§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 3.32 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir David Maxwell Fyfe)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill is the fourth Measure authorising an alteration of the Royal titles which has been introduced into Parliament in the present century. Each Bill has been necessary to enable the title of the Sovereign to be brought into line with the constitutional position and constitutional arrangements within the Commonwealth current at the time the Bill was introduced. Thus, under the powers given by the 1901 Act, the wordsand of the British Dominions beyond the Seaswere introduced to recognise the growth of what we used to call the Dominions into full membership of the Commonwealth.
In 1927, a further alteration was authorised, following upon the creation of what was then called the Irish Free State, which was a Dominion on much the same lines as our Dominions but was not "beyond the Seas," and the creation of the Government of Northern Ireland which remained part of the United Kingdom. In 1947, in Section 7 (2) of the India Independence Act, Parliament authorised the deletion of the words "Emperor of India" from the title of the Sovereign when India became independent. Today, I move the Second Reading of another Royal Titles Bill which, like all previous Bills dealing with the Royal title, including that of 1876, authorises the Sovereign by proclamation to appoint the Royal title.
I think that the House will be aware that the terms of the Royal title were among the matters considered at the time of the meeting of the Prime Ministers and other heads of delegations at the Commonwealth Economic Conference which met in London last December. Those present at that meeting agreed that the existing title of the Queen did not reflect the existing constitutional position under which other members of the 194 Commonwealth are full and equal partners with the United Kingdom in our great family of nations. The existing title is incorrect in its reference to Ireland and in that it does not reflect the special position of the Sovereign as head of the Commonwealth.
These Commonwealth countries and the United Kingdom are full and equal partners, united in their allegiance to the Crown; and the Sovereign is Queen of each of them. The Commonwealth, therefore, has moved beyond the Statute of Westminster; and today, rather than that legislation on the title of the Sovereign should be undertaken only by the United Kingdom Parliament with the assent of the Dominions as recited in the Statute of Westminster, it is more appropriate that each Commonwealth country concerned should take the action appropriate to its own constitutional requirements.
The Prime Ministers and the heads of delegations agreed that the appropriate action in the established constitutional relationship would be for each member country to use for its own purposes a form of title which would suit its own particular circumstances, but that all should retain a common element. They agreed that the common element in the title of the Queen should include a reference to Her Majesty's other realms and territories and her title as head of the Commonwealth. The titles in the other Commonwealth countries are matters on which it will be for those countries to take the appropriate constitutional action. In this country the normal procedure is for Parliament to authorise the Sovereign to issue a Royal proclamation setting out the Royal titles, and that is what this Bill does in Clause 1.
There is one small difference between the Bill and earlier Measures to which I might draw the attention of the House. The Acts of 1901 and 1927 empowered the Sovereign to issue proclamations within six months of the passing of the legislation, and it might be asked why that precedent is not being followed. The answer is that the aim of the other Commonwealth Governments and of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom is to take the necessary constitutional action to enable the various proclamations to be made simultaneously 195 before the Coronation. Already, legislation has been passed by or is progressing through the Parliaments in Canada, Australia and South Africa. It might not be possible, of course, for this aim to be achieved; and if a time limit were imposed it might even happen that further legislation would be necessary. A time limit in present circumstances would serve no useful, purpose; and in any case the Sovereign can exercise the power only once because Clause 1 of this Bill expressly refers to… having regard to the said agreement,…in the Second Recital. The Bill is short, but it deals with an important matter and I submit it to the House confident that it will be given a speedy passage through its stages with us.
§ 3.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
As the Home Secretary has told us, the Government, in moving this Bill are acting as a member of the Commonwealth, and in accord with the agreement reached at the recent Prime Ministers' Conference. Moreover, the change which has been introduced in the Bill is one that it has been long recognised ought to be made at the next convenient opportunity. This, clearly, is a convenient opportunity and we therefore welcome and support the Bill from this side of the House. I am personally very glad that it is being introduced because I have been long an advocate of the principle of the Bill—the principle of a locally variable title, as it used to be called, adapted to the local needs of the various members of the Commonwealth.
This Bill may come to be an important landmark in the constitutional development of the Commonwealth. The Bill has two aspects, both of which must be borne in mind. The first is that it accepts completely the idea of the divisibility of the Crown, and we ought to realise that this is the first occasion on which that principle and idea have been fully accepted in a formal document. It is the idea that the Queen is equally Queen of each of her realms, that she acts only on the advice of her Ministers in each of the realms, and that in a certain sense there are seven Queens and not one Queen, or, at any rate, seven Crowns and not one Crown.
196 This is the culmination of a very long process of development. In 1937, when Canada proposed to set up diplomatic missions of her own in Japan and France, the King's Private Secretary recorded that this had rather taken His Majesty's breath away. It was then still a very novel idea that a Commonwealth country should be represented by an ambassador other than our own, but it is now fully recognised that the United Kingdom ambassador represents only the United Kingdom and not the other members of the Commonwealth.
Perhaps the most extreme example of the divisibility of the Crown occurred at the time of the abdication, which had to be separately endorsed in all the Commonwealth countries, so that for a few days we were in the extraordinary position of having two different Kings in different parts of the Commonwealth at the same time.
In recognising the principle of the divisibility of the Crown, this Bill only recognises the facts. It takes the doctrine to the ultimate conclusion of having a divisible title, and it takes it so far that in no two Commonwealth countries will the Queen have the same title.
I want to refer to one or two minor points. The first is the dropping of the word "Ireland" from the title, which we all welcome, because its inclusion was very anomalous; but I am not sure that the Government have been wise in substituting the words "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland," instead of just the words "United Kingdom." The addition of "Northern Ireland" is surely unnecessary. There is no doubt that the United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland and it is elsewhere defined to include it. It is notable that all the other members of the Commonwealth who use the words "United Kingdom" in the title—Canada, Australia and New Zealand—do so without the addition of "Northern Ireland." What they have done we could also easily have done, and it is to be noted that our insistence on including "Northern Ireland" imports an extra variety into the Royal title which would not otherwise exist.
I welcome the disappearance of the words "Dominions beyond the seas," which, I hope will mark the formal disappearance of the word "Dominions" from the vocabulary of the Common- 197 wealth. This word is disliked in many parts of the Commonwealth because it suggests a distinction of status between the United Kingdom and other parts of the Commonwealth. The words "other Realms" in the title will give the word "realm" a greater currency than it has today, and it is a more acceptable word.
One aspect of the Bill is that it accepts the complete titular equality as well as the actual equality of all members of the Commonwealth, and it is very important to pay attention to matters of title as well as matters of reality. After the passage of all this various legislation through the Parliaments of the Commonwealth the Queen will be as much the Queen of India and of Ceylon as she is of England or of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I think one is still entitled to talk about the "Queen's English" and the "Queen of England."
Some people will doubtless deplore the full acceptance of the principle of the divisibility of the Crown. They will think it is tantamount to a weakening of the Commonwealth: but if they take that view they will ignore the second aspect of this Bill, which is that there is in this title an emphasis, which has not been there before, upon the Crown as the unifying factor in the Commonwealth—the symbol of the unity and free association of the members of the Commonwealth—because every single one, including India, recognises the Queen as head of the Commonwealth. Never before has there been this express and explicit recognition of the Crown as such a unifying factor.
The two aspects together—the emphasis on divisibility and the emphasis on the Crown as a factor of unity—are not accidental. In the modern Commonwealth it is absolutely essential to separate the two roles of the Crown which have co-existed since the beginning of the Commonwealth. First, the Crown is the symbol of the equality and autonomy of all Commonwealth countries; the idea expressed in the fact that the Queen is Queen equally of all her realms. The second function of the Crown has been to serve as a symbol of the unity of the Commonwealth; the idea expressed 198 by calling the Queen the head of the Commonwealth.
The constitutional importance of this Bill is that it abandons the attempt to try to find a comprehensive formula binding those two roles in a single definition of the Crown as was done in the Balfour Declaration. That was done in the interests of unity, but, as so often happens if one tries too hard to produce unity, it produces disunity. The attempt to preserve intact the doctrine of the indivisibility of the Crown overlooks an important truth which we must accept if the Crown is to play its full role as a unifying factor.
The truth is that, whereas the Crown means something very real and important in all parts of the Commonwealth, it also means different things in different parts, and the Crown can play its full role only if we recognise those differences. Even in the old Commonwealth, as it was called before the membership of the Asian countries, there were very important distinctions of feeling towards the Crown which were too often ignored. There were differences, for example, between the feelings of many French Canadians or Afrikaaners and those of the great majority of people of British stock.
One danger of trying to impose the doctrine of indivisibility of the Crown was that it was thought to be an attempt to impose upon other Commonwealth peoples a feeling which was appropriate only to those of British stock. That was one reason the attempt to spread and maintain this doctrine always called forth a counter tendency to stress the divisibility of the Crown. For many years that was specially marked in Canada and South Africa, both of which are countries containing very large non-British elements.
What was true of the old Commonwealth is doubly true of the new. We must never forget that today those of British stock represent a minority in the Commonwealth as a whole and also a minority in countries like South Africa and Canada. Again, what was always true and is even more true today is that the role of the Crown as a unifying factor can be emphasised only if, as in this and similar Bills which are being passed elsewhere, the Crown is set free to find its own national and emotional levels throughout the Commonwealth. 199 I think that that will strengthen rather than weaken the Crown. On the emotional plane, if the Crown is set free in this way to find different levels in the emotions of all the inhabitants it will be found that it will encounter and call forth latent personal feelings of interest, respect and affection which are much more widespread throughout the Commonwealth than is often thought. We were all deeply moved by the very real expressions of grief that marked the death of the late King in countries like India, Pakistan and Ceylon. These feelings must be encouraged. They would be thwarted and stunted if an attempt were made to impose a single concept of the Crown upon the whole Commonwealth.
On the constitutional plane, too, only if the Crown finds its own level in this way will it be accepted as the symbol of unity. It is very significant that only when the divisibility of the Crown was fully accepted did we get a readiness to accept it also as a symbol of unity in the Commonwealth. Certainly, on no other basis than the separation of the two roles of the Crown can we possibly solve the constitutional problem of bringing a republic into a Commonwealth of which the Queen is the head.
The Bill will have very important consequences. It will usher in a period in which there will be a steady rise in the dignity, the stature and the status of the Crown. Because the Queen is Queen of each of her realms and, at the same time, head of the Commonwealth, she will in a new way be raised above her Ministers not only in this country but in other countries in the Commonwealth. She will not be advisable only by one set of Ministers, and certainly not in any special or peculiar way advisable by Ministers in this country. We in this country have to abandon—and this is what the Bill says—any special sense of property in the Crown. The Queen now, clearly, explicitly and according to title, belongs equally to all her realms and to the Commonwealth as a whole.
For example, it would no longer be appropriate for the Queen's movements about the Commonwealth to be determined only by the advice of Ministers in this country, and it would be quite wrong to do as was done in 1912, when His 200 Majesty's Ministers in the United Kingdom advised him not to visit a Commonwealth country because it would involve the prolonged absence of the head of the State from the United Kingdom. Today, the Queen is head of the State in all her realms, and that sort of argument cannot apply in the future.
Finally, there are changes and developments which would be appropriate to this new role of the Crown which I think it important to mention. It would be appropriate if the Queen's personal staff were drawn from all countries of the Commonwealth and not only from this country. It would be appropriate, too, if the Queen spent periods of time in other Commonwealth countries. It is as easy for the Queen to go from London to Canberra today as it was for Queen Victoria to go from Windsor to Balmoral. It will be very fitting for the Queen's next Christmas broadcast to be made from New Zealand instead of from London, as has been the case in the past. When the Queen is absent it would be right and proper if a Governor-General instead of a Council of Regency were appointed, doubtless a member of the Royal Family, so that the last formal equality between this country and all other Commonwealth countries would be recognised. When the Queen is absent from any other Commonwealth country, she is represented by a Governor-General.
The Bill is of much greater importance than it appears to be at first sight. It will usher in a period in which there will be a new development of the role of monarchy not only as the centre and symbol of Parliamentary democracy but in the new function as a symbol of the free association of independent nations.
