§ Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 69.
§ [Sir DENNIS HERBERT in the Chair.]
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make temporary provision for rendering persons between the ages of twenty and twenty-one years liable to undergo training in the armed forces of the Crown and for purposes connected with the matter aforesaid, it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys provided by Parliament, of any expenses incurred by any Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown in consequence of the passing of the said Act or the making of any Order in Council there under."—(King's Recommendation signified.)—[Sir Victor Warrender.]
§ 11.12 p.m.
§ The Financial Secretary to the War Office (Sir Victor Warrender)
The Committee may like to have a few details regarding the cost of the Bill. If hon. Members will turn to the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Bill, they will see that paragraph 19 states:It is not possible at this stage to give any reliable estimate of the cost to Service Votes resulting from the provisions of this Bill.It goes on to say:But on such information as is available it is estimated that the expenditure will be of the following order:Capital £30,000,000 spread over two years.Maintenance cost in 1939 £10,400,000 rising, as the number of men under reserve liability increases, to £25,000,000 in 1941.
§ Sir V. Warrender
No, Sir; I am not speaking of pay; I am distinguishing 168 between the capital cost and the recurring costs. As regards the capital cost, of the total expenditure of £30,000,000 we estimate that £25,000,000 will be the cost of erecting hutted accommodation round barracks, and depots and in camps, for the accommodation of the Militia, and the bulk of this expenditure will be incurred during the present year. There is also included a figure of £3,000,000 for training equipment for the Militiamen being trained in anti-aircraft defence. As regards the maintenance costs, it has been very difficult to estimate accurately, but the figure of £25,000,000 which we have put down in the Memorandum covers the maintenance of the Militia during their initial training and their family allowances, which it would not be in order for me to go into in any detail at present. I must ask the Committee to extend some indulgence to us on this occasion, because of the difficulty of making any accurate estimate.
In the first place, we can have no accurate knowledge of the number of men that there will be in the classes to be called up this year or in any subsequent year, or of the degree of need of their families. Moreover, we have some difficulty in estimating the cost of the accommodation, because that will largely depend on the value of the land which we shall have to acquire, the location of these buildings, and the number of ranges, training grounds, etc., required. Also, the exact requirements of staff and personnel required for the training of militiamen are difficult to estimate. A Supplementary Estimate will be brought forward in due course, and the Committee will then have full opportunity of discussing and criticising the financial implications of the Bill in detail. That deals with the matter as far as the War Department is concerned. A considerable amount of the expenditure will fall on the Votes for the Ministry of Labour. Money 169 will be required for expenses in connection with the hardship committees, local and other tribunals, and medical boards, and for the expenses of men reporting for training under Militia notices. Here, again, a Supplementary Estimate will be required, and hon. Members will have a full opportunity then of dealing with the figures in detail.
One other Department concerned is the Air Ministry. The effect of the Bill on the Air Ministry Votes will not be very great. The increase in the number of men coming up for training, borne on the Air Ministry's Votes, will be comparatively small, as they have called up nearly all the men it is possible to train this year. Although I am not in a position to give any definite information, it can be said that it is improbable that more that £1,750,000 will be spent on recurrent expenditure in a full year; capital expenditure this year will be about £250,000, and £4,000,000 in all. I have given some explanation of the figures contained in the Explanatory Memorandum, and I hope that that is sufficient information to enable the Committee to agree to the Resolution.
§ 11.20 p.m.
We appreciate the difficulty under which the hon. Gentleman laboured in explaining this Money Resolution to the Committee. We are aware that there are very narrow limits within which we can discuss details, and I observe, if I noted his exact words, that he said that he had no exact knowledge of the need of the dependants. It is on that point that we on this side of the Committee would desire a little more information, without going into details, before the Resolution is passed. We recall that the only information we have on the subject was embodied in the statement made by the Prime Minister, when he spoke in this House on 4th May. He made a statement then which we regard as incomplete. He said:In the case of allowances to dependants, which, if they were granted, would be at the rate of 17s. a week for total dependancy and 12s. a week for partial dependancy, it is clear that these should only be paid where the need for them was established."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th May, 1939; col. 2101, Vol. 346.]Are we to take it from that statement that dependancy allowances shall be 12s. or nothing? If there is partial dependancy, say, a widow with one son, and 170 that son has been contributing 5s. to his mother, are we to gather from the statement of the Prime Minister that the minimum sum to be paid by way of dependancy allowance will be 12s.? Can we have a statement on that point before the Debate closes? As the statement of the Prime Minister stands, the minimum amount to be paid by way of dependancy allowance is 12s. Are we to understand that that is clear and definite, and that there will be no attempt to cut it down to 11s., 10s., 9s., 8s. or whatever is the figure?
I know that we cannot pursue that matter in detail, and I pass to the question of hardship, which I understand we may discuss on this Resolution. Tribunals are to be set up. We have not been told by the hon. Gentleman who introduced this Money Resolution how many tribunals there are to be. Are there to be four for all England, and four for Scotland? If so, where are they to be situated? Is it to be, as was the case in the last War, that young men may be called upon to travel from the Outer Islands to attend tribunals sitting in Stirling or in Glasgow? There is, obviously, considerable cost and great hardship, even if something is permitted to be paid towards expenses, in asking young men to travel for two or three days from their homes in order to attend these tribunals. What is to be a hardship? Will it be the kind of hardship that was scheduled at the time of the last War? Then there were all sorts of obligations in the Schedule, in respect of which the conscript could receive grants from the State—questions of rent mortgage, instalment obligations, taxes, school fees, insurance premiums, in some cases taxi-cab instalments, storage of furniture, etc.
We ought to have been told to-night by the hon. Member who introduced the Resolution whether it is intended to augment these amounts upon which grants may be paid, or whether it is intended to diminish them. This is a most vital matter, economically for thousands of young men, yet we have heard nothing about it. Except the two sentences from the statement of the Prime Minister on 4th May, not a solitary word has been said as to the allowances which can be paid to a poor young man, his widowed mother or his dependent 171 relatives. The statement is so ambiguous as perhaps to mean that there is to be a minimum payment of 12s. even if the dependency is only 1s., whereas the maximum dependency is to be 17s. even although the actual dependency may have been a great deal more. The Committee should insist upon having full particulars before it parts with this Financial Resolution. There are many hon. Members who desire to speak on this point.
I never went into the Division Lobby in this House with a clearer conscience than I have done against this Bill. I am certain that it will result in grave injustices, that it will cause great hardships to hundreds of thousands of people, that it will not give us in the end any military advantage, that it has divided this nation at a time when, above all other times, we should have been showing a united political front to the world. We are not doing that. The Government have introduced this Bill and as far as I and my hon. Friends are concerned, we shall, despite the Conservative Press, fight it line by line, comma by comma.
I have endeavoured to show why we oppose this Resolution. I have avoided traversing any of the arguments used to-night, and have simply indicated that it is our determination to do everything in our power to oppose this Bill. I have also within the narrow limits permitted to me, endeavoured to show why on this Financial Resolution we ask for more information than we have received from the hon. Member.
§ Mr. E. Smith
On a point of Order. When the Money Resolution is passed will it limit us in moving Amendments later on regarding payments to men who will be affected by the Bill?
§ 11.30 a.m.
The hon. Member has raised a point on which I ought to make an apology to the Committee, for having omitted to stop the right hon. Gentleman when he was dealing with dependants' allowances, because they come under the Royal Warrant, and cannot be discussed on the Financial Resolution. With regard to the other matter, hon. Members are entitled to discuss under the Resolution what kind of payments will be made under the several provisions in the Bill, in the italicised Clauses, but they must confine themselves to the particular matters which are covered by the Resolution.
§ Mr. Silverman
Are we to understand that all those payments which are under Royal Warrant and not provided for in the Money Resolution are matters which we are not debarred from discussing on amendments at a future date?
Hon. Members are debarred from discussing matters which do not come under the Bill or the Money Resolution.
§ Mr. Silverman
I quite appreciate that matters which are not covered by the Financial Resolution are matters which 173 cannot be discussed to-night. That is quite clear. But there are other payments contemplated in the Bill which are to be made not under the Financial Resolution and not under Royal Warrant. With regard to these matters, am I right in assuming that nothing in this Financial Resolution precludes the House from making alterations at a later stage?
§ Mr. Stephen
May I make the following submission, Sir Dennis? The Money Resolution states:and for purposes connected with the matter aforesaid.They appear to me to be very general purposes, which bring in a very wide range. It has been stated that it is the intention of the Government to deal with the question of pay under a Royal Warrant, but it is also possible that the House, in Committee, would indicate to the Government that it wanted this matter to be dealt with, not under Royal Warrant, but in the Bill.
I am afraid the hon. Member is not correct. The words which he quoted are not in the operative part of the Resolution which deals with the moneys to be covered, but are only the words which identify the Bill to which the Resolution relates.
§ Mr. Stephen
The Resolution goes on to state:It is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys provided by Parliament, of any expenses incurred by any Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown in consequence of the passing of the said Act or the making of any Order in Council thereunder.I submit that this passage can relate to the previous passage to which I drew your attention. The latter words certainly may be taken in a narrower sense, but I submit that that would depend upon the way in which the House, in the Committee stage, dealt with the Bill and the changes that might be made in the Bill. Consequently, I submit that, as the passage to which I have drawn attention is contingent upon the action which is taken on the Committee Stage of the Bill, the scope of this Debate should be much wider.
The hon. Member is again wrong. What can be done by the 174 Bill is contingent upon what is authorised by the Money Resolution.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
May I add to that point of Order a further submission? I wish to call attention to Clause 13 of the Bill, and to ask specifically whether that Clause does not authorise payments to be made by the Minister under Royal Warrant. Since the words in that Clause are almost identical to the words in the Resolution, does not that entitle us to discuss, under the Money Resolution, payments which will be made under Royal Warrant?
§ Mr. Garro Jones
May I respectfully submit that there is an attempt being made to smuggle this Bill through?
The hon. Member is no doubt quite entitled to use language of that sort or arguments of that kind in discussing the matter of the Resolution, but he is not entitled to do so when putting a point of Order.
§ 11.39 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Smith
Further to my point of Order. There are two points which I hope you will be good enough to answer. In Clause 5, Sub-section 11, of the Bill, it is stated that:The Minister may pay to persons required to present themselves in accordance with military training notices served upon them such travelling and other allowances as he may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine." My point is that when we part with this Money Resolution we shall be restricting ourselves: and seeing that this is contained in the Bill, should we not be given an undertaking from the Chair, before we part with the Resolution, that we should have the right to move Amendments in order that the Minister might pay to persons required to present themselves in accordance with military training notices, such sums as the House desired?
I cannot be called upon to give any undertaking as to what may happen in the subsequent stages of the Bill.
§ Mr. Smith
My second point is this. Seeing that the payment to which we refer will be dealt with in the Royal Warrant, and that we shall not have an opportunity of considering it until the next Army Estimates, and seeing that this is a 175 new Bill containing new financial commitments, should we not be given an opportunity of stating our view on what those financial commitments should be before we part with this Resolution?
I must confine myself and I must confine the Committee to the Resolution which is before us. We cannot go into the question now of what is in the Bill. The Resolution might be before the Committee without any Bill at all, and it is the Resolution that we have to consider.
§ Mr. Holdsworth
I take it, Sir Dennis, that your Ruling is that we cannot, on this Resolution, discuss rates of pay and allowances? Can you tell us on what occasion we can discuss them and pass our opinion on whether they are too little or not? I think if you did so, it would allay a great deal of the anxiety which is felt in the Committee.
I am always willing to help hon. Members in any way I can, but this is not a matter on which I can advise the hon. Member at this stage. I think he himself will realise the appropriate time for raising this question when it arrives.
§ 11.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Stephen
I submit that there is nothing in the Bill to state that the matter of pay will be dealt with in the Royal Warrant.
It is not necessary that there should be. As I said just now, the question of what is or is not in the Bill does not arise, and cannot be discussed at this stage.
§ Mr. Stephen
The point I am making is that there is nothing in the Bill about how the soldiers will be paid. The question then arises: Is there anything in the Resolution? There may be nothing specific in the Resolution, but the Resolution is very wide and a member of the Government may say, "We intend to put a new Clause into the Bill dealing with the pay of soldiers."
The question of the scope of the discussion on the Financial Resolution is one for the Chair. I suggest that the Committee should proceed with what is before us now, namely, the Resolution. If hon. Members transgress beyond what I consider to be the proper bounds of Order on the Resolution, I shall have to call them to order.
§ Mr. Batey
I hope, Sir Dennis, you will be patient with the Committee. We have had experience in the past of passing Money Resolutions rapidly, and then finding ourselves hampered and unable to move Amendments during the Committee stage of the Bill. If we pass this Money Resolution to-night, will it prevent us from increasing the conscript's pay from 1s. to 2s. a day?
I have tried to be patient with the hon. Member, as with all hon. Members, and I hope I have not shown any impatience, but I must again say that I cannot properly be asked, and I do not therefore desire, to give an opinion on a matter which it is not my duty to give from this Chair, in this particular proceeding, on this Resolution.
§ Miss Wilkinson
I want to put this point of Order to you, Sir Dennis. This matter of the actual question of the allowances is really the one big question that is agitating the public mind. This seems to us—we may be wrong—to be a complicated way of avoiding the issue by putting you, whom we all respect, in a most difficult position. What we want is your guidance, by which we can get out of the difficult position in which you and we are placed.
I am afraid that, with the best will in the world, I cannot allow the Committee to discuss matters which it is beyond my power to allow them to discuss.
§ 11.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Maxton
On the point of Order. I have been trying to understand where we are, and I want to know whether I am right in taking your reply, Sir Dennis, to mean that the Committee has no right to make proposals for the remuneration of these conscripts under the Bill or under the Financial Resolution, that the Government are making no provision under this Resolution for even the miserable remuneration that they are proposing, 177 and, therefore, that we are being asked to pass a Bill and a Financial Resolution which provide for a conscript, unpaid Army. I want to ask whether that is your Ruling, and that all that we have got is a very casual reference by a speaker in the course of the Debate that it would be 1s a head. I take it that so far as the Measeure now before us is concerned, we are asked to pass a Resolution for unpaid conscripts, and to hope that at some other time some other Measure will be brought forward.
The hon. Member is now putting forward arguments to which I should have been happy to try to reply if I had been on one of the ordinary Benches of the House, but while he is right about his first point of Order, his second point is not really a point of Order at all.
§ Mr. Maxton
Am I right in my first point, that the Government are not taking powers now, under the Bill or under the Financial Resolution, to pay any money to the conscripts, and that when we pass these two Measures no provision will be made for paying them?
It would be better if I put the matter in my own words, and not in the hon. Member's words, and left out the last sentence of what he said. All that I have said is that what the pay and allowances of the men called up under this Bill when it becomes an Act are to be are not within the Financial Resolution and, therefore, cannot be discussed in this Debate.
§ Mr. Macquisten
May I put this point of Order? The last words of the Financial Resolution are:It is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of any expenses incurred by any Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown in consequence of the passing of the said Act or the making of any Order in Council.Does that not give the fullest scope to the Secretary of State for making such payments?
If the hon. Member wants to take part in the Debate, he had better do it later on, but if he goes on those lines, I think I may shorten his speech.
§ 11.50 p.m.
§ Mr. A. V. Alexander
You have informed my hon. Friends that they cannot raise on this Money Resolution items that 178 are not covered by the italicised financial Clauses of the Bill.
If I did use those exact words—which I do not think is the case—I apologise for having expressed myself not quite correctly. My Ruling is that the Committee cannot discuss matters which are not covered by the Financial Resolution. My intention in referring to matters which are indicated in the Clauses printed in italics was to give guidance to hon. Members as to what would be in order; they are printed for the express reason that they require the authority of a Resolution.
§ Mr. Alexander
Might I direct your attention to the respective Clauses? Under Clause 4 (6) provision is made that is clearly an expense under the Money Resolution, for travelling and other allowances, including compensation for loss of time when the conscript is called for medical examination. If you look at Clause 5 (11) you will find that when the conscript has been accepted after medical examination and is thereupon summoned to attend, provision is also made for travelling and for allowances. Surely we must be entitled to discuss under the Money Resolution these, allowances to which the man immediately becomes entitled on being called to the Colours?
I cannot agree with that interpretation. At any rate, it is not covered by the Resolution for the reason that these further allowances are provided for otherwise than under this Resolution.
§ 11.52 p.m.
I beg to move:That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.I do so in no spirit of levity or of political partisanship.
My reasons are that many Members on this side regard the matter that we have been endeavouring to discuss by means of points of Order with you, Sir Dennis, as about the most fundamental of all matters. As we cannot, within the present rules of Order and on the present limited information supplied to us by His Majesty's Government, discuss the matter at all, I submit that we ought to report Progress.
