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh.W.) Hudson, R. S. (Southport) Power, Sir J. C.
Craddock. Sir R. H. Hulbert, N. J Pownall, Sir Assheton
Crooke, J. S. Hume, Sir G. H Radford, E. A.
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Hunter, T. Raikes, H. V. A. M.
Groom-Johnson, R. P. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H. Ramsbotham, H.
Crossley, A. C. Jackson, Sir H. Rankin. R.
Crowder, J. F. E. James, Wing-commander A. W. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Cruddas, Col. B. Jarvls, Sir J. J. Rawson, Sir Cooper
Culverwell, C. T. Joel, D. J. B. Rayner, Major R. H.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n) Remer, J. R.
Davies, C. (Montgomery) Jones, L. (Swansea, W.) Rickards, G. W. (Sklpton)
Davison, Sir W. H. Keeling, E. H. Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)
De Chair, S. S. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Ropner, Colonel L.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)
Denville, Alfred Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Dodd, J. S. Kirkpatrick, W. M. Rowlands, G.
Russell, A. West (Tynemouth) Southby, Comdr. A. R. J. Wakefleld, W. W.
Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen) Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L. Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Salmon, Sir I. Spender-Clay, Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H. Wallace, Captain Euan
Salt, E. W. Spens, W. P. Ward, Lieut.-col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde) Wardlaw-Milne. Sir J. S.
Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd) Warrender, Sir V.
Savery, Servington Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.) Waterhouse, Captain C.
Scott, Lord William Strauss, H. G. (Norwich) Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Selley, H. R. Strickland, Captain W. F. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Shakespeare, G. H. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h) Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar) Suetor, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F. Wlndsor-Clive, Lieut. -Coionel G.
Shepperson, Sir E. W. Sutcllffe, H. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Shute, Colonel Sir J. J. Tasker, Sir R. I. Withers, Sir J. J.
Simmonds, O. E. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.) Womersley, Sir W. J.
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. Thomson, Sir J. D. W. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's u.' B'lf'st), Titchfield, Marquess of Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Smithers, Sir W. Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe) Tufnell; Lieut.-Com. R. L. Major George Davies and Lieut.-
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Turton, R. H. Colonel Llewellin.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Grimths, J. (Lianelly) Oliver, G. H.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Groves, T. E. Owen, Major G,
Adamson, W. M. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Paling, W.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Parker, H. J. H.
Barr, J. Hardie, G. D. Potts, J.
Bellenger, F. Harris, Sir P. A. Price, M. P.
Benson, G. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) pritt, D. N.
Bromfield, W. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Qulbell, D. J. K.
Brooke, W. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Rltson, J.
Buchanan, G. Holland, A. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Burke, W. A. Hollins, A. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Cape, T. Hopkin, D. Seely, Sir H. M.
Cassells, T. Jagger, J. Sexton, T. M.
Cluse, W. S. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Shinwell, E.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Silverman, S. S.
Cocks, F. S. John, W. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Cove, W. G. Kelly, W. T. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Daggar, G. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd) Kirkwood, D. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Davies. R. J. (Westhoughton) Lawson, J. J. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Day, H. Lee. F. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Leonard, W. Thorne, W.
Ede, J. c. Leslie, J. R. Thurtle, E.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) Macdonald. G. (Ince) Tinker, J.J
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) McEntee, V. La T. Watson, W. McL.
Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) McGhee, H. G. Westwood, J.
Foot. D. M. MacLaren, A, White, H. Graham
Gardner, B. W. Maclean, N. Whiteley, W.
Garro-Jones, G. M. MacNeill, Weir, L. Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Marklew, E. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Mathers, G. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Maxtor, J.
Grenfell, D. R. Messer, F. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Mr. Harold Macmillan and Mr.
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Naylor, T. E. Loftus.

Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 256; Noes, 128.