§ 3.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
I will detain the House only for a few minutes while I give a welcome to the Bill. It was right that an agreement should be made among representatives of the various members of the Commonwealth. The Crown is not only head of the Commonwealth, and not only today the main symbol but really the sole symbol of recognition of the association of the free members of the Commonwealth. Therefore, it behoves us to congratulate all the representatives who took part in arriving at this agreement. All I wished to say was that we all welcomed it, but I will add one or two other words. 201 I rather agree with the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) that inasmuch as we are legislating for the United Kingdom it is better that we should limit ourselves to those words. I am not at all sure whether sufficient attention has yet been paid to the sentiment, history, and tradition of Scotland but I am hoping that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who has that country of origin, will be able to do so.
§ 3.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock (Spelthorne)
Like the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) I will detain the House only for a very few minutes while I respectfully put forward three points which I hope will have the consideration of my right hon. and learned Friend and of all other Ministers who have to advise our Gracious Sovereign in these matters.
My first point is that I note with much regret that both in the Bill and in the White Paper the Sovereign is described as "Head of the Commonwealth." Why not "British Commonwealth"? It may be a sentimental thing to say, but I believe that the word "British" is an honourable title—[An HON. MEMBER: "What about Indian?"]—and that every fairminded person would agree that the people of this country have played a tremendous part in the development of the old British Empire and of the Commonwealth as it stands today. Every Commonwealth country enjoys the British way of life as a result of the work that has been done by the statesmen of this country in past generations.
What does the British way of life mean? Briefly summarised, it is: fair play, the rule of law, and order. That has been extended to all countries: India, Pakistan, Burma, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and, do not let us be afraid to say it, in a large measure to the United States of America. I respectfully hope that at the next Commonwealth conference, after the Coronation, this point may be reconsidered.
My second point automatically follows from the point I have already mentioned. I respectfully submit that the time has come to reconsider our whole attitude to the rules of the British Commonwealth club. I do not like the idea 202 of India, a republic, not owing complete allegiance to the head of the Commonwealth, and I think that is a matter which ought to be reconsidered at the next conference. Indeed, if any country does not wish to accept the rules I submit that we might be better without that country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I hope that what I am saying may bring about some careful thinking on this very important problem.
My third and last point follows from what was said by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker). I could not agree more with him that it is a first-class idea that our Gracious Sovereign should spend more time in the Commonwealth. I put it forward with very great respect, because I believe that nothing would help more to bring about that feeling of unity which we want within the Commonwealth than for our Sovereign to find it convenient on occasions to go to the various capitals in the other Commonwealth countries and perform the ceremony of the opening of Parliament—for example, at Canberra—as she did so beautifully here in November of last year.
§ 3.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
I oppose the Bill, for reasons which are given in the Amendment in which my hon. Friends and I——
§ Captain J. A. L. Duncan (South Angus)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are you calling the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) to move his Amendment? If so, would it be possible for us to dispose of that Amendment early and to go on with the wider discussion?
§ Mr. Speaker
I propose to ask the hon. Member to move the reasoned Amendment which he has on the Order Paper. After it has been moved and seconded, I shall put the Question in such a way as will leave both the Amendment and the whole of the Bill before the House for free discussion.
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)
I take it that after the Amendment has, been moved it will be competent for subsequent speakers to discuss the Bill as a whole.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:this House declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which does not provide for a historically accurate Royal Title for Scotland.I was surprised that the Home Secretary, in outlining the Bill, failed to notice that this Amendment was on the Order Paper.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I hoped—I cannot say more—that the hon. Gentleman would be able in due course to move his Amendment, and I looked forward—I cannot say more—to replying to it in due course.
§ Mr. Hughes
At any rate, it was obvious—and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) drew attention to it—that in his survey of the panorama of the universe the Home Secretary forgot Scotland. In both the speeches from both Front Benches there was a disposition to regard Scotland as a minor satellite country that simply did not matter in this discussion. Now, I am not a Nationalist.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
I do not see any reason why I should apologise for that.
Further, I am not a Royalist. If my ideas were adopted there would be no problem to solve of a long, complicated title, because it would be a title as simple as that of the head of the United States of America. However, this is not a debate in which we are allowed to wander into such issues. I approach this question not as if it were a major question, not as if it were a question of any great social importance at all, and not even from any absolute constitutional standpoint, but from the point of view that the House of Commons should not support a Bill which does not provide for historical accuracy.
This is not a party matter at all, because I believe that in Scotland there are Conservatives, there are Liberals, there are all varieties of political opinion, who believe that the Government have in this respect treated Scottish opinion rather casually. I do not blame anybody but the Government. A very interesting constitutional dictum was laid down by Walter Bagehot, who wrote the history of 204 the English constitution, and who laid it down that the Queen must sign her own death warrant if the two Houses unanimously ascend up to her. I am not going as far as that. He added that it is a fiction of the past to ascribe to her legislative power.
The people who are responsible are the members of the Government, and I am surprised to know that the Prime Minister, who, just before the last General Election, came to Scotland and laid great stress on the fact that Scottish claims should be considered respectfully by this Government, has made no attempt at all to deal with what I believe to be a reasonable claim of public opinion in Scotland.
I wish to point out that in this matter the most influential organ of Conservative opinion in Scotland has rebuked the Prime Minister in a leading article. On 27th February the "Scotsman" said:So far as the Royal numeral is concerned, it may be noted that the Government take full responsibility for advising the Queen to use this. No doubt, Scottish M.P.s will take the opportunity of raising this matter next Tuesday when the Bil comes up for Second Reading.It added:It is rather remarkable that adjustments should be made readily when members of the Commonwealth become sensitive to the overtones of words like 'Dominion,' while the Prime Minister cannot even begin to comprehend that Scottish people should have any feeling about the English enumeration of the United Kingdom's Sovereign.When this opinion is expressed in the leading article of the most responsible Conservative paper in Scotland we are entitled to have the support of Scottish Members of Parliament from the other side on the ground that this is an opinion which is rather widely held. I think we are entitled also to have the support of the Liberal Party, because the Liberal Party appear to be the only party who have definitely come to the conclusion that home rule for Scotland is a reasonable demand; and so I am hopeful that we shall bring the Liberal Party into the Division Lobby, if the Government do not yield to this demand.
All that we are asking is that Scotland should be treated as reasonably and as sensibly as Pakistan and Ceylon. That is not a very extravagant claim. The Prime Minister consulted the Prime Ministers of Ceylon and Pakistan; but 205 he does not seem to have taken any particular trouble to consult a representative from Scotland. The Secretary of State for Scotland, I understand, has a predilection for the return of the Stuarts. Perhaps the Prime Minister thought that that right hon. Gentleman's opinion ought not to be considered as an impartial opinion in case he should recommend that a proclamation should be made in favour of James Stuart V of Scotland. [An HON. MEMBER: "James VII."]
In this matter I think we should pay some deference to what Her Majesty customarily says in her Gracious Messages to the House. She signs herself "Elizabeth Regina"—not "Elizabeth II Regina," but simply "Elizabeth Regina"—and it appears that when the reverend Chaplain prays for the Queen in this House, the prayer is for our most Gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth. So we are not really asking for anything unconstitutional or revolutionary at all: we are merely asking that in Scotland the Queen should be Queen Elizabeth, without any enumeration. This is a view which is, I believe, generally shared by logical, historical opinion in Scotland.
It is true that hon. Members doubt whether this opinion is considerable. I do not know whether it is or not, but I do know that there are—and I wish to dissociate myself from them—attacks that are being made on this inscription on the pillar boxes in Scotland. In my constituency they long learned not to do violent things of that kind—and this, of course, is undesirable, because it represents a private enterprise attack on a nationalised industry following the precedent set by the hon. Member who sits in this House for that pillar box.
These manifestations of popular disapproval, however, should be taken into account. When some Scottish Nationalists see the inscription "E II R" on a pillar box, they see red. The saving of revenue and the reduction of expenditure by the Postmaster-General alone should be sufficient reason to try to have a title and inscription which would cause no irritation to any section of the community.
There are other manifestations that this title causes some antipathy in Scotland, because in the news columns of one 206 of the Conservative papers at the weekend we were told that a prominent shop in the main street of Glasgow which had put the inscription "E II R" in its window had, as a result of exhortations from some of its customers, decided to take down the inscription. When the shopkeeper went to an insurance company—and here was an opportunity for the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) to show his patriotism—the insurance company would not even ensure "E II R" against possible injury, so even the insurance companies show a very marked opinion in this respect; they were not patriotic enough to agree to underwrite "E II R." I can imagine that even the inhabitants of Peterhead and Barlinnie, who, in normal circumstances do not object to being guests of Her Majesty, might boggle at being the guests of "E II R."
I suggest this is a matter in which opinion in Scotland might he respected. There is time before the Coronation for advice to be given to Her Majesty that the title should he simply "Queen Elizabeth." This would appease sentiment in Scotland, in the same way as opinion in Ceylon and Pakistan has been appeased.
§ 4.13 p.m.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)
I beg to second the Amendment which has been so ably and felicitously moved by my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes).
In regretting the absence of the Prime Minister on this occasion, realising fully that he has many heavy engagements, I cast no reflection whatsoever upon the Home Secretary, who has been charged with the mission of seeing this Bill through the House. I welcome the right hon. and learned Gentleman's presence because, like the Holy Ghost, he is here in a triune capacity. As a Scotsman he is charged with the Home Department in England; he is also the principal Minister for Wales; in addition, he is a direct link with those ancient and honourable offices which used to be attached to the Royal Household, for his past derives from the King's Secretaries. I welcome his presence in that three-fold capacity, but particularly because he is a Scotsman and because he will, perhaps, hear a good deal about Scotland. 207 I regret the absence of the Prime Minister because he has taken charge of all Questions on this subject for the last 12 months. It is a little over a year since I first put a Question to the Prime Minister on this matter, asking him what he proposed to do to carry out the recommendations of the Commonwealth Conference of 1948. I followed that with another Question later in the year, and then a third Question. Finally, we had the White Paper which was issued a few days ago.
During that period of Question and answer, I thought the Prime Minister was excessively coy about revealing the Government's intentions. He said in reply to one of my supplementary questions—which you, Mr. Speaker, dignified as a speech, without, I am sure, implying anything caustic—that he was not prepared to make constitutional pronouncements in reply to a supplementary question. I accepted that. Later, he said that he had no statement to make. If we traverse the whole of last year we find that the Prime Minister had very little to say on the matter. Taking each Question by itself I have no criticism; but if we take the whole year in review it seems to suggest that until a few weeks ago the Government had given very little consideration to the matter.
After that hesitant attitude we are told in the White Paper:Her Majesty's Government propose, subject to the passage of the Royal Titles Bill, to submit for Her Majesty's Pleasure that the Title for use in this country should beand then follows the title. The point I make, which I hope is a valid one, is that part of that title had already been in use for nearly a year. I put down another Question, which the Prime Minister could not answer because he was in Jamaica and I was in bed, so that Question and answer were divorced, but he very kindly replied in a letter:Her Majesty's Government take full responsibility for advising the Queen on the choice of a style as Elizabeth II,so that there was Governmental responsibility accepted after a whole year.
I submit that that acceptance of Government responsibility, which was a very short answer, could have been given at almost any time during the 12 months 208 that had elapsed if consideration had really been given to the matter. It is not a sufficient answer to say that that outcome depended on the result of the Commonwealth Conference, because surely the Government had decided what decision they would arrive at in view of the fact that part of the decision had already been taken.
From that letter of the Prime Minister two points emerge. I hope that the Home Secretary will be able to say something about the first one. If the Government accept responsibility, did they tender advice, and, if they tendered advice, when did they tender advice and what was the nature of the advice which they tendered?
Secondly, he might also consider this: apart from the Conference, what consultations were held with the Commonwealth, because on that a point does emerge? We are told that Ministers take responsibility for this decision. The point that emerges from that is this: what does the word "Ministers" mean? Does it mean simply right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Front Bench opposite, or does the use of the word "Ministers" in this connection mean the Ministers of the Commonwealth? I think that that point arises from the Questions and answers which have been put and given across the Floor of the House during the year, and from the letter which I received from the Prime Minister.
The White Paper goes on to say that the Royal title is incorrect in its reference to Ireland. It is the submission of the Amendment before the House today that not only is it wrong in its reference to Ireland but it is equally wrong in its reference to Scotland. We in Scotland have always recognised the English as a very kindly and generous people—
§ Mr. Rankin
An old friend of the hon. Member—but they are somewhat careless at times in their expression. I do not think that the carelessness is always very deliberate, so I forgive my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) for the wrong use he made of the word "England."