Under the powers vested in me I decide that the Motion must be put forthwith. The Question is—
§ Mr. Maxton
On a point of Order. I think the Standing Order to which you refer is applied in your discretion only if there is a suggestion that the Motion is frivolous. I suggest that it will be for the convenience of the Committee and for the most speedy progress with the Resolution that the Minister should be given an opportunity, in regard to this Motion, which is not fictitious or vexatious—
The hon. Member is now doing what I decided I could not permit. The Motion has been moved that I report Progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 108; Noes, 255.181
|Division No. 97.]||AYES.||[11.58 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Granfell, D. R.||Poole, C. C.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Alexandar, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Guest, Or. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Ridley, G.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Ritson, J.|
|Barnas, A. J.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Barr, J||Harris, Sir P. A.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Batey, J.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Sexton. T. M.|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Shinwell, E.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Silverman, S. S.|
|Broad, F. A.||Jagger, J.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Burke, W. A.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Sloan, A.|
|Cape, T.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Chater, D.||Kirby, B. V.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Collindridge, F.||Kirkwood, D.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Daggar, G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Stephen, C|
|Dalton, H.||Logan, D. G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lunn, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Davies, S. O. (Marthyr)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Day, H.||McEntee, V. La T.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Dobbie, W.||McGhee, H. G||Viant, S. P.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||McGovern, J.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Ede, J. C.||Maclean, N.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Badwellty)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H||Mainwaring, W. H.||Westwood, J.|
|Foot, D. M.||Marshall, F.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Frankel, D.||Mathers, G.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Gallasher, W.||Maxton, J.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Messer, F.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Garre Jones, G. M.||Milner, Major J.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Noel-Baker, P. J.|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Paling, W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Pearson, A.||Mr. Anderson and Mr. Groves.|
|Acland-Troyte, Ll.-Col. G. J.||Bossom, A. C.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leads, W.)||Boulton, W. W.||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Channon, H.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Boyce, H. Leslis||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)|
|Allan, Col. J. Sendeman (B'knhead)||Bracken, B.||Christie, J. A.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Braithwaite, J. Gurney (Holderness)||Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Bread bridge, Sir G. T.||Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)|
|Apsley, Lord||Brooke, H. (Lawisham, W.)||Colman, N. C. D.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Colville, Rt. Hon. John|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Conant, Captain R. J. E.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Bull, B. B.||Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)|
|Balniel, Lord||Burghley, Lord||Cox, H. B. Trevor|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Butcher, H. W.||Craven-Ellis, W.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A.||Critchley, A.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Carver, Major W H.||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page|
|Bernays, R. H.||Cary, R. A.||Crooke, Sir J. Smedley|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Cross, R. H.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Joel, D. J. B.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Rowlands, G.|
|De la Bére, R.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H.||Keyes, Admiral of the Float Sir R.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Dodd, J. S.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Doland, G. F.||Latham, Sir P.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Donner, P. W.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Salmon, Sir I|
|Dower, Lieut.-Col. A. V. G.||Lennox-Boyd, A, T. L.||Salt, E. W.|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Levy, T.||Salter, Sir J. Arthur (Oxford U.)|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Liddall, W. S.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Lindsay, K. M.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Llewellin, Colonel J. J.||Sandys, E. D|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lloyd, G. W.||Scott, Lord William|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Loftus, P. C.||Selley, H. R.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Lyons, A. M.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Ellis, Sir G.||M'connell, Sir J.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Elliston, Capt. G. S.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Emery, J. F.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||McKie, J. H.||Somerset, T.|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Macquisten, F. A.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Magnay, T.||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Everard, Sir William Lindsay||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Spens, W. P.|
|Fleming, E. L.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Storey, S.|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Furness, S. N.||Markham, S. F.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Medlicott, F.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Gledhill, G.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Goldie, N. B.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||Mitcheson, Sir G. G.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Grant-Ferris, Flight-Lieutenant R.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Turton, R. H.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.)||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Munro, P.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Nall, Sir J.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Hambro, A. V.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. Harvie|
|Hannah, I. C.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|Haanon, Sir P. J. H.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Patrick, C. M.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Petherick, M.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hepworth, J.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Willoughby de Eresby Lord|
|Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Herbert, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Monmouth)||Porritt, R. W.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Higgs, W. F.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Wise, A. R.|
|Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Procter, Major H. A.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Holmes, J. S.||Radford, E. A.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Wragg, H.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Ramsbotham, H.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||York, C.|
|Hulbert, Squadron-Leader N. J.||Read, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Hunter, T.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hutchinson, G. C.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Captain Waterhouse and Lieut.-Colonel Kerr.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ 12.4 a.m.
§ Mr. Silverman
On a point of Order. I am afraid that with the best will in the world I still do not understand what the position is.
I am afraid that in my anxiety not to be too rigid I have laid myself open, possibly, to the charge of having been guilty of some dereliction of 182 duty. It is my duty to see that the business of the Committee is proceeded with, and I am always willing to try, to the best of my ability—even going beyond what is strictly incumbent upon me—to assist Members by telling them what is or what is not in order. But I cannot go on discussing Rulings which I have given or deal with points which have not arisen and will arise only in the course of Debate. What I have ruled generally is 183 the fairly simple Ruling that hon. Members are confined to what is within the Resolution. It is time now that I asked hon. Members to proceed with the Debate upon the Resolution.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am sure the Committee are grateful to you for the patience which you have shown and I do not think that anyone desires to abuse it. I hope that you will think that the point which I am putting is legitimate. I am looking at the Clause on page 12, and there I find that the Minister may pay to persons who are required to present themselves in accordance with military training notices served upon them such travelling and other allowances as he may determine, with the approval of the Treasury. The point I am putting is, what are the other allowances?
The hon. Member is now doing what I expressly said I would not allow upon the Financial Resolution. All questions of that sort can be put in the course of the Debate.
§ 12.7 a.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I desire to say a few words on this Resolution, and I have three good reasons. I do not like the Resolution; I do not like the Minister who introduced it, and I like his arguments less than I like him and the Resolution. The Resolution is related closely to the defence of this country and I am satisfied that those who are responsible for the Resolution have not the faintest idea of what is adequate for the purpose.
The hon. Gentleman is quite entitled to vote against the Resolution, for reasons which appear to him to be adequate, but these are not matters which he can discuss now. Questions dealing with the principle of the Bill are matters for the Second Reading of the Bill, and that has already been disposed of.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Maybe you will guide me on this point, Sir Dennis: The Financial Secretary to the War Office made a speech when he introduced the Resolution, and it interested me very much because of the complete lack of capacity that was expressed in it. He quoted from the Financial Memorandum in the Bill, and when he talked about those responsible for the Resolution not having an understanding of what was 184 adequate—I am referring to what he said about capital expenditure and maintenance—I though I should be entitled to refer to the estimate for capital expenditure and maintenance that was made in the Financial Memorandum. I am convinced that the estimate that the Government have made should demonstrate to every Member of the Committee the utter inability of the Government to understand what it is that confronts us in these questions. It is necessary, in discussing a Resolution which is so vital to the country, that I should say that, with other Members on this side, I am deeply concerned about the Defence of this country, but not for the defence of the gang on the other side or of the property of the gang on the other side. I am concerned with the defence of the masses of the people, and because of that I am against this Resolution and the conscription that it helps to impose.
The Minister quoted £30,000,000 for capital expenditure. How is that money to be spent? In the Defence of the country? No. In buying land from the robber gang on the other side. The Resolution relates to the conscription of young men of 20 years of age. The Financial Secretary to the War Office tells us that most of the £30,000,000 is to be handed to the landed aristocracy that is well represented on the other side. [Laughter.] Well, is that no true? What is not handed to the landed aristocracy is to be handed out to the big contractors who are also well represented on the other side of the Committee. Is not that true? It says that it is for land and construction; is not that true? Can the Minister tell us how many of these millions of pounds are to go into the hands of robber landlords and of plundering profiteers. It is not a question of bringing forward a Money Resolution that will ensure the wellbeing of masses of young men who are to be dragged into the Army, or to ensure the care that should be necessary for the widowed mothers, the families, and the wives and the children. It is not a Resolution concerned with the dependants of those who will be drawn into the Army, but is a Money Resolution designed—
I hope that the hon. Member will be good enough to take notice of what I said to him before. He must not make a speech on the principles of the Bill.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I thank you, Sir Dennis, for the guidance that you give me, but I really thought I was keeping line with your Ruling when I said that this was not a Resolution providing for the maintenance of the men who are drawn into the Army and for the welfare and the maintenance of their dependants.
It does not provide for unemployment insurance or for old age pensions, but that fact does not provide a reason for discussing them.
The hon. Member is trying, as he said in his own words, to discuss matters which are not covered by the Resolution, and that is out of Order.
§ Mr. Gallacher
The Resolution says:That for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make temporary provision for rendering persons between the ages of twenty and twenty-one years liable to undergo training in the armed forces of the Crown and for purposes connected with the matter aforesaid,"—
The hon. Member is apparently going to embark upon the same argument and again to deal with matters which are not to be discussed on the Resolution. He must confine his speech within the wording of the Resolution.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I am sorry, Sir Dennis, that you get the impression that I am deliberately trying to stray from the terms of the Resolution.
§ Mr. Gallacher
My point is that there is an estimate made in the Financial Memorandum for capital expenditure, and the Resolution covers that estimate. The estimate may be considerably off the mark. I had down a Question the other day about an estimate made for an air base in Newfoundland. The estimate was £400,000, but when the job was finished it had cost £700,000, and the Minister said that it was easy to go a little bit over the original estimate. This estimate of £30,000,000 may end in an expenditure of £90,000,000. If the estimate for an air base can be doubled, this estimate may be trebled, because in the case of the air base only the contractors were concerned, but in this case it is the landlords as well.
The hon. Member has given me an opportunity of studying the Bill a little further. I shall be glad if the Minister can enlighten me more than the hon. Member himself seems to be able to do, by telling me if it is under this Bill at all that this capital expenditure referred to is authorised. The Minister referred to particulars of expenditure regarding accommodation of the soldier. On looking into it further, I have some doubt whether that expenditure comes under this Bill at all, or whether it does not come under powers which the Ministry already have. Perhaps the Minister can give me an assurance on that.
§ 12.18 a.m.
§ Mr. Hore-Belisha
All the expenditure that is incurred under this Bill or as a result of this Bill will, I submit to you, have to be voted by Parliament. There will be a Supplementary Estimate. In the case of land that has been acquired, that is included in existing expenditure and any other expenditure will be have to be voted by Parliament. The House will have a full opportunity of discussing that expenditure, as it always has.
§ Mr. Hore-Belisha
The Chairman will decide whether I am answering the question. It is not under any provision in this Bill that the money will be required in respect of items in the Resolution.
The Minister has confirmed my suspicion that this capital expenditure is not provided for under this Bill and will not be provided for under this Bill when it becomes an Act but under other Acts.
§ 12.20 a.m.
§ Mr. Alexander
On a point of Order. May I submit to you, Sir Dennis, that the Secretary of State has not indicated to the Committee that the expenditure, including the capital expenditure on accommodation, is not provided for under the Bill or the Money Resolution. On the contrary—
I think the right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension and could not have heard the last words which the Minister used. He expressly stated that the expenditure is not authorised by this Resolution or this Bill.
§ Mr. Alexander
We are gradually getting into a quite impossible position. For some purpose or the other we are presented by the Government with a Money Resolution of the broadest possible kind that I have ever seen placed upon the Order Paper of the House. That Money Resolution, with its broad terms, can apply only to the provisions of the Bill, and in that Bill specific provision is made for both capital and maintenance expenditure of the order provided in the wide terms of the Money Resolution.
§ Mr. Alexander
If you take capital expenditure, you get the authority in Clause 7, giving a re-enactment of the procedure to be followed in regard to capital expenditure to be taken under the Act in the case of land.
I cannot accept that view. The Committee will notice that there is only a simplification of the procedure. Therefore, that confirms my opinion that these matters are dealt with under another law and not in this Bill.
§ Mr. Alexander
That complicates the procedure. If you turn to the italicised clause—Clause 13—Any expenses"—there is no limitation about that—incurred by the Minister or by any Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown in consequence of the passing of this Act or the making of any Order in Council thereunder shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament"—
§ The Chairman rose—
§ Mr. Alexander
I do not wish to show any discourtesy to the Chair, but in return—while I do not think that you intend discourtesy, Sir Dennis, and I would not think that for a moment— 188 surely a Member is entitled to finish putting his point of Order.
If the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I was trying, quite obviously, to help him in the matter by dealing with one point at a time, and I thought that it would be easier for me, and possibly also for him, not to have to wait until the matter was clouded by other points. He had arrived at these words:in consequence of the passing of this Act.I desire to point out that it was limited by those words.
§ Mr. Alexander
I was saying that we are getting into an impossible position and, in respect of a Money Resolution drawn in perhaps the widest terms that I have ever seen in a Money Resolution upon the Paper of the House, we are practically debarred from any discussion at all.
§ Mr. Arthur Greenwood
On the same point of Order. My right hon. Friend has referred to the Clauses of the Bill, which are in effect the words of the Resolution, relating to any expenses in regard to administration, and so on.
§ Mr. Greenwood
Very well. I will read exactly what it says, which is:Any expenses incurred by the Minister or by any Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown in consequence of the passing of this Act or the making of any Order in Council thereunder.In the financial explanatory Memorandum to the Bill there is a reference to capital expenditure over two years, and the term "expenses." Surely you cannot limit the discussion under the Resolution to annual expenditure seeing that capital expenditure also is incurred.
That is correct. I have to rule out annual expenditure as well as capital expenditure, in so far as it is not included in the Resolution. I agree to some extent that we are getting into an impossible position, but that is because hon. Members wish to debate something which I am bound to rule it is not possible to debate under the Resolution on the Paper.
§ Mr. Greenwood
I do not think that my hon. Friends are desirous of debating any- 189 thing which is out of order, but it seems clear that we are entitled to discuss all the expenses which are incurred under the Bill when authorised by Parliament.
I have so ruled. They are authorised, and the money is to be raised by Estimates relating to other legislation.
Doubtless we are proceeding to some extent in defining what is in order and what is not. I must repeat my request to the Committee that they now proceed with the Debate, and I will endeavour to keep it within the limits of my ruling.
§ Mr. McGovern
Would you endeavour to sum up for the rest of us? There has been a private conversation going on. Would you sum up for the rest of us and tell us what we can discuss?
I will ask the hon. Member who is in possession of the Floor to proceed with his argument.
§ Mr. Gallacher
During all that has taken place I have never forgotten for a moment that I had possession of the Floor and I am pleased to have the opportunity of returning once again to the subject of the Resolution. If there has been any difficulty I would draw your attention, Sir Dennis, to the fact that the Financial Secretary, when he was introducing the Resolution, under the benign guidance of the Secretary of State for War, said that it was difficult to see how much money was involved in the Resolution, but that an Estimate had been made.
If the hon Member had listened as carefully as I gathered he was doing to what I have been saying, he would have understood what I have already ruled out.
§ Mr. Buchanan
May I ask if it is not common Parliamentary usage that when an hon. Member, particularly a member of the Government, has, owing to inadvertence, gone out-with a resolution, that at least one speech in reply to that should be allowed to be made before it is ruled out of Order?
Up to a certain point that is so. We have already had a reply to it from the right hon. Gentleman on 190 the front bench, and a further attempted reply, which I venture to think has gone far enough.
§ Several hon. Members rose—
I appeal to Members of the Committee, as I asked them just now, not to rise to points of Order until the actual point of Order arises in the Debate.
§ Mr. McEntee
I want to submit that, in view of the fact that the Financial Secretary to the War Office has, in fact, made an explanation to the Committee that has since been proved to be entirely outside the Bill, you should at least call on him now to make an explanation of something that is within the Bill.
I do not propose to accept any point of Order put to me now until a point of Order actually arises in the Debate.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
With great respect, this is a point of Order arising out of what you have just said. You said that the Minister has given an explanation.
I gather that the hon. Member is trying to contest my ruling. I must insist upon my ruling.
§ Mr. Garro Jones rose—
I must ask the hon. Member whether he really has a new point of Order which arises and should be answered at this moment. If he has, I will hear it.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
Yes, with great respect I certainly have. May I point out that what the Minister said was that every expenditure which was proposed to be voted under this Bill had also to be voted in the Estimates, and do I understand you correctly to rule that because it has also to be voted in the Estimates it cannot be discussed under this Bill?.
§ Mr. Gallacher
My reason for returning to the observations made by the Financial Secretary to the War Office was in order to bring out as clearly as I possibly could the unscrupulous trickery of 191 the Secretary of State for War in his endeavour to get this Resolution through the House. The Financial Secretary did not speak off his own bat. You have only to look at him to realise that. So the Secretary for War whispers in his ear—"Get up and talk to them about capital expenditure and maintenance expenditure, and they will all accept the Resolution." Now the Financial Secretary is left in the ignominious position of being told that he has introduced matter that he had no right to introduce. That is typical of the Secretary of State for War and those who are associated with him on that front bench. It has been typical of their attitude right through the whole of this business in connection with the Bill for which the Money Resolution has been drafted. They cannot be trusted on anything, and, therefore, I suggest that it would be folly on the part of any Member of this House to be taken in, and to allow such a Resolution as this to pass. There is another very serious reason why this should not be passed. I am inclined to doubt if the members of this Committee take their responsibilities seriously. I know that if it is a question of grab, or of subsidies, or of capital expenditure on land, they are very serious, but are they seriously concerned about the business of this Committee?
