§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Sir DENNIS HERBERT in the Chair.]
§ 3.41 p.m.
§ "I. CONSOLIDATED FUND.
That there be charged on the Consolidated Fund as from the last demise of the Crown the following annual sums (subject to adjustment in respect of parts of a year):
For the King's Civil List: £410,000;
For retired allowances Such sums as may be required for the payment of retired allowances granted, on scales and in accordance with conditions approved from time to time by the Treasury, by His Majesty to or in respect of persons who have been Members of the Royal Household;
For Civil List pensions Such sums as may be required for the payment in each year of Civil List pensions already granted and Civil List pensions hereafter to be granted, so, however, that the aggregate of the pensions granted in any financial year shall not exceed £2,500 a year;
For Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in the event of her surviving His Majesty £70,000;
For the benefit of the children of His Majesty other than Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Cornwall for the time being £10,000 in respect of each son who attains the age of twenty-one years, and a further £15,000 in respect of each such son who marries; and £6,000 in respect of each daughter who attains the age of twenty-one years or marries;
For Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth £6,000 and, unless there is at that time a Duke of Cornwall living, a further £9,000 when Her Royal Highness attains the age of twenty-one years;
For His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester £10,000;
and that provision be made for continuing for a period of six months after the close of the present reign certain payments charged as aforesaid upon the Consolidated Fund which would otherwise then be determined:
§ Provided that—
- (i) no payments shall be made under this Resolution to Their Royal Highnesses the Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Gloucester in respect of any period during which the Duchy of Cornwall is vested in His Majesty or any period during which the Duke of Cornwall for the time being is a minor unless the net revenues of the Duchy for the year fall short, as respects the first period, of the total payments which
36 would, but for this proviso, be required to be so made to 'Their Royal Highnesses for that year, and as respects the second period, of the said sums with the addition of £25,000, and in the event of such a deficiency the payment to he so made to His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester shall not exceed the amount of the deficiency, and the payment to be so made to Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth shall not exceed the amount of the deficiency less the amount of the payment, if any, so made to His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester;
- (ii) the sum of £410,000 for the King's Civil List shall be subject as respects any period during which he Duchy of Cornwall is vested in His Majesty, to a reduction of an amount equal to the net revenues of the Ducky for the year less the sums, if any, which would, but for the preceding proviso, to parable under this Resolution out of the Consolidated Fund to Their Royal Highnesses the Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Gloucester.
§ The foregoing provisions of this Resolution shall, in the event of Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth predeceasing His Majesty, have effect, as respects ally period subsequent to that event, as if the references to Her Royal Highness were references to that one of His Majesty's daughters who thereby becomes His eldest surviving daughter."
§ Before I come to the Resolutions, I hope the Committee will allow me to say one or two words about the passing of a great figure since this House last met. My predecessor as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Snowden, was a man who held his opinions with great firmness and tenacity, and in the course of his life he was engaged in controversy with many Members of this House, but everyone recognised the intense sincerity of the man and the courage which had led him to overcome the disabilities imposed upon him by his physical infirmities and to occupy high position in successive Governments. Whatever passion may have been aroused during his lifetime, everyone will regret his passing, and would wish to pay a tribute to his memory.
§ After the celebrations of the Coronation which were terminated this morning by the profoundly impressive Thanksgiving Service in St. Paul's, and after all those tumultuous and enthusiastic demonstrations of loyalty to Their Majesties manifested by their people in the streets that we have seen during the last few days, it is the duty of this House 37 to make suitable provision for the maintenance of the dignity of the Crown. The Resolutions outlining the proposals of the Government for that purpose are based upon the recommendations of the Select Committee upon the Civil List. Coming after the exhaustive and careful revision of the Civil List which was undertaken by the Select Committee last year, the committee this year had a comparatively simple task. In paragraph 7 of their report, which is in the hands of Members, they express the view that, after careful inquiry, they see no reason to recommend any alteration in the total amount of the Civil List, which therefore remains at the same figure, £410,000. They go on to add that they are satisfied that the provision then made was adequate, but not more than adequate, for the proper maintenance of the dignity of the Crown. In those circumstances, I hardly think it is necessary or desirable that I should enter into any repetition of the description of those items in the committee's recommendations which are identical with the provisions of the Civil List in 1936, but there are, of course, certain alterations in the new proposals occasioned by the fact that His present Majesty is married and has children, and I accordingly propose to explain those to the Committee.
§ First of all, I will deal with the provision for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. In their recommendations the Committee have strictly followed precedents, and the amount proposed to be set aside for Her Majesty, namely, £40,000 a year, is included in the £00,000 of the Civil List, but not as a separate item. As it has been the practice in the past to earmark for this purpose £33,000 out of Class r and £7,000 out of Class 2, making in all £40,000, it is proposed that that practice should be continued, and also that the same provision should be made for Her Majesty if she should survive her husband as was made for Queen Alexandra, and has also been made for Queen Mary, namely, an annuity of £70,000 a year. In his Gracious Message, His Majesty signified his desire that provision should be made for the Duke of Gloucester and for Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth. Hon. Members will reMember that in the Civil List Act, 1936, a special provision was made for His present Majesty, then Duke of York, of £25,000 a year, in view of the additional duties which would fall upon him 38 as the Heir Presumptive. That annuity of £25,000 has now ceased, but, although the Duke of Gloucester is not Heir Presumptive, he will, as the next brother to His Majesty, have additional duties to perform during the minority of Princess Elizabeth and of any future Duke of Cornwall. Accordingly, it is proposed that he should be granted an additional annuity of £10,000 per annum.
§ Princess Elizabeth is the Heir Presumptive, but she is not entitled to the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall. The proposal of the Committee, therefore, is that she should be granted an annuity of £6,000 a year until she reaches the age o f 21 and that if, by that time, there is still no Duke of Cornwall, that £6,000 be increased to £15,000 a year. Hon. Members will observe that, in this recommendation, no special provision is made in the event of the marriage of Her Royal Highness. The reason for that is that the Committee felt it was impossible at the present time to know what would be the conditions in the event of such a marriage, or what provision, if any, it would be proper to provide. They thought it right for Parliament to decide when the time comes, in the light of the circumstances then prevailing, what provision should be made for Princess Elizabeth in addition to that which is here set forth.
§ I would like now to deal with the question of the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall. Referring again to His Majesty's Gracious Message, he therein signified his desire, as long as the revenues of the Duchy were vested in himself, to make, out of those revenues, provision for His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester and Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth. In addition, it was His Majesty's desire that the net revenue of the Duchy should go in abatement of the Civil List, and he assented, in the event of the birth of a Duke of Cornwall, to the same arrangement being made as had been made for a similar contingency in the case of his predecessor. The net revenue of the Duchy is estimated in 1937 to amount to £106,000. f, therefore, we deduct from that amount the provision for the Duke of Gloucester and Princess Elizabeth, which at The present time will amount to £16,000, there will remain a sum of £90,000 which will be available for the reduction of the 39 amount of the Civil List to be drawn from the Consolidated Fund. The methods proposed for dealing with the revenues of the Duchy during the minority of a Duke of Cornwall, if there should presently be one, are dealt with in paragraph 17 of the report, and they are the same as were proposed for a similar contingency in the Act of 1936 except that, instead of the £25,000 for the Duke of York being the first charge upon the revenues the first charge will now be the two items provided for the Duke of Gloucester and Princess Elizabeth.
§ The only other, item in the report of the Select Committee covered by.the Resolution which I need mention at this stage is that relating to the Civil List pensions. Last year there was a considerable amount of discussion on the subject of these Civil List pensions, which, as I think the Committee are aware, are not paid out of the Civil List, but come from the Consolidated Fund, and in many quarters a desire was expressed that the sum should be increased. The Select Committee have carefully examined the circumstances of what has been done in the past and what pensions are now being paid, and they have come to the conclusion that the limit on the amount of new pensions which can be granted in any one year, which has remained at £1,200 for the last 100 years, should be increased, and they suggest that it should be increased to £2,500. Hon. Members will, of course, have in mind that these figures are only the totals of the new pensions which may be granted in any one year, but naturally, these amounts accumulate. The actual amount which is now being paid in Civil List pensions is about £23,000, and, if the House accepts the proposal now made to increase the limit of £1,200 to £2,500, the total of pensions may ultimately reach a maximum of about £50,000 a year.
§ Perhaps the Committee might be interested to know that the majority of these pensions are not granted to the actual persons whose services are thus being recognised, but to their dependants—widows or other relatives or dependants. Out of 318 pensions which have been granted during the last 20 years, only 126 have been granted directly to the persons whose services are in question, 40 the remainder, namely, 192, having been granted to other persons. It may also be interesting to note that, of the recipients of the pensions, 98 were men and 220 were women. It will be noted that the Select Committee, in paragraph 18, point out that the additional provision which is now being proposed, if it should be accepted, will be available either for the grant of a larger number of new pensions or for the grant of larger new pensions in future, or, alternatively, for an increase, in exceptional cases, of existing pensions. In view of what was said last year, I think that that is a proposal which will commend itself to the Committee, and I now beg to move.
§ 4.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Attlee
Before moving the Resolution the Chancellor of the Exchequer made reference to the passing of one who for many years played a distinguished part in this House—Lord Snowden. We on these benches, too, despite the estrangements of the last six years, will always recall the great services which Lord Snowden gave to our movement, and the courage with which he endured almost constant pain. We would offer our sympathy with the widow.
I rise to oppose this Resolution and I wish to raise a very broad issue. In the Select Committee on the Civil List I moved a resolution which embodied in its terms the point of view of the Members on these benches. I want to put before the Committee what that view is and what it is not. We are opposing this Resolution because we think that it is not a suitable provision to be made at the present day. In the first place, there is no suggestion, in our opposition, of republicanism or of opposition to the Monarchy. That is not the issue. There may be theoretical republicans among us, but we accept the Monarchy, and for my own part I am prepared to rest myself on the dictum of the late John Wheatley, who said, "I would not raise a finger to turn a capitalist Monarchy into a capitalist Republic." That was a very realist view. Therefore I am not arguing that issue, which does not arise to-day. We accept the constitutional Monarchy as we have it in this country.