As an example of what I mean, I want to refer to one of the official Coronation histories, issued for the purpose of the 209 celebration of the Coronation, entitled "The History of the Coronation." It is compiled by Lawrence E. Tanner, M.V.O., V.P.S.A., and I would suggest that that array of letters does indicate authority to speak on the subject.
§ Mr. Rankin
Notice of that question must be given.
He is also designated as Keeper of the Muniments and Library, Westminster Abbey. He starts his 7th chapter, on page 73, with the words:On the eve of the Coronation"—and mark this statement,Queen Elizabeth II is the sixth Queen Regnant of England.Is it any wonder that that phrase gives offence to many people in Scotland when it appears in a book issued by a person of authority and to be found in the Library of the House of Commons? [HON. MEMBERS: "It is perfectly true."] Then where does Scotland come in? Does it mean that she is not Queen Elizabeth II of Scotland? Is she simply Queen Elizabeth II sixth Queen Regnant of England? If that is so, then what is the position of Scotland in regard to the proposed style and title? Does the author exclude her, and is this House prepared to follow the lead of an antiquarian who appears to write with authority?
There is another explanation which arises in the minds of many people—that the words "Great Britain" are used only to dispose of Scottish claims and objections. Once they have been applied, England reverts to her evil historical practices. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, dealing with the Coronation Oath, in a statement to the House on 25th February, said that the change to which he was referring was introducedas a result of the Act of Union with Scotland."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th February, 1953: Vol. 511, c. 2099.]Then he went on to point out that in the Oath Scottish religion was preserved as a right guaranteed under the Act of Union.
But the right hon. Gentleman did not tell the whole story. There were more than Scottish religious rights defended as the result of the Act of Union. As a result of that Act, Scotland and England ceased to be independent countries. The Act of Union was not a merging of Scot- 210 land into England. We are not a satellite of England. I am no Nationalist—I want to make that perfectly clear—but the Act of Union did away with England and Scotland as independent units. It substituted a new name, a new flag and a new Great Seal.
These are the things which have been consistently ignored, not merely in the attitude of England—and I forgive them for that—but time and again in this House. People look on us as taking a rather narrow attitude, but our attitude is defended by a treaty which established that Act of Union between two equals, not between one who was dependent and another who was a great Power.
There is this other point which I want to make. One gathers that a great deal of attention has been given to the wishes of the Commonwealth in regard to the Royal designation. We make no objection to that. My hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire pointed that out in his speech. We make no objection to every attention being given to the wishes of the Commonwealth. But I want to ask, and it is implicit in the questions I have already asked: How much consideration, if any, was given to the wishes of Scotland? Was the Secretary of State for Scotland consulted? This, once again, is not raising any national bogy, but I assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that a great many people in Scotland have written and spoken to me on the matter. Their interest arises not merely from the somewhat circumscribed view that a Nationalist takes. It is the active interest that people have in the association of what I can call without dispute two great nations. How are these things done? What goes on behind the scenes?
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)
Does not my hon. Friend agree that it was not two great nations, but three?
§ Mr. Rankin
Had I the soft, winning accents of a Welshman I might deem myself worthy of saying a few words for Wales, but having the somewhat harsher accents of a harder clime, I confine myself to the Act of Union. We would have been glad to have taken Wales into partnership at that time had Wales been so minded.
In Scotland, a great deal of interest has been shown in how these things are 211 done. There may be something secret attached to them. I do not know. I want to relate my own experiences in this House. I hope that I may be able to indicate what those experiences were without casting any reflection on anyone associated with the work of the House. When I tried, a year ago last February, to put down a Question to raise this issue in the House, I was told, "You cannot put a Question down on that subject; it lies wholly within the Prerogative of the Sovereign."
I had to adopt certain artifices to get my Question on to the Order Paper. I found myself up against a great wall of silent opposition. One wants to be sure that the will of Parliament is supreme, and supreme always. I asked how much attention and consideration had been given to the wishes of Scotland, and I indicated that these matters stirred the interest of many people there. We should not judge that interest solely by the blowing up of a pillar box in the constituency of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling). Most of us realise that nothing much that is good can come from violence of that type. There I support the hon. Member for South Ayrshire, but we must see that there is no element of provocation in our attitude. If we condemn violence on the part of others, let us see that no element of provocation enters into our attitude.
I do not think that it was so very important that the numeral "II" should appear with the letters "E.R." In certain parts of Scotland I have seen pillar boxes which still bear the letters "V.R." and nobody bothers a great deal about that. It seems to me that there was an element of provocation in the insertion of the numeral "II" with the letters "E.R." I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will make it clear that I am wrong, but there is a suspicion, caused by my own experience in the House and the hostility which was manifest when I sought to raise the matter, that the decision about the style and designation was taken without consulting the Prime Minister or anyone else connected with the Government.
That is something about which we in this House have to be careful. We are not denying the existence of the Royal Prerogative. Almost every statutory 212 decision of this House involves the Royal Prerogative. The exercise of mercy involves it, as does the appointment of Ministers, and so on. This debate will have served a useful purpose if it does nothing more than allow us to emphasise that, while accepting the provisions of the Bill under protest, the Royal Prerogative is something which can be superseded or curtailed by Acts of Parliament. Periodically, we exercise our supremacy by shutting the door in the face of Black Rod when he comes here to summon this House to another place.
The price of liberty has always been eternal vigilance. I am convinced that there are influences today which are prepared, given the opportunity, to challenge the sovereignty of Parliament. We must make it clear that in the attitude which we take to this Bill we do not accept the views of those people and that we assert the supremacy of this House. For the reasons I have given, I oppose the Bill and have pleasure in seconding the Amendment.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
The House is oddly ill at ease today, I think, because it is doing a very great thing and, as often in the case of the English—and I use the word advisedly—it is embarrassed in so doing. The English do not like to feel themselves conscious of historic occasions and great acts. Yet today is the fruition of a whole line of policy which is, perhaps, the thing of which the people of this country have more right to be proud than of any other.
Here is an occasion when we in this House are passing legislation which is being paralleled by identical legislation in countries far distant from ours, in many cases countries with very different traditions and histories. For the first time the Queen is being proclaimed Queen of South Africa—and by their Legislatures—Queen of Canada, Queen of Ceylon. Never before has there been so proclaimed a Queen of Ceylon.
All these things are part and parcel of the action in which we are taking part today. It is no wonder that a certain embarrassment falls upon the House; because on such great occasions words are sometimes inadequate or pompous when we seek to describe the dignity and importance of the decisions now in train. 213 The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) rightly said that today we are, for the first time, placing upon statutory record the divisibility of the Crown. There are now seven Crowns, a point which has been a matter of constitutional difficulty and of fierce controversy for many a long year, a point which other great States have refused to acknowledge, and have fallen as a result of failing so to acknowledge. That is merely one of the effects of the legislation which we and the other Legislatures of the Commonwealth are passing as a result of the agreement which is before us today.
I do not agree with the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Beresford Craddock), who said that he thought it should be called the "British Commonwealth of Nations." I think its glory is that it has commended itself to so many people who do not regard themselves, and would be wrong in regarding themselves, as British, although I sympathise, of course, with his desire to emphasise the British aspect. But what else would one expect from the name Craddock, from the name Caradoc, from the name Caractacus, for that is the name he bears?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
That may well be so, but I was speaking of the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne which, believe me, does not mean Victoria or anything feminine. His attitude was in no way a feminine approach. I was merely saying that it was not surprising that someone whose name was Caractacus adopted the attitude with which my hon. Friend approached this question.
There are many people within the Commonwealth whose name is not Caractacus and who are not descendants of that branch of the human family at all. It is a great honour and dignity to the Crown and to the Commonwealth that it is welcomed and respected by societies in such widely scattered parts of the world as those which still wish to 214 call themselves members of the Commonwealth of Nations. We are entitled to take credit for that this afternoon.
But I think we should seek to rise to the dignity of the occasion. I do not feel that the House has risen to that dignity so far, and I say that unless we realise the importance of the change that is being made we shall be surprised by some of the developments which follow. We should not be taken aback by some of these developments when they come about. Because today we are taking a step which has seldom, if ever before in history, been taken by the head of a great constitutional constellation, the recognising and placing on an equal footing with itself, the originator of this whole conception, of those who have in other parts of the world, voluntarily or compulsorily, entered into association with it.
It is an experiment which may lead us very far and which may, let us face it, not be entirely successful. It is not only a bold experiment: it is an experiment carrying a whole world of growth within it. I have seen this development in my own lifetime, and in the lifetime of most of us present. I remember when the League of Nations was set up. The agreement was signed by the United Kingdom and the Dominions; but they were not set in type on the same level as the United Kingdom, because even till then it was held that the United Kingdom had a particular superiority of headship or leadership which differentiated it from the other members of the Commonwealth.
There are many other aspects of this legislation which should be considered. But I will, for a moment or two, devote myself to the Amendment and to the point brought out by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) and the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin), who seconded the Amendment. They object to this Bill because they say that it is not historically accurate. Historical accuracy here is almost impossible. The touchstone of this is, what is the alternative? How would one crystallise with accuracy, into a single phrase, or a single numeral, the complicated interweaving of the sovereignties of the two great nations of Scotland and England? The proof of that is to try to find some other way of doing it. 215 It is not enough, as the hon. Member for South Ayrshire said, to leave out the numeral altogether. One cannot do that. There are other sovereigns and there must be some sequence. It would be very difficult if we had to number even all the Kings of Scotland by the picturesque soubriquets attached to them from time to time—James of the Fiery Face, for instance, or the sovereigns of France of the Dark Ages, like Charles the Bald or James the Fat. There must in our modern life be some system of notation, and what is it to be?
The doctrine of those best able to judge is that in a union such as has taken place the highest numeral should prevail. I am bringing forward that suggestion as a way of dealing with this matter. Otherwise, we have to go back and renumber the sovereigns from the date of the Union of the Crowns, which would lead to some very awkward aspects, some of them unconsidered by the mover and seconder of the Amendment.
According to them, we should say that our Elizabeth the Queen is Elizabeth I, because she is the first Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. In that case, we have by now had Edward I King of Scotland, Edward II King of Scotland, and are looking forward to a possible Edward III King of Scotland. Were the hon. Member for South Ayrshire to disinter those bones from the grave and bring them once again to rule over Scotland, such an act might well bring prominent constituents of his, such as the Earl of Carrick—that being the title of Robert Bruce—from their tombs. I do not think the hon. Member would be able, with any conviction, to sing from the song, "Scots wha hae," of another prominent constituent of his:See approach proud Edward's power—Chains and slaverie!That is the Edward whose numeral he himself would apparently admit as one of the Kings of Scotland. I think we should find ourselves in inextricable difficulties if we attempted to move forward along those lines.
I do not press too strongly the argument, but there is no second Elizabeth in Canada, as there was never a first, because it may be said that Canada was not a Dominion when the first Elizabeth reigned. I do not say that 216 we should deny the title of Elizabeth II to South Africa because there was never an Elizabeth I of South Africa. We may say that those Dominions were then not kingdoms. But that is the sort of difficulty that we should certainly get into. We should by that argument have to consider the enumeration of the Monarch in relation to what would be the effect of any accession or secession of any part of the Dominions. We must allow historical accuracy to bow to some extent before practical possibilities.
As to the title which is here recommended as the title of the Monarch, I altogether disagree with the hon. Member for Tradeston that there is any suggestion that this is not taking place upon advice. The advice was stated and acknowledged by the Secretary of State for Scotland and others. Everyone knows that a Bill is brought forward in Parliament as a result of advice tendered to the Sovereign by her advisers.
§ Mr. Rankinrose——
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I do not wish to be led away here.
The Bill is a practical attempt to solve a very difficult but very important question. I do not agree with the hon. Member for South Ayrshire that this is a matter of no great importance. It is a matter which is keenly and poignantly felt by a great many people. The position of the Crown is at least as keenly regarded by the people of this country as the position of many hon. Members of Parliament, to go no higher than that.
There is another old Scottish song which the hon. Member would do well to remember:Ere the King's crown go downThere are crowns to be broke.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
That is not at all an incitement to violence. It conveys that whenever an attempt is made to violate the Constitution those who attempt to violate it will run into unexpected difficulties.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
We are dealing here with a practical problem of very great complexity. We are also dealing with a sentimental problem which touches 217 the heart and imagination of a great number of people. Like most Scottish hon. Members, I have received many letters from people on both sides, probably more from my own side in politics than from the other. We are dealing, among other things, with two of the great Queens of history. The fame of Mary Queen of Scots has gone all over the world, and it is by virtue of her descent from Mary Queen of Scots that our present Queen sits on the Throne.
