§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the day for the Second Reading read.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, I rise to move the Second Reading of a Bill for the abolition of plural voting. Your Lordships may remember that this is one of the Bills which were promised in the Speech from the Throne, and it is introduced in accordance with that promise. I am afraid that the idea of a mandate is not a very popular one in your Lordships' House, but I think it is only right to point out that this is a measure which was largely discussed in the country before the last general election, that it was mentioned in nearly every election address issued by Liberal candidates, and not only was it mentioned in a great many election addresses, but without exception it was mentioned in the course of every campaign and in most of the speeches which were made by the successful Liberal candidates.
It is a Measure upon which the Liberal Party speaks with no uncertain voice, and the Bill itself has passed both its Second and Third Readings in another place by very large majorities. It is not a Bill with which this House really has direct interest, because none of your Lordships are or ever possibly can become plural voters; nor does it in any way concern the constitution of your Lordships' House. The Bill itself is a perfectly simple one. There is the one principle, and a good deal of machinery to carry out that single principle. Of that machinery I think I ought to say this on behalf of the Minister who had charge of the Bill in another place, that he met every possible objection which was made by the friends of noble Lords opposite, and that a great deal of the complication in the machinery of the Bill as now presented to your Lordships is due to his anxiety to meet 1488 the various points raised by his opponents. I think I may say that His Majesty's Government were very tender indeed to every objection which was taken, and were only too anxious to meet in every possible way any hard case which might occur under the Bill; and I am sure the attitude of His Majesty's Government would be the same in this House as in another place.
Your Lordships will see that the first clause lays it down that no voter should vote in the course of twelve months in more than one constituency. The idea of imposing that disqualification is that it is, in the opinion of the Government, very desirable that the voter should make up his mind beforehand, so that in the event of a general election following after a by-election it should not be possible for a large number of persons to transfer their votes without giving due notice. The penalty imposed is that to which anyone is liable who has been guilty of personation, but instead of imprisonment, which is at present the punishment for personation, power is given to impose a fine not exceeding £500. Then I think I should draw your Lordships' attention to the fact that, throughout, the words "knowingly and with the intention of evading the provisions of this Act" are put in; so that no person who votes in the old way under some misapprehension could be in any possible circumstances punished. The punishment will only apply in the case of those people who do it knowingly and with intent to defraud. Then there is the further possibility that the voter shall choose his own constituency, and either select once a year or once for a lifetime in which constituency he shall vote
Upon the principle of the Bill I think I should say this, that it is an attempt to adapt to Parliamentary elections the principle which is already in use in county council elections. Therefore it is in no sense an innovation in our law. Further, I may say there is not one of our Colonies in which these anomalies prevail at the present time. As the Amendment of the noble Viscount points out, there are a number of anomalies in our electoral system. There are, I think, no less than seventeen franchises. This Bill does not propose to abolish 1489 or to add any franchise. It is in the direction rather of the removal of one of these anomalies. Nothing could be more illogical than the present system, for it is not purely a property qualification. It happens to depend upon whether an individual has all his property within a ring fence or not. If he has all his property in one constituency, he has only a single vote; but if he has the misfortune to have his property scattered all over the place in different parts of the country, then it is that he has a number of votes. It so happens that very often those people who have many votes have less property than those who have only one vote. That, I think, is quite clearly an anomaly, and it will be acknowledged even by those of your Lordships who would support a property qualification.
I come to the Amendment of the noble Viscount, and I hope I may say how glad I am that it is not to be moved by a Member of the late Government who was concerned in the redistribution proposals which were introduced last year. Those redistribution proposals were merely in the direction of making confusion worse confounded, and would have introduced still another difficulty in an already difficult electoral system. The noble Viscount, however, was in no way concerned with those proposals. He has put on the Paper an Amendment showing that he considers that in the Bill now before your Lordships there are certain sins of omission as well as of commission. He invites your Lordships to declare that you are willing to consider a complete scheme for reforming the franchise, and also to secure the fair representation of the people; and he ends by saying that this Bill does nothing to remove the most glaring inequalities in the present distribution of electoral power. This is the position. His Majesty's Government offer to your Lordships a Bill which does introduce one single reform. The proverb has it that half a loaf is better than no bread; but that is not the position of the noble Viscount. He says he will have four loaves or none at all.