Secondly, we are not raising our opposition merely on the ground of a cheeseparing economy. In old times there used to be in this House a meticulous 41 discussion of minutiae, a prying into details of household management, but I do not think that that kind of inquisition is either useful or dignified. We are basing our opposition on broad principles. We are not standing for running a monarchy on the cheap. We are prepared that there should be an adequate and proper provision made for the Royal Family. But the provision of a Civil List is a matter of great importance, because it makes provision for certain standards of living for the Royal Family for many years. A Civil List may last to, 20, 30, 40 or more years. We all hope that this list may last a very long time, whatever provision is made; we hope it will be long before we have to make a new Civil List. But this Resolution means that we are legislating for the future, and we must have regard to the developments which are now proceeding.
In these matters there is a tendency to rest upon precedent. The Chancellor of the Exchequer referred to well-established precedents. In fact you will find the utmost difficulty in getting any change made in a Civil List just because of this following of precedents; because a queen received so much 100 years ago it is considered almost a slur if anyone should suggest anything less to-day. Therefore one is stabilising certain standards which were laid down in a very different age from that in which we live. It is quite true that we live to-day in a society in which there are great inequalities of wealth, in a society divided into classes, a society based on private property; but that general foundation is far more widely assailed to-day than it was at the time when these standards were laid down. The Republican movement, for instance, which was fairly strong in the seventies—its most distinguished representative was Mr. Joseph Chamberlain—was not a Socialist movement at all. It was a movement of bourgeois Radicals who, broadly speaking, supported the system as it was at that time.
We on these benches do not accept the system of society as we see it. We are out to change the system from a class society to a classless society; we are out for equality as against inequality. In every-day administration we are obliged to accept these inequalities. It is quite impossible to set them right by changes here and changes there, but we cannot 42 acquiesce in establishing for a long period what we believe are entirely false standards. The whole conception of what is suitable provision for a monarchy to-clay really rests on the ideas of more than a century ago, when it was thought desirable to have the greatest possible gulf fixed between classes. In the days of the great Whig families, the days when you had great palaces throughout the country—many of them are now vacant—it was the natural thing, in a society based on inequality of wealth, that you should have a pyramid of wealth and of palaces, and that at the apex of all there should be a very dignified Royal establishment. The monarchy was regarded as something quite separate from the common people. We think that that is an entirely out of date view and I believe that our opinion is generally held to-day.
We live in a democratic age. In this country, I am glad to say, we do not make gods of ordinary men. We leave that to totalitarian States. The strength of the Monarchy to-day is not in the differences but in the human sympathy that links the Monarchy with the subjects. So we think it is undesirable that we should emphasise the gulf between the Ruler and the ruled. Such emphasis is very dangerous. To-day the King rules not only over the people of this country but over the people in the Dominions, the great democracies overseas, which socially are perhaps more democratic than we are. We have had a great demonstration of popular feeling at the Coronation. I think there is no question about the people of this country liking a certain amount of pomp and circumstance every now and again, and I am not one of those who would wish to take all the colour out of the national life and to leave it drab. There is, however, the greatest difference between occasional displays of pageantry and the continual observance of ritual. It is the continual observance of ritual which accounts to a large extent for the elaboration of the standard of life surrounding the Monarch.
There are two points here. One affects the King and the other affects the people. I do not think it is right that the King should be expected to live, so to speak, always on parade. I do not think it is right that he and his family should be always, so to speak, in the public eye. Of late years I think there has been far 43 too much boosting of Royalty in the Press and on the wireless. I do not think it is fair to the Monarchy, and I am sure it is unhealthy for the community. A reasonable pageantry now and again, well and good, but what we have had has been a fulsome adulation, the vulgar snobbery of a large section of the Press, perpetually holding up the King and the Royal Family and giving the utmost vulgar kind of publicity that they would give if they were selling some of their own goods. And there has been a more refined servility in other organs of the Press and in the B.B.C. It is undesirable that the public should be indoctrinated with an entirely false idea of the importance of the Throne.
I do not for a moment underestimate the importance of the Monarch. He has a very important part to play in the Constitution. He has important responsibilities; but, great as those responsibilities are, they are not comparable with the responsibility of this House. There has been a tendency to over-exalt the importance of the Monarch. The function of the Monarch is to express from time to time the collective view of this country. Constitutionally he is an Estate of the Realm and on certain occasions he has to play a very vital part in the preservation of our constitutional government. For him to play that part properly he must be in close contact with every side of the national life. If the conditions under which he lives tend to cut him off from the masses of the people, or to surround him with influences operating in one direction only, there may be very grave political mischief. Political divisions to-day to a far greater extent than ever before are economic differences, not as in the days of the Whigs and the Tories, when various sets of gentlemen alternated in the Government of the country. There is this wide difference on economic questions, and I think that there is a serious danger, if the King should be surrounded by people who are necessarily, consciously or unconsciously biased entirely to one side.
I will give one instance. In my view it is beyond all question that during the period of the last Labour Government there was a steady propaganda directed to influence the mind of King George V on the question of the unemployed. There 44 was a stream of influences constantly coming out, which suggested that the country was being ruined by masses of people getting unemployment benefit when they did not deserve it or did not need it. That kind of influence is extremely dangerous. Throughout that period there was a most unhealthy influence. When a Monarchy is maintained with very great pomp and ceremony there is a tendency for a King to be surrounded by people who have one particular background. I do not think it is fair to the King that that should be so. We think that the time has come for an inquiry as to the whole question as to what provision should be made for the King. We are not prepared to accept the standards laid down in the past. We consider that it should take in the whole question of the funds that come in in support of the Royal family, taking the Duchies in with the rest. This is not a question, as is sometimes thought, of how much the taxpayer has to nay. You have these properties, which in our view were properties that went to the King in virtue of his position as King, and not as an individual. They are surrendered every time. We think they should all be surrendered, and that the King should get the proper amount that is necessary for him to perform his functions fittingly, but in our view the Monarch ought to be able, as far as possible, to live the life of an ordinary citizen.
I cannot believe that enveloping the Royal Family with a continual round of obsequiousness really makes for the stability of the Monarchy. I do not believe it makes for the strengthening of the Monarchy to base it on false foundations. Therefore, we oppose this Civil List as a whole and in its details. We do not consider that these provisions for individuals are the right ones, what we ask is that the present provisions should continue for a time, and that there should be a thorough inquisition with die Monarch to see how best the Monarchy can be brought into line with modern conditions, and how best it can be fitted into the life of a democracy. We say his because we are looking not merely to the present but to the future. We believe that this country will move more and more towards equality, away from a class State to a classless State. We believe that it will be done, as has been done in this country before, by a steady adaptation. We believe that in the same way the Monarchy 45 will be adapted to its new functions. At this time to stabilise old and outworn standards is a dis-service to the Monarchy.
§ 4.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Churchill
I should like to associate myself with what has been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Leader of the Opposition about the late Lord Snowden. For nearly seven years he and I were engaged in constant controversy in this House, sometimes of a very acrimonious character, and I should like to pay my tribute to the Roman qualities, the classical qualities, of his nature and of his political record, his fearless adherence to the principles of politics as he conceived them, his fierce confrontation of opposition in every quarter and the record of service to the State which he built up in his long life, doing equal honour to the class and the county from which he sprang and to the House of Commons, which enabled him to play so large a part in our affairs.
I do not think the speech of the Leader of the Opposition ought to go without some answer from these benches. The right hon. Gentleman couched it in terms of great mildness and studied moderation. He endeavoured to soften the effects of every proposition that he put forward, and to clothe it all with an air of sweet reasonableness and absolutely up-to-date modernity. Nevertheless, it would be a very serious thing if he led the party that he represents into the Lobby to vote solidly against the proposals now put forward for the upkeep of the maintenance of the honour and dignity of the Crown. It would be an unfortunate event in our modern Parliamentary history, and I earnestly hope that, whatever passes in Debate, the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider very carefully the attitude that he should take in actually pushing these matters to a Division. When one listened to his speech one really might wonder where he had been these last few weeks. What evidence is there, for instance, that the masses of the people are feeling uncomfortable about the ceremonial, the splendour and the pageantry that are associated with the Crown? I have been about, and I have not seen any of that evidence. I have seen the Leader of the Opposition now here, now there. I wonder indeed on what he bases his contention that there is this deep feeling among the advanced thinkers, the modern 46 highbrows, that all this sort of thing requires profound simplification. We had a speech by a former colleague of the right hon. Gentleman, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bristol (Sir S. Cripps), who described what had taken place as bunting and bunkum. The bunting was everywhere. The bunkum can be located with very much more precise particularity.
But I should like to know what is meant by more simplicity. A Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman in the Select Committee gave some detailed reasons. Is it proposed, for instance, that the Royal residences should be cut down—Windsor Castle, Balmoral, and so forth? I think that statements of that general character, if they are to be done justice to by Parliament, ought to be supported by more precise recommendations. If the residences are not to be reduced, obviously they must be maintained by what is considered to be an adequate staff. Then, I understand that great objection is taken by the Leader of the Opposition to the association of the Sovereign with persons of one political outlook. Really that is not the fault of the Sovereign. That is the fault of the Opposition. If they were to obtain a majority, under our free constitution they would be surrounding the Sovereign on every side. Not only would they have the great offices of State, but all the personal offices of the Royal Household are in their nomination. When you consider that twice within the last To years the official Opposition have formed an administration and filled these functions and these offices with credit and dignity, I am surprised that they should cut themselves off from their past and from their co-operation in this part of our constitutional work. Of course, one great step towards simplicity would be the abolition of the coaches of State and the substitution of the far more modern motor car, but I ask myself whether that is really what the public would like—whether really it is what is likely to meet the wishes of the great masses of the people.