Mary Queen of Scots is one of the great Queens of the world; we in Scotland cannot be expected to ignore the existence of Mary Queen of Scots. Equally, however, we cannot expect England to ignore the existence of Queen Elizabeth. One has been immortalised by Spenser and the other by Ronsard; they are both great and famous Queens. We cannot leave Elizabeth out of the sequence of the Queens of this country, nor would it be fair or reasonable to do so.
I repeat my practical suggestion that the doctrine should be enunciated that the highest numeral prevails. By the way, the hon. Member for South Ayrshire, in preaching historical accuracy, seemed to think that there had been only four James's. As a matter of fact, there were six James's and there really have been seven James's. If there were a further James, I contend that he should be James VIII. I do not think James II should be so enumerated in the history. I think he is James VII, because he was the successor of James VI.
§ Mr, Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
I suspect that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has invented a formula to cover this. What about William the Lion? William V was surely the predecessor of Queen Victoria on the Throne of this country if the order of the highest numeral is maintained.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I am not saying that that has been the doctrine up to now. The illustration I gave was enough to make that clear. Nor did I invent the formula. I have taken the counsel of the highest heraldic authorities to which I could have access. It is neither an invented formula nor a new one. It has not been the practice in the past, but I contend that it should be the practice in 218 the future. It would deal with the difficulty that we now have for the immediate purpose before us.
We have a proposal in this Bill which, first, is, in general, one of the highest and most dignified proposals that has ever been put before any legislature in the world in history—that the sovereignty of the other component parts of the Commonwealth is equal to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom; and secondly, that the style and title of the Sovereign who is the first to hold this honour, is not, as perhaps one should logically say, Elizabeth I, but Elizabeth II. I say that it should be Elizabeth II because, as a matter of actual fact, we cannot ignore the existence of the renown, and the hope, which is inspired in the breast of everyone who has read and studied the English tongue, by the sound of the word "Elizabeth."
§ 4.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Cahir Healy (Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Ulster (Mr. O'Neill) and I represent one-third of the geographical area of Northern Ireland. Our objection to this Measure is that the Government are putting certain words into the Queen's title and the Bill, the effect of which will be that, while the Queen is described as Queen of Northern Ireland, in practice she will be called the Queen of Partition. I am sure that Her Majesty will not like that description.
Notwithstanding the artificial border which has been thrown across the country, Ireland is still a nation. I am sure that, as a constitutional Monarch, Her Majesty will carry out the wishes of her Ministers, but, at the same time, I believe that the Government have set her an unpleasant task. They have set her to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for the politicians; the Crown is here being used definitely for a political purpose.
The border counties have many times since 1918 proclaimed their will and wish, namely, that they should be united with the Republican portion of Ireland. The Six Counties are an essential and inalienable part of the Irish nation. It surely is an anomaly that the late Mr. Bonar Law and Lord Carson in this House and in another place in 1920 expressed the wish that there should be a united Ireland notwithstanding the 1920 219 Act, and that their successors today should in this Bill be attempting to make partition permanent.
The Government are endeavouring to give partition a resting place in the Queen's title, "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." That is giving a special recognition to the divided portion known as Northern Ireland. The late Lord Glentoran, who, as Captain Herbert Dixon, was for many years a Member of this House, and was afterwards a Member of the Northern Ireland Government, declared that they in Northern Ireland never wanted partition, that they accepted it at the solicitation of the British and by way of a compromise, and that they preferred to be governed from Westminster. The Prime Minister, therefore, is trying in this Bill to do what his Tory colleagues did not attempt in 1920, namely, to make partition as permanent as he can.
I would remind the House that the Irish race are scattered over the world and are particularly strong in the United States of America. This proposal is carried in face of the suggestion of the Commonwealth Premiers when they were here a short time ago, for they have refused to incorporate in their Royal title any reference to Northern Ireland. That is a very significant point, and one that the right hon. and learned Gentleman skated over very easily today. The British Government in this Bill have merely adopted a shabby, divided garment for their own Queen's Coronation which the Commonwealth Governments have already discarded as being past use, for they respect Irish public opinion.
The White Paper admits that the Royal title is not correct in its reference to Ireland. Instead of leaving Ireland out of the Bill, it proceeds to drag in the truncated portion of the country, that portion that is held down by force of arms. Is this not an effort by the British Government to save their face in view of what is happening in Egypt and in Africa? Ireland is better entitled to freedom than any of those countries because she is a compact nation bounded by the sea. She ought to be free to set up any form of government which her people prefer.
220 It is well known that by very large majorities the people have favoured a Republican form of Government in 26 of the 32 counties, and if given the opportunity tomorrow there would be a Republican Government in the 32 counties. It is an especial humiliation for Irishmen to find their nation beheaded. It was rather unskilfully done by the late Mr. Lloyd George after a harassed people had been persuaded by the Black and Tans. The Queen has the sympathy of the whole Irish people in the unfortunate position in which she finds herself, being in the hands of, and acting on, the advice of such Ministers as she has today, and our hope is that she will be in the hands of wiser councillors soon.
Partition would never have been accepted by the signatories to the Treaty had it not been believed that they were voting, as some of the Tory Members believed, for a united Ireland. But nothing of the kind has eventuated. The Prime Minister himself cannot have any great faith either in Northern Ireland or in partition, because I should like to remind the House of the famous telegram he sent to Mr. De Valera just after he had come into his kingdom as Prime Minister. He said to him:This is your chance. Come and join us. Ireland a nation.What did he mean by that if he did not mean that partition was passing and there would eventuate soon a united Ireland? The Prime Minister obviously has his good moments, and on one of these he could see a united Ireland emerging.
The designation "Northern Ireland" is geographically incorrect because the Northern Ireland Government hold sway only over six of the nine historic counties of Ulster. Donegal, the most historic and one of the largest, is in the Republic. In the process of creating the area known as Northern Ireland, the British Government actually divided four of the dioceses. They beheaded the dioceses as well as the nation. They divided the dioceses of Armagh, Clogher, Derry and Kilmore. If the Cabinet could not find a correct designation or form of words in which to describe the stolen part of Ireland upon which to establish a foothold, why give permanency in this legislation to something which nobody at the 221 time it was introduced thought would last? The Government have no right to fasten upon Her Majesty the odium of a title linked up with an area which Britain's own literary ingenuity cannot describe correctly.
Surely it is an anomaly that a Nationalist like myself should be protesting against putting such an unpleasant duty upon the shoulders of the young Sovereign just at the beginning of her reign. The Government should bear that burden themselves.
Partition has not brought peace to Ireland, North or South, and it has not brought prosperity. We have had internments and we have a very large unemployment problem, about five times greater than the problem here. Therefore, the question must be re-examined to see whether peace and prosperity is not linked with national unity. This is the worst period to have introduced a Measure of this kind, because the Government are trying to give stability to a politcal condition that has produced the results I have indicated. This Bill is a tragic mistake. Everyone in Ireland knows that Partition has failed, and it is only a matter of time until we reach a crisis such as is looming ahead in Egypt, Africa and elsewhere.
I should like to quote the views of the Minister for External Affairs in the Republican Government. He speaks for a large majority of the Irish people. He said in an interview:If this announcement is confirmed by British legislation, it will be deeply resented by the Irish race and will but steel their determination that the Counties cut off will sooner or later be restored to the rest of Ulster and the rest of Ireland. These six north-eastern counties,' the Minister said, 'are an inalienable part of the Irish national territory. It is too bad that the British Government should be induced to link the British Crown and Royal Family so directly with the cruel wrong of Partition, which is the last remnant of British aggression in Ireland. After all,' the Minister added, 'this is the beginning of the second half of the 20th century. The British Government have already been made fully aware of the attitude of the Irish Government and people on the matter. It is to be noted that it is only the British Government which proposes to use the words "Northern Ireland" in their new title; these words are not in the form of title adopted by any other Commonwealth Government. The sooner the British Authorities recognise that their maintenance of a divided Ireland is as much against the interests of the British people as of the Irish people and democracy everywhere, the better it will be for all concerned.'222 Among the people of Northern Ireland, 450,000 of them, practically one-third of them, heartily re-echo those sentiments and that warning. I submit that it is a scandal to find the British Government trying by a side wind to link the Royal Family with a building which will one day topple on their heads. We do not mean any disrespect to Her Majesty. Far from it.
Some hon. Members think they can afford to ignore Ireland. Can they? There are millions of Irish in the United States, a country with which at the moment Great Britain has at least very close financial links. It is true that we have no guns, that we have no bombs, that we have no navy, but we have a spiritual kingdom which extends over the world and is particularly active in most of the English-speaking colonies. These people can never be placated and can never be friends with this country as long as Partition remains and the six counties are cut off from the Irish nation.
§ 5.23 p.m.
§ Professor Sir Douglas Savory (Antrim, South)
I regret to say that it is only because of the tragic death of the Chairman of our Party, our beloved colleague Sir Walter Smiles, that the duty of replying today has fallen upon me. I shall do my best to discharge what is a very difficult task—a task which he would have carried out with much greater eloquence and ability than I can possibly hope to do.
The answer to the allegations of the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Healy) about Northern Ireland is that Southern Ireland agreed to this description. They agreed to it over and over again.
§ Sir D. Savory
In the famous Treaty signed by Lloyd George on 6th December, 1921, the term "Northern Ireland" appears in Article after Article, notably in Articles 11 and 12. When Southern Ireland had their autonomy, when they accepted the Free State, at the same time they accepted the term "Northern Ireland."
They insisted, as part of the Treaty, on the setting up of a Boundary Commission presided over by Mr. Justice Feetham, a very eminent South African judge. When the Boundary Commission were about to 223 report, unfortunately there was a leakage, and on 7th November, 1925, the "Morning Post" published a forecast. This was so factual and so detailed that it was assumed to be true. The Boundary Commission, so far from transferring the whole of the counties of Fermanagh and Tyrone to Southern Ireland, as had been hoped by the Nationalists, proposed to transfer a part of East Donegal to Northern Ireland—if the forecast of the "Morning Post" is to be believed. This produced a panic in Dublin and the Prime Minister, Mr. Cosgrave, sent a telegram to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Stanley Baldwin, asking to be received. He came over and Mr. Stanley Baldwin fixed the conference the very next day.
Mr. Cosgrave and Mr. Kevin O'Higgins came over and met Mr. Baldwin in Downing Street. Mr. Baldwin asked them whether they would not allow Sir James Craig, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, to be summoned to this conference. The conference was continued at Chequers, and finally a very notable Tripartite Agreement was reached, an agreement between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State.
The Preamble of that Agreement is so important, so conciliatory and, I would say, so beautiful that I would ask permission to read one or two of its passages:Whereas, the progress of events and the improved relations now subsisting between the British Government, the Government of the Irish Free State, and the Government of Northern Ireland and their respective peoples make it desirable to amend and supplement the said Articles of Agreement so as to avoid any causes of friction which might mar or retard the further growth of friendly relations between the said Governments and people; andWhereas, the British Government and the Government of the Irish Free State, being united in amity in this undertaking with the Government of Northern Ireland, and being resolved mutually to aid one another in a spirit of neighbourly comradeship, hereby agree as follows:May I remind the House once more that this Agreement was reached on the initiative of the Prime Minister of the Irish Free State? It was signed on behalf of Great Britain by Stanley Baldwin, Winston S. Churchill, W. Joynson-Hicks, Birkenhead, and L. S. 224 Amery. It was signed on behalf of the Irish Free State by the Prime Minister, William T. Cosgrave, by Kevin O'Higgins and Ernest Blythe. It was signed on behalf of the Government of Northern Ireland by the Prime Minister, Sir James Craig, and by Charles H. Blackmore, Secretary to the Cabinet of Northern Ireland.
This Agreement was freely reached, and I only hope that in the few remarks which I shall make I shall continue in the same spirit of moderation as is set forth in this Preamble. The first Article states that the boundary between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland should be that of the Act of 1920; that is to say, the whole of the Six Counties, together with the Cities of Belfast and Londonderry, were permanently to be part of Northern Ireland. That was unanimously agreed by the signatories whose names I have read out.