I should like to congratulate noble Lords opposite upon their sudden passion for reform, were it not that I feel that it is not a passion which is likely to live 1490 very long, but that as soon as it has served its purpose and the debate is finished we shall hear no more about it, and the question will return to that condition of neglect in which it was left for so many years by noble Lords opposite. The Amendment to be moved by the noble Viscount without doubt offers us a vision of an electoral Utopia with which many noble Lords on this side of the House will have considerable sympathy. I am glad to think we have a special expert in Lord Courtney, who, I hope, will address your Lordships on this subject, because he is particularly well able to tell your Lordships something of the subject of electoral reform. We also have our ideas with regard to that matter. We would wish to see the suffrage based rather upon citizenship, and that an individual who has a stake in the welfare of the country, whose happiness and welfare are bound up in the prosperity of the country, should have an equal opportunity with everybody else of giving a vote on the great questions of the day.
What I wish specially to point out to the noble Viscount is that this Bill is a practical step in the direction which he invites your Lordships to go. It is only one, while the noble Viscount demands four. But let me put it to him purely as a practical question. Supposing the usual custom is adopted, and towards the end of the present Parliament a redistribution proposal is introduced and Commissioners are invited to make a scheme for a redistribution of the various constituencies; supposing, also, which I think is probable, that the abolition of plural voting is arranged for at the same time; will it not, as a matter of practical convenience to the Commissioners, be very much to their advantage that they should know where it is that these voters propose to exercise their power of voting? If this is all done at the same time, the Commissioners will not know where it is that these plural voters intend to vote, and, therefore, it would be very much more difficult for them to distribute the voting power equally between the different constituencies.
The average number of electors for every Member in the House of Commons is 10,845, and a Redistribution Bill would 1491 probably place the average at not less than 11,000. If the figure is to be 11,000, let me take an average county division, that of the Harborough Division of Leicestershire. There are 17,227 people registered to vote in that division. If the average number is to be 11,000, that looks as if the Harborough Division would have to part with 6,000 of its voters. But, as a matter of fact, 3,452 of those electors reside and have votes in other constituencies, and in the event of this Bill being passed it is not unlikely that they would prefer to vote in another constituency; so that the electorate of the division would be reduced to just under 14,000, and it would be only necessary for the Commission to deprive the constituency of some 3,000 electors. It is most difficult to construct a Redistribution Bill which would not aggravate the present anomalies, until the effect of the Plural Voting Bill has been ascertained. That is, of course, provided that you still intend to give the plural voter the privilege of choosing where he will vote. There will always be the danger that it will be impossible to continue that privilege to him if you insist on postponing this reform until the last moment.
In the Pudsey Division of Yorkshire there are 2,674 more Parliamentary electors than there were inhabited houses according to the census of 1901. In that division there are 6,577 ownership electors, because the freeholders of Leeds vote in that division. Any Redistribution Bill which was drafted at the same time as the passage of a Plural Voting Bill would probably arrange to take 4,000 voters away from the Pudsey Division; but when the Plural Voting Bill comes into operation it might need to have some additions made to it. One division of Lancashire has 24,326 electors—2,000 more than the average for two divisions, but there are nearly 7,000 ownership electors, a majority of whom would not be unlikely to wish to vote elsewhere. Those are two or three characteristic instances which I hope will show the noble Viscount opposite how difficult it would be to carry out the proposal to bring all these matters into a single Bill.