It was not so long ago that there was such a protest made about Resolutions of this character that a Committee had to be set up to go into the whole question of Financial Resolutions. As a result of the report of that Committee the Prime Minister gave us a pledge—a typical Mussolini pledge—that in future all Financial Resolutions should be so worded as to allow the fullest measure of discussion. Now we get presented with a Financial Resolution on which you cannot discuss finance or anything else. What is the idea of the Resolution? Will the Secretary of State for War—not his "stooge"—tell us one thing we can discuss arising out of this Resolution? I am of opinion that in view of the experience we have had with the Secretary of State for War, in view of the effort he made to avoid the responsibility placed on him by the Chairman of explaining what could be discussed on the Resolution, and his complete failure to give any aid to the Committee, we should not go any further with this Resolution until we hear what 192 the Prime Minister has to say. I am as positive as I am of anything that if we could bring the Prime Minister here, or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, without knowledge of what has been said, to give an opinion of what could be discussed on this Resolution, we would get an opinion entirely different from that of the Secretary of State for War, and certainly entirely different from that of the Financial Secretary to the War Office.
That brings me to my original thesis. This is a Resolution which should not be supported by this Committee, and the Minister responsible for it should not be supported by the Committee. The arguments of the Minister and of the Minister's "stooge" should be completely repudiated. It is a scandal that such a resolution should have been introduced. It is a scandal that these young men should be threatened with all the evils that arise out of this Bill—
§ Mr. Gallacher
I was going to connect what I said with another subject and say that no adequate opportunity has been given to this Committee to discuss the terms under which these young men are to be drawn away from their homes and their employment. It is a scandal. I am against their being drawn away from their homes and work. I am against the Bill altogether and against this Resolution on principle, but apart from being against the Resolution on principle I assert—and there is no hon. Member on the other side of the House who can take exception to the assertion—that never in any circumstances should we be faced with such a Resolution, which makes discussion almost impossible.
I heard the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member of East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) refer to hon. Members on the other side of the House as being lacking in intestinal co-ordination. Some of the hon. Members on the other side, he said, were lacking in "guts." I wish that some of them would try to get a little guts from somewhere and take a stand against this Resolution. I wish that hon. Members on the other side would summon up a measure of political courage and place the welfare of the House and of the country before merely trailing after the Secretary of State for 193 War and the Prime Minister and the rest of them who, as a so-called Government, are ruining this country. I wish they would get a little political courage and support us in the demand that this Resolution should be withdrawn and that a new Money Resolution should be brought forward that would allow the Committee to discuss the terms of provisions which will affect these young men who are to be drawn out and the terms for those dependent on them. We want a Financial Resolution which will provide this Committee and this House with an opportunity for expressing their minds on this important question. Hon. Members on the other side of the Committee have not had the experience that hon. Members on this side have had. They are able, and always have been able, to spend as much on a dinner as we have had to keep a home on for a week. We know what it is—
There must be some limit to the proportion of the hon. Member's speech which is devoted entirely to personalities and to personal apathies against the Government.
§ Mr. Gallacher
The only thing I can say is that, although I may have used a lot of personalities against Members on the other side, I must ask you to believe that I have been practising a very considerable amount of self-restraint. I would ask hon. Members on the other side of the Committee in the most pleasant, amicable manner that I can muster, to associate themselves in a demand directed to the Minister that this Resolution be withdrawn and that we get a Resolution that will allow us the opportunity which Members on this side especially should have of discussing the conditions that are going to apply to these young men and their families.
§ 12.45 a.m.
§ Mr. Stephen
There has been a great deal of confusion with regard to this Financial Resolution, and I think that the Financial Secretary to the War Office has been very largely responsible for it. He introduced this Financial Resolution in a speech, and we discovered afterwards that much of his speech was out of order. I would like him to give us some information with regard to the financial expenditure in connection with this Bill. In the Financial Memorandum it does say: 194It is not possible at this stage to give any reliable estimate of the cost resulting from the provisions of this Bill.I want the Financial Secretary to give the Committee in connection with this Financial Resolution some idea at least of what the items of expenditure are that will result from the provisions of this Bill. I take it that that is all that we are able to discuss here. I certainly would like that information. It may have helped in the discussions, seeing that he had made such a "bloomer" in his opening speech, if he had taken the earliest opportunity of trying to remedy the error by making another speech to let us know the facts appertaining to the Financial Resolution before us.
Then there is the question of the hardship committees that are being set up. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling (Mr. T. Johnston) asked for information with regard to these committees. I wonder whether the Secretary of State for War or the Financial Secretary to the War Office has any idea whatsoever with regard to the number of these hardship committees which are going to be set up. If he could give us any idea of the number of people that are to constitute the hardship committee in each case, it would only be fair that he should do so now. Seeing that we are debarred from discussing the rates of pay of the conscripts we should have some opportunity of discussing the rate of pay of the members of the hardship committees which have to determine questions with regard to those who are being conscripted without any provision being made for them being paid anything.
With regard to the constitution of the committees for dealing with conscientious objectors, I wonder how many committees are being set up, and what areas are going to be covered by the respective committees. Again, I think it would be quite interesting for the Committee to have some information as to the remuneration that the Government has in mind in connection with these committees. There is another question with regard to the membership of these committees, and that is whether the members are going to be whole-time people. It will be evident that if it is to be a whole-time job for members of these committees, the expenditure may be quite large. While there is no pay for the conscript soldier, there certainly will be good pay for the members of the 195 committees, who, quite obviously, will be drawn from supporters of the present Government.
There is another item in the Bill, in italics, which states that the Minister may pay to persons required to present themselves in accordance with the requirements of military training such travelling and other allowances as he may determine. I want information from the Government as to what those other allowances are. We have already been assured that those other allowances are not allowances to the dependants; they are allowances in the form of pay to the soldiers. What are those allowances that are paid to the conscript in addition to his travelling expenses when he is called for service? I would also like information on this point: We are told that this Financial Resolution does not cover any of the buildings or land for the purposes of the Bill and that the Government have already powers to deal with this matter under previous legislation. It would be quite in order for the Government to indicate what those other rights are. What are the exact provisions in connection with previous legislation? If the Financial Secretary to the War Office had given us that information at the beginning of the proceedings to-night, hon. Members might have been sleeping peacefully at this time. At least, there was a possibility of it.
I would like some detailed information from the Minister as to the powers which he has at present. Quite frankly I cannot see how he can have powers to deal with this matter. The purpose of this Bill is to provide a military course that is not in existence at the present time, and I cannot see how there can have been a Financial Resolution or provision made previously for the assistance of this abortion which the Government are forcing upon the country at the present time. Evidently the Minister has it in his mind that he has general powers for the acquisition of land, but my recollection is that those powers are limited to previous needs of the country and are specific, but I shall be pleased to have more exact information from the Government in this respect. There was one thing which the Minister also said in his opening statement with regard to the Royal Air Force. He said that the Government 196 will not during the present year be able to provide for any additional recruits for training under the operation of this scheme. I wonder whether, under this financial provision, there is anything with regard to providing for those who might choose service in the Royal Air Force. I take it that the individual can have the right of having his training in the Royal Air Force if that is the kind of service he proposes, and I am in somewhat of a quandary as to what the general position is going to be in connection with this whole matter. It would seem that in my opposition to the Measure generally the advice I should give to all the men, if they are going as conscripts, would be to go into the Royal Air Force. They will miss this year at any rate.
§ Mr. Stephen
I notice that Sir Dennis is turning his eye towards me, which will debar me from answering the hon. Member for Antrim (Sir J. McConnell) on this matter. It would be different from the reasons concerning the people of Northern Ireland. We want more information as to the estimate of the amount involved in this Financial Resolution. How much is going to be spent on those committees? The Minister frankly told us that the House would have to be indulgent to him. There is no reliable information on that matter whatsoever, and it seems to me it is characteristic of the confusion of mind and inefficiency of the Government in dealing with the whole matter. They have brought absolute confusion into the Committee to-night in the discussion of this estimate, just the same as the confusion which they have brought into the country and the world generally by their complete inefficiency and muddle headedness It is evident that the Prime Minister will be known in history, not as the peace Prime Minister, but as the "bob-a-day" Prime Minister.
§ 12.54 a.m.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot
I wish to reinforce one or two observations made by the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen). We have had a speech from the Financial Secretary which bears no sort of relation to the resolution which the Committee is considering. It may be reasonable to suggest that before we disperse we should have a speech from the 197 Secretary of State or the Financial Secretary which would have some bearing on the Resolution. Judging from the italicised Clauses of this Bill, which we have been told we may look to as a guide as to the meaning of this money Resolution, it seems there are three particular heads of expenditure which it is in order to discuss: (1) expense of the hardship committees under Clause 1; (2) expense of the local tribunals under Clause 3; and (3) the expense of the appellate tribunal under Clause 3.
We ought to have some information, because we have had none, as to the amount of money which it is expected will be spent on these three particular bodies—all of them entirely new bodies. We are told that the hardship committees are to sit in such districts as the Minister may determine. Surely we ought to be given some estimate as to the number of districts. It is a matter of some importance to the people who are going to be concerned, because we can all imagine the sort of case which will come before these committees. There will be hardship to the applicant himself, or it may be hardship to the household of which he is a member. I assume this particular provision is put in, in order to cover such a case as the only son of a widow—a boy who has to support his mother out of his own earnings. Take a case like that. Is it not very important that there should be a hardship committee easily accessible in each district? It is, however, quite impossible to tell, from the terms of the Bill or from the terms of the Financial Resolution or from any information which we have received this evening, whether that is going to be the case. I know it will be said that there is no great hardship there, because the Minister is empowered, or will be empowered if the Bill gets through in the form which is now proposed, to grant travelling allowances; but the travelling allowances are only payable to the applicant himself. They are not payable to anybody else. We can all envisage the sort of applications that will be made where it might very well be the case that the applicant not only wants to give evidence himself before the committee, but wishes to call a member of his household who is dependent upon him or the employer or somebody else who knows the household well. If the committee were to sit at some distance from his 198 home, he himself, in the great majority of cases, would be, of course, quite unable to afford the expense of bringing witnesses.
Therefore, although it is a late hour to-night and I do not want to delay the Committee, I think it is an important point to know how much it is proposed to spend on the constitution of the committees, so that we may be able to form some estimate as to the number of the committees and the districts in which they will sit. The same thing applies to the local tribunals and the appellate tribunals. Again, in how many districts are the local tribunals to sit, and how much money is it proposed to spend on them? Here again there is no provision for travelling allowances or for expenses for anyone except the applicants themselves. Then I think we are entitled to ask, without going outside the terms of the Resolution or without going outside the italicised Clauses of the Bill, how much is going to be spent on salaries. I did notice one rather remarkable provision as to the constitution of the local tribunals. It is provided that the chairman shall be a county court judge or, in the case of local tribunals for districts in Scotland, a sheriff or sheriff-substitute. These are judicial persons who receive certain salaries laid down in Acts of Parliament. What is the intention? Is it intended that they shall carry out these rather difficult additional duties without any additional remuneration, or is it intended that some additon will be made? We have been told nothing about that to-day. This again is rather a serious matter, because those of us who are familiar with the county courts know that in some cases it will be a matter of the greatest difficulty for some of the county court judges in busy districts to carry out these duties in addition to the duties they already have to carry out. A great many hon. Members know that from their own experience. I think you will find that with many sheriffs and sheriff-substitutes in Scotland. What will be their position? That is something germane to this Financial Resolution, as to which we have had no sort of information to-night. It does seem a rather remarkable proposal that we should take a judge and put on him some additional duties which are quite dissimilar from any duty which he now performs, and that we should be told 199 nothing about the terms of his remuneration or the terms of his service.
Then we come to the appellate tribunals, which will be very important bodies. It may be that the number of conscientious objectors will only be very small, but even so, it is the wish of hon. Members in all parts of the House to see that the genuine conscientious objector does get his scruples respected and to see that he is fairly dealt with. That is the wish of hon. Members opposite and on this side as well. The appellate tribunal becomes a very important body, but we do not know whether the chairman and all the other members appointed by the Minister are to be permanent or what sort of salaries are to be paid. If we knew the salaries they will receive, we might be able to form some idea as to the importance which Ministers and the Treasury attach to these posts. Although the hour may be very late, I certainly think we ought not to part with a Financial Resolution of this kind without having some little information from the Minister who is reponsible as to the only matters which are germane to the Resolution.
§ 1.6 a.m.
§ Mr. Ede
I want to draw the attention of the Minister to the peculiar differences of wording that occur in the italicised portions of the Bill. In Clause 1, Sub-section (8, b), we find that the Minister may payto persons whose applications are referred to such Committees"—that is, the military training hardship committees—travelling and subsistence allowances in accordance with such scale as he may, with the consent of the Treasury, approve.When we come to Clause 3, Sub-section (11, b), which deals with the case of conscientious objectors attending before the tribunals—apparently both the local and appellate tribunals—the same wording is used, but when we come to Clause 4, Sub-section (6, b), we read:The Minister may pay … to persons undergoing medical examination under this section travelling and other allowances."—there is no mention of subsistence allowance here—including compensation for loss of remunerative time,"—200 I think the next words are "in accordance," though the spelling "in accordacne" and other typographical errors do show the hurry in which the Bill was prepared—in accordance with such scale as he may, with the consent of the Treasury, approve.Why do we get here, for the first time, the mention of loss of remunerative time? After all, one can see some men will find the exercise of the rights conferred on them under the other Clauses seriously circumscribed if they have to conduct their appeals in their own time and suffer loss of wages as a result; and, of course, the ruling in law is always given that if in a number of Clauses that are very similarly worded you suddenly get introduced some special phrase in one of them, that would deprive the courts which may have to decide the matter of the right to rule that those particular words are included in the other Clauses.
Furthermore, when I get to Clause 5, Sub-section (11), I find a new set of words altogether. It says:The Minister may pay to persons required to present themselves in accordance with military training notices served upon them such travelling and other allowances as he may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine.Now there can be no question about the loss of remunerative time, because the man who has now received a notice, even if he has not acted upon it, has ceased to be a civilian and has become a militiaman. He is deemed to have been enlisted even if he does not present himself. For six months his remuneration is fixed at a figure that it is out of order to mention this evening, but which I have no doubt at some later stage of the Bill will again become in order. I have very lively recollections of being called up at the commencement of the last war. I was in what was called the National Reserve, and after being called up, when I arrived at the place at which I was to serve, I found there were no uniform, no boots, and not even a razor for me. There was no equipment at all. I was given an allowance because I was using all my own clothes and my own boots and my own razor. I provided my own two extra pairs of bootlaces. Having provided a complete kit, I received a certain allowance. Now we know that the first men come up at 1st July, or thereabouts. The right hon. Gentleman is not going to 201 be ready for them. He will not have their uniforms, and he will not have boots for them. I do not know whether they will be required to shave at this particular age, but if they are, can he assure us that there will be sufficient army razors for them? If not, are some of the allowances mentioned to be clothing and kit allowances such as were paid to men who came up at the beginning of the Great War? If that is included, what becomes of the statement that from the day they enlist they will be on terms of perfect equality? Anyone who saw the squads drawn up at the beginning of the Great War knows that you could, while they were enjoying these clothing and kit allowances, determine the stations in life from which they had been drawn. Some men in those days had to provide their own clothes for a considerable number of weeks, some, I believe for as long as three months, and during that time clothes wore out as they do under military training in a way they would not have worn out during their use in civilian life.
I do not know what they are going to be paid, but I should like to be assured—if they are going to be paid anything like the figure which the Prime Minister mentioned as not in the Bill but one which the Ministers of the Crown had in mind—that these clothing and kit allowances will be sufficient to cover the replacement of clothes, and especially boots, because I imagine that although the men will largely be taken into the mechanised Army, there will still be a good deal of foot drill in the first weeks. I do not think the Army has become so unlike the place the Minister of Labour used to know before he was encouraging others into it. I did hear something about tea and biscuits before they get up; the sergeant-major does that when he forgets himself. But I cannot imagine that mechanisation has reached the stage where men are taken from bed to the mess room, from the mess room to the parade ground, and from the parade ground back to the mess room, and even to the billiard room and all the other amenities which the right hon. Gentleman has introduced, without their feet ever touching the ground. I imagine there is still a considerable amount of foot-slogging to be done, and I hope that these allowances will be sufficient to ensure that the men shall be adequately clothed and shod during the period while the right hon. 202 Gentleman is waiting to provide them with clothing.
The hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the War Office, mentioned that these men were going to be housed in hutments. I gather that it is out of order now to discuss that, because they are going to be provided outside the Bill, but I would like to ask that clothing allowances shall be sufficient to ensure that the men are properly clothed at night if they have to sleep in hutments anything like the hutments provided at the beginning of the last War. I am sure some of the men who will be coming up will not bring with them sleeping kit that will be suitable. I hope the Secretary of State, who has abolished the practice of men sleeping in their shirts and pants and now provides them with pyjamas, will see that the same facilities are available for them when they only have clothing and kit allowances. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) mentioned the question of the various tribunals and their membership, and the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) raised the question of rates of pay. I gather from the Schedule that the appellate tribunal is to have as chairman a solicitor or barrister of not less than 10 years' standing, nominated in England by the Lord Chancellor. He is to be chairman of the appellate tribunal dealing with appeals from a local tribunal presided over by a county court judge. I should have thought it a peculiar thing to put a man with no higher qualification than that he has been at the Bar for 10 years as the chairman of an appellate tribunal dealing with appeals coming from a county court judges, but, when it was proposed to make chairmen of quarter sessions of people of the same legal standing as is proposed in the matter of the chairman of the appellate tribunals, there were persons who suggested that they were inferior in quality, taken as a whole, to the county court judges. I think we should have some assurance that if there is to be an appeal from a lawyer of practical experience like a county court judge, the chairman should have some real standing in his profession and even in active practice, and that he should have had some considerable experience of the rules of evidence and of subjects likely to arise in a matter of this kind.