However, Mr. Cosgrave did not go back empty handed to Dublin, because Article 2 of the Agreement abrogated the famous Article 5 of the Treaty of 1921, in accordance with which the Irish Free State had undertaken to shoulder its liability to a fair share of the National Debt and of war pensions. Mr. Stanley Baldwin. Prime Minister said in the House of Commons that according to the British Treasury this was a liability of no less than £150 million. The liability was such that the Prime Minister of the Irish Free State, Mr. Cosgrave, said it prevented him from launching a loan either in London or in New York. That terrific liability was wiped out by Article 2, through an act of almost unparalleled generosity on the part of the British Government.
I have just said that the Agreement was signed by, among others, Mr. Kevin O'Higgins. A letter from Lady Baldwin says:At the Imperial Conference later on, I met Mr. O'Higgins at an evening party given to the Free State—it was shortly before he was murdered—and I reminded him of that historical time, and his comment was 'The best day's work I ever did, and the best day for Ireland.'He was referring to the signing of that tripartite Agreement which still holds good and, I contend, cannot be repudiated unilaterally.
When introducing the Second Reading of the Ireland Bill on 11th May, 1949, 225 the present Leader of the Opposition, then Prime Minister, used these memorable words:As the House knows, we took a decision recently to retain within the Commonwealth the Republic of India, and no one would wish that any country should be forced to leave the Commonwealth against its will. If that was so with regard to India, it is certainly so with regard to Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and it is quite impossible that we should take up a position which would suggest that Northern Ireland should be excluded from the Commonwealth and United Kingdom against its will.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th May, 1949; Vol. 464, c. 1858.]In fulfilment of that pledge a subsection (2) was inserted in the Ireland Bill by the Labour Government which was then in power:It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty's dominions and of the United Kingdom and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be part of His Majesty's dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.I should like to pay a tribute to the Leader of the Opposition, the former Prime Minister, for the fair way in which, in the Ireland Bill, he dealt with this complicated question. We look upon that subsection inserted by the Labour Government as the charter of Northern Ireland.
We have been told today that in the other titles adopted by the various Dominions there are simply the words "United Kingdom," but in the title to be conferred on Her Majesty the Queen in this country the words "Northern Ireland" have been added. Why? Simply and solely because it is the wish of Northern Ireland. We desire that this association should be insisted upon, if possible, more emphatically than ever because we want our people to realise it more than ever. They fought with this country during the whole of the last war. They were the bridgehead, because it was in Northern Ireland that all the American troops were trained. As the Prime Minister then said, Northern Ireland was indispensable to the safety of this country because, had not that northern channel been kept open for the convoys to reach Glasgow and Liverpool, the United Kingdom would have perished in the late war. That is why we ask this House today to confirm that addition of "Northern Ireland" to the title of Her Majesty.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Mr. A. C. Manuel (Central Ayrshire)
I apologise to the hon. Member for Antrim, South (Sir D. Savory) for not following him into the devious and rather gloomy past of Irish political history, because I would prefer to leave it to some other hon. Member to deal with the remarks he has made.
I support the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), because I believe that we should have historical accuracy in the designation of the Royal title for Scotland. In listening to the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) I was astonished at the way he slid over the Scottish aspects of this matter, because in this House we all know of his great ability and of how well versed he is in this subject. In view of the fact that in Scotland the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is a perfervid Scot and appeals, as such, to the nationalist element much more than many of us on this side of the House, I thought he would have played up to the things he has supported in Scotland over a long period in order to woo Scottish nationalist support. What the right hon. and gallant Gentleman said, and the points he made, regarding countries such as South Africa, Ceylon and Burma, would have been as valid without the use of the numerals. It would not make any difference, and that dressing up of the matter could be dispensed with so far as the title is concerned.
I want to find out what steps were taken by the Prime Minister to consult Scottish opinion. There was rather a laugh about the fact that my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire, who is a Welshman, should have moved the Amendment. There is nothing wrong in that. A Liverpool Scot, who is Minister for Welsh Affairs, is dealing with the matter today from the Despatch Box on behalf of the Government and will be replying to this reasoned Scottish Amendment. Therefore, we should not treat in any jocular way the fact that my hon. Friend moved the Amendment.
§ Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)
The Liverpool Scot to whom the hon. Member refers was born in the constituency of Edinburgh, South.
§ Mr. Manuel
That is more than the hon. Member can say for himself. I rather think that he was born this side of the Border, and not on the other side. He therefore cuts himself out of this discussion if birthright is to be the criterion. I do not, however, agree with that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has a perfect right to act as he is acting today, in the same way as my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire has.
What organisations in Scotland were consulted? Scottish Members who have been asked by their constituents to inquire about these things have a right to know. Could we be told of any conversations which took place? For very obvious reasons we must probe this matter to the full. After all, there were discussions, as outlined in the White Paper, between the Prime Minister and other Prime Ministers and representatives of Commonwealth countries. If that were so—and that is factual—surely we in Scotland are entitled to say that we have an equal right to be consulted by the Prime Minister in just as real a way as the consultations he had with the Commonwealth countries.
It is within the knowledge of the House that there have been other occasions when the Prime Minister has made great play of the fact that he has consulted Scottish opinion. At election time, the Prime Minister always liked to go to Scotland. He liked to parade at huge meetings in big football stadiums and to give certain pledges on behalf of his party if they were returned to power, such as the pledge, when he said that the Labour Government ought to be doing more to meet Stalin, that if he was returned to power he would certainly further that aim.
That was consulting Scottish opinion. If on that occasion, in a matter which I do not think is quite as closely allied to Scottish public opinion as the present one, although possibly of greater importance—I do not dispute that—the Prime Minister felt that Scottish opinion was important, he would have been right to have met people who could talk to him authoritatively in this instance, and he ought to have had the reasoned opinions of reputable Scottish organisations on this most important matter.
I think that, for obvious reasons, the Secretary of State for Scotland would 228 have been consulted. After all, he is the elected and titular head of Government in Scotland, and he must have been approached by the Prime Minister. The Secretary of State is a member of the Cabinet. He has high rank in the Government, and I am very sorry that he is not present. We seem continually to be dealing with the excellent hon. Gentlemen who are Joint Under-Secretaries, but the Secretary of State for Scotland in this important matter ought to be on the Front Bench.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
My right hon. Friend was here when all the previous Scottish speakers were addressing the House. He went out for a short time when the debate took an Irish turn, but he will be back quite shortly.
§ Mr. Manuel
I hope that the debate is not still in the "Irish turn." [Interruption.] I am delighted to see that the Secretary of State for Scotland has now arrived back on the Front Bench.
I think that, for obvious reasons, the Secretary of State would have been consulted by the Prime Minister in regard to the title for the Queen so far as Scotland is concerned. The Secretary of State comes into this matter in a very real way. I am certain that his forebears must have had something to do with the Treaty of Union of 1707. Possibly the Earl of Moray was a signatory, and his signature is in the Lords Library. At any rate, both by birth and by present responsibility the right hon. Gentleman had a right to be consulted, and he had a right to fight for Scotland and for Scottish opinion in this matter. What we ask the Secretary of State—I hope that he will be coming to the Dispatch Box to tell us—is what actually took place between him and the Prime Minister arising from their discussions on the Bill.
I do not want to deal with this at too great length, because it should not be a party matter. I think we should all agree on all sides of the House that it ought not to be a party issue. It ought not to be a question as between Scotland and England, but a question of historical accuracy. That is all we want to get. We ought to examine briefly the relevant sections in the actual Treaty of Union, where both countries were brought together.
I reinforce in the strongest possible manner the remarks of my hon. Friend 229 the Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin). Scotland and England came together at that time as equal partners, and not with Scotland as an appendage of England. Section 1 of the Treaty indicates that as from 1st May, 1707, the Kingdoms of England and Scotland ceased to exist as independent political units when the new kingdom, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, came into being. The section reads:That the two kingdoms of England and Scotland shall upon the first day of May which shall be in the year one thousand seven hundred and seven and for ever after be united into one Kingdom"—the two kingdoms were made into one—by the name of Great Britain"—I point that out to my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), who spoke from the Opposition Dispatch Box and designated Her Majesty the Queen of England. The Treaty of Union laid down in Section 1 that the United Kingdom was to be regarded as Great Britain—and that the ensigns armorial of the said United Kingdom be such as Her Majesty shall appoint and the Crosses of St. George and St. Andrew shall be conjoined in such manner as Her Majesty shall think fit and used in all flags banners standards and ensigns both at sea and on land.Section XXIV definitely carries that intention into further actuality, and we must have regard to that.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
I am trying to follow my hon. Friend's interesting historical argument, but, as he starts with 1707, he makes it difficult. If he is enumerating the kings in historical accuracy, he should begin where we shared the monarch, and not when we united the kingdom. I am seeking information as a mere Sassenach and am probably unapprised of the deep importance of these matters, but should not Edward VII have been Edward I of the United Kingdom? If so, if there is a James in future, will he become James I of the United Kingdom, or James III of England and James VIII of Scotland?
§ Mr. Manuel
That is a very large Committee point; possibly it could be ironed out later when we come to the Committee stage of the Bill. I think my hon. Friends should raise it then. I am trying to deal with the facts arising from the Treaty of Union of 1707 where Scots, in signing that Treaty, were definitely 230 trying to make certain safeguards for the future so far as Scotland was concerned. Are those safeguards being observed in the Bill before Parliament?
Section 1 shows quite clearly that both were equally coming into one kingdom. Why should we at this stage try to carry on the backbround and traditions of one of the kingdoms while letting the other fall? We must not do that, but must find some other way out. I do not think the Government should try to aggravate public opinion in Scotland. I am no Scottish Nationalist, but I do not think we should give levers to people of that opinion in Scotland to cause trouble. I think it was very bad that that pillar box should have been flaunted in Edinburgh as it was. I did not think at that time that it should have been placed as it was, and neither should it have been designated as it was. Any ordinary pillar box would have suited the convenience of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) just as well as the one which was blown up—much better, because it would not have been interfered with.
Whether we like it or not, I put it to the Secretary of State for Scotland that we must hold the right hon. Gentleman responsible. He ought to have made certain that at least historical accuracy should be preserved. I am presuming that he was consulted. If he allowed himself merely to be shoved aside and his views not taken into consideration that would be worse, but, if the Prime Minister did consult the Secretary of State for Scotland, he must tell us what transpired and what sort of conversation ensued. I rather think it would be a one-sided conversation, but I hope that at least there was some return from Scotland. Although possibly the right hon. Gentleman has large ties in England, his position has equipped him to answer on behalf of the people of Scotland. I ask him, did he agree to the title of Elizabeth II? If he did, he must take the blame for this gross historical inaccuracy, because that cannot apply in Scotland and be historically correct.
If he did disagree with that, as I think he ought to have done, why was his dissent not even noted? There is nothing in the White Paper about it. There is notice that consultations took place with other Prime Ministers and representatives 231 of other Commonwealth countries, but not a single word about the Secretary of State for Scotland to the effect that he was even consulted, nor was his dissent noted if he was against this historical inaccuracy. Why were his views not noted? Were his views treated with contempt? Was he merely brushed aside? With his great historical background and his eloquence at the Dispatch Box. he could very ably have put forward the case for Scotland.
The right hon. Gentleman is in the position of the titular head of the Government with his great background of nobility and ties with the Morays—people who had to do with the original Treaty which he is trying to break up in the respect that he is not observing historical accuracy. What did he do; what did he say? Has he failed Scotland? Will be come to the Dispatch Box tonight and justify it? It is always a job to get him to the Dispatch Box as he is rather backward and likes to give publicity to the Under-Secretaries, who are, I agree, very capable. But I think that on this major issue he should not abrogate his strength and opinions to come from other throats than his own at the Dispatch Box tonight. He has to justify either his activity or his inactivity in this matter.
I want to go on record as being completely against the historical inaccuracy proposed in this Bill, and I hope the Government will give some thought to the Amendment with a view to meeting Scottish opinion in this matter.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)
It has been said that the English are a most tolerant people and I think that the House has been exceptionally tolerant this afternoon. I think it rather surprising but very interesting that the two principal speakers, the most vocal and revolutionary in their views, have declared themselves Republicans.
I think it is a happy augury for the Crown that the Republican representative, the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), and the declared Republican representative the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Healy), have come forward with great solicitude for the Royal House. I think that good things may well flow not only 232 from the intervention of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire but more happily from the intervention of the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone this afternoon.