It is true that the right hon. Gentleman made a reservation that he would allow ceremonial to take place on certain limited occasions. I am sure we must be very grateful that he has given this hope that some saving clause will be added to cover that. Of course, the difficulties of any other procedure would be very great. If 47 you are not to have the glitter and the splendour of ceremonial pageant, I do not really know how the great mass of the people would be associated with the main facts of the State. Of course, the Sovereign might come in a motor car to the House of Commons, the House of Lords being abolished, and might take the Oath in our presence, and then return in a motor car to his habitation, but I am not at all sure that the public would view such a change with, satisfaction. They would require some sort of a procession. If the worst came to the worst, we ought not to shrink from our duty. The House of Commons itself might march in the procession, but one is not quite certain what reception they would get, or who would get the best reception. It might well be that some raven-haired representative of the Clydeside would get much louder cheers than the Leader of the official Opposition. At any rate, it seems to me that we have had in these last few weeks an absolutely clear manifestation that it is the wish of the overwhelming majority of all parties in the country that the pomp and circumstance—I use the words without fear or apology—which have been hitherto associated with the English Monarchy should not be pared away from it in these modern days. Only a year ago, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has reminded us, we passed very similar provisions to these through the Select Committee on the Civil List, and there was, apparently, general agreement that the provision was adequate, but not more than adequate. What has happened in the interval to change this point of view on the part of the Opposition?
§ Mr. Churchill
If it is said that the circumstances attending the abdication of King Edward VIII have introduced a new factor, I say that that new factor only tells in one direction, namely, that there should be added help to sustain and assist the new sovereigns who have come forward in the difficult circumstances that were created, and they should not be confronted at the outset of their reign with a prolonged committee of inquiry into the manner in which the hitherto traditionally observed ceremonial of the court has been conducted. At this time of all others it seems to me that the ceremonial attaching 48 to the Monarchy is of high practical importance to the masses of the people, and no one realises that with more assurance than the masses of the people themselves. We do not require a minority to tell us of the feelings which are evident in our fellow-countrymen.
The right hon. Gentleman talked of the false idea of the importance of the Throne. For my part, I consider that the ancient constitutional Monarchy of this country is the most effectual barrier against one-man power or dictatorship arising whether from the Right or from the Left. It has never been more valid and precious to democracy than it is at the present time. One of the most pregnant sentences of Mr. Disraeli, and one of those sayings which most deserve prolonged and repeated reflection and consideration, was when he said that nations are driven by force or by tradition. Here in this country we have seen tradition and custom giving us a decency and a security in our national life which no iron law, however brutally enforced, has been able to give to other countries. Long may it be the function of the Monarchy, sustained as it will be by Parliament and by the masses of the nation, to give that element of unity, of the present with the past, which, when all is said and done, is the greatest hope of our freedom in the future.
I did not rise at all to magnify the differences, because although the right hon. Gentleman has had to make this speech—I am sorry he has had to do so—and may still have to move his Amendment, yet it would be a great mistake if it were thought that there was any very deep, profound or large practical difference in the proceedings Upstairs upon the Civil List Committee, or that there is any real widespread right of opinion throughout this country as to the provision which should be made. The hon. Gentleman opposite laughs but he is in a minority of a minority, and we have to deal with majorities in this country, and we have a right to speak on behalf of the whole great mass of the nation. I hope, indeed, that the right hon. Gentleman, having made his protest in a dignified and moderate manner, though in a manner which could not avoid making a good many statements which are painful to some of us and excite controversy—I think that these remarks about the false importance of the Crown as a British 49 institution are painful to many people—I hope and trust that, having made his statement, he will let the action of his party rest upon that statement in its moderation, and will not force this matter to the test of a Division. I hope this for much wider reasons than purely party reasons; for such a line to be drawn as that of a Division is certainly one which could only conduce to further misfortune overtaking the party of which he is the leader.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Maxton
I rise to support the Amendment standing in the name of the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues.
§ The Chairman
I must call the attention of the hon. Member to the fact that the Amendment has not yet been moved, but the course which, I understand, the Debate is likely to take is that there will be a general discussion on the Resolution and that the Amendment in the names of the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues will then be moved, probably more or less formally. The main discussion should really take place on the general Debate on the Resolution so as not to narrow the discussion at the present time.
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence
What I think would probably commend itself to you, Sir Dennis, is that, after the Debate has run for such time as you in your discretion think desirable on general lines, I, or one of my colleagues should move the Amendment, though not absolutely formally. We should then, by bringing the general Debate to an end, make short speeches commending the Amendment to the attention of the Committee. I should like to know whether that conforms to your views.
§ The Chairman
That would, in my opinion, be for the general convenience of the Committee. At the moment I was obliged to interrupt the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton:) because he made a statement saying that he was speaking on the Amendment, when the question before the Committee is the main Resolution; the Amendment will be brought forward later.
§ Mr. Maxton
You cause another doubt in my mind as to whether I want to speak on this particular issue or not. I was 50 assuming that the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friends and myself for a definite reduction in the amount of the money to be voted here would be called and debated.
§ Mr. Maxton
In that case, I do not wish to take part in a general Debate that might rule me out from participation later.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member has probably forgotten that not only are we in Committee, but that the Amendment is a different question from the main Resolution. The hon. Member can speak on both.
§ Mr. Maxton
I understand that perfectly well, but I do not want to be committing myself to an honourable understanding that might exist somewhere, that we should take a general Debate on the whole issues involved and then a formal vote on the various Amendments on the Paper.
§ The Chairman
I think that the hon. Member may rest satisfied on that. With regard to what was said by the right hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. PethickLawrence) although I used the word "formally" with regard to the Amendment, I prefaced it with the words "more or less." It was perhaps rather rash to use the word "formally" at all, but what I meant was that whatever particular Amendment was called, it would narrow the scope of the Debate, and, therefore, I think that it would be more for the convenience of the Committee to have a general Debate on the Resolution, and the Amendment can then be called in the ordinary course. But I anticipate that the Debates on the Amendments when called would probably be shorter after the general discussion than they would have been if there had been no general discussion.
§ Mr. Maxton
I rise to support the point of view which has been expressed by the Leader of the Opposition with reference to this Resolution. I am not going to attempt, either like the Leader of the Opposition or the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), to discuss the merits or demerits of the monarchical system. Fortunately it does not occur in many Parliaments, but I had 51 the opportunity of doing that on the Abdication Bill. I moved a Republican Amendment to the proposals then, had it rejected, and accepted the dictum of the House on that matter. As far as this Parliament is concerned, which has another year or two still to run, it has been decided that the monarchical system is to be maintained for at least that time. I hope that the time will not be too far distant when the nation will return a Parliament that will take a different view. To-day we meet for the Committee stage of the Civil List, the assumption being that, having decided that we are to have a monarchical system, how much are we prepared to pay for the expenses of running that monarchical system. My hon. Friends and I think that at every point the expenditure is much heavier than is necessary. There are many people in this country holding responsible positions in the public life of our nation in circumstances not essentially different from the position that the Monarch holds in the centre of the State. The Lord Mayor of a great city in England or the Lord Provost in a city like Glasgow and many of the Scottish cities has a position relative to that community similar to the position which the Monarch holds in the State.
§ Mr. Maxton
An hon. Member says that he gets paid pro rata. I do not know. He may in England, but in Scotland we do these things much more cheaply. Any Scotsman who attains to the dignity of being the head of the civic power of his town or city regards the honour and distinction and the public responsibility given to him as an adequate reward without financial payment at all. I understand that the same is true in the great cities of England. Although there may be some hospitality allowances or things of that description, there is seldom or never anything in the nature of a salary. We decided in this House, after very careful consideration, only in the last few weeks, that the Prime Minister, the man who is carrying the heaviest political responsibility in this country, a responsibility far outweighing the responsibilities carried by the Monarch, and one which calls for a much more assiduous daily attention to duty 52 than the tasks carried out by the Monarch—we have decided after serious debate in this House that £10,000 per annum is adequate payment for the man who holds that position, subject, as the right hon. Gentleman reminds me, to Income Tax and Super-tax, and also subject to the fact that out of that amount he has to provide a big proportion of the proper hospitality that his duties impose upon him and to maintain his wife and family and any near relatives who may be dependent upon him for aid.
§ Mr. Maxton
I did. I strenuously and honestly opposed it. I said that the duties of the office could have been carried out with complete dignity and efficiency on a much smaller sum, but what I am saying here is that this House less than a month ago, by an overwhelming majority, decided that £10,000 per annum was an adequate sum with which to maintain all the dignities, responsibilities and duties, both public and private, of the Prime Minister, the man who is from day to day carrying the heaviest political responsibility' in this country. And now we are being asked to vote a sum 30 or 40 times as large for the head of the State.
§ Mr. Maxton
It is not so much-logic as just common decency. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping, in criticising the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, said that something more specific was required. What was to be done about the palaces and all the rest of it? If the hon. Member will look at the Amendment in my name; he will find that we make public and social arrangements for the maintenance of the palaces for public rather than private purposes.
§ Mr. Maxton
Our proposal is that that amount shall be expended on social purposes, which are defined in the subsequent Amendments. If my hon. Friend will read the Amendment he will appreciate the point. If we are going to say that Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle, Holyrood Palace and Buckingham Palace shall be used as social institutions for the benefit of the people of this country, provision has to be made for their maintenance, and we suggest an adequate sum to provide for that maintenance.
§ Mr. Maxton
That is what it costs now. If hon. Members would allow me to proceed, it would be better. I make the point that to-day the House is proposing to vote to the Monarch 30 times the amount that we have voted to the Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "Forty times!"] Yes, 40 times what the House voted less than a month ago for the personal purposes of the Prime Minister, to be used by him, admittedly, in the maintenance of residences for his personal purposes. We are asked to vote to the Monarch 40 times the amount which we thought was an adequate amount for the Prime Minister, and which in many quarters of the House was thought to be the extravagant sum of £10,000. We on this bench do not see the common sense of that proposal. The right hon. Member for Epping talked about the pageantry of last week. That has nothing whatever to do with this proposal. Everybody knows that people like pageants of different kinds and on different occasions. I took part in a pageant in Hyde Park on 1st May. I thought it was a tremendously fine turn out, and I was pleased to see the crowds in the London streets cheering it and the crowds in Hyde Park listening to the various speakers. I took part in a similar demonstration through the streets of Glasgow on 2nd May. I was very glad to see men marching with their banners in support of objects which we honoured. It would be a mistake on the 54 part of anybody to over-exaggerate the importance of last week.