I understand that we are being asked to pass this Money Resolution because it is 203 the desire of the Government, a somewhat tardy desire, to defend the freedom of this country. I can only say, in conclusion, that if the way in which this Money Resolution has been brought before the Committee is an evidence of their respect for the freedom of this House, it is only another reason why we should have a speedy change of Government if the freedom of the country is to be preserved. Such examples of the way in which discussion is evaded by the way in which Resolutions are drawn will bring democracy and the so-called freedom of Parliament into complete contempt. I join with the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) in saying that I regard this as only the latest example of the way in which pledges given by the Prime Minister are rapidly broken. We had a most solemn assurance that Money Resolutions in future would be so drafted that we should be able to discuss the Bill in the widest possible way on the Money Resolution. I am not making any complaint about the Ruling that you, Sir Dennis, have given, because I was one of those who prophesied as soon as I saw the Money Resolution that we and you would get into the difficulty which has confronted the Committee to-night. On this Money Resolution we have been deliberately deprived by the Government of the opportunity of raising the one issue that the country really desires to have raised at the present time. The right hon. Gentleman may think that he has been as smart to-night as he was when he left out a phrase from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair). He got his cheers, he secured a momentary victory, but I venture to say that when the means by which he secured it were made plain to the House, he fell in the esteem of the House as no Minister has fallen during the lifetime of this Parliament. This Resolution is another piece of the same way of deluding the House of Commons, of getting his goods, as he thinks, cheaply, but of bringing into contempt the whole democratic system.
§ 1.23 a.m.
§ Mr. Poole
As I listened to the speeches which have been made, and saw the great difficulties into which we have drifted, I tried to picture what would be the reaction of the 200,000 young men whom the Minister hopes to bring under his con- 204 trol by the operation of this Bill. Is this Money Resolution of such a character as to inspire the confidence of those young men? I am, as other Members have been, very much concerned about the various tribunals and committees for which money is being provided in this Resolution. I find that there is provision for a hardship committee consisting of a chairman and two other members. It does seem to me to be a remarkably small committee, having regard to the nature of the work that it will have to perform. This committee is the one which will have to consider claims for exemptions, and all the hardship cases which are brought to it, and we have no knowledge tonight as to the areas over which these committees will function. We do not know whether they are to be area committees in a county borough, or county committees, or serving the needs of persons in one or two amalgamated counties. In any case, they are going to be charged with very great responsibilities to see that every case of hardship is fully and sympathetically investigated, to see that the young student who is completing his education receives facilities to continue that education, and that the man who is taking a course of training in industry does not suffer any interruption of that course, but is given every opportunity to fit himself for the place which it is hoped he will ultimately fill in life.
I should like to know just exactly what has inspired the Minister in the setting up of these committees. I am amazed to find that the chairman of these committees is to be the chairman of the court of referees. I have, in the course of my public life, on many occasions had to represent cases before courts of referees. I am pleased that the Minister of Labour is in the Committee to-night, because I must say that if I had to go before a hardship committee knowing that the chairman was the same gentleman before whom I have had to represent cases under the Unemployment Assistance Board, I am sure I should go in fear and trembling that the case was lost before ever I went inside the door of the room. That may be a bold thing to say, but it has been my experience in season and out of season to find that, however good a case you may be able to establish before the chairman of a court of referees, for some unknown reason it is practically impossible to secure a favourable decision 205 in certain circumstances. I agree that there were days when the chairman perhaps had enjoyed his lunch better than on the previous occasion when one attended, or there have been some circumstances that caused him to give more favourable consideration. I well remember that the only case which I took before such a court was one in which I told the applicant before I entered that there was not the slightest chance of success in the case. Great was my amazement, when, without being called on to speak in defence of my application, the case was allowed with full benefit. But I have gone with half-a-dozen cases in one day which I felt were absolutely sound, and which my colleagues had advised were absolutely sound, and have had the experience of not receiving the favourable consideration of one.
This is the chairman who is to be the chairman of the hardship committee which is to consider all the cases of young men who ask to be exempted, or that their time should be put back or brought forward. Who are to be the other members? There are only two. They are to be drawn from one of the panels set up under Section 41 of the Unemployment Act. You are following unemployment procedure very closely, much too closely for my liking. There is too much of the regimentation of the unemployed about the whole of the administration you are setting up and the machinery you are creating in this Bill to make me at all happy about the position. The Minister may elect one member representing the employers in one area, and the other representing the workers in the district, nominated perhaps by the local trades council. What is the result in actual working in every case? The vote of the trade union representative cancels out the vote of the employers' representative, and your court of referees and your hardship committee will resolve itself simply and solely into the chairman being the deciding factor. Therefore you will have in actual practice a hardship committee consisting solely of the chairman of the local court of referees. I wonder whether that is going to inspire the confidence of the 200,000 young men who are going to come under this Bill?
You are also setting up local tribunals, and appointing a chairman and four members. My hon. Friend who has just sat down took the point that I desired to make, that as chairman of this local tri- 206 bunal you are appointing a county court judge. I do not know whether a county court judge is the most eminently suitable person to sit in judgment on a local tribunal of this character. You are not trying a man for any crime when he appeals to a local Tribunal to be exempt. He is not a criminal, and yet you take a county court judge as being the most suitable person. I cannot conceive that you will have the most sympathetic consideration, as you might reasonably expect to have, by having a county court judge in the chair. The same will happen with regard to your appellate tribunals. Here you have a court of appeal consisting of only three members. You have your chairman, who is to be a barrister or solicitor of not less than 10 years' standing. With all due respect to my hon. and learned colleagues in this Committee, I do not think that either of those gentlemen are the people most suitable to sit as chairmen of an appellate tribunal. After all, it is not desired in these cases that you should have someone who can weigh up evidence. You want someone who has a great and deep understanding of human nature. You want someone who will be sympathetic and who will endeavour to put himself in the place of the person who is appearing, and not someone who calmly and dispassionately weighs up the pros and cons. Many of these men will be working-class men who will not be able to state their case adequately, and if they are to be left to the tender mercies of barristers or solicitors of not less than 10 years' standing, they will have a very poor chance of establishing their case, especially after they have been turned down by a county court judge.
In every case these appointments are to be made by the Minister. I should like to have known just exactly what was the travelling and subsistence allowance which it is proposed to make under this Money Resolution. When a man is appearing before a tribunal, what are you to give him? It is to be given at the discretion or in the judgment of the Minister. With all due respect to the judgment and discretion of the Minister, we should have felt a great deal happier if we could have seen that amount down in pounds, shillings and pence, stated exactly. I appreciate the great difficulty in which the Minister must find himself in estimating hardship allowances, but I 207 think he could have given the Committee some guidance as to the scale which was to be given in cases of real hardship.
Only yesterday a man came to me and said, "What am I going to do under this Bill?" I said, "Why, what is your position?" He said, "I am 20 years of age. Six months ago I put all my capital in a little hairdressing business. I shall have to go. It is a one-man business, no one else can take it on, and everything I have will be lost." What is to be the position of that man before the hardship tribunal? Can any compensation adequately compensate a case like it? And the point is that there are many such cases of young men who have made a start in life on their own and who will have to sacrifice their all through the operation of this Bill.
Finally, there is provision for loss of time for travelling for medical examination only. We are entitled to say that it is a point which will have to be dealt with in Committee with regard to the loss of remunerative time when men are travelling to their local tribunals and appellate tribunals. If it is not done, it will destroy any signs of justice in the Bill. It will be impossible for these men to make appeals to the machinery you are setting up unless there is compensation for loss of time while making appeals. We are given to understand that this is a Bill which is going to treat all men alike.
Great play has been made by the Minister on the fact that the working-class men and the rich men will all come under the scheme if they are in the age group of 20–21. If anyone is to be involved, it is as well that all should be involved, but I want to know how it will work in practice as to the granting of compensation for loss of remunerative time. A man working on the land has lost time which is probably valued at 4s. Some hon. Members might be able to estimate their loss of remunerative time at a much higher value. I am wondering whether there will be equality of treatment in the matter of the loss of remunerative time. Will it be a fixed sum which will be paid? We are completely in the dark as to the whole of the Money Resolution that we are considering. It is with the greatest of amazement that I have found myself getting so far without getting out of order. I hope that the 208 Minister will speak again, so that he can enlighten us on some of the points we have raised.
§ 1.37 a.m.
I rise principally for the purpose of adding my voice to the very strong protests of my colleagues against the treatment which has been meted out to the Opposition to-night. In discussing this Financial Resolution and its implications I want to say very frankly to the Minister that at least to many of us who have gone to our constituencies and listened to the opposition of our people to the Military Training Bill we have been strengthened by the restrictions placed on us to-night to return to them and strengthen their opposition against the Government and against this conscriptive measure. I would suggest to the Minister that until the Government are able to place before us the full financial implications of this Measure they cannot expect any support from hon. Members on this side who consider their constituents entitled to a full explanation of their commitments.
I want to refer to the speech of the Financial Secretary to the War Office, who introduced this Financial Resolution. I want to suggest to the Committee that he gave us not one particle of information with regard to the expenditure of this sum of money for which the Government are asking in this Financial Resolution. I noticed particularly that the Chairman was in very great difficulties himself with regard to this Resolution. I notice that it is stated definitely at the end of the Resolution that in accordance with your own estimate the Service Votes resulting from the provisions of the Bill would amount to £30,00,000 capital, expenditure and the maintenance costs in 1939 to £10,000,000. I would have expected the Financial Secretary to the War Office, in dealing with this Financial Resolution and asking us to accept those figures of £30,000,000 and £10,000,000—
§ The Deputy Chairman (Colonel Clifton Brown)
Capital expenditure has been ruled not to come under the Financial Resolution.
I am pointing out that when the Financial Secretary made his speech it had not been ruled out of order and I would have expected that, it then being in order, he would have explained to the Committee what this sum of money meant and how it was going to be spent.
§ Mr. Stephen
On your Ruling, may I refer you to Clause 7 (1), where it says that "in pursuance of Section 19 of the Defence Act," and gives new powers in connection with the acquisition of land.
It has already been argued with the Chair that this Clause only adds new machinery, and new expenditure is not necessarily involved.
§ Mr. Stephen
Powers taken under this Clause were not referred to in any of the previous points of order in connection with the Financial Resolution. As you said just now, there is new machinery and expansion of power under this Clause. The Financial Resolution itself is drawn in the most general terms in order to cover any particular aspect of the Bill, and under paragraph 19 of the Financial Memorandum is given the estimate of the cost resulting from the provisions of the Bill. I say there is additional capital expenditure resulting from the provision in Clause 7. That financial provision is covered by the general terms of the Financial Resolution, so I ask you, Colonel Clifton Brown, to reconsider the ruling in view of the new representations—
§ The Deputy Chairman
I am afraid this has been discussed before and a ruling given quite clearly. I was present and heard the ruling myself. Capital expenditure does not come under this financial provision. All that it comes under is "expenditure in consequence of the passing of the said Act" excluding all expenditure which comes under Acts already on the Statute Book.
§ Mr. Stephen
There is capital expenditure coming under Clause 7. There is an addition made to the previous Acts. The Financial Resolution being in general terms, I submit that under Clause 7, which has never been drawn previously to the attention of the Chairman, there is the possibility of capital expenditure resulting from Clause 7, and we should be able to discuss it.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies
The same Clause says: "Where, in pursuance of this section"—not of any other Act—"possession of any land is taken." Obviously, by implication, possession may be obtained by payment for that land.
§ Mr. Stephen
I would ask the Minister if it is not the case that there will be capital expenditure under Clause 7?
This Clause refers only to simplification of procedure, and does not refer to purchase. Expenditure does not necessarily mean capital expenditure. That has already been discussed with my predecessor. A definite ruling was given. We cannot go back on that.
§ Mr. Ridley
May I suggest that the Committee in discussing this Resolution is labouring under a difficulty which ought not to be imposed upon it? The Financial Secretary introduced the Resolution in a statement that has been proved to be entirely inaccurate. No Member of this Committee—
Another hon. Member is in possession of the Committee; it is not a proper point of Order.
§ Mr. Ridley
No one knows what are the terms of the Resolution before us. No one can discuss it in this way.
§ 1.43 a.m.
In no circumstances would I trespass upon your indulgence, Colonel Clifton Brown, but I was not dealing actually with the capital expenditure; I was stating that I thought that the Financial Secretary would at least have given us some of the items in that capital expenditure that were involved in this Financial Resolution. He made no such attempt but skimmed over the Financial Resolution, obviously knowing little or nothing about it and with the same ability of tricking the Committee that his right hon. Friend and chief evidently has, which has been exercised during this Debate. Therefore, I want to refer to other points. I would stress the warning to the Government that, if they persist with this Financial Resolution and in placing this Committee in the position of voting on it with no guidance upon it, the Committee cannot possibly be competent to judge upon it, and must merely vote on party lines on an issue that affects the lives of young men brought for the first time into conscript service. If the Minister persists in that attitude he is strengthening the anti-conscriptionist forces in the country and strengthening the forces against the Government.
Coming from an industrial constituency, I can assure the Minister that, after examining this Resolution and the Bill, I as an industrial representative will use 211 every effort to see that not a man from my constituency affected by this Financial Resolution will participate in the Government's scheme. I notice that, as this Government have always done and as the Minister of Labour has become notorious for doing, they look after their own particular friends. The only information upon which we can get any inkling is with regard to the chairmen and officials and county court judges, their expenses and fees. We cannot get a single word with regard to the payments or allowances to the young soldiers who are to be conscripted.
What is the Government's objection to women serving on the hardship committees? They will suffer more hardship, perhaps, than the boys taken away from their homes. Why do the Government deny the women folk an equal right with the men to sit on those hardship committees? It is the mothers of the country who understand the needs and minds of those boys much better than we men do, and they are as qualified, if not more qualified, to sit on those committees and hear the evidence of young appellants, and make a decision whether a young man is suitable for service or whether the hardships are such that he should remain at home. The mothers of the country know much better than the fathers do the domestic hardships that can afflict the young men. I, therefore, suggest to the Government, even at this late hour, that they should make some concession to the women from whom they are asking so much and allow them to sit on these hardship committees.
I would like to ask the Minister, also, if he can give the House any indication—even only an approximate one—of exactly what it will cost the country in fees in connection with these hardship committees, that is, if they have made up their minds. I remember the speech of the Secretary of State for War when he was answering the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). He said this was not a small scheme, and not a scheme that had been idly thought out or made up in a few weeks' time. He said it was a careful scheme, and a great and practical scheme. If that is so, I submit that the Minister ought to be able to tell the Committee how many hardship com- 212 mittees the Government contemplate, and in what districts these committees will be situated; how many will there be in Scotland and how many in England and in Wales? How far will the young men have to travel, and will they receive full travelling allowances when they attend these committees, or any partial allowances? I ask this, because, like the hon. Member who spoke just befort me, I remember during the last War the difficulties which arose, not in the first year of the War, but in the middle of the War period—difficulties experienced by young men who volunteered even then and also those who served under the Derby scheme, in receiving their vouchers on going to the depots. Therefore, I ask the Minister, who has been such a braggart about the scheme, and has told the Committee what a carefully-thought-out scheme it is, and has told us clearly and concisely about some other parts of the Bill, whether, after receiving information about this Financial Resolution, he cannot now tell us how much they contemplate the expenditure will be on these various committees, what do they contemplate the expenditure will be in regard to travelling allowances, and so on?
These are one or two of the points I would like the Minister to answer. I would further stress the point which has been made by many hon. Members on this side—why, in Scotland, must we have the sheriff or the sheriff substitute? Is the democratic Secretary of State for War, who has told the House so much about his love for democracy, afraid of the elected magistrates of this country, or does he need to go to Government-paid officials in order to make up committees to deal with appellants who state their case before such committees? Must they be officials paid by the Government and appointed by the Government who are to decide whether these young men are conscientious objectors in the true sense or not? I ask the Minister, further, why is it—and I would respectfully point this out to my colleagues on this side of the House—that the great trade union movement, whose loyal co-operation the Government so sincerely desire, have not been considered in regard to the setting up of these committees? Not one word has been said from that section of the community whose support you must have, and without whose support your scheme 213 will fail. Why is it that nothing has been done in regard to asking their advice as to the most suitable persons to decide on the conscientious objections of the young men of this country who are to be used to kill other men abroad? I say that this Financial Resolution has been so framed that one can see exactly what it is—an attempt to place on one section of the community the burden of defending the pleasures, the wealth, the capital and the good things that that other section of the community have. This Financial Resolution shows the Military Training Bill to be something that the Government desire to use against the workers. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, this whole business has disclosed what the nature of the Government is—a Government which is deplorable and dishonest, and so I ask that every step that can be taken should be taken against this Measure.
§ 1.57 a.m.