There is only one other matter in the noble Viscount's Amendment to which 1492 I wish to call your Lordships' attention, and that is the condemnation of this Bill as indirectly destroying ancient and important constituencies. I do not think that was in any sense the intention of His Majesty's Government. I suppose the noble Viscount chiefly refers to the University Members. I do not think the argument for University representation has ever depended upon mere numbers. I think it has rather been the quality of the electors than the quantity which has persuaded people to support the representation of the Universities in Parliament and, therefore, I can assure the noble Viscount that, so far as this Bill goes, I do not think it will in any way destroy the argument for the representation of the Universities. I cannot help hoping that the noble Viscount will see his way to withdraw his Amendment and allow the Bill to pass. This Bill is, after all, only a moderate measure of reform, and it is one step in the direction of that larger scheme which the noble Viscount has himself outlined in the Amendment.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a." —(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ * VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN,
who had given notice, on the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill, to move—That this House, while willing to consider a complete scheme for reforming the Parliamentary franchise and securing the fair representation of the people, declines to take into consideration a measure which, while professing to remove an anomaly in our electoral system, imposes penalties on persons registered as voters for exercising the franchise with which they are entrusted by law, indirectly destroys ancient and important constituencies, and does nothing to remove the most glaring inequalities in the present distribution of electoral power,said: My Lords, I think there is a good deal to be said by anyone who has watched the working of the seventeen complicated franchises which, as the noble Earl has stated, have been established with regard to Parliamentary voting in this country by the numerous Reform Acts, and who has also noticed the trend of popular opinion, in favour of a great simplification of our Parliamentary franchises; and I should not for a moment deny that in considering any such simplification it would be 1493 necessary also to consider the question of the continuance of plural voting. Nor am I at all prepared to quarrel with what the noble Earl has said as to the extent to which the principle of one man one vote has been adopted by the Party which is represented in this House by noble Lords opposite, or has been accepted by a large majority of those returned to the House of Commons as representing that Party at the last general election. But I do venture to demur to the inference which the noble Earl draws from those premises, that His Majesty's Government have any mandate for dealing with this subject alone in this Bill or for the mode in which it is sought to deal with the question of plural voting.
It is quite true that the Bill was passed by large majorities in the House of Commons, but it was passed, I am sorry to be obliged to remind the noble Earl, by one of those exercises of forcible suppression of debate with which we are, unhappily, now becoming too familiar. He has reminded your Lordships that this is a matter which affects primarily the constitution of the other House. That is quite true, and I can quite conceive that in the present, as in the past, your Lordships might be disposed to pay great deference to the decisions of the House of Commons with regard to the details of the Parliamentary franchise. But, my Lords, there is one great principle which this House has maintained. I believe, ever since the passing of the great Reform Act of 1832 with regard to Parliamentary reform, and it is this, that when the time comes to reconsider the Parliamentary franchise the question of Parliamentary reform should be dealt with as a whole.
That principle was last established when in the years 1884–5 the latest Reform Act was passed by the Legislature. Many of your Lordships can remember the occurrences of those years, and it will be only necessary for me very briefly to recall them to your recollection. There was in the year 1884 a County Franchise Bill, instituting household franchise in the counties, introduced by the Government of the day. That question had been for many years previously discussed in the country. It was at the time the chief plank of the Liberal plat- 1494 form, and the principle of it was objected to by very few persons during the discussion of the Bill in either House of Parliament. The Bill that your Lordships have now before you is a petty measure of disfranchisement; that was a great measure of enfranchisement. This House was told that there were 2,000,000 of capable citizens whose wants and wishes had not been sufficiently considered by Parliament in the past because they were not represented in the House of Commons, appealing to be admitted to the privileges of the Constitution, and it was warned that if it even delayed compliance with that appeal terrible results would ensue. I shall venture to quote to your Lordships some remarkable words that were used on that occasion by no less a person than the noble Earl who generally sits on the cross benches, and who has since that time been Prime Minister of the Queen. Lord Rosebery argued that if the House of Lords delayed compliance with the request of those 2,000,000 of would-be electors, there would be an agitation in the country of a violent and terrible kind which would attack the foundations of this House; that a conflagration would be stirred up of which no one could pretend to see the limits; that this House was Standing by a precipice if not hurrying to it, and he implored the Lords to pause before they passed a Resolution against the Bill which might strike a fatal blow at their existence.