§ Sir C. Rawson
Will the hon. Member tell us whether people got up at 3 o'clock in the morning to see him, or whether they paid for their seats?
§ Mr. Maxton
The hon. Member is mistaken in assuming that I was the central figure in the demonstration. I have no knowledge of the inconveniences that were endured by the men and women who took part in those processions, but I do know that some of them walked many miles to be there, and I also know that we did not charge anyone 10 guineas to stand in Hyde Park. In the little town in Scotland where I reside when I am there, I am told that the Coronation was celebrated by certain public functions and certain decorations on the Wednesday. People were pleased to have a holiday, and they spent the holiday in diverse ways. On the Saturday night in that village, when it became known that the local junior football club had won a Scottish Cup, there was real enthusiasm. The town was stirred to its very depths. Something had happened that was worthy of historic note in the village. Wednesday was cool, calm and happy, but neither that town nor any other town of the same size was realy stirred to its depths over the Coronation. Do not let us imagine that there is a big section of the population of this country that is all for bunting and bunkum, if I may be allowed to quote the very pregnant phrase used by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps). They do not want that sort of thing all the time. If I am any judge of psychology, the mass of the nation are already experiencing the morning after the night before feeling. They have had enough of that sort of thing. Sensible men and women know that that is not the real business of life. They know that the real business of life is more serious, more sober and more sensible than that sort of thing.
We are here to-day to consider how we can adequately, decently, economically maintain the State fabric on a basis that shall appeal to the common sense of wise men, earnest men, rather than considering how we can create something that will cause hysteria among crowds. We have got to the stage of thinking of government in the terms of circuses. We 55 are in a very decadent period. We have gone through a period in the British Empire through which other Empires have gone in the past, and we are coming to the beginning of the end in a decline of the moral fibre.
We support the view of the Leader of the Opposition that the whole of this business should be put on a common sense basis, should be taken away from hysteria and should be taken away from those principles about which the right hon. Member for Epping in his later years is so enthusiastic, but which he did not support in his earlier days—I was going to say his more virile days, but one cannot accuse the right hon. Gentleman of having yet lost his virility. I will, therefore, say, in his younger and fresher days. [An HON. MEMBER: "His unregenerate days."] No, I will not say that. I think they were his real days. He had then as much respect for tradition as we have. He was prepared to go to the very foundations of the social order. He was returned for Dundee time after time as a champion of the poor and the common people.
§ Mr. Churchill
I voted for the Civil List of King George V, which was a larger one than that now proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. Maxton
I am not challenging the right hon. Gentleman's vote; I am challenging his speech. It would have been an impossible speech to have come from him in 1910. It would have been an impossible speech to come from a fighting Radical of his kind in those days. It is the kind of speech that every real, genuine, lifelong Conservative wanted, but could not put up, and so they had the right hon. Gentleman to do it for them. That is what the right hon. Gentleman has come to in his later days. He has chosen his path. I have more kinship, much more in common with the London busmen, who during this period of rejoicing have been struggling to get conditions of life that would make a healthy life possible for them much more in common with them on their fr50 a year than I have with anything that is proposed in this Civil List. [An HON. MEMBER: "They get much more than that.] If it will please the hon. MEMBER: I will correct my statement and say that they get £200, in contrast with the 56 £400,000 that we are discussing to-day. I hope the party above the Gangway will carry their Amendment to the Division Lobby, and we shall have great satisfaction in supporting it.
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ Sir Archibald Sinclair
I should like to associate myself with what was said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. MEMBER: for Epping (Mr. Churchill) in expressing their personal grief and the grief of the whole House at the recent death of Lord Snowden. His strength of character, his firm devotion to principle and his trenchency in debate gave him a place of honour in this House and a lasting niche in the history of our Parliamentary institutions. I also join with those right hon. Gentlemen in their expressions of sympathy with his relatives.
Turning to the Debate on the Civil List, I must say that I find some difficulty in understanding the proposal of the hon. MEMBER: for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton:). He said that kingship and coronation, and all that has been associated with the recent celebrations, were not the real business of life. I could not help thinking that in his speech that he was not addressing himself with his usual directness and simplicity to the real business of the House of Commons. I share the difficulty of the hon. MEMBER: for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan:) in following the meaning of the Amendment which the hon. MEMBER: intends to propose, I think there must have been some misdrafting, or perhaps some mistake at the Table, because it does not seem to read. Perhaps the hon. MEMBER: will explain it when we come to it. I do not want to misrepresent the Amendment, but, as I understand it, it has something to do with the provision of hospital accommodation for the sick poor. If the hon. MEMBER: will make proposals for doing that, as I have done in debate on appropriate Estimates, I have very little doubt that he and I will be found working together. I appreciate the importance of such a proposal, but not its relevance to the particular subject we are discussing this afternoon.
§ Mr. Maxton
Its relevance to this particular discussion is that I am proposing to transfer certain public buildings from the personal and private purposes of the 57 Monarch to certain social purposes, and I wish to carry with those buildings the money that is now attached to them for maintenance. That is our reason for bringing forward the Amendment.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
I do not think that it is the businesslike way of approaching the problem of making proper provision for the sick poor to transfer the Royal palaces and the amount of money concerned with them. The problem is far too large to be approached in that way. The palaces are to-day devoted to purposes which the people of this country would not be willing to see frustrated by their diversion from their present use. As a matter of fact, I do not take the view which the right hon. MEMBER: for Epping has expressed about the Monarchy. I think it is one of our institutions which can only be defended and justified on the ground, not of its age and of traditions but on the ground of its usefulness to the people.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
The right hon. Gentleman, I gather, does not dissent from that view. I am not prepared to support the Monarchy one day longer than I am satisfied it is performing a useful service to the country and to the British Commonwealth of Nations. I think it is performing a vital service. I believe that the business associated with the celebrations through which the country has recently been passing is business of the highest importance. I am encouraged in that belief by the large number of responsible representatives of foreign countries who came here on the occasion and had an opportunity of exchanging views with our own Ministers on a large number of vital questions. I am encouraged also in that view by the presence of the representatives of our great Dominions and Colonial possessions, all drawn here by the importance of the occasion and by the veneration in which the Monarchy is rightly held by the British people.
It has been made abundantly clear that the celebrations have not all beeen bunting and bunkum and hysteria. I do not deny that there has been some hysteria, and, after all, mild hysteria is not altogether disassociated from a great many other activities in which hon. MEMBER: of this House engage; it is not an unusual manifestation where great masses of 58 people come together. At the same time, I do not believe that there was a very large amount of hysteria among the crowds which gathered. I did not observe a large amount of hysteria in the crowds in London. In the large crowds of people who waited from three o'clock in the morning to see the King pass by I did not see hysteria, but a keen and enthusiastic interest in what was going on and a loyal devotion to the Monarch and his family, who are held in honour as men and women who are doing their duty by the country in the state to which they have been called. The sense of duty which the Royal Family has shown is what the people of this country appreciate and what has endeared them to the hearts of their people.
I listened with great interest to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition. I agree with him—I think there was general agreement in the Committee—in his desire to see gradually introduced into the regime of Monarchy a greater measure of simplicity. As a matter of fact, that process is going on, and has been going on for a great many years past. I think it is a very wholesome process. Take a small example, one with which we have all some personal acquaintenance. A few years ago attendance at a great Court function without court dress was absolutely inconceivable. Now arrangements have been made to enable people to attend these functions in their ordinary clothes. That is one of many instances of the consideration which the Monarchy has shown for the masses of the people and its desire to enable people of all kinds to come to Court, and not allow such matters as ritual and dress to be a bar from access to the Throne. This Monarch, the last Monarch and King George V, all showed their desire—
§ Sir A. Sinclair
I repeat this Monarch, the last Monarch and King George V have all shown their willingness and eagerness to make easy the access to the Throne to people of all sections of society. I agree warmly with the Leader of the Opposition that what we are working for in this House, consciously or unconsciously—I am doing it consciously—is to achieve a classless society. I believe the great majority of hon. Members want it; and we are doing it whether we want 59 it or not. The general course of all our legislation is tending in that direction, while successive Monarchs in this country have shown in practical ways their sympathy with this tendency and with this idea. The Leader of the Opposition said that the strength of the Monarchy is in the human sympathy which links the ruler with the ruled. King George V, King Edward VIII and the present King have given in their work and lives evidence of that human sympathy, and I agree that it is due very largely to this fact that the Monarchy has such a hold upon the affections of the people to-day.
I was a little surprised when the Leader of the Opposition blamed the Press for the fact that the King lived so much in the public eye. The fact is that the Press knows the deep interest which the people take in the King and in the Royal Family. You do not suppose that the hard-headed business men who rule our Press to-day give all this publicity to the Monarch and his family for any reason other than that they know the real and genuine interest which is taken in the Royal Family by the masses of the people. I imagine that the King himself and the Royal Family would willingly be spared some of the publicity to which they are subjected. Far from this being a subject for blame, I have always understood that in the case of a former Monarch who was withdrawn for some time from the public gaze it was held to be detrimental to the interests of the Monarchy and to the public as a whole. I think the people of this country want to see as much as possible of the King and the Royal Family; they want to see them moving about and taking an interest in all the activities of the country.