§ Mr. McEntee
I think every hon. Member of the Committee will agree with me when I say that in the experience of all of us, even of the oldest Members of the House, there has never been an occasion when a Minister who has been put up to explain a Financial Resolution knew so little about it as the Financial Secretary to the War Office did about this Resolution which he was put up to explain to-night. I do not know who prepared his case for him—whether he prepared it himself or whether somebody else did it—but there is one thing that is perfectly certain, and that is that the explanation of the Financial Resolution which he gave had not the remotest relation to the Resolution itself. Because of that, I think we are entitled to better treatment than we have received. Surely when such a blunder was made by the representative of His Majesty's Government in explaining a Financial Resolution, one would have imagined that he would have taken the earliest opportunity to apologise for the mistake that he had made and would at least have endeavoured to put before the Committee in clear words some explanation of what his own Financial Resolution meant. All of us would like an opportunity to discuss the same points that were put by the Financial Secretary. After he had explained something that was not in the Financial Resolution and told us it was there, we were then ruled 214 out of order, and rightly so, by the Chairman, and we were left in the position that, so far as the Government are concerned, not the slightest explanation of the actual terms of the Resolution has been given.
There are one or two points in connection with it to which I want the Secretary of State for War to give consideration. It appears to me to be an extraordinary thing that in all the committees and tribunals that are mentioned and which come under the Financial Resolution, it is lawyers who are selected in every case as chairmen of the committees. You will have a county court judge—a lawyer—on one committee, a barrister or solicitor to appeal against the decision of the county court judge, perhaps, and a barrister or solicitor of 10 years' experience. You then have the chairmen of tribunals under the Ministry of Labour referred to in the Schedule. The chairman of the military training (hardship) committee is to be a person holding the office of chairman of a court of referees. I do not know whether all chairmen are to be lawyers, but I think they are. I have never met one who was not a lawyer, and I want to add my protest to the protests already made with regard to the selection of that type of person to act as chairman of the tribunal where the hardship cases have to make their appeals.
I should imagine, if you are considering questions of hardship, that you should have some kind of social worker, someone with long experience of social work, someone who is independent and not in the pay of the Government, who will not feel himself under an obligation to the Government to give decisions of which the Government would approve. I cannot help thinking that the fact that the people holding these positions are under another Government Department will make them feel under an obligation to treat hard cases in a harsh way. I hope that further consideration will be given to this question of chairmen of tribunals and that someone more satisfactory and more fitted to consider this dispassionately and without prejudice should hear these appeals.
With regard to expenses, surely it should be the intention of the House, and I believe it will be, that if a man is to appeal on grounds of hardship or con- 215 scientious objection, he should be given every opportunity to present his case adequately and well. For that purpose it will be essential in some cases that the person concerned shall have an opportunity of calling witnesses. What chance on earth has a young man from a working-class home to bring witnesses to a tribunal that may sit many miles away from his home? He has no earthly chance, because he cannot afford to pay for them and they cannot afford to pay for themselves. The War Office ought to consider whether, if they are going to give them a legitimate and fair trial, they should not give them the opportunity which is given to the ordinary criminal. If he is to be defended by someone set aside by the court on his behalf, he should have an opportunity of calling witnesses to enable him to present his case properly.
I think the explanation given by the Financial Secretary was so hopelessly inaccurate that we are entitled to a further explanation before we are asked to decide on this Financial Resolution. I hope the hon. Gentleman makes a second speech or else that someone better qualified will explain what the Resolution means. I would not like to be in the position of the Financial Secretary to the War Office that, having made such a hopeless mess in the first instance, he has to try to explain why he made such a hopeless mess or say who misled him into making such a hopeless mess. Someone better qualified ought to be put up by the Government. I thought perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has some knowledge of finance, could have come in and given us some explanation. Many years ago, when I was a young man, I remember that in Ireland they held juries and tribunals and called them packed juries. I cannot help feeling that with regard to these tribunals the men are coming before packed juries.
There is to be a lawyer chairman. I do not object to him because he is a lawyer, but it is an extraordinary thing that only lawyers should be selected. The other thing is that the remaining members of the tribunal in all cases have to be selected by the Minister. Why? I suggest that this is because he desires to have packed juries and to select people who will deal harshly with the applicants and save money for the Government and 216 will get as many men into the Army as it is possible for them to get. I do not think we can expect any man to receive fair treatment under such tribunals. I do not think they can get any fair or reasonable treatment with regard to hardship under the tribunals dealing with hardship. I do not think they can get any reasonable treatment in the appellants' court or appeal court in any case where there are lawyer chairmen and members of the committee selected in every case by the Minister. Frankly, I hope hon. Members will give consideration as to whether we should approve this Resolution or ask the Committee to meet again and have some reasonable explanation given as to what this really means.
§ 2.7 a.m.
§ Sir V. Warrender
I feel that I owe the Committee, not an apology, but perhaps an explanation. To-night I have been accused on the one hand of giving far too little explanation and on the other of giving far too much. The last hon. Member who spoke accused me of giving far too little.
§ Mr. McEntee
I did not accuse the hon. Gentleman of giving far too little but of such explanation as he did give being entirely wrong and having nothing to do with the Resolution.
§ Sir V. Warrender
I do not want to split hairs, but I believe there has been a good deal of misunderstanding this evening. This Resolution has been described as being so tightly drawn that little or no discussion is possible on it. During the time I have been in the House—it is not a very long time, but it is as long as most of those hon. Members opposite me—I cannot remember seeing a financial resolution which has been more widely drawn, and although in spite of the width of the drafting it may have put hon. Members opposite in a little difficulty, and I sympathise with them, the drafting as it is leaves them ample opportunity for moving Amendments in Committee and discussing in great detail all 217 the points that I have heard mentioned this evening. Whatever they have lost on this evening's Debate when they come to Committee they will more than gain in being able to put down Amendments.
Are we to understand that we shall be unable to put down Amendments dealing with the men's pay?
§ Sir V. Warrender
No, only on those portions of the Bill which are italicised. That is as far as my statement goes. There has been a large number of questions raised to-night, and I will, without keeping the Committee too long, endeavour to reply to them. When I spoke before I referred to the headings under which expenditure on behalf of the Minister of Labour would fall under this Bill. Some hon. Members perhaps were not in the Committee at the time. Let me amplify what I said then. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) asked me the number of medical boards that would be set up throughout the country, and also the number of hardship committees. I can tell him that there will be 120 medical boards and a somewhat similar number, perhaps rather more, of hardship committees. They will roughly cover the same area as the courts of referees. He also raised the question of travelling allowances and asked whether they would be substantial. I think I can tell the Committee that the intention is that no men who are put to the expense of travelling shall be out of pocket. They will claim and will be paid full travelling fare. In cases where they have to go long distances and have to be away from home for some considerable time, they will in addition be paid subsistence allowances for food and such other necessities as they have to purchase as a result of the journey.
§ Sir V. Warrender
The point of the loss of remunerative time was raised by the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). I am going to deal with that point in a moment. I do not expect to be able to convince hon. Members of this, but let me say that it is not the intention in this Bill to put any man to any expense which he incurs as a result of conditions which have been imposed upon him at 218 this particular age. After all, if a man feels himself aggrieved, or is unable to get what he feels is justly due in the way of travelling or subsistence allowance, there is always this House to which he can appeal through his Member. These points, very important as they are, and about which Members opposite will very naturally be anxious, can all be raised in Committee, and that seems to me the time when it will be for the Government to satisfy hon. Members that their proposals are fair and just. The point about the witnesses will be dealt with by a Government Amendment which will be moved in Committee. I am glad the point was raised, because it gives me an opportunity of satisfying hon. Members that that point is being met by means of a Government Amendment. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) asked me about the fees which are to be paid to the members of the hardship tribunals. These are all administrative details, and they have not yet been thoroughly settled, but I can tell him that the fees will be similar to those given to courts of referees. The last point to which the hon. Member referred was the salaries of the judges who will preside. That is a matter still under discussion and has not yet been settled.
§ Mr. Foot
There is one point that I would like to mention, and it is this matter of the appellate tribunal. Only one appellate tribunal is referred to in the Clause of the Bill. In the Schedule it says that the appellate tribunal shall consist of a chairman and two other members appointed by the Minister, and the chairman shall be a barrister or solicitor of not less than 10 years' standing nominated by the Lord Chancellor, and in Scotland by the President of the Court of Session. Does that mean that there are to be two tribunals, or that one tribunal is to move from England to Scotland with different chairmen on each side of the Border?
§ Sir V. Warrender
In cases of this kind it is not uncommon for long distances to be travelled, and there is full machinery in this Bill for compensating for loss of time and financial loss. Let me come to the point raised by the hon. Member for South Shields. He asked why under paragraph (b) of Sub-section (6) of Clause 4 the word is different from what it is in the other Sub-sections dealing with compensation for men attending before the various bodies. The reason why in this particular case a man is to be compensated for loss of time is that his appearance before the hardship committee takes place on a day, on which he probably would not be at work, and is not in reply to a particular and personal summons. Where a man has attended in reply to a particular and personal summons, the probability is that he will have to appear in his own working time, and therefore it is necessary to see that proper compensation is paid to him.
§ Mr. Ede
Does that mean that the men who have to go before the appropriate body under Clause 1 and Clause 3 will be able to say to the body: "The time you have fixed is in my working time, and as I shall lose time to come, will you please fix another date?" With regard to the people for whom Saturday has been fixed, suppose they happen to be people who, owing to some shift arrangement, on the firm or for other reasons, have in fact to work on Saturday night, what arrangements will be made?
§ Sir V. Warrender
Most certainly arrangements will be made to take into account exceptional circumstances of that kind. I am speaking from the general point of view. In this part of the Bill, when a man is sent for by means of a particular summons making it obligatory on him to appear at a certain time, he shall be entitled to recompense in respect of any loss of wages that he may suffer.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
May I ask something to make this clear? It is not clear to 220 anybody, and certainly not to hon. Members opposite. Does the payment for the loss of remunerative time depend upon the tribunal to which the applicant is called, or does it depend upon whether he is called to appear before that tribunal at any fixed time? According to the Bill, the loss of remunerative time is only paid to a man who is summoned before a medical board. It is not paid to a man who applies to a tribunal on the ground that he is a conscientious objector, and it does not apply if he comes before a hardship committee. Now the hon. Gentleman is saying that if a man is called to appear before any one of those tribunals, he will be paid in respect of loss of remunerative time, but that is not what is in the Bill.
§ Sir V. Warrender
The argument which has taken place only shows how much more appropriate it would be if this point were discussed in Committee. These really are Committee points. I would, however, ask the Committee to accept the assurance from me that there is no desire to penalise any man sent for to appear at any particular time, not at his own request, but by the appropriate body.
§ Mr. McEntee
I want to know how the remunerative time is to be measured. Is it to be measured according to the scale the man happens to be earning? The point was put earlier in the Debate. A lawyer may estimate his time at £3 to £4, and others may be earning only is.
§ Sir V. Warrender
I think that the hon. Member is looking for difficulties. These questions can be settled with reasonableness on both sides. There is precedent in this. It often happens in other walks of life. Now I will turn to the point raised by the hon. Member for Mary-hill (Mr. Davidson), who asked why there would be no woman on the hardship committees. It is perfectly true that the Bill provides for male personnel, but that seems again to be a Committee point. I can hardly think that most men would wish to have women sitting in judgment on them. That is a point which could be the subject of an Amendment. The same hon. Member also asked me why no greater use had been made of trade union personnel in the setting up of these bodies. If the trade unions are anxious to give us their co-operation, we shall welcome it, and there would be no difficulty in that 221 direction. There again an Amendment could be put down. I hope that in spite of the indifferent progress that this Financial Resolution has made, I have been successful in answering some of the points put by hon. Members opposite and that they will now allow us to have it.
§ Mr. Ede
The hon. Member has not answered the very serious point which I put to him with regard to the allowances under Clause 5, Sub-section (11), where he has again got a new set of words. Is that supposed to cover clothing and kit allowances for the men for whom clothing and kit are not available when they report? The hon. Member had no excuse for neglecting that point, because I made it with great clarity.
§ Sir V. Warrender
I am sure that the hon. Member will not accuse me of discourtesy. Here again, this is a general provision giving the Minister certain powers. They are for the comfort of the men, and they will be so employed. If the hon. Member wants to question them in any way, he will have an ample opportunity of doing so at a later stage. I cannot give an estimate of the cost. I cannot tell to how many men they will apply.
§ Mr. Ede
The hon. and gallant Member has not answered the specific point that I put. Do the words employed in this Clause cover the clothing and kit allowances for those men who will be called up and for whom the clothing and the necessary kit will not be available? That is quite a clear question. It does not arise on the next stage of the Bill, and the hon. Member can give me an answer "Yes" or "No."
§ Sir V. Warrender
Clothing allowance will not be a responsibility of the Minister but of the Secretary of State for War under the powers of the Royal Warrant under which the man will be paid.
§ Mr. Stephen
I asked the Minister what were the other allowances under Sub-section (11) of Clause 5 under the head of "travelling and other expenses." I still have not got a specific reply of any kind.
§ Sir V. Warrender
I am sorry that I did not make myself clear. The other allowances are in respect of men who will have to travel a long way, and they will be subsistence allowances.
§ Mr. Stephen
Will that not be provided under the Royal Warrant? Surely that is one of the things which are provided under the Royal Warrant. Why is there a difference here? It is just another instance of the absolute confusion which seems to have overtaken the Government.
§ Mr. Mainwaring
Where subsistence allowances are to be given, if some of those involved are unemployed, would the unemployment allowance which was given to them be counted?
§ Sir V. Warrender
These men come under the Royal Warrant once they become militiamen. So long as they are under the Minister of Labour they receive the grants under his control.
§ 2.26 a.m.
§ Mr. Alexander
The Financial Secretary to the War Office has just completed a series of answers which are not very long and not very illuminating, but they are sufficient to indicate to the Committee the vast amount of trouble the Government are yet going to be in for in the administration of this Measure and the extent to which already the Ministers have been forced to make considerable concessions in machinery which will cost the country a great deal of money and delay, and the net yield to the Government from their scheme is far less in man-power than the Secretary of State for War has been prepared to admit. We are in Committee for authorising this huge expenditure asked for by the Government in consequence of the introduction of this new service of compulsory military training, because the fact that it is compulsory makes it a new service. We have had no reasonable estimate and no idea from the Chair as to what was the amount of expenditure covered by this Money Resolution.
The hon. and Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the War Office talked about the unsatisfactory progress made in this Committee to-night. The Chairman had to ask the Secretary of State for War as to what expenditure was covered by the Resolution, and ever since then we have been trying to get within the rules of order on the assumption put to the Chair by the Secretary of State for War as to what was really the expenditure covered by the Money Resolution. If that is the basis on which we are to be asked to discuss it, not only to-night but in the detailed stages of discussion of this Bill 223 as to the financial provision to be made, I can promise the Government that this is not the only night on which they can expect to make very unsatisfactory progress. It is ridiculous that the Committee should be put in the position in which it has been put to-night. A cursory explanation was given by the Financial Secretary to the War Office at the outset, but there has been no estimate before the Committee as to what we are being asked to authorise. We have had no statement from any representative of the War Office as to what are the financial measures to be taken to secure either reasonable economy in the administration of this very heavy increase of military expenditure or what steps are being taken to see that the expenditure which we authorise is going to be put to proper use with an absence of profiteering and without undue increase in capital cost in the acquisition of land. We have had certainly no guarantee that the expenditure is going to result in such a speeding-up of production that the newly compelled conscripts of the nation shall be properly clothed, equipped, and housed for military training.
The more I have listened to-night the more I have become convinced that there has been no real study of what the financial provisions should be either in the interests of the dependants of the conscripts or—what it is vital to remember in voting the money—in the interests of the health of those boys who are to be called up. We have heard a great deal on what a fine thing it is for boys to be called up for military training.
I must warn the right hon. Gentleman that we are getting on to a Second Reading speech. The new service will come under a Supplementary Estimate and not under this.
§ Mr. Alexander
I have no wish to come into a clash with the Ruling of the Chair, but I think I am entitled to ask, as this is general financial authority that is being asked for, what steps are being taken by the Government to see that the money is properly and economically expended for the health of the people concerned as well as in the keeping of the books and in seeing that there is no undue profiteering. We are also entitled to ask at what stages some of this expenditure is 224 to be made. We have been told that the first real expenditure is likely to occur about the end of June or the beginning of July. The Financial Secretary pointed out in his explanation of the Vote to-night that it was to include the provision of accommodation for and the maintenance of recruits when called up. One of the things that I am most concerned about in the expenditure of this money is the health of the recruits.
§ Mr. Alexander
I am not going to say anything about medical services on the money to be paid out of the expenditure which we are authorising.
§ Mr. Alexander
It is a most extraordinary state of affairs, and apparently there is a conspiracy by the Government to prevent us from discussing the real financial provisions of this Measure and also the Money Resolution.
On a point of Order. I want to draw attention to certain phraseology in the Resolution. It states:It is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys provided by Parliament, of any expenses incurred by any Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown in consequence of the passing of the said Act or the making of any Order in Council thereunder,which separates the two things. Does not the first part bring in medical services?
§ Mr. Alexander
Under what Act is the Minister going to spend the money for the provision of temporary accommodation?
§ Mr. Hore-Belisha
There are the Army Estimates. To maintain a certain number of men in the Army we would come to the House for a Supplementary Estimate, and all these matters would be discussed in relation to the Supplementary Estimate.