Those were the lurid prophecies of that time. They were reinforced by more solemn warnings from the older statesmen of the Party. What happened? This House set aside that Bill, important as it was, by adopting an Amendment very similar in its effect to that which I am about to submit to your Lordships. What happened then? Nothing at all. The same Bill was introduced in the following year, and then at last the Government of the day, headed by Mr. Gladstone, listened to counsels of wisdom and moderation. Both sides conferred upon the matter, the question of Parliamentary reform was settled in a complete measure with general consent, and that settlement has lasted to the present day. I think it possible that the events of those two years, if carefully considered, may not be 1495 without some lesson to all of us at the present juncture. But, however that may be, so far as regards the question of Parliamentary reform, it is absolutely certain that your Lordships on that occasion successfully established at a very critical moment the great principle that the question of the Parliamentary franchise and the redistribution of seats, when dealt with, must be dealt with as a whole.
The noble Earl has congratulated me upon not having been responsible for the Redistribution scheme of last session. I am bound to confess that in my opinion that scheme did offend against the principle which I have just quoted. It came to nothing. This Bill will also come to nothing, and I think it will deserve its fate. When the noble Earl talked about what might happen in the future if your Lordships were to give your assent to this Bill, I noticed that he very carefully avoided any promise on the part of His Majesty's Government that a Redistribution Bill would be introduced at any time in either House of Parliament. He said that "supposing" such a Bill were introduced, then this Bill, if passed, would afford a useful basis for Commissioners to allocate the proper Parliamentary representation of the country, because until it had become law and been in operation a little time, it would be impossible to tell how many electors there would be in any particular constituency. The noble Earl entirely forgot that all our Redistribution Acts have been based, not upon electors, but upon population, and I believe that whenever the question of redistribution is taken up by Parliament, the allocation of seats will be dealt with as before, on population and not on electors.
Now, what is the proposition which it is sought to establish? It is not merely that His Majesty's Government desire to abolish the abuses of the faggot voting system. The faggot voting system received a deadly blow when constituencies were largely increased by the Act of 1885, and that Act also contains some valuable provisions for preventing the most glaring abuses in the manufacture of that franchise. Faggot voting might 1496 be absolutely put an end to if the Legislature would make a reform which would be useful for many another reason— namely, if it would shorten the duration of a general election from one month to a week or ten days. But that is not what His Majesty's Government have in their minds. They have—I do not really quite know why—adopted, this as an eternal principle of justice, that, in the choice of the House of Commons at a general election, no elector ought to give more than one vote. I can only say that it is a principle absolutely alien to the constitution of our Parliament. From the very beginning of our Parliamentary institutions it has always been the rule that the depositories of political power have not been the electors at large, but the electors grouped into particular constituencies, and it is impossible to secure the complete representation of all the interests in any particular constituency if you are going to eliminate from that constituency not a few, I daresay in many cases, of the principal owners of property, employers of workmen, residents, and other persons interested who may be voters elsewhere, and may choose to exercise their franchise elsewhere if this Bill becomes law. If plural voting is put an end to, it seems to me that a blow will be struck at the very root of our system of choosing the House of Commons through particular constituencies.
I see the noble Lord, Lord Courtney, opposite. Would he not find, in such an event, a strong argument in favour of his view that you ought to endeavour to secure that the House of Commons should be a more complete mirror of the opinion of the nation by some one or other of those systems of proportional representation to which he has given so much time and attention? I do not myself believe that the country will ever depart from the system of particular constituencies in favour of the system which the noble Lord has so much at heart. But if it does not, what then? If you are going to adopt the principle of one man one vote, you must go on with your theories of equality to the principle of one vote one value. The existing system presents infinitely greater anomalies, looked at from that point of view, than 1497 any that would be touched by this Bill. How is it possible to defend a system under which, to take a single instance, 2,600 electors in the city of Durham have as much voice in returning the House of Commons as 45,000 electors in South Essex, or under which five English counties, exceeding in population fifteen Irish constituencies, return only five Members to the House of Commons when the Irish constituencies return sixteen? If it was necessary, I could place before your Lordships any number of statistics to show that the great anomaly in our present representation system is not the existence of plural voting, but the extent to which the lapse of time and the changes of population, and other reasons, have made the grossest inequalities between the existing constituencies of the United Kingdom.