§ Sir W. Darling
I do not suppose that that observation might do the hon. Member much good with his constituents. but it is extremely well meant. As to the observation that I do not know where Fermanagh is, let the hon. Member ask his hon. Friend from Fermanagh and South Tyrone whether he thinks that I know Fermanagh well enough. Let him address his question to his hon. Friend. not to me.
The fact is that the commotion of which we have heard this afternoon has been very real. This is not merely a ripple on the surface of our Parliamentary life. The feelings that the Republicans have expressed are also deeply held by people in Scotland. But I do not think there is any doubt whatever that this matter has been exaggerated beyond the measure of its real importance. I speak with some feeling. Reference was made to the fact that it was in the constituency of Edinburgh, South that a pillar box had been erected with an offending sign and had been eight times destroyed by mal-intentioned persons.
I should like to tell the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel), because it is relevant to this subject, that one of my achievements in this House, on behalf of my constituents, is that for many years I petitioned the Postmaster-General for a pillar box to be placed in that expanding part of my constituency. I petitioned the Government of the party of which the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire is a member. Had they been more punctilious and quick in carrying out my request the pillar box would have been erected not bearing the letters, "E.R. II" but the letters current at that time. So the real reason for these disturbances in my constituency is the neglect and delay—not for the first time—of the former Administration.
These manifestations, as I say, are not to be commended. They are most undesirable. But, as other hon. Members 233 have pointed out, they are the expression of a widespread opinion in Scotland that this matter has not been considered, or has been considered mistakenly. I do not join with the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire in his challenge to the Secretary of State for Scotland. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend can look after himself. There are other ideas which may be new to the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire and which I may be able to place before him shortly.
Without exception, the Press in Scotland have condemned the apparent neglect of Scottish public opinion. It is not only the opinion of daily newspapers, such as the Scottish edition of the "Daily Herald" or the "Daily Express." It is the opinion expressed in the "Scotsman," the "Glasgow Herald," the "Dundee Courier" and the "Aberdeen Journal." Throughout the whole of our country there has been marked comment on this subject. Like myself, many have been mystified, because they have been given no clear indication—doubtless there is a clear indication to be given—of what lay behind the mind of the Government in advising Her Majesty to take this particular Royal cypher as her own.
I must deal with the problem of insurance, because that affects the standing of an industry with which I am not unconnected. The hon. Member for South Ayrshire made a mis-statement to the House in saying that no insurance company in Scotland would insure goods bearing the letters "E.R.II." If the hon. Member is in any difficulty in that respect I can put him in touch with a dozen good Scottish companies which will cover civil commotion, and cover it adequately. So that slender prop to a poorly constructed argument is now removed.
I was struck by what was said by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker). He commended the Bill to the House as a Measure the importance of which could not be overestimated. I liked his phrase that Her Majesty's title might be "locally varied." If that counsel has been considered it certainly should have been followed. It has been followed outside this island and might be followed to some extent, unless there is a good reason against it, in Scotland.
I come now to the suggestions and the arguments we have heard from those who 234 share with me the representation of Scotland in this House. On several occasions it has been said that this is historically inaccurate. I cannot accept that view. In spite of my English birth, I have as much knowledge of Scottish history as most of the hon. Members who have spoken. I would put forward this theory—it is no more than a theory—advanced by one of my constituents, and which I have accepted. It may commend this Measure to the House, and get over the difficulties and sharpness of view which hitherto has been apparent.
My constituent points out that the union of the Crowns was the datum line. Before that there was no history. With the union of the Crowns there was a new phase in our joint history. The two countries became one. It is from then that we begin to give names and titles to our Sovereigns. Let it not be forgotten that there has been a Royal lady who is still with us, making her residence in Scotland; a Queen Elizabeth, known, adored and worshipped by the people of this country—Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Mother. She was the first Queen Elizabeth in Scotland——
§ Sir W. Darling
The hon. Gentleman has said that he will investigate this on the grounds of historical accuracy. I am putting before him a sentimental view which may not be intolerable and may be the basis of a unity of understanding. I am suggesting that the first Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom was the Queen Mother, who is still with us. She was the Queen Elizabeth I—[HON. MEMBERS "No."] None the less I am putting forward that theory which can be justified by sentiment. If the hon. Members for South Ayrshire and Central Ayrshire and Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) are taking their stand upon the Treaty of Union, that all history before that is a closed book and that we start again with the Treaty of Union, my contention is irresistible. The Royal lady now on the Throne is either Elizabeth II or Elizabeth I. I submit that she is Elizabeth II, because the first Queen Elizabeth, the consort of King George VI, was Elizabeth I of England and Scotland.
Would right hon. and hon. Gentlemen tell the Royal lady now on the Throne that she is to deny the fact that her mother, the Scots-born Queen Elizabeth, 235 was the first? Is Her Majesty to claim precedence over her mother? I suggest that the historical interpretation must give place to other interpretations. The historical interpretation has been challenged and overthrown by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) on numerical grounds; and the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) has pointed out that the historical basis leads to all sorts of inadequacies, anomalies and incomprehensibilities. But what I have put forward, the theory of a constituent, herself a woman——
§ Sir W. Darling
The hon. Member says that it is very slick, but it is historically and sentimentally true. We know that the first Queen Elizabeth in Scotland and in England was Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. If the Royal lady chooses to accept—of her own initiative or on the advice of her Ministers, I care not what—the title of Elizabeth II, she is in fact truly stating her case. She is the second Elizabeth we have had since the Treaty of Union in Scotland, as in England.
If my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite do not agree they need not be too unhappy, because I have yet to read them two telegrams which I have today received. They have good support in this matter, because the senders of these telegrams do not agree. The first reads:Queen Mother was Consort not Queen. Your suggestion very silly because title Elizabeth II inaccurate and insulting. Writing.The other telegram reads:Do not degrade Scottish intelligence. Consort Elizabeth no more first than Mary was third Scots.I am happy to allow that to hon. Gentlemen, who, I think, are a bit weak on the historical side.
§ Mr. McGovern
Is the suggestion of the hon. Member that at the present time we have two Queens Elizabeth, and that as the Queen Mother is still living she is Elizabeth I and the present Queen Elizabeth II?
§ Sir W. Darling
The suggestion I am making is interesting and practical. There is no need to number the person who is, in fact, the first. Queen Mary was never called Queen Mary I. The 236 wife of William III was referred to only as "William and Mary" so that this affection for numbers, for simple mathematics, is not very helpful. My suggestion, although it may not be logical, although based on sentimentality and opposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite who are great historical students, has the merit of being acceptable.
None would deny the fact that there was one Elizabeth in our memory the first Queen Elizabeth in England and in Scotland. She was the first Queen Elizabeth in England and Scotland at the same time, and, when her daughter was called upon to follow her Royal mother, she became Elizabeth II. Those who took that decision have my support, and I, for one, in spite of the fact that pillar boxes have been burned in my constituency, shall still continue to support that decision.
This has been a very important and a revealing debate, particularly in regard to the two Republicans and the Welsh-Scottish Republican. The poet Robert Burns came from the constituency of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire, and he wrote:It's no in titles, no in rank,That moves men;Nor Lunnon Bank.He added his conclusion thatThe heart's aye, the past aye—That makes things right or wrong.
§ Sir W. Darling
I am paraphrasing the quotation in order to give hon. Members the chance of correcting me.
Robert Burns asserted that titles and rank were not important, and I suggest that the heart of Scotland and the heart of England will wish God-speed to this Bill, not only because of its Imperial possibilities and its necessity in the rearrangement of the British Commonwealth, but because it gives expression to the regard they have for their Gracious Queen.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
After that introduction to Robert Burns, and after hearing the pronunciation of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling), I wondered whether it was Robert Burns I or Robert Burns II. For quite a long time, the hon. Gentleman 237 was going round in circles; certainly, he went round in oratorical circles today, but the trouble was that he kept coming back to the arguments of his opponents. He referred to this passion for numerals and said it was complete nonsense, because we do not need numerals. That is exactly what we on this side of the House are saying.
The suggestion that there would be confusion between Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II is quite nonsensical. As the hon. Gentleman himself said when referring to the joint holding of the Crown by William and Mary, no one ever referred to Mary II or to Mary Tudor as Mary I. There was no need for the numeral, because no confusion could arise at all.
The point is this. The proposal in the White Paper is a historical inaccuracy, because it says:Elizabeth the Second. by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain …The United Kingdom of Great Britain only started in the year 1707. There has been no Queen Elizabeth since then, and, therefore, the present Queen Elizabeth is the first Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) may shrug his shoulders and say, "Well, I really did not mean it," but there is an undoubted tendency in England to talk about the Queen of England and the King of England, and to forget that, by the Act of Union of 1707, the independent Kingdom of Scotland vanished, and so also did the independent Kingdom of England.
Thereafter, for the first time, there was the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom Crown. It was necessary—and this is probably the answer to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) who was asking questions on historical grounds—because the Union of the Crowns in 1603 left us with two separate kingdoms, and, as a matter of fact, if we follow that up to the reign of Queen Anne, there was no foregone conclusion that, after her death, there would be the same ruler in England and Scotland. As a matter of fact, an Act was passed through this House in order to try, by means of a little political and economic 238 blackmail, to appeal to the Scottish estates to accept the Act of Settlement that would be arrived at in England, and that was the reason William III, and. later, the advisers to Queen Anne, put such stress on the importance of getting the Act of Settlement, so that, for the first time, there would be the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Hale
Is not my hon. Friend rather overlooking the point that Scots themselves did refer to the gentleman who was called the Old Pretender as James VIII, and that was eight years after the Act of Union—in 1715? After that, the gentleman who died in Rome some years later was regarded by them as James IX, and I understand that the present Secretary of State for Scotland has still some claim to be regarded as James X.
§ Mr. Ross
I must correct the history of my hon. Friend, because the gentleman who died in Rome could not possibly have been James IX, because the name of the Young Pretender was Charles Edward.
I was really surprised at the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) presuming to lecture us on this point. If I remember rightly, he once talked about the Scotsman's heritage, but Elizabeth I was no part of the Scotsman's heritage. She is probably remembered best, of all people, by the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is a descendant of the Earl of Moray who was the half-brother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and it was Elizabeth I who ordered the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. How can we expect any Scotsman to accept by implication this English heritage of regarding Elizabeth I as a great Queen? The new start was made in 1707, and there would have been absolutely no confusion——
Mr. John McKie (Galloway)
The hon. Gentleman will remember that the Queen of Scots at that time had been outlawed from her own country.
§ Mr. Ross
She went to England by invitation of the Queen, who put her in prison. The invitation was given at a time when Elizabeth I thought she would not accept it.
The point of this matter is not the important social aspect of the question, but this irritation of the real feeling in Scotland that the Government have just 239 ignored Scottish sentiment, and that it comes from a Government of people who, right from the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South, for five years went around Scotland telling us that it was we Socialists who were ignoring and insulating Scotland. We now get the situation in which the Secretary of State, who, although he has had a year in which to tell us something about it, has not yet given us any idea either of his responsibilities for this decision or the justification for it. In fact, we do not even know whether he was consulted or not.
I want to commend my hon. Friend the Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) for his attitude on this matter. He took quite a long time to get from the Prime Minister the reply that the Government took full responsibility for advising the Crown on the style of Elizabeth II. I do not know whether the people of Scotland fully realise that the responsibility rests on the shoulders of Her Majesty's Government. It is typical of Her Majesty's Government that they have to get a Scotsman today to try to get them out of the hole into which they have got themselves. As we have seen so often before, we see the Home Secretary and Minister for Welsh Affairs coming forward. It is regrettable that we should have had to wait for this important debate to raise this matter, because we are inclined to emphasise this Scottish point which is really a small point in this very important Bill.
I fully appreciate what was said by the Home Secretary and by my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker)—that what the Bill does is to take note of changes in the situation of the British Commonwealth which far too many people on the opposite side of the House have denied. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite have clung tenaciously to the word "Empire." This Bill kills the idea of the British Empire. For the first time we have a Queen who is not merely Queen of the United Kingdom but, in an independent capacity, Queen of the various Commonwealth countries such as Pakistan, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand. This is a great development that will maintain the close links which many of us thought would have been severed by the shattering circumstances of the Second World War.