§ Mr. Alexander
That is not an answer to my question. The Deputy-Chairman ruled that there was an Act under which this expenditure was already authorised. I have asked the Secretary of State what 225 is the Act, but he cannot tell me. The Resolution reads:for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make temporary provision for rendering persons between the ages of twenty and twenty-one years liable to undergo training.What is the temporary provision? I am submitting that making temporary provision includes provision of temporary hut accommodation. What will be the effect on the health of boys of 20 years if the temporary provision is not of the right type? On the last occasion when there was a conscript Act men died by the hundred from overcrowding and from cerebro-spinal fever. There was a complete departure in the temporary provisions of the War Office for dealing with recruits under conscript service from the standard laid down by Royal Commission with regard to minimum cubic space.
I must again remind the right hon. Gentleman that the provision to which he is now referring has nothing to do with barracks or accommodation.
§ Mr. Alexander
I am reading the whole Preamble to the Bill. It says:Make temporary provision for rendering persons between the ages of twenty and twenty-one years liable to undergo training in the armed forces of the Crown; and for purposes connected with the matter aforesaid.I think that is a very reasonable Preamble, and I have no complaint to make about it. My complaint is that we are not allowed to discuss the matter. That is the real trouble that we are faced with, and certainly I consider it to be a very grave thing indeed that to-night the House of Commons, in Committee, is asked to vote a sum of money for this purpose, and among the purposes for which it votes this money are surely the training of and proper, healthy accommodation for the men who are to be called up. Certainly we ought to be concerned about this matter in the interests of the mothers of the boys who will be called up, and to see that they are properly accommodated and that they do not run the risk of those grave epidemics which they suffered on the last occasion. Anything of this sort surely cannot be ruled out of order. The provision of the money that we are asked to vote includes the provision of equipment.
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell me where any reference is made to equipment.
§ Mr. Alexander
I should have said that the phrase "purposes connected therewith" meant that the men who are called up and trained would require proper equipment in order to have such training.
That matter does not appear either in the Money Resolution or in the Bill itself. The right hon. Gentleman cannot discuss it now.
§ Mr. Alexander
I was going to explain. An hon. Member has already asked a question about the scope of allowances referred to in the Bill, because of fears, based on previous experience, that when these recruits are called up there will not be the necessary equipment, and we shall be required to vote under this Bill extra allowances. At any rate, Colonel Clifton Brown, I am sure you will agree with this, that we are entitled to ask in Committee, in regard to the expenditure of money, that in the moving of a Bill for the requisite and necessary supply of what is required for the training of soldiers, there should be proper economy in the spending of public money which we are authorising to-night. I hope that is in order. As I said earlier in the course of points of Order, I should have thought that when a Financial Resolution, drawn in much wider fashion than I have ever remembered on any previous occasion, is brought forward, we are surely entitled to ask that the expenditure of money is going to be with reasonable economy in the public interest, and I am still very unhappy about that. It is true that we have now got a new Minister of Supply, and perhaps his work will assist the War Office to some extent to effect some change by way of economy in the spending of this money, but my own information at the moment is that there are still large areas of those who might be engaged in the supply of goods that will have to be purchased which are still not being asked to compete and where there is no competitive basis of tender. This will probably result in a much heavier expenditure out of the public purse than would otherwise be the case.
I must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the question of supply cannot be discussed on this Financial Resolution.
§ Mr. Alexander
You, Colonel Clifton Brown, seem to be as alert as even your predecessor in the Chair was in the earlier stage of our proceedings. I might perhaps say that if the representatives of the Treasury were as alert in their protection of the public interest as you have been alert in the protection of the Rules of the House of Commons, we might be saving a great deal for the public purse. As to the discussion with which we have been faced to-night, let me end by saying this—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members who say "Hear, hear" will have to face a lot more of this, but they might have had to face a lot less of this type of discussion which has been forced on us to-night had we received better treatment from the Government. There are limits to which the Opposition can go in dealing with matters of this kind, and unless hon. Members are prepared to treat the Opposition with reasonable respect for our rights, then they must expect to be kept up late at night. Let me say that, in view of the magnitude of the expenditure, as well as the purposes for which we are asked to vote it—purposes with which we are totally disagreed in principle, because we believe the expenditure of this money is unnecessary in view of the number of recruits that were available and who are still to be available by voluntary means—I wish to ask all my hon. Friends to go into the Lobby to vote against this Resolution with great clearness of conscience and great determination.
§ 2.48 a.m.
§ Mr. Stephen
I want to say a few words with regard to these matters because of the generally unsatisfactory position, and to put some questions to the Secretary of State for War. One of the weaknesses in connection with the Bill was said to be that there was no provision for the conscripts getting the necessary birth certificates without paying 3s. 7d. for the certificate. I want to know now if there is any provision in this Financial Resolution for providing free birth certificates for these conscripts, who have to supply them? I can see no reference to this matter in the Financial Resolution and I want to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, under the Bill, free birth certificates will be provided. It has already been made plain that the Government are introducing a scheme in which, under the Financial Resolution, these 228 conscripts are to be unpaid, and it has now been made plain after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite that they are not only to be unpaid but have to provide their own equipment, training grounds, accommodation and clothes. There is nothing at all provided for them in this Bill or in the Financial Resolution, so that we are going to have the most extraordinary conscription in this country. The only thing we got was the statement made by the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. Stephen
I am not anxious to discuss things which are not inside the Resolution, but in seeking to discuss what is in the Resolution I mentioned incidentally some things that were outside. I will conclude simply by saying that the Government evidently are not only going to use the bodies of the working class but are going to make the working class provide everything, who are also to be used for the protection of millionaires' property.
§ 2.51 a.m.
§ Mr. Silverman
We have been discussing this Resolution for well over three hours, and the result of it all appears to be that no one in the Committee, least of all the Financial Secretary to the War Office, knows what amount of money the Committee is being asked to vote under this Financial Resolution; nor have we even an approximate estimate of it. There is no clarity at all as to what powers the Government have, in order to provide for the finance required by those parts of the Bill not covered by the Resolution. There is complete confusion. No one seems to have thought it out. No one knows what will happen if the Committee passes the Resolution. No one knows what opportunities there will be for anyone to discuss other matters of finance apparently not covered by this Resolution. I do suggest to the Minister that it is a mistake to have two revolutionary measures at the same time. It is admitted that the Bill involves a complete 229 change in our military system. If, at the same time, we are to have another revolutionary change with regard to the voting of money, the Government are asking the Committee, the House and the country too much by bringing all those revolutionary things in at once.
I suggest to the Minister, in view of what has taken place—and in fairness to him I say that I suppose it must have taken him by surprise as much as anyone else—that the proper thing to do is to withdraw the Financial Resolution, reconsider the matter, and come forward with a financial resolution framed so that we can understand what it is about, with some sort of estimate as to what it is to cost and some sort of plan as to how the money is to be spent. If he does that, he will not be doing anything which the traditions of this House do not require. None of these things has been done to-night. The Financial Secretary made a speech which later appeared to be completely out of order and which was entirely irrelevant to the Motion he was moving. It was true that the rest of us could not discuss it, but no one thought to make another speech. I think the general sense of the Committee will be that we ought not to proceed with this matter any further at this time and that we should not be invited to proceed to
§ any vote. If no suggestion of withdrawing the Resolution is coming from the other side of the Committee, I ask leave to move "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again."
With regard to the Motion the hon. Member has attempted to move, that has already been done, and cannot be moved again.
§ Mr. Silverman
I was under the impression that it was within the discretion of the Chair to accept the Motion if it is moved more than two hours after the last occasion. It is considerably more than two hours since it was moved, and there was then no Debate, as it was on a different point.
I will quote:A Motion to report Progress having been negatived, cannot be repeated during the currency of the same question.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 70; Noes, 177.231
|Division No. 98.]||AYES.||[2.57 a.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Gardner, B. W.||Milner, Major J.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Garro Jones, G. M||Pearson, A.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Poole, C. G.|
|Amman, C. G.||Groves, T. E.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Ridley, G.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Barr, J||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Batey, J.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Silverman, S. S.|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Jagger, J.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Broad, F. A.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kirby, B. V.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Burke, W. A.||Kirkwood, D.||Stephen, C.|
|Collindridge, F.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Daggar, G.||Logan, D. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lunn, W.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Dobbie, W.||McEntee, V. La T.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Dunn, E. (Rather Valley)||McGovern, J.||Westwood, J.|
|Ede, J. C.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Marshall, F.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Frankel, D.||Maxton, J.|
|Gallagher, W.||Messer, F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Mathers and Mr. Adamson.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Aster, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Bossom, A. C.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Boulton, W. W.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Bower, Comdr. R. T.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Boyce, H. Leslie|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Beechman, N. A.||Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Bird, Sir R. B.||Braithwaite, J. Gurney (Holderness)|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Remer, J. R.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Hepworth, J.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Bull, B. B.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Burghley, Lord||Herbert, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Monmouth)||Rowlands, G.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Higgs, W. F.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Holmes, J. S.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Cary, R. A.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Salt, E. W.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Channon, H.||Hulbert, Squadron-Leader N. J.||Sandys, E. D.|
|Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E, Grinstead)||Hunter, T.||Scott, Lord William|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Hutchinson, G. C.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Cox, H. B. Trevor||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Critchley, A.||Latham, Sir P.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Levy, T.||Somerset, T.|
|Cross, R. H.||Liddall, W. S.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Lindsay, K. M.||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Lloyd, G. W.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|De la Bére, R.||Loftus, P. C.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Dixon, Cant. Rt. Hon. H.||Lyons, A. M.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Donner, P. W.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||M'Connell, Sir J.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Duggan, H. J.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Dunglass, Lord||McKie, J. H.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Markham, S. F.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Turton, R. H.|
|Emery, J. F.||Medlicott, F.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Ward, Lieut.-Col Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Everard, Sir William Lindsay||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Fleming, E. L.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Furness, S. N.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Munro, P.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Gledhill, G.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Goldie, N. B.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Grant-Ferris, Flight-Lieutenant R.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Petherick, M.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Grimston, R. V.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Wise, A. R.|
|Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Porritt, R. W.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Procter, Major H. A.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Radford, E. A.||Wragg, H.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Hambro, A. V.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||York, C.|
|Hannah, I. C.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Captain Dugdale and Lieut.-Colonel Harvie Watt.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ 3.5 a.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I would like to ask a question and get some satisfaction. I want to ask you, Colonel Clifton Brown, or the Minister, or maybe the Patronage Secretary, if there is at our disposal any means whereby we can force one of those profitmakers on the other side to say a word or two on this Resolution. It is a remarkable fact that while they have made such claims to be concerned with all that is being effected by this Resolution, not one of them has been prepared to get up and even make an effort to put in a word or two.
§ 3.6 a.m.
§ Mr. Liddall
On a point of Order. Is it in the interests of this country that at this stage this man, who is the only representative of a party—
An hon. Member must not make any imputations against another hon. Member. I must say, however, about the hon. Member himself, that he has not been very much in order because he was not referring to the Money Resolution, but to hon. Members in regard to it, and that is also out of order.
§ Mr. Liddall
On a further point of Order. Considering that the hon. Member who has spoken so often in this Debate to-night is a Member who has taken the oath falsely in this House—
An hon. Member has no right to make such statements 233 about another hon. Member, however much he may disagree with his politics or his views.
§ Mr. Liddall
With the greatest respect, Colonel Clifton Brown, the hon. Member who has spoken so often in the Debate to-night—
§ Mr. Gallacher
I am sorry my effort to induce one of the hon. Members on the other side to assist us in the understanding of this Financial Resolution should have brought such an undesirable interlude as we have had. But we will leave that. Let us get back once again to the Financial Resolution. This Resolution, as a result of the introduction made by the Financial Secretary to the War Office, has been the cause of very great disturbance and confusion on these benches. We have tried by every means to get the assistance of the Chairman to eliminate the confusion and to get an understanding of what is implied by the Resolution. I would like to get an answer to this point. On this Resolution, if we refuse to pass it, would the Minister be in a position to acquire land for the purposes of this Bill? Would he be in a position to acquire land or does this Financial Resolution not provide him with the financial means of securing land, and have we not a right as a consequence to discuss whether he should get the financial means of getting land without financial means?
Powers to acquire land are already there and this Money Resolution does not make any alteration of that.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Then the question is out of order, and it is out of order to expect hon. Members on the other side to say anything.
§ 3.13 a.m.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
It has been decided by a large majority that you should not leave the Chair, and in those circum- 234 stances it would be a little discourteous if the House were not to continue the discussion for half an hour or an hour longer. I propose to say a few words on the subject now before the Committee. I must say that I agree with what my hon. Friend has just said that it has been a very uninspiring spectacle to watch the serried rows of the Government supporters saying nothing in regard to this Financial Resolution. The opposition to this Financial Resolution has arisen very largely owing to the fact that the Government have endeavoured to take advantage of the complexity of the procedure of public finance in order to try to push this thing through. Even now the Committee is not aware in what respect the money will be spent except in regard to certain details which have been specified. It has been moved to report Progress. Never was the Chair more justified in refusing to accept such a Motion. I should have wished that we should have moved to report no Progress. No one seems to know what the money is to be spent on. There are certain matters on which we could, if we wished, enlarge, such as the nature of the hardship committees, the committees which are to consider the cases of conscientious objectors, the medical boards, the examinees, and the travelling and other allowances in respect of conscripts who are actually being called to the Colours. But, apart from certain general items which the Financial Secretary to the War Office has specified but which he has since been compelled to repudiate as coming within the Bill, we do not know on what the money is to be spent. The Financial Memorandum-says:Capital £30,000,000 spread over two years. Maintenance cost in 1939, £10,000,000, rising … to £25,000,000 in 1941.The Chair has ruled that those items are not eligible for discussion. If that is the case, and assuming that the Chair has been correct throughout the evening in that ruling, what is the expenditure to be incurred under Clause 13 of the Bill? Surely we are entitled to ask that? I disregard the artificial distinction between capital expenditure and revenue. That is a distinction which is extremely vague in our system of public accounts. There is no accountant on either side of the House who can say that there is any rhyme or reason in the system of public finance in regard to the separation of 235 capital expenditure and revenue. Our Budget is made up very largely every year of capital expenditure in the strictest sense of the term. What is the reason for this sudden artificial distinction between the two? There is a reason. That reason is that the Government are seeking excuses for refusing to pay Defence expenditure out of revenue but are charging it to loan, and I am sure that we shall find in the classification of the different accounts in future an increasing tendency—
§ Mr. Garro Jones
That is precisely my difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman who has been sitting there all the evening looking very satisfied with the speech he made earlier in the day, has refused to give us any explanation of these items. Let me came down to a very specific question. Much light would be thrown on our discussions if the Minister would say what items of expenditure come within Clause 13. If he did that we should have something to discuss, and then indeed, after a few more hours, it may be possible that you do leave the Chair and we succeed in carrying that proposal.
§ 3.30 a.m.
§ Mr. Hubert Beaumont
I feel that I am, perhaps, the most unsuited person to take part in this Debate. I say that for the reason that I am not knowledgeable of the rules of procedure, and I have been bewildered more than once as to the procedure. But I find myself one of the least bewildered Members of the House, because I have observed on the opposite side of the House considerable agitation among certain hon. Members. It would be quite useful to some of those who are new to this House to have explained what we really are discussing to-night. It will soon be daylight outside, and I am wondering whether we may get a little daylight inside. We are told there are to be 120 medical boards. Will one of them be in London, and will the Government submit itself to that board to see if it is fit and capable of carrying on? I am not happy to think that the fate of 200,000 conscripts should be placed in the incapable hands of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. I say incapable 236 because they bring a Money Resolution to this House and find it impossible to explain it. Rudyard Kipling wrote a famous song during the Boer War which ended with the words, "Pay, pay, pay." What the Government want is that the community should pay, but that the House of Commons shall have no indication of how that money is to be spent or how we are to have control over the spending. It is of supreme importance to us that we should know how these conscripts are to be acommodated, how they are going to be fed—
§ Mr. Beaumont
I shall be delighted to have the opportunity of asking them. I am perturbed that on everything for which money is to be used it seems we are not to ask questions. Is there some secret scheme which the Secretary of State is going to disclose? If I talk about the case of a widow whose son, on whose earnings she is dependent, may be conscripted, I am told I am out of order. If Sir Dennis will not think me discourteous, may I mention this particular case? I have a letter from a constituent to the effect that her son, 20 years of age, is now contributing 30s. a week to the maintenance of the family. The woman is dependent on that, plus a small amount of money.
If the hon. Member had given as much attention to the Debate as I gathered he had done he would have known that was out of order.
§ Mr. Beaumont
So many other people have been fortunate that I wondered if I could follow them up. I am hoping that as we get nearer to the lighter hours of the morning the Members of the Government will waken to the fact that we do not know what they want and we would like them to tell us.
§ 3.28 a.m.