The Leader of the Opposition made one rather startling assertion. He said that influences were brought to bear on King George V which tended to make him take an unsympathetic attitude towards the unemployment and financial policies of the Labour Government. The right hon. Gentleman was not himself a Member of the Cabinet at that time, and did not give us the authority on which his statement was based. I cannot conceive to what he refers unless it was that undoubtedly the financial and unemployment policies of 60 that Government did give widespread dissatisfaction to the people of this country. [Interruption.] It gave great dissatisfaction to hon. Members below the Gangway and to hon. Members of my own party, who were constantly making representations to the Labour Government about it. It gave such great dissatisfaction to their own Chancellor of the Exchequer that in February, and again in July, he had to issue grave warnings as to what would happen unless the financial policy of the Government was changed. If indeed representations were made to His Majesty King George V, I cannot help wondering whether they were not made by the Prime Minister of the Labour Government, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Labour Government and by the Secretary of State for the Colonies of the Labour Government, who, after all, were His Majesty's constitutional advisers and had every right to advise him.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
The hon. MEMBER: will appreciate that I am not now debating the merits of the advice which was offered, but am only considering whether that advice reached the King through the proper constitutional channels. I am suggesting that it is not necessary to make any unsupported allegation that this advice was given to the King through unconstitutional channels. We know for a fact that at least three or four Ministers of the Crown, whose duty it was to express their opinions to the King—as their subsequent conduct showed—would certainly have given such advice to His Majesty.
§ Mr. James Griffiths
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that the Prime Minister of a Labour Government gave advice to His Majesty c contrary to that of his own Cabinet?
§ Sir A. Sinclair
We know that, as a matter of fact, he gave advice to His Majesty which resulted in the break up of the Labour Cabinet.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that a Labour Prime Minister went to His Majesty and gave advice contrary to his Cabinet's decision? Would not that be a breath of constitutional law?
§ Sir A. Sinclair
Do not let us discuss that; we know the facts, and the facts are that the Labour Government split up because the most powerful Members of that Government came to the conclusion that the policy they were pursuing would land the country in disaster, and no doubt they expressed that view to the King. Every child in the country knows it, and it is quite clear that that must be the explanation of the statement which the Leader of the Opposition made but of which he did not himself give any explanation to the Committee.
§ Mr. McGovern
The right hon. Gentleman talks about the financial policy of the Labour Government and what a Labour Prime Minister did. Is it not the case that the party to which the right hon. Gentleman belongs was mainly responsible for the Labour Government's policy at that time?
§ Sir A. Sinclair
The fact is that the Liberal party put down an Amendment calling upon the Labour Government to order an inquiry into the financial situation. The Government accepted that proposal, and as a result there was a clear revelation of the financial situation. I do not want to discuss the merits of those issues but to make it clear that, if any advice was tendered to His Majesty at that time about the financial situation, there is no reason to suppose that it was tendered by people other than those who were Members of His Majesty's Government.
§ The Chairman
The Debate has tended to get out of order. Hon. Members are perfectly in order in referring to the arguments of the Leader of the Opposition, but they must not discuss the advisability or otherwise of the policy of the Government at that time.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
I think you will agree with me, Sir, that I am not responsible for carrying this Debate to the point at which it is out of order.
§ The Chairman
It is not the duty of the Chair to apportion blame or otherwise in 62 this case. My intention was to advise, or perhaps to give a Ruling to hon. Members generally as to the limits of the Debate.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
Those limits I shall certainly observe; I have endeavoured strictly to do so, and I have said more than once that I did not wish to discuss the merits of the case, but only the allegation made by the Leader of the Opposition that improper influences were brought to bear upon the Monarchy. I think it will be agreed that I have disposed of that allegation.
All of us have great sympathy with the object of the Leader of the Opposition in wishing greater simplicity to be imported into Court ceremonial and to accelerate the process of making access to the Throne easy for people from all sections of the community. The Royal Family have shown their sympathy with that object, and I do not believe it can best be achieved by postponing the decision on the Civil List. I do not want these controversies to go on. The hon. MEMBER: for Bridgeton, the Leader of the Opposition and everybody else feels that this is not really the business which the House of Commons was elected to do. I want to get to the real business of the House of Commons just as much as the hon. MEMBER: for Bridgeton. I do not want to postpone the Debate on the Civil List, to have a Select Committee appointed and to go through all the details of the expenditure of the Royal Family. I am confident that we may trust His Majesty himself to find the right way of simplifying the procedure of the Court and of bringing it into line with the wishes of the great majority of hon. Members and of accelerating the process of simplification. My view is that His Majesty does a job of work from which many of us would recoil, and from which any man might be expected to recoil; and I think he does it at a rate of remuneration which does not represent a bad bargain to the taxpayer of this country.
As for the attitude taken by the hon. MEMBER: for Bridgeton, it is, after all, a traditional point of view in these matters, for if we go back to the first Coronation at which there was an anointing ceremony of which we have any record, we are told thatThe children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, 63 and brought him no presents; but he was as though he had been deaf.And I have no doubt that His Majesty and all his loyal subjects in the House of Commons and generally will turn a deaf ear to the hon. MEMBER: for Bridgeton to-day. The hon. MEMBER: for Bridgeton thinks he is revolutionary, but alas! In his vanity he is only discharging a traditional role.
In conclusion, I would venture to refer to the question of the Civil List pensions, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer mentioned in the course of his speech. It is clearly stated in the Select Committee's Report that the larger provision for the Civil List pensions will be available for increasing existing pensions. I have had a great deal of evidence brought to me, before the Committee sat, at the time it was sitting and since it sat, about the scale of some of those pensions, and I would like to take the opportunity of making a special plea to the right hon. Gentleman to consider the existing pensions before he makes any provision for enlarging the number of pensions. I am not opposed to enlarging the number, but I think the position of the existing recipients should be considered first. I hope that this Motion will be passed quickly and that we shall then get to what the hon. MEMBER: for Bridgeton described as the real business of life and the real business of the House of Commons, the consideration of the problem of the condition of the people.
§ 5.22 p.m.
I cannot help thinking that the right. hon. Gentleman the MEMBER: for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) made rather heavy weather between the Bible and the Coronation and between the children of Belial on the one side of me and the children of Belial on the other side. I think that perhaps the dangerous speech has been made by the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER: for Epping (Mr. Churchill), and I only hope that his honeyed accents will not persuade the Opposition from moving the Amendment and voting upon it, because I share with the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER: for Epping the desire to preserve the British constitution, perhaps the most important thing which we can do in this world. Perhaps owing to a misapprehension, the increases in salaries that we 64 voted recently and these enormous salaries that we are voting to-day have created a very bad impression in the country, and not only among Labour people.
If that impression spreads, it will do harm not only to the Royal traditions of this country, but to the constitution which depends upon a proper respect for Royalty. I think the impression is largely due to the misapprehension that we are voting £400,000 for the King, but this is not money which will go into the King's pocket. We are voting enormous sums for other Members of the Royal Family, and the people think that the Royal Family get it, but that is an entire misapprehension. I object to voting these sums not because it is money which the Royal Family will get, but because of the enormous vested interest all round the Royal Family, which will get it at the present time. Every one of the Palaces has its staff; the vast accumulation of offices connected with the household—private secretaries, equerries, aides-decamp—are at the present time bleeding not this House, but bleeding the Royal purse.
We have put this Amendment on the Paper in order that that form of parasitism may be checked. It is not merely a waste of our money, but it also has an extremely bad affect upon the attitude of the country as a whole towards our Royal institutions. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is the evidence?"] As I go about I hear complaints of this enormous expense. We want to have the matter stated and investigated before a committee, so that we may know exactly what is necessary and what is superfluous. I am certain that the Royal Family would prefer the simple dignity of the Swedish Royal Family or the Danish Royal Family rather than carry on their backs for ever this gigantic vested interest. We have a right to demand that that should be inquired into. This is not like an increase for the Board of Trade, the Foreign Office or the Fighting and Defence Services, on which we can keep a check annually; here we have one enormous branch of the public service which is taken entirely from the consideration of the House. It is in order to have that source of waste checked that the Amendment is on the Paper. It has been said that this vast body of flunkeys all round the Court is opposed not merely to the Labour party but to Parliament. My experience when we were in office was 65 that when the Labour party surrounded the Throne, they behaved exactly as every other party when they surrounded the Throne. Their knees trembled and they confined their conversation entirely to "Yes, Sir" or to "No, Sir."
§ Lieut.-Commander Agnew
Was not the right hon. Gentleman once a flunkey himself, as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster?
I am not attempting to claim an exemption from the failings of humanity. It is impossible to start any subject of conversation, and one confines oneself entirely to saying "Yes, Sir" or "No, Sir," and such surroundings have not the slightest influence on the Royal Family.
Alas! I have never lad a good tip for the Derby. I think we exaggerate the enormous importance of those surrounding the Throne. What important is that they should read newspapers and books and get into touch with the world, which they cannot do through those who surround them. Only so can they get in touch with the feelings of all sorts of people in the country. How can they do that when their normal intercourse is limited by protocol, and when the papers they read are only the correct papers—the "Morning Post" and the "National Review"? In that way not merely are entirely false ideas about the people of the country engendered in the Royal mind, but there is also the very damaging propaganda effect of the knowledge that those views are held in high quarters and that those papers are read there. I maintain that the real seriousness of the present seclusion of the Royal Family is that it is not possible for them under present circumstances really to get into contact with the people of the country. That seems to me to be an even stronger argument in favour of a simplification of the whole paraphernalia connected with the Throne. I do not know any better way than by a committee of inquiry.