240 The idea of the Commonwealth survived because there was close contact between the Government and the peoples of the Commonwealth. Let Her Majesty's Government also learn a lesson from that and remember the wishes of people at home and those dependent members within the United Kingdom itself. There was absolutely no need to introduce the words "Northern Ireland." We have been told already that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. The words should be left as "Queen of the United Kingdom." There was also absolutely no need for the Government to advise the inclusion of the quite unnecessary numeral II, which gives offence to many loyal subjects in Scotland.
§ 6.13 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)
My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) referred to the embarrassment which the House had felt in dealing with this Bill. I confess that I feel more than my own share of embarrassment in rising to agree with those hon. Members who have opposed it. But there my agreement with them ceases, because my objection to this Bill relates to the central fact of what it does and what, when it is passed. will be done by virtue of the Prerogative.
My right hon and learned Friend the Home Secretary said in his speech that this Bill departed in a substantial point from the Statute of Westminster. I think that it was a matter of perhaps more importance than he devoted to it. When the Statute of Westminster gave statutory recognition to the legislative independence of the Parliaments of the Empire it recognised in its Preamble two voluntary limitations upon that independence. Those two limitations were that any alteration either in the succession or in the title of the Crown would be made, if at all, only by the agreement of all concerned.
It is important that the House should have the words of that Preamble in its mind.… it would be in accordsaid the Preamble,with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom:…
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall (Colne Valley)
Surely the hon. Member has read the Bill. The second paragraph of its Preamble makes it quite clear that agreement has been reached.
§ Mr. Powell
If the right hon. Gentleman had listened to me for a little longer there would have been hardly any need for that shallow intervention.
The Statute of Westminster preserved what were then considered to be the two essential unities—the unity of the person of the Monarch, by maintaining that the succession, if changed, should be changed simultaneously and in the same way—and the unity of the identity of the Monarch by maintaining that the title, if changed at all, should be changed simultaneously and in the same way. The second of those two unities, the unity of title, is deliberately departed from by the agreement which this Bill implements. Agreement there has indeed been; but that agreement is only an agreement to differ.
It is a consequence of that agreement to differ that, whereas in the only previous case since the Statute of Westminster where the Royal style has been altered, that alteration was specified and written into the Statute which made it, the alteration has here been left unspecified both as regards time and as regards nature. Therefore, to see what alteration is proposed in virtue of this Bill, we have to look to the White Paper.
The new style for the United Kingdom which is foreshadowed in the White Paper is not quite the first attempt at a new style which has been made. Over a year ago, on 7th February, when Her present Majesty was proclaimed, she was proclaimed by an unknown style and title and one which at that time had no statutory basis. It is not quite the same title as is proposed in the present White Paper. I am not quibbling over whether the use of a title in a proclamation requires statutory authority or not. I would only remark in passing, however, that it is remarkable that we should have this necessity for Commonwealth agreement and for legislation by the Parliaments if upon that solemn moment of her accession the Queen could be proclaimed by a title unknown to the law. I notice that the other Dominions proclaimed her by her existing style.
§ Mr. Powell
With only an addition, following that style, equivalent to the asseverance of loyalty which followed our own expression of the title in the Proclamation. I think that the right hon. Gentleman will find that that was the case if he makes the comparison.
When we come to the proposed new style for the United Kingdom, I find in it three major changes, all of which seem to me to be evil. One has been very clearly and correctly pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick. It is that in this title, for the first time, will be recognised a principle hitherto never admitted in this country, namely, the divisibility of the Crown.
The second feature of the new title is the suppression of the word "British," both from before the words "Realms and Territories" where it is replaced by the words "her other" and from before the word "Commonwealth," which, in the Statute of Westminster, is described as the "British Commonwealth of Nations."
The third major change is that we have a new expression and concept—the "Head of the Commonwealth." I shall deal with these three major changes in order.
The term "Realms," which is to appear in the new title, is an emphatic statement that Her Majesty is the Queen of a considerable number of separate kingdoms. Hitherto, that has not been this country's acceptance of the term. For example, in introducing the corresponding Royal and Parliamentary Titles Bill in 1927, the then predecessor of my right hon. and learned Friend said:… the word 'Realm' is constituted an alternative expression for the 'Dominions of the Crown'."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th March, 1927; Vol. 203, c. 1265.]That had come to be the case by a well-recognised historical process. If you look back at the Act of Succession, Mr. Speaker, you will find a reference there, in respect of England, to the Imperial Crown of this Realm and France and Ireland. By the process of events the claim to the throne of France was dropped and by the successive Acts of Union the three Kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland, each with their separate historical origins, were merged into one. There was one realm, over which was the Imperial Crown of the 243 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the territories thereto belonging.
§ Mr. Powell
I am not dealing with the word "Imperial." Of course, Henry VIII was referring to England; but when he used the word "empire" he meant it in the medieval sense and was proclaiming the independence of this country from the Holy Roman Empire. But that is a by-way.
Within this unity of the realm achieved by the Acts of Union there grew up the British Empire; and the unity of that Empire was equivalent to the unity of that realm. It was a unit because it had one Sovereign. There was one Sovereign; one realm. In the course of constitutional development, indeed, the Sovereign began to govern different parts of that realm upon the advice of different Ministers; but that in itself did not constitute a division of the realm. On the contrary, despite the fact that he or she ruled his or her Dominions on the advice of different Ministers, the unity of the whole was essentially preserved by the unity of the Crown and the one Kingdom.
That unity we are now formally and deliberately giving up, and we are substituting what is, in effect, a fortuitous aggregation of a number of separate entities. I have not deliberately exaggerated by using the word "fortuitous." Here we find these different entities defining the identity of their Sovereign differently. By recognising the division of the realm into separate realms, are we not opening the way for that other remaining unity—the last unity of all—that of the person, to go the way of the rest?
§ Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
My hon. Friend may recollect that when the Dominion of Canada was set up there was a proposal that it should be called the Kingdom of Canada. If that is the case his claim that this diversity of realms is an innovation falls to the ground.
§ Mr. Powell
I did not say it was an innovation; I said it is an innovation in the view of this country. Hitherto, in the United Kingdom, the view has never been 244 held that there were separate kingdoms. It has been held that there was one single realm.
Incidentally, I notice that I am not alone in my repugnance to this change. Unless the proceedings in the Australian Parliament have been misreported, the same feeling was alive in Australia. In "The Times" of 19th February the Australian Prime Minister is reported as saying:He had strongly opposed the suggestion that the Queen should be named Queen of Australia without first mention of the United Kingdom, because this would tend to work against unity.The report goes on:It was unnecessary anyway, as the Queen was, under strict law, Australia's Queen, because Australia had never made an Act of secession.As I read those words they bear witness to the same sense of repugnance to the recognition of a division of the realm.
I come now to the second major alteration which will be made by the eventual use of the Royal Prerogative—the suppression of the word "British" from the description both of Her Majesty's territories outside the United Kingdom and of the Commonwealth. Incidentally, and as a minor by-product, this suppression of our nationality has resulted in what is really nonsense. Strictly speaking, to describe the Queen as Queen of the United Kingdom and "Her other Realms and Territories" is meaningless.
We describe a Monarch by designating the territory of which he is Monarch. To say that he is Monarch of a certain territory and his other realms and territories is as good as to say that he is king of his kingdom. We have perpetrated a solecism in the title we are proposing to attach to our Sovereign and we have done so out of what might almost be called an abject desire to eliminate the expression "British." The same desire has been felt—though not by any means throughout the British Commonwealth—to eliminate this word before the term "Commonwealth." I noticed that the Leader of the Opposition in Australia also said that:He thought the time had come to change the description of the Commonwealth in the Statute of Westminster as the 'British Commonwealth of Nations' into the 'British Commonwealth'.245 Why is it, then, that we are so anxious, in the description of our own Monarch, in a title for use in this country, to eliminate any reference to the seat, the focus and the origin of this vast aggregation of territories? Why is it that this "teeming womb of royal Kings," as Shakespeare called it, wishes now to be anonymous?
When we come to the following part of the title we find the reason. The history of the term "Head of the Commonwealth" is not a difficult one to trace. I hope I may be forgiven if I do so very briefly. The British Nationality Act, 1948, removed the status of "subject of the King" as the basis of British nationality, and substituted for allegiance to the Crown the concept of a number—I think it was nine—separate citizenships combined together by statute. The British Nationality Act, 1948, thus brought about an immense constitutional revolution, an entire alteration of the basis of our subjecthood and nationality, and since the fact of allegiance to the Crown was the uniting element of the whole Empire and Commonwealth it brought about a corresponding revolution in the nature of the unity of Her Majesty's dominions.
The consequence of that Act immediately followed. If the British dominions were not those territories which acknowledged the Queen, but were an aggregation of separate countries enumerated in a statute, it might be possible not only to add or to subtract, but for any of those territories to throw off their allegiance without any consequential result; and that was, in fact, what happened.
In the following year, India declared its intention to renounce its allegiance to the Crown and become a republic. Because of that change in the whole basis of unity of this great entity, that intention did not involve the consequences which would have followed as little as a year before. The declaration of the Prime Ministers, of 28th April, 1949, included the following passage:The Government of India have declared and affirmed India's desire to continue with her full membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and her acceptance of the King as the symbol of the free association of those independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth.It was accordingly enacted by the India (Consequential Provision) Act, 246 1949, that the law of this country should continue to apply to India as it would have done if India had not renounced its allegiance to the Crown. The result of that is, as we have found in a queer way in the only definition of the term "Commonwealth" on the Statute Book—it occurs in one of the sections of the Finance Bill, 1950, because a Member of the then Opposition put down an Amendment to draw attention to the omission— that the Commonwealth consists ofHer Majesty's dominions and India.The status of India resulting from these changes and declarations is an ungraspable one in law or in fact. The Indian Government say that they recognise the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth. Well, I recognise the right hon. Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Attlee) as Leader of the Opposition, but that does not make me a Member of Her Majesty's Opposition.
§ Mr. Powell
I see, Mr. Speaker, that any serious remarks on this subject must be addressed to hon. Members on this side of the House.
When we endeavour to ascertain into what relationship with Her Majesty's dominions this recognition of the Crown as Head of the Commonwealth has brought India, we find ourselves baulked. It was intended that this relationship should, in fact, be uninterpretable. It is, therefore, necessary to inquire what is the minimum content which entitles us to recognise unity at all, and then to ask whether that necessary minimum content is applicable in the case of India.
I assert that the essence of unity, whether it be in a close-knit country or in a loosely-knit federation, is that all the parts recognise that in certain circumstances they would sacrifice themselves to the interests of the whole. It is this instinctive recognition of being parts of a whole, which means that in certain circumstances individual, local, partial interests would he sacrificed to the general interest, that constitutes unity. Unless there is some such instinctive, deliberate determination, there is no unity. There may be alliance, indeed. We may have alliance between two sovereign Powers for the pursuit of common interest for 247 a particular or for an undefined period; but that is not unity. That is not the maintenance or the creation of any such entity as we refer to by the name "Empire" or "Commonwealth."
I deny that there is that element, that minimum basic element, of unity binding India to Her Majesty's dominions. I deny that there is present, in that former part of Her Majesty's dominions which has deliberately cast off allegiance to her, that minimum, basic, instinctive recognition of belonging to a greater whole which involves the ultimate consequence in certain circumstances of self-sacrifice in the interests of the whole.
I therefore say that this formula "Head of the Commonwealth" and the declaration in which it is inscribed, are essentially a sham. They are essentially something which we have invented to blind ourselves to the reality of the position. Although the changes which will be made in the Royal titles as the result of the Bill are greatly repugnant to me, if they were changes which were demanded by those who in many wars had fought with this country, by nations who maintained an allegiance to the Crown, and who signified a desire to be in the future as we were in the past; if it were our friends who had come to us and said: "We want this," I would say: "Let it go. Let us admit the divisibility of the Crown. Let us sink into anonymity and cancel the word 'British' from our titles. If they like the conundrum 'Head of the Commonwealth' in the Royal style, let it be there."
However, the underlying evil of this is that we are doing it for the sake not of our friends but of those who are not our friends. We are doing this for the sake of those to whom the very names "Britain" and "British" are repugnant——
§ Mr. Powell
We are doing this for the sake of those who have deliberately cast off their allegiance to our common Monarchy.
§ Mr.Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North) rose——
§ Mr. Nicholson
I appreciate my hon. Friend's giving way, and I thank him. I beg him to measure his words and to remember the vast sacrifices and the oceans of blood that India has poured out in the past, and to recognise the deep affection and feeling that exist throughout India towards this country.