§ Mr. Logan
When the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) in an important discussion on the anomalies of this Resolution argued that the question of providing clothing or boots was necessary he was ruled out of order. He was told that as it was not specifically mentioned in the Resolution, it was out of order. It would take a necromancer to know what is meant. It appears to me there is to be no clothing because there is to be no 237 expenditure, and it would appear that this is to be a nudist colony. That is my deduction. When we discuss the Money Resolution, we are told it has no application to the Bill; when we deal with the Bill we are told there is no question of the Money Resolution. I am not joking about this, for it is beyond a joke. Is it a. reasonable proposition when a Minister of the Crown gets up to make apologies in regard to the meaning of particular words? I am at a loss to understand why the House could not adjourn to enable the Minister to come forward with a more detailed statement, so that the House and the country could really know what we have been discussing. It is a most ridiculous situation that this House should be here at half-past three in the morning in this position, after three hours discussion of a nonsensical Resolution which contains nothing specific. We are told that what it mentions has nothing whatever to do with the Bill and I would like to know, in that case, what we have been sitting here for all this time.
§ 3.31 a.m.
§ Mr. Ede
In answer to my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) the Secretary of State for War said that he proposed to bring in a new Vote A to deal with one or two of the points which have been raised. Will he give the Committee a specific pledge that a new Vote A will be brought in for the Militiamen proposed under the Bill? I gather that he gave that pledge.
I rose to tell the hon. Gentleman that if he was addressing a question of that sort to anyone on the Government Bench or anyone else, it was quite out of order.
§ Mr. Ede
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not deny that he made such a statement to my right hon. Friend. I want to draw attention to the amazing position we have reached by virtue of the answer that the Financial Secretary gave to me to the question I asked with regard to the various allowances that are mentioned in the italicised portions of the Bill. I can see that right up until we get to 238 Clause 13, which no one has yet explained to us, all the expenditure authorised is expenditure by the Ministry of Labour and not a penny of it is expenditure by the Secretary of State for War. In Clause 1, in Clause 3, (11), in Clause 4, (6), and in Clause 5, (11), it is in each case "The Minister may pay." It is only when we get to Clause 13 that we get the words, "any Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown." It would appear therefore that the expenses that we have so far been able to discuss to-night all refer to the expenses that are incurred up to the moment when the man becomes a Militiaman and is deemed to be in the Army. Here is a Bill that is supposed to be dealing with the conscription of 310,000 men this year, because, after all, the Secretary of State for War may be hoping that he has underestimated when he says 200,000; but 310,000 men become liable to conscription this year as a result of this Measure, and the only expenditure which we have had explained to us to-night by the Financial Secretary to the War Office, whose job is to explain this expenditure to us, is that which will be made under the aegis of the Minister of Labour.
Inasmuch as we have had during the whole of the evening the presence on those benches of the Financial Secretary to the War Office and the Secretary of State for War, it would be interesting to know what expenditure is to be incurred under this Bill and on whose responsibility. Clearly it must be the expenditure under Clause 13, and what is it? We are told it is not for hutments, and that it is not pay and allowances or for the land. There is some expenditure that the Secretary of State for War and possibly some other Secretary of State is authorised to incur under this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Send for the Minister of Labour."] I do not think he can help us in this. He might have been able to help us on some of the questions I put previously. I can understand, in the light of the Financial Secretary's answer, why the Minister of Labour was so obviously coaching, during the early part of the Debate, both the Secretary of State and the Financial Secretary in the answers they were to give, because clearly all the questions then raised were really on Ministry of Labour expenditure and not on War Office expenditure. The presence of these 239 hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on that bench indicates that there is some money for which their Department is responsible, but up to this moment, throughout the whole discussion, they have not mentioned a thing for which the War Office will be responsible after the passing of this Bill into law. That is an amazing situation. The Financial Secretary made a preliminary speech in introducing this Resolution and, as has been complained, he did not deal with a thing with which hon. Members who spoke after him were able to deal. There must be something for which he is responsible that is covered by Clause 13. I do not know whether it is a mixed word puzzle by which the War Office think they will stop hon. Members on this side of the House, but they cannot complain if we find it impossible to believe that they are as ignorant of their own Department as they appear to be. Will they tell us of any item on which they expect to spend as much as a five pound note arising out of this Bill which is covered by this Financial Resolution? Will they tell us what the things are for which Clause 13 was put in the Bill in order to get Parliamentary sanction for expenditure?
All the matters with which the Financial Secretary dealt in his answer were matters that concerned the Ministry of Labour. All these medical boards, the military hardship committees, the local tribunals and the appellate tribunals are things for which the Minister of Labour is responsible. Apparently they are not even to employ Army doctors on the medical boards. Clause 3 provides that the Minister, meaning the Minister of Labour, may pay to members of medical boards constituted for the purpose of the Bill and to consultant examiners employed for these purposes, such remuneration and allowances as he may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine. Are these to be civilian doctors, sitting in civilian dress and with no responsibility to the War Office, and holding the position of being able to pass or reject the men who have come up for medical examination? Are the whole of the rules that are to govern the action of these medical men to be drafted by the Ministry of Labour and will the doctors employed on these boards be under any disciplinary control from the War Office? The right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary 240 of State, as one who served in the last War, will know the important difference between having a medical officer subject to the commands of the higher branches of the medical staff of the Army, constituting a medical board, and having civilian doctors who have no other responsibility than the code of professional honour set up by their own profession. I venture to say to the two Members of the Government responsible for the War Office that it is time they told the House what expenditure under this Bill is to be spent by the Ministry of Labour, or they should tell us what they are going to spend under this Bill, because that has not yet been disclosed to the Committee. Until we can get that explanation they must not be surprised if we believe the Committee ought not to part with this Money Resolution.
§ 3.41 a.m.
§ Mr. E. Smith
It is regrettable that we should be discussing this matter at this time in the morning and I desire to protest that the House of Commons should have been put in this position. The responsibility for it is entirely the responsibility of the Government. This Bill was passed by an overwhelming majority and the Prime Minister last week made an appeal that in the event of the Bill being carried by the House we should then endeavour to improve it and make it better for the men who are to be asked to serve when it becomes an Act. Some of us were determined to move Amendments with that object. One of the most important subjects we desire to improve is the lot of the man who will be called up under the Bill, for in no circumstances are we prepared to be a party to our men being paid only 1s. a day. We desire to move Amendments—
§ Mr. Smith
I respect that Ruling and I shall not proceed too far. I was only mentioning it as an example of the difficulty in which the whole House has been placed by this Money Resolution, and I was going to show that that was one of the typical instances of how the Government has been most unfair to the House. Earlier, hon. Members on the other side of the House were indicating by their manner that they were not satisfied with the 1s. per day.
§ Mr. Smith
I intend doing that and I shall continue to do that, but one is entitled to speak about the difficulties of the House under the conditions in which we are carrying on this Debate. I saw by the manner of a few hon. Members on the other side of the House what they thought about the position we had been put into. This kind of thing has been carried too far when by it the Government place the whole House in a difficult position. It is time hon. Members asserted themselves to deal with that position. Therefore, I desire it to be placed on record on behalf of myself and other hon. Members that we have been placed in a most unfair position, that the responsibility is that of the Government, and that in Committee, we shall do all we can to improve the Bill for the men who will be called up. We regret we shall not have an opportunity of improving the position financially as a result of the way in which the Money Resolution has been drawn.
§ 3.44 a.m.
§ Mr. Messer
I did not intend speaking on the Financial Resolution after having heard some of the speeches and having noticed the difficulties of anyone who had a case to make to keep within its terms. I have viewed the passage of the Bill with great concern, but now it has passed I want to find out under what powers it will be possible to deal with certain difficulties that will arise. I thought the Financial Resolution was drafted widely enough to enable us to get information on important points such as this: that during the six months of training thest conscripts will be suspended from their ordinary industrial occupations. Were they in industry and met with an accident, they would be entitled either to workman's compensation or, if negligence were proved on the part of the employer, to damages under common law. I desire to ask that in the event of these conscripts meeting with accidents during their training period—
§ Mr. Messer
I wanted to know whether it would come under Class A of the Army Estimates, so that in the event of our wanting to raise the matter we would be able to do so then.
§ 3.47 a.m.
§ Mr. Pritt
I have been in the Chamber for a good many hours and I have even heard some of the discussion. I am considerably puzzled by a good many things. I see clearly that, much to the convenience of the Government, the vital matter of the pay of the conscripts does not come under the Bill at all. The general impression has been given as if practically no expenditure comes under the Bill and, as for the Money Resolution, it was merely moved in case someone had to buy a three-halfpenny stamp. When one examines it, as the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) pointed out, Clause by Clause lays duties on the Minister of Labour, such as matters concerning the preparation of a register, and it is right or wrong, as the case may be, that the Money Resolution should be carried to enable the Minister of Labour to meet these various expenses. Then we find that the Minister of Labour is conspicuous in everything except his physical absence from the discussion. We have the double advantage of seeing him here and getting no assistance from him. Throughout the night and morning the brunt of the business has been turned on to the Financial Secretary to the War Office. He has been continually displaying all night and morning the amazing grasp he has of all the details of this expenditure without the assistance of his chief. I suppose we should be in order in discussing on this Resolution every bit of expenditure that the Minister of Labour might incur, and then some Minister, either the Minister of Labour or the Financial Secretary to the War Office, would sit silent while he was asked questions of which he did not know the answer.
I would like to see what there is in the Bill which throws expenditure on the War Office. We are asked to pass a Resolution to meet expenses incurred not only by Ministers of the Crown other than the Secretary of State, but also expenses incurred by the Secretary of State. The suspicion at once arises that the thing will be presented to the House with the innocent air of the Secretary of State really having no expenses to meet at all, 243 and nobody being able to tell us what the Secretary of State is seeking to meet; and then in a week, or a month, or six months time, it will be explained that the Secretary of State is doing this, that or the other thing, and although you did not know it, on the 8th or 9th of May you actually authorised him. Therefore, I would like to look at one or two things in which the Secretary of State is mentioned. The whole Bill, although it has been drafted so quickly that it is not even grammatical, is really a master-piece of that intricate camouflage into which our ruling class has got of late. It is a Bill to conscript the ordinary citizen and put him in the Army, but the word "Service" is hardly mentioned and the word "conscript" is not mentioned at all. I am not sure that the word "militiaman" is mentioned. [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] I am much obliged. The Secretary of State for War is not mentioned from the beginning to the end of the Bill. The Army Council is only mentioned once. I would like to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office some questions—and I am sure he will leap up and answer at once. On page 10, Clause 5, Sub-section 4, it says:The Admiralty, Army Council and Air Council shall make arrangements whereby any person who is deemed to have been enlisted by virtue of Sub-section (2) of this Sectionmay do this, that or the other. Is the duty laid upon the Army Council by that Sub-section one of the duties in which it is contemplated that it will incur expenses in consequence of the passing of this Bill? In Clause 10 it is said thatsubject to the provisions of this Section, His Majesty may by Order in Council make provision for such consequential matters as it appears to him expedient to provide for by reason of the passing of this Act, and may by any such Order modify any enactment relating to such matters.Is it at present intended or contemplated that Orders in Council shall be made on the advice of the Secretary of State for War, and that as a result of such Orders in Council expenses will be incurred by the Secretary of State, and what is the nature of those expenses which the Secretary of State expects to incur? My third question, which I would particularly like answered, is, what other expenses does the Secretary of State anticipate having to meet as a result of the "Act of the present Session" mentioned in the Financial Resolution? I hope those 244 questions have been understood. If they have not been understood, could I be told they have not, and I will repeat them in words of one syllable. If they have been understood, will they please be answered?
§ 3.55 a.m.
I want to ask the Financial Secretary to make another attempt to clear up the many points which have been put to him as carefully as they could be put, and to try to convince the Committee that he, the Minister and the Minister of Labour know exactly what they are asking us to accept. I want to stress again the question of the military training hardship committees.
I am obliged for the information the hon. Member has given me. Perhaps I may remind him that he must not make the same speech over again.
I can assure you that with that versatility for which I am well-known in my constituency I will not make the same speech. I want to stress one or two points I did not have the opportunity of stressing before, with regard to the paragraph dealing with the military-training hardship committees. I would ask the Under-Secretary whether the Government know exactly how many of those committees will be established in Scotland. As the Bill applies to Scotland and Scottish youth will be conscripted, some of the finance authorised in this Resolution will be expended in Scotland; what is the estimated total cost of the Scottish hardship committees? I would draw attention to the fact that these committees consist of a chairman appointed by the Minister; and again I would ask, Which Minister of the Government makes these appointments? Is it the Minister for Labour, or the Secretary for Air, or the Minister of Supply? We have had no indication at all which Minister will be definitely affected by the expenditure involved with regard to those committees. If the Government are serious in telling the Committee that the scheme and the financial expenditure are carefully drawn up, can they tell us, without any draperies or verbiage, what sum will be expended in Scotland on these hardship committees?
I also want to ask about the appointment of the chairman and the two other persons selected by the Minister to be a 245 panel under the Act. Will he inform us what qualifications these persons will need in order to undertake the job and to draw fees from the Government? I also want to ask, if that question can be answered, What is the Government's total estimate of the amount of fees to be paid in Scotland? I submit to the Committee that as the number of boys who are to be called upon is known, we should know also the total expenditure involved. Out of that total expenditure on the hardship committees, how many of the committees will operate in Scotland? Secondly, what qualifications will the members of those committees need to have in order to qualify themselves to draw the fees provided by this Financial Resolution? Thirdly, what will be the total expenditure in Scotland in respect of hardship committees? Those are simple and reasonable questions which ordinary constituents would ask the ordinary Member of Parliament if he were placing a financial scheme before them, and they are questions which the Government should be able to answer. The answer should be that the scheme which they have evolved will cost approximately so much. I do not ask exactly what the cost is, but I do ask for some idea and some opinion as to what the total will be.
I also want to ask, with regard to local and appellate tribunals, what influenced the Government when they came to a decision, that for local tribunals in Scotland we should have a sheriff or a sheriff-substitute? He is paid out of the Consolidated Fund; he is not an elected representative or a person who one could say deals with the human side of the people of Scotland, as a magistrate or a justice of the peace would be well qualified to claim. Why were all these democratic institutions passed over, and why was a person over whom the ordinary men and women of the country have no control selected to act as chairman of this tribunal?
Can some indication be given to us in Scotland as to the parts of Scotland in which these tribunals will be instituted? They may be in Edinburgh and they may be in each industrial town in Scotland. They will have to provide for the scattered areas in the North of Scotland, and they will be involved in very great difficulty and expense if they really mean to meet the travelling expenses of the appellants. I trust that there will be no attempt by 246 the Government to bring them down to Glasgow from the Highlands of Scotland, that long dreary journey, in order to have their case established or turned down. The Highlands have already been depopulated sufficiently by the Government's policy. I trust that these tribunals will be set up in many areas and that the Secretary of State for War will be able to tell us all that he knows in regard to this Financial Resolution. I do not suggest that he can tell us very much, but I would like him to let us into the secret of what other Departments will have a part in this Bill, other than the Ministry of Labour.
Then there are the appellate tribunals and I hope that we shall be able to get a clear and concise statement on this. It states in the schedule to the Bill:The chairman shall be a barrister or a solicitor of not less than 10 years standing nominated in England by the Lord Chancellor and in Scotland by the President of the Court of Session.I understand from the reply of the Financial Secretary to the War Office that we are to have a separate tribunal in Scotland and that the appointment will be made by the President of the Court of Session. I wonder what my Scottish Friends think of this decision. I understand that the expenditure will be governed by the decision of the President of the Court of Session as to who shall receive the fees. It seems that in this. Financial Resolution everything has been done to meet the fee needs of judges, sheriffs-substitute and those who are to be appointed, either by the Minister of Labour or the Secretary of State, for these jobs of making decisions in regard to the future of the youths who are to be conscripted, but what about the financial provision for the men who have been conscripted? Cannot we hear from the Government a plain statement with regard to the expenditure involved here, because it must come to many millions of pounds.
No Member of the Committee can say even approximately the total involved in this Financial Resolution. It was stated to be £30,000,000 earlier on, and £10,000,000 in the current year, but it was stated to be out of order to deal with the capital sum. I would like to ask what the estimated cost is of preparing these young men for their service in defence of 247 the country. What does the Secretary of State for War mean by this preparation?
Did I understand the hon. Member to say that he had already been ruled out of order on that?
No, Sir. I said it had already been pointed out, with regard to the capital expenditure, but I am raising now the question whether we can receive any information at all within the bounds of this Financial Resolution as to the cost of preparing these young men for their service.
That is out of order. The hon. Member must realise that. He does not put himself in order by quoting the words of the Resolution. He knows quite well that the matter about which he is asking is not relevant.
I am attempting no Parliamentary trickery. I am asking the Chair for guidance. I asked the Chairman whether the Minister could possibly do such a thing, and I am content with the guidance that the Minister cannot possibly do it. I have always thought so. I wanted to have verification of that. The Government have said that they would have welcomed approaches from the trades union movement on particular points. The Government have brought in their Bill and the Financial Resolution, and have laid it down that the composition of the committees shall be regulated by the Minister. They have formed the committees already and arranged the finance, and then they turn to the trades unions and say: "Of course, we shall welcome approaches from the trades unions." The Government are trying to hoodwink the trades union movement.
§ 4.21 a.m.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies
I have waited all night in the hope that some enlightenment must come from the Government benches on this Financial Resolution. I am amazed at the obstinacy that has been shown. The only information we have been able to elicit has been about something that will obviously cost the State very little. What I cannot understand is that we are told in the financial explanatory memorandum that in two years this Bill, when implemented and operated, will cost about £65,000,000; but all we have heard to-night is something about 248 committees and tribunals. Apparently the Bill is almost entirely a descriptive document. I press this question: How is this £65,000,000 to be spent?