I want an inquiry into the question of simplification in order to see whether at some future time we cannot reduce the enormous expense which we are now voting. I want a timely inquiry into the question of whether it is necessary to keep up this elaboration in its present form, and whether it would not be possible to reduce the standards of State display and the like and introduce a simpler style of life, similar to that followed by the Royal Family in Sweden. Such a change, I am certain, could result only in even greater respect for the Royal Family than they enjoy to-day. But I am also certain that the reverse policy and the voting of these enormous sums, apparently for the Royal Family but really for this greedy gang of flunkies who are hanging on to the Court, will have a bad effect, and that the sooner such a policy is ended the better.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ Briģadier-General Sir Henry Croft
We are, I think, in danger of exaggerating some of the points which have been made by, among others, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the MEMBER: for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedģwood). As the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER: for Epping (Mr. Churchill) truly said, it is easy in discussing this question to bring broad charges in relation to the total cost involved, but we are entitled to something a little more explicit than talk about armies of flunkeys. There are, possibly, certain ways which might be considered of restricting the expense of upholding the dignity of the Crown. We heard one mentioned incidentally in this Debate, but without any details, namely, the upkeep of the Royal palaces. I wonder whether any hon. MEMBER:, in his heart, would like to see the end of Buckingham Palace, as such. Or would any hon. MEMBER: like to see Balmoral Castle no longer a Royal palace? Is there a single person in England, Scotland or Wales or in the whole of the Empire who would like to see the end of Windsor Castle as a Royal palace? These really are points to be considered.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken expressed the view that a large number of flunkeys existed arid might now be dispensed with, but, if he goes into the matter and works it out I think he will find that it is not fair to apply the term "flunkey" so generally in this connection. I do not know, but 67 I suppose there may be 200 or 300 men employed in the upkeep of these places. If this Committee does not want to get rid of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and Balmoral Castle, which are honoured names all over the Empire and mean much to the peoples of every part of the Empire, then I beg hon. Members to realise that there is very little else which stands between us here and agreement on this matter. The whole point, I presume, is that the maintenance of the dignity of the Crown is considered by certain hon. Members to be too costly at the present time. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman has said that he wants simplification, and I think he referred to this as "new expenditure." I do not think that is accurate. The Crown, in relation to the cost of living generally, is costing much less to-day than it did in years past. We have been told that we ought not to be static, that we ought to advance with the times, and I think it will be agreed, if we consider the cost of the upkeep of these various dignities and services, that it must be much more difficult to provide for them to-day out of a stated sum, than it was too years ago.
I take it that it is only the question of cost that is involved. The Leader of the Opposition said definitely that he did not want to have Monarchy on the cheap. To what then does all this criticism amount? I have not myself worked out the figures, but I am told that even if the incomes of every individual in the country were equal, this would represent less than 4d. per head per annum, and when we realise what the Crown means as a unifying force in the British Empire, he would be a mean soul indeed who would not wish to make a contribution of that kind towards its maintenance. I put forward these views only because I believe that those who are presenting various points in opposition to this proposal are doing the country an ill-service. We on this side are hopelessly divided from hon. Members above the Gangway on many points, but I believe that, with the exception possibly of three or four hon. Members, we are all agreed in our hearts as to the great advantage which this country possesses over other countries is the existence of the Throne, and the fact that we have a system which has come down to us through the ages 68 and is venerated by people of all classes in all parts of the Empire. It is the great bulwark of Empire unity. It marks the difference between this country and the dictatorship countries. In those countries a man rules the mass of the people, but in this country we have the whole nation supporting the Constitution of which the Crown is the head.
§ 5.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
"The tumult and the shouting dies" and we now get clown to the sordid question of hard cash. There has been much bunting and display, but the most pathetic feature of all that has happened in the past fortnight has been the spectacle of the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER: for Epping (Mr. Churchill) in the role of Barnum telling us that the show which was provided was the desire of the people's hearts.
§ Mr. Gallacher
And the same thing could be said about the show which Barnum provided and advertised. After the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER: for Epping we had the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclear) who told us what he had seen, and that he had found nothing but passionate loyalty. Does he want people to believe that? Why the decoration, the bunting, the "God Saves" were being prepared for Edward, but were changed over to George.
In the poorest streets of my constituency, in a distressed area from which lads went in their thousands to fight for their country, the bunting was the most prolific and the most costly.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Yes, I understand, and I say again that it was being prepared for Edward, and you threw out Edward. You scored out the name of Edward and put in that of George after the "God saves."
§ The Chairman
Perhaps the hon. MEMBER will bear in mind that whatever he has to say must be addressed to me. Further, he seems to be getting very wide of the Resolution which is before us.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I understand we are having a general discussion, and I shall try to keep in order. I am dealing with 69 the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER for Epping, and the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER for Caithness and Sutherland. The right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER for Epping appeared before us as Phineas T. Barnum, and the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER for Caithness said he saw nothing but loyalty, but loyalty which is so easily transferable does not appeal to me. I was reminded of a comrade of mine who passed away in 1912, a brilliant man, and a great controversialist. He had a controversy in a local paper in Paisley with a religious gentleman about the value of prayer. In the course of his reply my friend Pat Machory said his opponent's argument reminded him of a pious old lady who said to her neighbours that with the help of God and two big policemen she had got rid of a noisy lodger. We can say on this occasion that with the help of God and the Civil List the Royal Family will manage to make ends meet. I am not sure what would happen if Parliament refused to supply any Civil List. During the past two weeks I have not been in London participating in the hullabaloo. I have been in and around my constituency where I have addressed 14 meetings. At every meeting I raised the question of the means test and the Civil List, and at every meeting I got support for the abolition of the means test and no support for voting for the Civil List.
§ Mr. Gallacher
There were womenfolk at these meetings, with their husbands, and I drew attention to the fact that the Civil List allows about £10,000 a week for the King. I asked them if they wanted me to vote for that. I drew attention to the fact—which I ask hon. Members also to face—that it would take the husband of the average woman attending one of my meetings whether he was a miner, an engineer, a railwayman, or whatever he might be, so years of hard, backbreaking work to earn as much as the King will get for one day. That is how I put it. Do hon. Members object to having it put that way? I asked these women "If your husband has to work for so years to earn as much as 70 the King gets in a day, why is your husband supposed to do the cheering?" I got an answer from every audience all over my constituency and I was encouraged to vote against the Civil List.
We are told that the Monarchy is a symbol. A symbol must express some thing real. What is the real thing expressed by the symbol of the Monarchy? It expresses control and domination by a ruling class in this country. That is why there has to be such a lavish display of wealth and so much pomp and ceremony. This symbol is at the apex of our society and we are all supposed to move up towards it. If anybody cares to desert the great mass of the people at the base and move up towards the symbol, nice things will be said about that person in the House of Commons at his death. I made a remark here one evening on another question to the effect that while I maintained my home in the North, I lived here myself in London on £3 a week. Sensation! What is the idea? Unemployed men have to live on 17s. a week, and an engineer will get £3 a week for himself, his wife, and family, but I am supposed to be a step or two above the ordinary working man, a step or two nearer the symbol. If I get into the Cabinet, if, through some change of fortune, a Labour Government should get in and decide to have a representative of my party in the Cabinet, I am supposed to move still nearer to this symbol and get £5,000 a year. I am supposed to live according to that, to change my entire life. But if I change my entire life, I change my character. [An HON. MEMBER "Why not?"] If I should begin to live as the bourgeois lives, I should begin to think as the bourgeois thinks.
As a matter of fact, the symbol is there to make it clear that no working man can occupy a position of any kind in the affairs of this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"] That is correct. The process of moving them up towards the symbol, the process of corruption, is continually operating in the salaries that are offered. Why do you not make the salaries for the King and the rest of them the present salary of a MEMBER of the House of Commons, namely,£8 a week? Any expenses could be met out of the general funds. Why is it necessary for a working man who wants to take a position in the State to accept £5,000 a year, 71 and how is it that he is expected to live, and receive people, and carry on, and all the rest of it, according to that amount of money? The idea is that you must be something different from the ordinary worker if you are going to occupy a position of State.
The proposition of the Opposition is made to simplify the whole system of the Monarchy. I suggest that you give the Monarch the same wages as you give a MEMBER of Parliament. He does not do any more work. Let him live in a nice council house, with a little bit of a garden, where the folk who want to see him can see him. But what would happen to the people on the other side if we had the King on £8 a week living in a council house? All the nice gentlemen on the other side, all the dukes and duchesses, would give him the cold shoulder. He would no longer be a symbol for them. Would they visit him? Would the dukes and duchesses visit the King if he lived in a municipal scheme? No. They would turn up their delicate noses. And so I want it clearly understood that this symbol is the symbol of the wealth, of monopoly capitalism, and associated with it is the corruption of monopoly capitalism.
Therefore, I support this proposition that is made by the Opposition, and I will support every proposition that is directed towards putting an end to what we have had during the past few weeks. It is a scandal that the Press of this country, the cinemas, the radios, every propaganda force should be utilised to work up the people into such a condition as they were in for a day or two. I can understand them, in the mean streets especially, wanting bunting to take away the drabness of their life, and I can understand the feelings of freedom that they have for the moment. Nobody can interfere with them. They are free for once. I was in one of these mean streets on Coronation night after I had had amass meeting. I suppose I was the only MEMBER of Parliament who spoke at a mass meeting on Coronation night. They had a dance in the street, which was crowded, and a big motor car came up, with nice ladies and gentlemen in it, and two or three fellows stepped out from the crowd and said, "Go back." The motor car had to turn and go back. For 72 one night, free; for one night, kings themselves.
§ Mr. Gallacher
It was an opportunity for once to feel free, with no policemen to interfere with them. It was an opportunity for once, for a clay or for a night or two, to feel free and to get the drab streets coloured, to get some colour and life into them. That is what appeals to them; but to make out that all this propaganda was not worked up and to try to put this across will no, serve the purpose. More and more as the days go by the reaction will set in, and they will begin to understand die game that has been played upon them Therefore, I support the propositon to put an end to all this so-called pomp aril circumstance, that represents and expresses Barnumism at its best or worst.
§ 5.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence
I beg to move, in line 2, after "That," to insert:until the thirtieth day of April, nineteen hundred and thirty-eight.I think the time has now come when it will be convenient to the Chair and to the Committee that I should move the Amendment which stands in the names of myself and my right hon. Friends, but that need not end the discussion. I should have supposed that the case for our Amendment had been so clearly stated, both in the Resolution that was moved on the Select Committee and which forms part of the report which is now in the possession of the House, and in the admirable speech of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, that the object that we have in view would have been clearly understood in all parts of the Committee. But is quite clear to me, from the speech, of the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal party, that our case is not merely opposed but is largely misunderstood, and, that therefore a further explanation is required.