But, my Lords, let me turn from the proposition which is the principle of this Bill, the principle of one man one vote, to the manner in which the Bill proposes to carry out that principle. The noble Earl passed very lightly over the machinery of the Bill, and it has hardly been attempted to be defended in the House of Commons except by its author. A Member of the House of Commons, Sir Charles Dilke, who is, perhaps, the greatest authority there on questions of electoral law, and a very strong advocate of the principle of one man one vote, denounced the machinery of the Bill from every point of view, and argued, as it seemed to me quite fairly, that for everybody's sake, if Parliament were to adopt the principle of one man one vote it ought to carry it out, not in the manner proposed in this Bill, but by abolishing all our existing seventeen Parliamentary franchises and substituting a simple residential franchise with a penalty on a man voting twice at a general election. What does the Bill do instead of that? The Bill retains, as the noble Earl has told us, all these existing Parliamentary franchises. The law ensures that every person qualified, whether he likes it or not, whether he knows it or not, shall be placed upon the register perhaps of a dozen constituencies in different parts of the United Kingdom. Having done that at no inconsiderable trouble to the officials of various sorts, possibly even at some 1498 trouble to the voter himself, what does this Bill proceed to do? It proceeds to tell the voter that of all the votes he possesses he must exercise only one, and then it puts him to infinite trouble by notices of selection, notices of withdrawal and other action detailed in the Bill, to settle which vote he shall exercise when the time comes; and if, unhappily, after all he acts contrary to the law as laid down in this Bill and gives a vote where the law forbids him to give a vote, he is liable, as the noble Earl said, to imprisonment or to a fine of £500. And for what offence? For an offence, the definition of which really must have been borrowed from some comic opera—for the offence of personating himself.
Knowing the cynical humour of the author of this Bill, the First Commissioner of Works, I cannot help thinking that he must have desired, in arranging to send this extraordinary measure to your Lordships' House just at this time, to give us some glimmer of amusement in the interval between our tedious debates on the Education Bill. These are the remarkable provisions by which it is attempted to carry out the simple principle of one man one vote. No wonder it has been found necessary, in the passage of this Bill in another place, to introduce pages of qualifications, so that the unfortunate voter who does not know, as I believe five voters out of six often do not know, whether he is on a register or not, shall not fall into the meshes of the draconic law which is embodied in this Bill. That is the manner in which the Bill proposes to deal with individuals, who are so unlucky as to have property or residence in more than one place. It not only deprives them of all but one vote, it places them in a position so much worse than that of the voter who is only qualified in one place, that it would be almost kinder to disfranchise them altogether.
I now turn to its general effect. The first point is one of what I may call an electoral nature. It is now the law in large cities which are divided into several Parliamentary constituencies that, although an elector may be registered in every one of those several divisions, he can only vote in one of such constituencies when a general election comes. Now, what is the result 1499 of that? In those cities it has become an established practice for astute election agents and registration agents to consider the necessities of their Party in the several constituencies in which the city is divided. If that Party is unnecessarily strong in one of those constituencies, voters are taken off from that constituency and put into another where the forces of both sides are comparatively equal, and there are all kinds of what I may call gerrymandering of this sort, which, if this Bill passed, would, I venture to say, be extended to the whole country; and as in that kind of action the Party always has the advantage which has the longest purse, I submit to your Lordships whether the abolition of plural voting would really be quite so satisfactory to what is called the popular side as noble Lords opposite seem to imagine.