§ Mr. Davies
I will not proceed with that point any further; but why this obstinacy in a matter which is causing such consternation in the country? The Government have absolutely refused to give us the information to which we are entitled regarding this Bill. As to the meaning of Clause 13, we have had no explanation at all. What are the expenses to be incurred by the Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown as a consequence of the passing of this Act? Does that not imply the spending of money to be authorised by the Resolution? I am forced to the conclusion that there is a deliberate conspiracy behind this attitude of the Government. Why has not this Committee been taken into the confidence of the Government? I presume that before this Bill becomes law we shall have many an appeal made to us for co-operation. The attitude in which the Government have persisted till this hour is an indication of the panic in which this Bill was drafted and the utter insincerity in their declaration that this Bill was an absolute necessity. I hope my colleagues will continue to press for answers. If these are not forthcoming, we shall avail ourselves of other opportunities to insist on a more respectful response. We shall insist on having explanations, or we shall carry our protests into the country and explain to our people the Government's attitude.
§ 4.20 a.m.
§ Mr. Tomlinson
I was only going to say that I listened with a little more intelligence and with a little more sympathy than some hon. Members in attempting to understand not only the Rulings of the Chair but the different regulations which govern procedure in this House, and I have just learned some things from this Financial Resolution. One is that the hardship committees are 249 provided for but the jobs for which this money is to be voted are not known. I want to draw one or two conclusions from that. We have learned that the Minister of Labour is the Minister who is responsible for the spending of this money in the first portion of the Bill. I know something of the way in which those tribunals have worked which have given us the pattern for the tribunals which are to be set up in the Bill, and I have heard it suggested on more than one occasion that sufficient numbers of cases have been created in order that the individual who receives fifty shillings for a session might not be kept unemployed. I have taken many cases before such individuals, and whatever may have been their qualifications for drawing fees in other walks of life, from the standpoint of work they have certainly not earned the money that they receive for sitting in the capacity in which they are called upon to sit.
The question I want to ask is, what guarantee is there to be that in the setting up of these hardship committees, which I believe are to be fixed on the same basis, we are going to get value for money so far as dealing adequately with these cases is concerned? That comes under the Financial Resolution, which deals not only with the constitution of the Committees, but with the payments to be made to the individuals who preside over them.
§ Lieut.-Commander Agnew
On a point of Order, may I ask whether it would be in order to move that the Chairman report Progress, in view of the fact that in considering this important Financial Resolution there are no Members of the Opposition Liberal party present?
That is not a point of Order. It is for the Chair to decide whether it accepts such a Motion or not.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Arising further from that point of Order, is it not the case that Members of the Liberal Opposition are taking as active part in the Debate away from this House as Members on the other side are taking in it, although present?
§ Mr. Tomlinson
When that interruption occurred I was about to say that the constitution of the committees under this Bill, which is provided for in the Financial Resolution, is of very great importance. 250 When the Bill was being passed through its Second Reading, it was urged that the individuals who were responsible for understanding the attitude of the conscientious objector should be suitable individuals with real understanding. If that is true in regard to conscientious objectors, whom we are all desirous of seeing treated respectfully, I submit it is more true with regard to cases of hardship which will come before the committees. It depends entirely on the individual who is chairman of such a committee, and judging from the way in which these tribunals, upon which these committees are to be based, are conducted to-day, it depends almost entirely on the character and outlook of the individual as to whether or not the hardship is substantiated before the committee.
Further, if these same tribunals are following, as I gather they are, the procedure laid down for the examination of cases, then I submit that in the first few weeks after the setting up of these committees you will have what is known as case law so far as these bodies are concerned, and what the committees decide with regard to hardship in one case will determine whether or not in other cases any hardship can arise. It is of the utmost importance not only that we should see to it that the right people are there, but that people capable of doing the work adequately should be paid adequately. I do not know whether under this Financial Resolution provision is made for adequate payment of these individuals. The individual who is selected to be a chairman of these hardship committees is a most important individual in the working of this scheme. Under the scheme I gather that the salaries of judges and solicitors are safe and with my conception of the law and of lawyers I expected that that would be provided for, and I am not surprised, but I do wish that under the terms of this Resolution it would have been made equally safe for us to assume not only that the individual who is to be conscripted would be all right, but that his dependants would be safe also. I understand from one reply given by the Financial Secretary that it will be possible that there will be one of the appellant tribunals in London. Probably these tribunals will be worked on the basis of what is done in connection with unemployment insurance as regards appeals.
251 I want to give a word of warning in regard to that matter and to point out that of the appeals to the umpire, about 99 per cent. of the cases are brought by the trades union organisations; at least, if not 99 per cent., I should say 90 per cent. You find in almost every instance that it is these organisations which send these cases forward. What happens is that the young man who is turned down by the local committee appeals to the tribunal and the case is heard in London. Many of these men will never appeal to London if they have to travel so far. Many of them, unless the means of travel were established beforehand, would not be able to come to London. I suggest that in the interests of justice you consider the advisability not only of establishing appeal tribunals in London but one in the provinces, rather than that expense should be incurred which all the difficulties of travelling to London would make.
Those are things which have not been thought out as they should have been. We have assumed too much that what has worked with regard to civil matters in connection with unemployment assistance and cases of that kind can equally be applied in the application of a military measure which, I submit, is definitely contrary, or at least alien, to what we have understood in civilian administration. Before we embark on such steps we ought to know where we are going and on what lines we are going to work.
§ 4.32 a.m.
§ Mr. McEntee
It was given as a Ruling earlier that, broadly speaking, the italicised Clauses in the Bill were Clauses that would come under the Financial Resolution. I understand from these italicised Clauses that the payments that could be made under them are all subject to the approval of the Treasury except the last one, Clause 13, which provides the money for the other Clauses. This is money provided by Parliament. I have stated the issue in the hope that someone who is responsible to Parliament for money provided by Parliament would tell us how much the estimate is that is to be expended under the italicised Clauses. I believe every Member of the Committee will agree, when we are being asked to expend these very considerable sums of money and have a Minister present under whose Department most of the money is 252 to be spent, and when we have present also the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, that we are entitled to ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to give an estimate of the expenditure under the Financial Resolution we are being asked to pass.
Surely it is not reasonable to expect the Committee to pass a Resolution without any estimate whatever of the amount of money it is expected to expend? We have been asking the Financial Secretary to the War Office. He has gone, after having made two speeches. He did not give us any estimate whatever. The Secretary for War intervened on two or three occasions, but he gave us no estimate. Repeated appeals have been made to the Minister of Labour to take part in the discussion with regard to expenditure under the italicised Clauses for which he is responsible, presumably, but we have had no estimate from him. In the last resort I am making an appeal to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who is finding it difficult like many of us to keep awake. [Interruption.] I can only say I am sorry if I was misled. I find he is thoroughly awake. That is all the more reason why we should expect him to give some estimate of the expenditure which we are being asked to vote. I wish he would indicate that he is prepared to do so, or if not he, someone on the Government side might do so. We have been kept here all night, in the first place, by a statement that was all wrong, made by the Financial Secretary to the War Office.
I do hope someone on the other side will speak. The hon. Member for Croydon (Mr. H. G. Williams) is always wide awake and always very anxious to see that expenditure passed by this House has been properly authorised. I was hoping that he would have got up and made an appeal to the Members of the Front Bench. There was one hon. Gentleman below the Gangway who raised a point of Order. I commend him to the consideration of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, that when the distribution of honours is being considered, he will be considered.
§ 4.37 a.m.
§ Mr. Poole
As a result of what has been revealed since I addressed the Committee yesterday I do want to make a further appeal to the Minister with regard to one 253 point only, the appellate tribunal. I can see that the whole of the machinery laid down in the Bill has been put in, lock, stock and barrel out of the Unemployment Assistance Board scheme. I know the Bill had to be hastily drafted and that many people responsible for it have spent many night hours getting it ship-shape. If this machinery, if this provision is allowed to stand, a grave injustice will be done to thousands of young men. When you take the machinery of the Unemployment Assistance Board—the right of appeal to the court of referees—we realise, once you have established a judgment on a principle, that that judgment is applicable to hundreds of thousands of cases in the country. But here for every case it will be different, and each case will require individual consideration. There is a right of appeal to the appellate tribunal. Therefore you will have innumerable appeals from the decisions of the local tribunals to the appeal tribunals, and these appeals will have to be considered individually, and each case will have to be separately assessed. To locate a tribunal in London and expect it to function and deal with every appeal made from all quarters of the country is quite wrong.
I do hope that the Money Resolution will be increased—I do not know from what or to what, because we have no amount before us—but I hope that it will be increased in order to permit of further appellate tribunals being established in the industrial Midlands, in Yorkshire and Lancashire, on the North-East Coast, and in South Wales and Monmouthshire. Is it reasonable to expect that a man from Newcastle-on-Tyne who wishes to appeal to the appellate tribunal should have to travel to London from Newcastle-on-Tyne, losing probably two days' work, because he is a conscientious objector whose case has not been upheld by the local tribunal? There is no provision at all in this Financial Resolution for the repayment to that man of the time that he will lose. I know the remarks of the Financial Secretary to the War Office, but I should be much happier, and feel there is a greater possibility of that becoming an accomplished fact, if it were embodied in the Bill. Is it reasonable to suggest that men should come from Devonshire and Cornwall to London, and lose time, in order to appeal against war service 254 because they are conscientious objectors? What is going to happen is that the men will not be able to exercise the right of appeal to the appellate tribunal. They will be turned down by their local tribunals and will not be able to take advantage of the machinery provided. I would urge that the machinery should be revised between now and the final passage of the Bill so that we may have more reasonable arrangements.
§ 4.43 a.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I would like to ask the indulgence of the Committee for the few moments that I would like to speak on this question. I am sure that no Member of the Committee will consider that I am speaking simply for the sake of keeping them out of bed. But I would like to say that if I had the energy and the vocabulary to go on speaking until the House was forced to adjourn and this Resolution was withdrawn and the Bill made inoperative, then believe me, I would go on talking. I would do anything to defeat this Financial Resolution. The Prime Minister said on one occasion, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again." If the Prime Minister had applied that remark to good causes instead of to evil causes we would not be discussing this Financial Resolution to-night. I have tried and tried, and now I am trying again. The Financial Secretary to the War Office, in reply to the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) referred to the italicised paragraph in Clause 4, Sub-section 6 (b), where reference is made to the payment to persons undergoing medical examination of travelling and other allowances. The Financial Secretary said that "other allowances" meant subsistence. But when it is a case of the hardship tribunals what do you get? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hardship."] It is a very serious question for poor people going to hardship committees. The people who are called to Medical Boards will not only be poor people, so instead of getting travelling and subsistence they get travelling and other allowances.
I know some hon. Members on the other side, who if they were of the age affected and were called to London from the country to attend a medical board would want a cabaret to go along with them. I want the Minister to explain why it is that in the case of hardship committees it is 255 laid down clearly and specifically that travelling and subsistence allowances shall be payable, but when it comes to the medical boards, where some of their own friends will be called to attend it is travelling and other allowances. Will that be just the railway fare and a hand-out on the road? Oh, no. Maybe you will have to supply them with a bottle or two of champagne. That is one thing where I want some clarification. There is another point. I do not know whether this Financial Resolution will cover it or not, because I am quite certain that the Minister has never given it one thought—neither the Minister for Labour nor the Secretary of State for War. When these lads are called up, they will not only be due for six months' training, but they will have to take a week or 10 days off because the pits or factories will be closed. The six months that you have taken them away disqualifies them for holidays with pay. Is there any allowance in the Financial Resolution for meeting that?
What is going to happen to these lads? Have the Government given it any thought? The one thing which is absolutely apparent in the discussions we have had to-night is that it cannot be disguised that neither the Minister for War nor his assistant, the Financial Secretary, knows anything at all about this Financial Resolution. It has been handed to them by some of the officials of their Department. Not a member on the other side of the Committee has the faintest idea what it means. I have not had a long experience of this sort of thing but I have had an opportunity during the period I have been here to get an understanding
§ of the procedure of the House and of the character of resolutions which may be presented now and again, and I am safe in saying that never in the history of Parliament was there a Committee faced with such a situation as we have been faced with during these proceedings.
§ These young men have to come completely unprovided for, no accommodation, homeless; no rations, hungry; no clothing, naked. What a sermon the Minister of Labour could preach about that. I ask the Minister to have a little consideration, if not for this Committee, for himself, and to withdraw this Resolution and bring forward in its stead a Resolution which will allow the whole of the Committee to discuss the conditions that still obtain in connection with this Bill, because I am quite certain that there are many hon. Members on the other side of the Committee who are tied down by mistaken loyalty at the present time to a Government which is not worth their support, but who are not loyal to the people, and many of those hon. Members would be glad to have an opportunity of discussing it.
That for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make temporary provision for rendering person between the ages of twenty and twenty-one years liable to undergo training in the armed forces of the Crown and for purposes connected with the matter aforesaid, it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys provided by Parliament, of any expenses incurred by any Secretary of State or other Minister of the Crown in consequence of the passing of the said Act or the making of any Order in Council thereunder.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 159; Noes, 65.257
|Division No. 99.]||AYES.||[4.55 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Cartland, J. R. H.||Ellis, Sir G.|
|Adams, s. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Cary, R. A.||Elliston, Capt. G. S.|
|Agnew, Lieut. -Comdr. P. G.||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Emery, J. F.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Channon, H.||Emmott, C. E. G. C.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Everard, Sir William Lindsay|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Fleming, E. L.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Fox, Sir G. W. G.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Critchley, A.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Furness, S. N.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Cross, R. H.||Gledhill, G.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Culverwell, C. T.||Goldie, N. B.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||De la Bére, R.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H.||Grant-Ferris, Flight-Lieutenant R.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)||Donner, P. W.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)|
|Braithwaite, J. Gurney (Holderness)||Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Duggan, H. J.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.|
|Bull, B. B.||Duncan, J. A. L.||Hambro, A. V.|
|Burghley, Lord||Dunglass, Lord||Hannah, I. C.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hepworth, J.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Herbert, Lt.-Col. J. A, (Monmouth)||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Higgs, W. F.||Petherick, M.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Holmes, J. S.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Porritt, R. W.||Tufnell, Lieut. -Commander R. L.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Procter, Major H. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Radford, E. A.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Hulbert, Squadron-Leader N. J.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Hunter, T.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Hutchinson, G. C.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|James, Wing-commander A. W. H.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Water-house, Captain C.|
|Latham, Sir P.||Renter, J. R.||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. Harvie|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Levy, T.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Lindsay, K. M||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Lloyd, G. W.||Rowlands, G.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Loftus, P. C.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Lyons, A. M.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Salt, E. W.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Samuel, M. R. A.||Wise, A. R.|
|McKie, J. H.||Sandys, E. D.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Shakespeare, G. H.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Wragg, H.|
|Medlicott, F.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Smithers, Sir W.||York, C.|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Somerset, T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.||Mr. Munro and Mr. Grimston.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Pearson, A.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Poole, C. G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Ridley, G.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Barr, J.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Batey, J.||Jagger, J.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Broad, F. A.||Kirby, B. V.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kirkwood, D.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Burke, W. A.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Stephen, C.|
|Collindridge, F.||Logan, D. G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Daggar, G.||Lunn, W.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Tomlinson, G.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McEntee, V. La T.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Dobbie, W.||McGovern, J.||Westwood, J.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Ede, J. C.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Mathers, G.|
|Frankel, D.||Maxton, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gallacher, W.||Messer, F.||Mr. Adamson and Mr. Groves.|
|Gardner, B. W.||Milner, Major J.|
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report the Resolution to the House."258
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 80; Noes, 40.259
|Division No. 100.]||AYES.||[5.4 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Duncan, J. A. L.||Hunter, T.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Hutchinson, G. C.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Ellis, Sir G.||Levy, T.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Lloyd, G. W.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Fleming, E. L.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Fox, Sir G. W. G.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.|
|Braithwaite, J. Gurney (Holderness)||Furness, S. N.||McKie, J. H.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Bull, B. B.||Goldie, N. B.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Grant-Ferris, Flight-Lieutenant R.||Medlicott, F.|
|Channon, H.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Hannah, I. C.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Critchley, A.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Munro, P.|
|Cress, R. H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|De la Bére, R.||Herbert, Lt.-Col. J. A, (Monmouth)||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Higgs, W. F.||Petherick, M.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Remer, J. R.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)||Wise, A. R.|
|Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Salt, E. W.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||York, C.|
|Sandys, E. D.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Shakespeare, G. H.||Warrender, Sir V.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Smithers, Sir W.||Waterhouse, Captain C.||Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr. Grimston.|
|Snadden, W. MM.||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. Harvie|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Poole, C. C.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Gallacher, W.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Gardner, B. W.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Amman, C. G.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Groves, T. E.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Barr, J.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Batey, J.||Kirby, B. V.||Stephen, C.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Broad, F. A.||Logan, D. G.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Buchanan, G.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Westwood, J.|
|Burke, W. A.||McGovern, J.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Maxton, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Messer, F.||Mr. Mathers and Mr. Adamson.|
|Ede, J. C.|
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.