The Amendment proposes that the proposition put forward by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, instead of continuing for the whole of the reign and six months thereafter, shall be brought to an end on the 30th day of April. 1938. The object of that is to give effect to the terms of the 73 Resolution which was moved on the Select Committee, that an opportunity should be provided during the intervening period for a complete investigation into the mode of life and the whole question of the upkeep of the Sovereign and the Royal Family. It is our desire that greater simplicity should be introduced, not merely in the interests of economy, but also in the interests of the whole basis of our civilisation.
This Amendment cannot be laughed out of court by the kind of argument that was used by the right hon. MEMBER for Epping, for, from what I have seen in the Press and from what I know from contact with large numbers of people, the idea underlying our proposal has a very wide measure of support in all classes, in all parties, and in all sections of public opinion in this country. The right hon. MEMBER for Epping has attempted to cite against our proposal the events of the last fortnight and to suggest that what has been taking place in the country was a proof that our ideas had no support throughout the country. He is entirely mistaken, because he is putting an entirely false interpretation on what we desire to do. No one who takes part in the proceedings of this House and who knows the traditions and ceremonies which appertain to the Speaker of this Chamber can possibly doubt that there is in the hearts of the people of this country a very considerable love of cerernony, which we put to good effect in various ways, and we know that even in this Chamber a certain measure of pomp and circumstance applies to the actions of Mr. Speaker himself; and what is true of our Assembly here is obviously true to a very much larger extent of the office in which is symbolised the centre of the whole government of this country, of the Dominions overseas, and of all the other possessions of the Crown. Therefore it is desirable and necessary, and has the support of the great mass of the people in this country, that on suitable occasions pomp and circumstance and ceremony should be forthcoming. With regard to that, I have only one criticism to make, to which I shall refer later.
But it is quite a different matter to impose upon the Sovereign and the other Members of the Royal Family, not on special days of pageantry, but on every day and in every detail, a form of life 74 which sets the King and the Royal Family apart from the common people of this country. I say—and I do not believe that even those Members who sit opposite will deny—that the best kind of life for a King to lead is not the life of the plutocracy, and that the best kind of people for a King to associate with are certainly riot confined to, if there are included among them, the Members of the smart set, and it is not right that the associates of the King should be mainly—certainly not solely—persons of great wealth. The Leader of the Opposition, in opening our case, said, I think very truly, that what we were out against was not pomp and circumstance on special occasions, but the idea that all the time the King has got to he, as it were, on parade.
What is it that most of us in this House really enjoy, apart from our proceedings here? If the Prime Minister were here I know that he would agree with me. When I get away from the House on Friday, the first thing I do is to go down into the country, go up into my room, take off the clothes I am in the habit of wearing in London, put on the oldest and most disreputable clothes I can find, and go into the garden where I make myself thoroughly dirty with messing about with things. What we deny to the King in our present method of dealing with the Royal Family is the opportunity of getting rid of the paraphernalia of show and parade in his daily life. I do not know or profess to judge whether there may not be times when the King can divest himself of all that, but I do know and we all recognise that whenever he is seen at all he must put on all the rigours of fashionable clothing and attire. Many of us who have seen the pictures of the late Monarch have noticed that he never looked happier than when he was dressed in an old sweater and freed from the conventions of his daily life.
That is one of the things which our Amendment is seeking a way to achieve. We want the King to be free from convention for the greater part of his life, as the Royal Families in Scandinavian countries are. We want him to be able to mingle with his fellows of all sorts and we do not want him to be shut out from healthy relationship, by wealth and by clothes. I said just now that I was going to make one reference to what is 75 wrong in some of our ceremonial at the present time. Although there have been changes for the better, it is still true that there is much too much rigid idea about clothes at such times. Of course, those who are taking part in a ceremony may have to wear traditional garb. But take, for instance, the question of an onlooker at the Coronation who is a peer. A great many of the Labour peers were unable or unwilling to join the Coronation ceremony, not because they had any disloyal feelings or because they were not just as willing as anyone else to pay their homage to the Crown as representing the centre of the British Empire, but because of a paltry matter of clothes. It was impossible for a peer to go to the Abbey on Coronation day unless he was prepared to spend something like £150 on clothes. Some of the Labour peers were quite unable to find that amount, and several others thought it wrong to spend all that money on their own personal attire on an occasion of that kind. There is still far too much left of this clothes barrier to proper relationship between the subject and the Crown.
There is another matter which we want thoroughly to consider. Let us take the question of the Princess Elizabeth. We recognise on all sides of the Committee that this child, who may very likely one day be the ruling Sovereign of this country, ought to have the best education it is possible to provide her with. She ought to have the best teachers and the best means of understanding her position in every possible way. I hope, however, that it is not to be inferred from that that in that training she is to associate solely or mainly with rich people or that she should wear solely rich clothing. The sons of kings have mingled in universities with the life of all classes of people, and I hope that the Princess Elizabeth will have similar opportunities to mingle with all sorts of boys and girls while she is a child, and with young men and young women of all classes in her adolescent life, in order that she may fully fit herself to take the high responsibility which may one day be hers.
The burden of kingship is very heavy and neither I, nor those who sit with me on these benches, would wish that those who were to bear it should be harassed by the question of money. Hon. Members know perfectly well that there are 76 two kinds of harassment about money. There is the harassment of money experienced by the great mass of people in having too little. There is also the harassment of money which comes to people who have too much, who recognise the heavy responsibility which great wealth places upon them. Many of the men who have gained great wealth have, to some extent, recognised that and have regarded themselves rather as trustees of the great wealth which they have obtained than as being entitled to spend it all on luxury or upon their own persons in some way or another. That is where the right hon. Gentleman who leads the Liberal party is to a large extent under a misunderstanding with regard to our Amendment. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the MEMBER for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) is also under a misapprehension. He spoke of this paltry Amendment of ours he said would save only a few pounds here and there and would mean only a few pennies in the incomes of the people of the country. We are not debating this matter of the King's salary as a means of saving a few pounds. We are debating it as a great matter of principle which affects, not merely pounds, shillings and pence, but the whole basis of our civilisation.
It is recognised, I believe, very widely, not merely by my hon. Friends on these benches, but, I hope and believe, in all sections of the Committee, that ostentatious display of great wealth is essentially vulgar. It is true, in. spite of that. that up and down the country the great majority of people measure merit by wealth. Where a man is wealthy, he can have what he likes and can do what he likes, and he will command from the great mass of people subservience and kowtowing of a kind which is thoroughly wrong. I will go further than that. I believe that there is growing in the hearts of the people of this country a sense of shame in these great discrepancies in wealth and that at a time when a large number of people are still undernourished and lacking the necessities and the smallest comforts in life there is something immoral about spending large sums of money upon one's own living. It is not a question any of us can be self-righteous about for people in all parts of the Committee are spending more than the humblest of the population, and we have to face the fact that what was 77 thought right and proper a century ago, what was tolerated and even approved of a few decades ago, and what is still tolerated to-day, is becoming every day less accepted, and that not only by the poorest section.
Because of that view, which is changing and which is likely to change still more in future, we on these benches think it is wrong that we should bolster up this system of great discrepancies of wealth by imagining that the King and the Royal Family are only to be respected and honoured if they have not merely these vast sums of money, but the insignia of great wealth embodied in castles, in great apartments, in liveried servants, and in the whole ceremonial of their daily life. We have put down the Amendment to enable the King himself and the Royal Family to explore the possibilities of a simpler life, and because of that we believe it should have the support not merely of Members on these benches, but of Members in all parts of the House who want to see our civilisation based on a nobler thing than the possession of mere riches and physical wealth.
§ 6.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Annesley Somerville
The speeches from the other side have contained so many palpable exaggerations that they answer themselves, but repeated outside they may do some harm. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has painted a picture of the life and expenditure of the Royal Family which is completely contrary to the facts.
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Captain Bourne)
I must point out to the hon. MEMBER that we are now on the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) was talking on the main question, but we are now discussing the question of date.
§ Mr. Somerville
I can, therefore, speak only on the Amendment. I take it that the object of the Amendment is to postpone the application of the Civil List until an inquiry has been made, the object of which, according to the right hon. Gentleman the MEMBER for East 78 Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence), is to introduce greater simplicity into the maintenance of the Royal state. The picture that has been painted of the Royal state is not in accordance with the facts and would not justify the Amendment being agreed to. The real reason for the great expenditure under the Civil List is the cost of the upkeep of the Royal palaces. I think I am in order in referring to that. Who is there, as the hon. and gallant MEMBER for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) so well put it, who would wish to see Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle or Balmoral kept up less worthily than now? An hon. MEMBER from Scotland spoke of the King getting £10, 000 a week, giving the impression that it was for personal expenditure.
§ Mr. Somerville
I tried to get an opportunity to speak on the main question, and as the point before us is now so limited I find myself in a difficulty, but possibly I shall be in order in giving a n instance of the wise and careful economy with which the expenditure upon the Royal palaces is administered. Some time ago I was speaking with a constituent of mine who has charge of the furniture and appointments of Windsor Castle. He told me that he made periodical inspections with a MEMBER of the Royal Family. On the last inspection they—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I cannot allow the hon. Member to proceed on those lines. I have told him the limitations of the Amendment which is now before the Committee.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot
Further to that point of Order, the right hon. MEMBER for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) began his speech by, as I understood it, moving the Amendment on the Paper, and afterwards proceeded to develop the general theme that there should be greater simplicity in regard to the Royal palaces and the life of the Royal Family, and it is very difficult for other hon. Members if they are not to be allowed to touch upon any of the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. MEMBER for Dundee (Mr. Foot) does not seem 79 to appreciate that the right hon. MEMBER for East Edinburgh (Mr. PethickLawrence) was speaking on the main question. The Amendment is not before the Committee until it has been put from the Chair. From that moment the Committee is limited by the words of the Amendment, but the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly in order, because he was still speaking on the main question.
§ Mr. Somerville
Am I to understand that the right hon. Gentleman was in order in wandering over the whole subject but that I am not in order in saying anything except with reference to the limiting of the period within which the present Civil List shall continue?