Division No. 209.] AYES. [7.40 p.m.
Acland-Troyto, Lt.-Col. G. J. Blair, Sir R. Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Blaker, Sir R. Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)
Agnew, Lieut. -Comdr. P. G. Blindell, Sir J. Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)
Albery, I. J Bottom, A. C. Channon, H.
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Boulton, W. W. Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Bower, Comdr. R. T. Clarry, Sir Reginald
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S. Briscoe, Capt. R G. Cobb, Sir C. S.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Brocklebank, C. E. R. Colfox, Major W. P.
Assheton, R. Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P.
Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton) Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Colman, N. C. D.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Bull. B. B. Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J.
Atholl, Duchess of Burghley, Lord Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)
Baldwin-Webb, Col. J. Butler, R. A. Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)
Belfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Campbell, Sir E. T. Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Dull (W'st'r S.G'gs)
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Cartland, J. R. H. Cooper, Rt. Hon. T. M. (E'nburgh,W.)
Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N. Cary, R. A. Craddock, Sir R. H.
Bernays, R. H. Castlereagh, Viscount Crooke. J. S.
Birchall, Sir J. D. Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Joel, D. J. B. Rayner, Major R. H.
Crossley, A. C. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n) Remer, J. R.
Crowder, J. F. E. Jones, L. (Swansea, W.) Rickards, G W (Skipton)
Cruddas, Col. B. Keeling, E. H. Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)
Culverwell, C. T. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Ropner, Colonel L.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)
Davies, C. (Montgomery) Keyes Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Ross Taylor. W. (Woodbridge)
Davies, Major G F. (Yeovil) Kirkpatrick, W. M. Rowlands, G.
Davison, Sir W. H. Lamb, Sir J. O. Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Latham, Sir P. Russell. S. H. M. (Darwen)
Denville. Alfred Leckle, J. A. Salmon, Sir I.
Dodd, J. S Leech, Dr. J. W. Salt, E. W.
Dorman-Smitn, Major R. H. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)
Drewe, C. Levy, T. Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Lewis, O. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Liddall, W. S. Savery, Servington
Dugdale, Major T. L. Lloyd, G. W. Scott, Lord William
Duncan, J. A. L. Locker-Lampson, Comdr O. S. Selley, H. R.
Dunglass, Lord Loftus, P. C. Shakespeare, G. H.
Eastwood, J. F. Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Lyons, A. M. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Ellis, Sir G. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.
Elmley, Viscount MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Simmonds, O. E.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. McCorquodale, M. S. Simon, Rt. Hon Sir J. A.
Entwistle, C. F. MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.) Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st),
Erskine Hill, A. G. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M (Ross) Smiles, Lieut. -Colonel Sir W D.
Findlay, Sir E. MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Smithers, Sir W.
Fox, Sir G. W. G. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Furness, S. N. Mckie, J. H. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Fyfe. D. P. M. Maclay, Hon. J. P. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Ganzonl, Sir J. Macnamara, Capt J. R. J. Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Magnay, T. Spender-Clay. Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.
Gledhill, G. Makins, Brig. -Gen. E. Spens, W. P.
Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C. Manningham-Buller. Sir M. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fyide)
Gower, Sir R. V. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Graham Captain A. C. (Wirral) Markham, S. F. Strauss, E. A (Southwark, N.)
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Strauss H. G. (Norwich)
Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Strickland, Captain W. F.
Gridley, Sir A. B. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Grimston, R. V. Mitcheson, Sir G. G. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Guest. Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll, N. W.) Moore, Lieut. -Col. T. C. R. Sueter. Rear- Admiral Sir M. F.
Guinness, T. L. E. B. Moreing, A. C. Sutcllffe, H.
Gunston, Capt. D. W. Morgan, R. H. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Guy, J. C. M. Morris, J. P. (Salford. N.) Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Hanbury, Sir C. Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.) Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Hannah, I. C. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Titchfleld. Marquess of
Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Mulrhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. Tree, A. R L F.
Harbord, A. Munro, P. Tryon, Major Rt. Hon G C.
Harvey, G. Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Tufnell, Lieut.-Com R. L.
Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Turton, R. H.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon W. G. Wakefield, W. W.
Heneage, Lieut. -Colonel A. P. Orr-Ewing, I. L. Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan Palmer, G. E. H. Wallace, Captain Euan
Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Patrick, C. M. Ward, Lieut.-col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Peake, O. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Herbert, Captain S. (Abbey) Penny, Sir G. Warrender, Sir V.
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon) Petherick, M. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Hore-Belisha, Rt Hon. L. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Wedderburn H. J. S.
Horsbrugh, Florence Pilklngton, R. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Howitt, Dr. A. B. Ponsonby, Col C E. Williams. H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Porritt, R. W. Windsor-Cilve, Lieut. -Colonel G.
Hudson, R. S. (Southport) Power, Sir J. C. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Hulbert, N. J. Pownall, Sir Assheton Withers. Sir J. J.
Hume, Sir G. H. Radford, E. A. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Hunter, T. Raikes, H. V. A. M. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Inskip Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H. Ramsbotham, H.
Jackson, Sir H. Rankin, R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
James, Wing-Commander A. W. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Captain Hope and Lieut.-Colonel
Jarvis, Sir J. J. Rawson, Sir Cooper Llewellin.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Brooke, W. Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Buchanan, G. Davies, R J. (Westhoughton)
Adamson, W. M. Burke, W. A. Day, H.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Cape, T. Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)
Ammon, C. G. Cassells, T. Ede, J C.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Chater, D. Edwarcs, A. (Middlesbrough E.)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Cluse, W. S. Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)
Barr, J. Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)
Batey, J. Cocks, F. S. Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)
Bellenger, F. Compton, J. Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr R. T. H.
Benson, G. Cove, W. G. Foot, O M.
Broad, F. A. Daggar, G. Frankel, O.
Bromfield, W. Dalton, H. Gardner. B. W.
Garro Jones, G. M. Lawson, J. J. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Leach, W. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Lee, F. Rowson, G.
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Leonard, W. Seely, Sir H. M.
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Leslie, J. R. Sexton, T. M.
Grenfell, D. R. Lunn, W. Shinwell, E.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Macdonald, G. (Ince) Silverman, S. S.
Griffiths. G. A. (Hemsworth) McEntee, V. La T. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Griffiths. J. (Lianelly) McGhee, H. G. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Groves, T. E. MacLaren, A. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Maclean, N. Sorensen, R. W.
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Macmillan, H (Stockton. on-Tees) Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Hardle, G. D. MacNeill, Weir, L. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Harris, Sir P. A. Marklew, E. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Maxton, J. Thorne, W.
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Messer, F. Thurtle, E.
Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.) Tinker, J. J.
Hills, A. (Pontefract) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Viant, S. P.
Holdsworth, H. Naylor, T. E. Watson, W. McL.
Holland, A. Oliver, G. H. Westwood. J.
Hollins, A. Owen, Major G. White, H. Graham
Hopkin, D. Paling, W. Whiteley, W.
Jagger, J. Parker, H. J. H. Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)
Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Parkinson, J. A. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
John, W. Potts, J. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Price, M. P. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Pritt, D. N.
Kelly, W. T. Quibell, D. J. K. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Riley, B. Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.
Kirkwood, D. Ritson, J.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.


On a point of Order. Do I understand that the Question whether the Bill should be read a Third time should be put to the House or not?


Under the Standing Orders on the Second Reading and Third Reading of a Bill, if it is decided that any words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question, the Speaker shall forthwith declare the Bill read a Second or Third time, as the case may be.