§ Mr. Powell
I am obliged to my hon. Friend. I, who have had the advantage and privilege of serving with the Indian Army in the war, am not likely to be unmindful of it; but it was an army which owed allegiance, an enthusiastic allegiance, which was its very principle of existence and its binding force, to the Crown. That allegiance, for good or for evil, has been cast off, with all that follows.
Now, I am not under any delusion that my words on this occasion can have any practical effect, but, none the less, they are not, perhaps, necessarily in vain. We in this House, whether we are the humblest of the back benchers or my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury himself, are in ourselves, in our individual capacities, quite unimportant. We have a meaning in this place only in so far as in our time and generation we represent great principles, great elements in the national life, great strands in our society and national being.
Sometimes, elements which are essential to the life, growth and existence of Britain seem for a time to be cast into shadow, obscured, and even destroyed. Yet in the past they have remained alive; they have survived; they have come to the surface again, and they have been the means of a new flowering, which no one had suspected. It is because I believe that, in a sense, for a brief moment, I represent and speak for an indispensable element in the British Constitution and in British life that I have spoken. And, I pray, not entirely in vain.
§ 6.42 p.m.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I should like, if the House will agree, to divide the remarks that I have to make into three parts, one on what I would call the Scottish point, and with which this debate started; second, a short word on the Irish matter that has been raised; and third, one or two general remarks in 249 answer to the debate. I think that I ought to face first of all the complaint in the Amendment, that the Bill does not provide——
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
On a point of order. I take it that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is speaking a second time with the leave of the House?
§ Mr. Speaker
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is speaking to an entirely different Question from the Question previously put to the House. The Question now is whether the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
It only shows it is a good thing sometimes to attend most of the debate. I wanted first of all to deal with the point that has been made and developed by hon. Members from Scotland, that the Bill does not provide for an historically accurate Royal title for Scotland, because that is the gravamen of the Amendment. I think that there has been a great deal of genuine misunderstanding on the subject, and I think everyone will agree that it is one on which it is easy to engender heat if one does not get the matter quite clear. Therefore, I would ask the House just for a moment to look at the history whose accuracy is impugned.
I agree with the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) and the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) that the important thing, and the primary point, is to look at the Act of Union; and, more particularly, as the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire did, the Articles of Union. I am glad he informed the House of the content of Article I—the start of my argument—namely, that from 1st May, 1707, and for ever after, the two kingdoms of England and Scotland shall "be united into one Kingdom by the name of Great Britain." I think we all start from that point. Afterwards, as the hon. Gentleman will see, the references in the Articles of Union are to "the United Kingdom of Great Britain." That was given statutory effect by the Parliaments of both countries before it came into operation.
That made a difference, because before that time—and this was the point of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale)—from 1603 to 1707, although the two Crowns of Scotland and England 250 had devolved on the same person, two separate kingdoms existed, and the appropriate procedure was to refer to James VI and I or James I and VI, according to The nationality of the person making the reference.
But then the problem arose. Since the Union of 1707 it was deemed necessary, whenever a sovereign succeeded who bore the same name as a previous sovereign or sovereigns of either England or Scotland, to distinguish him or her from his or her predecessors by adding the appropriate numeral. It might have been more logical for the kings and queens of Great Britain—that is, the kingdom which, as the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire pointed out, was founded with the Articles of Union—to assume new numerical designations from the time of the Act of Union. In that case William IV would have been William I, and Edward VII and Edward VIII would have been Edward I and Edward II, being the first kings of that name of the United Kingdom.
However, I think everyone would agree, looking back on it, that, however that theory may appeal, in practice it would lead to major historical confusion. Indeed, my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) pointed out very wittily some of the confusions that would have arisen. Therefore, that was not regarded as practical, and I do not think anyone has ever pressed a claim to that suggestion.
I ask the House to look for a moment at the first of the precedents which I have mentioned—that of William IV—because it has been mentioned in this debate. Before the Union of the Crowns, two Williams had reigned over England and one over Scotland, and during the period after the Crowns were united William III of England and II of Scotland ruled over both Kingdoms, but the only William to rule since the Union of 1707 was designated William IV, although he was only the third to reign over Scotland.
As far as I know, that procedure, that numeral order of procedure, was never questioned at all. There was a slight question on the accession of Edward VII. I looked it up. There was a Question in this House, and the Lord Advocate, replying to the Question in 1901, said:I candidly confess I have tried very hard to find, and cannot find, a Scottish grievance 251 in the King's designation as Edward VII. It seems entirely a matter of convenience of citation, and it would lead to considerable confusion if the statutes were cited in Scotland as those of Edward I of Scotland.With great deference to that old friend of many of us who was Lord Advocate at that time, I think that that may be described as a dusty answer in both senses of the phrase. I quote it only to show that a dry-as-dust answer was all that was necessary to deal with the feeling that was shown at that time.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
As a matter of fact—I do not know if the right hon. and learned Gentleman has seen it—there was a petition signed by 300,000 people that is still in the museum at Glasgow.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
Despite that, it is clear that it did not arouse much feeling at the beginning of the century, so that apart from William III, which was before the Act of Union, we have William IV, Edward VII and Edward VIII. That is the point I wanted to emphasise. In view of the suggestion made by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvin-grove, it is interesting to note that, happily, the method he advocated as to the use of the highest numeral has been followed consistently since the Act of Union; and that is the method that has now been applied. It is important also to bear in mind that all the other countries of the Commonwealth, each of which, like Scotland, owed no allegiance to the Crown of England in the 16th Century, have agreed to the use of the numeral "II" in the Queen's title. The hon. Member for South Ayrshire will see that Ceylon and Pakistan have also accepted this numeral.
Now let us just look at one or two other alternatives. I do not think anyone could reasonably argue that the Queen should be styled "Elizabeth II of England and Elizabeth I of Scotland." The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire has destroyed the basis of that argument by founding his case on the Act of Union. I know that one could object to the Act of Union as an historical exercise, but I do not think it would be very profitable. Therefore, I do not see that that suggestion helps us. It would be a reversal of history, apart from raising many difficulties.
§ Mr. Manuel
I, personally, do not see anything wrong with the designation "Elizabeth I of Scotland and II of England." It sounds all right. It has a more poetic flow than the prosaic suggestion in the Bill; and, I think the Home Secretary would agree, it would be historically accurate.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
No. That is the point. I am not making a debating point, but emphasising what is the real point. I think that the hon. Gentleman and his bon. Friend the Member for Tradeston destroyed that argument by emphasising that for 246 years the kingdom over which the sovereign selects the title is that of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. His suggestion would, therefore, be a reversal of history—I put this to him for his serious consideration, which I know he will give it—it would be a reversal of history, apart from the fact that the weight of historical precedents are against it. It would also be against the taking of the numeral "I" for the first sovereign of that name who was sovereign of the United Kingdom.
I ask the House to note that the White Paper makes it clear that Her Majesty's Government accept full responsibility for this matter. The procedure is that after consultation—and after this Bill is passed the procedure and machinery is that of proclamation—the Queen must make that proclamation but the Queen makes a proclamation on the advice of her Ministers, and her Ministers must take full responsibility for it. That is made quite clear in the White Paper, and it is, of course, constitutionally undeniable.
These matters were fully and carefully considered. It might add to the gaiety of this House if it were possible to repeat in the House the discussions between Her Majesty's Ministers for the time being before conclusions are arrived at, but I do not think anyone can urge that as a practical measure. The collective responsibility of the Government stands, and I can assure those who have been worried that these matters were most carefully and fully considered.
I want to say only one word about what I may call the Irish point——
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
Would the hon. Gentleman allow me to continue? He knows that I never hesitate to give way, but we are being interrupted at seven o'clock, and if he will allow me to develop this point I will try to let him know afterwards the answer to any question he has in mind.
I want to make this point with regard to what I may call the Irish section of the debate. In the United Kingdom the title suggested is that of "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." That is the territorial description of the United Kingdom for which the title is being given. There is no difference in content. In the title for these islands it has been traditional—and I think always done—to set out the description of the territory envisaged.
I want to say only one word in answer to the general point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). It is easy to make difficulties, especially verbal difficulties. I have tried to put before the House the reality. My hon Friend will realise, as we all will, that Empire and the conception of great and far-flung col-
lections of people must take different stages as the history of the world moves on. I can realise what hon. Members of this House felt when one Empire went down to ruin at Yorktown. I can realise what I myself, and many who hold my view, felt when the conception of Kipling—
Daughter am I in my mother's house But mistress in my own"—
§ was changed with new circumstances.
§ What I will not allow for a moment is that this great co-operation of nations which we have seen working together, enabling people to speak with one voice after conference, can be reduced by verbal analysis to be made to appear in the world to be nothing. It is something far greater than that. It is the conception of co-operation. On that I believe that, not only our generation but our children and our children's children will be able to make a still greater contribution to the world.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 328; Noes, 39.257
|Division No. 112.]||AYES||[6.58 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt Hon. P. G. T.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bullard, D. G.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J C|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Edwards, John (Brighouse)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Burden, F. F. A.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Campbell, Sir David||Foll, A.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Cary, Sir Robert||Finlay, Graeme|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Champion, A. J.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Channon, H.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Follick, M.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Fort, R.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Foster, John|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Coldrick, W.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Cole, Norman||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Colegate, W. A.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Collick, P. H||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)|
|Benson, G.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Garner-Evans, E. H.|
|Birch, Nigel||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Gibson, C. W.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Godber, J. B.|
|Black, C. W.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Blackburn, F.||Crouch, R. F.||Gooch, E. G.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C|
|Blyton, W. R.||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Darling Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Gower, H. R.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Davidson, Viscountess||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Bowen, E. R.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Deedes, W. F||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Deer, G.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Digby, S. Wingfield||Hale, Leslie|
|Braine, B. R.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Cot. W. H.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Donner, P. W.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hardy, E. A.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Hargreaves, A.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Snow, J. W.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Markham, Major S. F.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hay, John||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Maude, Angus||Speir, R. M.|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Spans, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Mayhew, C. P.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Mellor, Sir John||Stewart, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Messer, F.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Mitchison, G. R.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Holt, A. F.||Moody, A. S.||Storey, S.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Morley, R.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Mort, D. L.||Summers, G. S.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Moyle, A.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Mulley, F. W.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Hurd, A. R.||Murray, J. D.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Teeling, W.|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Nicotson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Nutting, Anthony||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Oakshott, H. D.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Odey, G. W.||Thornton, E.|
|Janner, B.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Turner, H. F. L|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Turton, R. H.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Osborne, C.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Kaberry, D.||Pargiter, G. A.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Keenan, W.||Parker, J.||Wade, D. W|
|Kenyon, C.||Peaks, Rt. Hon. O.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Kerr, H. W.||Pearson, A.||Walker-Smith, D. C|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Peart, T. F.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Kinley, J.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Pitman, I. J.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Lambton, Viscount||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Popplewell, E.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Porter, G.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Proctor, W. T.||Wellwood, W.|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Raikes, Sir Victor||West, D. G.|
|Lewis, Arthur||Remnant, Hon. P.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Renton, D. L. M.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Lindsay, Martin||Rhodes, H.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Wigg, George|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Robinson, Sir David||Willey, F. T.|
|Logan, D. G.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Willams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Roper, Sir Harold||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Russell, R.S. Williams,||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|McCallum, Major D.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Wills, G.|
|McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Scott, R. Donald||Wilson, Geoffrey(Truro)|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Simmons, C. J.|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Mr. Heath and Mr. Drewe.|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Bartley, P.||Hamilton, W. W.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Bence, C. R.||Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)||McGovern, J.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Herbison, Miss M.||McInnes, J.|
|Clunie, J.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Fernyhough, E.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||O'Brien, T.|
|Forman, J. C.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||O'Neill, Michael (Mid Ulster)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Jager, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Oswald, T.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Grimond, J.||MacColl, J. E||Rankin, John|
|Reid, William (Camlachie)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Yates, V. F.|
|Richards, R.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Ross, William||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Steele, T.||Timmons, J.||Mr. Emrys Hughes and|
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Vosper.]
§ It being after Seven o'Clock, and there being Private Business set down by direction of the CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS, under Standing Order No. 7 (Time for taking Private Business) further Proceeding stood postponed.
§ Second Reading deferred until Tomorrow.