§ Mr. Somerville
The right hon. Gentleman told us that what he did every Friday when he went home was to change at once into his gardening clothes. With reference to that I would say that that is exactly what Members of the Royal Family whom I happen to know often do. The question was raised of the Royal Family being always on parade, and may I point out—
§ Sir William Davison
As I understand it, the Amendment proposes that this matter should be deferred for a year's time so that an inquiry may be held. In order that the Committee may make up their minds whether it is desirable to have an inquiry, surely we are entitled to consider whether any useful purpose will be served by that delay, and in connection with that cannot we consider whether there are extravagances which ought to be looked into?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. MEMBER for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) has a good deal of experience of this House and might possibly succeed in keeping in order on those lines, though it is not for me to judge whether he would be in order until I have heard him; but the hon. MEMBER for Windsor (Mr. Somerville) has not succeeded in keeping in order.
§ Mr. Somerville
You make it very difficult for us, though, of course, I must accept your Ruling. I was trying to argue that there is no case for an inquiry because the facts are so well known, and one of those facts is that there is no case for reducing the present amount of the Civil List owing to the wise way in which the money is now administered. As an illustration of that I was relating an incident which seems to me to be in order.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The Amendment does not seek to reduce the Civil List. The hon. Member's argument would be quite appropriate to another Amendment, but not to this one.
§ Mr. Somerville
May I ask, then, whether, when the Amendment is disposed of, we shall return to the general question?
§ 6.22 p.m.
§ Sir W. Davison
This Amendment, as I understand it, suggests that we should decide that the Civil List shall remain in force only for one year, and that during that year an inquiry shall be held with a view to seeing whether the panoply and ceremonial of the Court can be simplified. The right hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) pointed out that to secure simplification, and in the interests of the Throne itself, it was very desirable that the Monarch should be able to do what an ordinary MEMBER of Parliament does when the House rises, and what he himself told us that he did, and that is to throw off his black coat when the day's work is over. I personally think it is a very desirable thing that people should wear black coats in the House of Commons. Some form of uniform is a very desirable thing, and I am all in favour of it, whether it be for Members of Parliament or—
§ Sir W. Davison
I was led away on that point; but the object of the Amendment is to bring about an inquiry with a view to the simplification of the ceremonial surrounding the Throne, and I wish to repudiate the suggestion that we should delay this matter for a year. I suggest that no material reduction in expenditure 81 could be obtained by this inquiry. As an illustration of that, I think I shall not be out of order in referring to one of the large items of expenditure, namely, the sum of £108,000 for the upkeep, etc., of the Royal palaces which is to be found on page 13 of the White Paper. That expenditure is not at all connected with the pleasure, shall we say, of the occupant of the Throne. Hon. Members opposite say that on certain special occasions there can be great ceremonial, but that on the majority of days the ceremonial should be reduced to a minimum. If we are to retain these palaces they must be kept up. I believe it is true, as the hon. and gallant MEMBER for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) said, that there is not a man or woman, except some mental defectives, who would desire that Windsor Castle should be turned into a convalescent home. Every one of us shares a noble pride in Windsor Castle. We feel that it stands for something in the history of our country. I feel that no economy would be secured by an inquiry into the matter of the upkeep of Windsor Castle. The public have a lively interest in seeing these great castles and Royal Palaces. They feel that they are really their own property, that they can go over them—except when they are in use for public ceremonies.
I do not believe that the postponement suggested by the Opposition would in any way reduce the expenditure or make for simplicity. We know that every MEMBER of the Royal Family loves simplicity, loves a quiet life. In the last few days what is it that the King has done whenever he could be released from duty? He has gone to his comparatively small house in the middle of Windsor Great Park in order to lead the simple life. Therefore, the postponement suggested will not secure the objects aimed at. It will not reduce expenditure to any material extent. If we want the Royal Family to be the pride of the country, as it has been in the past, it must be decently maintained. We cannot have these cheese parings which nobody in the country wants, and it will only be wasting the time of the House, which ought to be getting on with the great business of the nation, if we hang this matter up for a year for further inquiry.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Jones
It is interesting to hear those who are extreme advocates of 82 economy getting up to support a proposition that we should spend more money. In so far as some of us here are concerned, we recognise the position which the Crown occupies in the history of Great Britain. We are willing to provide the occupants of the Throne with decent accommodation and with everything necessary for the maintenance of the position which they occupy, but why they should have three houses to live in at the same time I do not know. Most of us have to be satisfied with one.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. MEMBER seems to be getting back to the main Question. We are now on the Amendment.
§ Mr. Jones
I am not getting on to the main question. I was only paraphrasing some of the remarks which have already been passed. I think an inquiry is necessary. An inquiry was held 100 years ago into the position of the Crown and the expenditure on the maintenance of Royal palaces and places of that sort. I notice that an official gets a salary of £300 a year for looking after the King's swans. Could not we let the swans look after themselves? There are a lot of things which could be inquired into, if the hon. MEMBER for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) would only start thinking. I do not want to stop the King from getting all that to which he is entitled as King or as head of the greatest Empire the world has ever seen. I represent one of the poorest constituencies in London. The people there celebrated the Coronation, but at the same time they vote Labour. In one of the poorest streets in my constituency £210 was collected with which to celebrate, though anyone looking at the street would not think it was worth £210, even with all the houses thrown in. But the people there were keyed up to a state of emotional nationalism. The King is the head of the State. We do not want to quarrel with the King and I hope the King does not want to quarrel with us. There are people who are trying to take an advantage of the King.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Gentleman said he was going back to the Amendment, but he is getting very far from it.
§ Mr. Jones
I am coming back to the inquiry, Sir. A lot of things want inquiring into. A lot of flunkeys are being 83 paid big salaries, and there are Ladies-of-the-Bedchamber, too. I have seen some of them. They would not be ladies in my bedchamber. We are asking for an inquiry, and we are giving them 12 months to do it. You would find out more in 12 months by such an inquiry than some of our detectives have discovered in the last 20 years. There are useless parasites being paid big salaries for doing nothing, and doing it very well. What objection can there be to an inquiry being held? Does the hon. Baronet the Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davidson) object to an inquiry into the amount of money that is spent? He would soon vote against an increase in wages to a body of workmen. If we raised a question of labour in this House he would be the first in the Lobby against it. We are not objecting to the King getting all he can get. It is his duty to get all he can and to can all he gets. The time has arrived for a proper inquiry to be held into the money that is spent upon maintaining a lot of useless people—£6,000 for a young girl about II years of age being increased to £15,000.
§ Mr. Jones
I hope it never will. When we are voting public money we ought to know what it is going for, who is to get it and what is the purpose. We are spending over £1,000,000 a year on all the appurtenances of the Royal palaces. You can keep Windsor Castle; make it a museum. You can keep all the other places. I was at Balmoral a short time ago, and it was a desert. There was nobody there, except about 20 people who were looking at it. All they could do was to look through the rooms and corridors. They saw nothing but the relics of the past, things that did not matter and that her late Majesty, Queen Victoria, had collected during her period of reign. An inquiry is necessary and should be held. While giving the King and the family all that is necessary for them to maintain their station, let us inquire what it costs, what we are spending upon it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 102; Noes, 204.85
|Division No. 187.]||AYES.||[6.33 p.m.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Paling, W|
|Adamson, W. M.||Groves, T. E.||Parker, J.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Potts, J.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Riley, B.|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Ritson, J.|
|Batey, J.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Hopkin, D.||Rowson, G.|
|Broad, F. A.||Jagger, J.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)|
|Bromfield, W.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Shinwell, E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Silkin, L.|
|Cape, T.||Jones, J. J. (Silvertown)||Silverman, S. S.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Sorensen, R. W|
|Daggar, G.||Kirby, B. V.||Stephen, C.|
|Dalton, H.||Lawson, J. J.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Lee, F.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Leonard, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Day, H.||Leslie, J. R.||Thorne, W.|
|Dobbie, W.||Logan, D. G.||Thurtle, E.|
|Ede, J. C.||Lunn, W.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||McGhee, H. G.||Walker, J.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||McGovern, J.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Frankel, D.||Maclean, N.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gallacher, W.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Maxton, J.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Messer, F.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Montague, F.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Gluokstein, L. H.||Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Goldie, N. B.||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Goodman, Col. A. W.||Petherick, M.|
|Agnew, Lieut. Comdr. P. G.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Grant-Ferris, R.||Pilkington, R.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh)||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Radford, E. A.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbrg, W.)||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Grimston, R. V.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury)||Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Remer, J. R.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Hanbury, Sir C.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Blair, Sir R.||Harvey, Sir G.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Bossom, A. C.||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Bracken, B.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Higgs, W. F.||Savery, Sir Servington|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Selley, H. R.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Hopkinson, A.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Cary, R. A.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Hunter, T.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Channon, H.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st)|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Clarke, F. E. (Dartford)||Joel, D. J. B.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Lees-Jones, J.||Spens, W. P.|
|Cox, H. B. T.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Levy, T.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Lewis, O.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Liddall, W. S.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Cross, R. H.||Lloyd, G. W.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Drewe, C.||Magnay, T.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Maitland, A.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Mander, G. le M.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Markham, S. F.||Turton, R. H.|
|Edge, Sir W.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Wells, S. R.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)||Withers, Sir J. J.|
|Fleming, E. L.||Munro, P.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Foot, D. M.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Owen, Major G.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Palmer, G. E. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Patrick, C. M.||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward|
|and Sir Henry Morris-Jones.|
Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ 6.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Maxton
My hon. Friends and I tabled a series of Amendments dealing with detail points. Many of them were moved a year ago when the Civil List was previously before the Committee, and when we had very indifferent support. Now the Official Opposition are opposing 86 the Civil List as a whole, and there has just been a vote in this House in which one half of the Members have opposed the Civil List, and have made out a strong case for an inquiry at some future date. [An HON. MEMBER "One third."] I associate myself with the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition. In view of his statement, of the demand of the Official 87 Opposition for an inquiry and of the vote which has just been taken, we do not proposed to move any of the Amendments which stand in our names.