That is not all. The noble Earl referred to the representation of the Universities. He was quite right in thinking that a sentence in the Amendment which I shall propose to your Lordships referred to that matter. University representation is an old established part of our Parliamentary system. It has been extended by Parliament within comparatively recent times to the London and Scottish Universities. I think it would be a very good thing if it was found capable of further extension to the younger English Universities, and to another University in Ireland. I venture to say that the principle has worked well. I do not mean that University representation is necessary to enable eminent men to be elected to the House of Commons. Certainly not. But it has introduced to the House of Commons, to the great advantage of the country, men who would certainly never have sought election from any other constituency. I need only mention the names of Lecky, Stokes, Jebb, and Foster to explain to your Lordships what I mean, and further, University representation, as it at present exists, enables the voices of certain classes to be hoard in the House of Commons which would hardly be heard there but for that system. The clergy of the Church of England, the different branches of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the members of the medical profession, all have their views represented, as I think they could only be represented, by 1500 University representation. There is, last, but not least, one case which I think never should be forgotten. There is a large and intelligent class of the Irish population which would, in present circumstances, have no voice whatever in the House of Commons but for the existence of Trinity College, Dublin, as a Parliamentary constituency. Therefore, I think, on its merits, University representation should not be abolished. But the noble Earl says, "We do not touch it." No, you do not. If you had the courage to propose to abolish it you would have to do so under a Redistribution of Seats Bill, and if you did propose that, then would arise the question whether what is now sought to be secured by University representation, ought not, if University representation is to be abolished, to be secured in some other way. What is done by this Bill with regard to University representation is to bleed the University constituencies to death. They are to be deprived of all those voters who from property, or residence, or other reasons, might find it necessary to select some other qualification than their University qualification, with the result that the University constituencies would, I think, practically be reduced to the residents and teachers in the Universities themselves, and to a few clergymen or members of the medical profession who might think that in that way they would still retain the special representation to which they attach value, and would, therefore, prefer to select their University vote. The noble Earl said that University representation did not depend upon numbers. I wonder whether he spoke for His Majesty's Government. I wonder how long University representation would continue if the University constituencies were bled to death in that way.
I hope I have said something to convince your Lordships that, in the first place, this proposal to abolish plural voting is in itself but a small part of a very great question; that if dealt with, you must also consider other questions on which it bears which are infinitely; more urgent and more important in their nature, and that the machinery by which His Majesty's Government propose to carry out their intentions is about as bad as any machinery could be. I hope that it may be your will to set aside this 1501 Bill this evening. The noble Earl seemed to suggest that I was not sincere in my desire that Parliamentary reform, if attempted at all, should be attempted as a complete scheme. Well, that taunt was pressed in 1884 in every speech from that side of the House against the Amendment which was then moved by Lord Cairns. It was shown to be absolutely unfounded by the result, for in the very next year, when their desire for a complete scheme was fulfilled, the House of Lords passed the extension of the franchise together with the redistribution of seats. I believe the same thing would happen now.
I am sure that your Lordships will never resist the real desire of the people and of the House of Commons for Parliamentary reform. But this I feel with regard to this Bill, that it is not worth the name of Parliamentary reform. It is a moan and petty scheme for disfranchising voters, the majority of whom are supposed, for all I know quite erroneously, to be opposed to those at present in power. If it is destroyed to-night, its loss will be regretted by few beyond the circle of wire-pullers and Party agents who hope to find in it a means of preserving to their Party some more seats than those to which it would be otherwise entitled at the next general election. I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name.
That this House, while willing to consider a complete scheme for reforming the Parliamentary franchise and securing the fair representation of the people, declines to take into consideration a measure which, while professing to remove an anomaly in our electoral system, imposes penalties on persons registered as voters for exercising the franchise with which they are entrusted by law, indirectly destroys ancient and important constituencies, and does nothing to remove the most glaring inequalities in the present distribution of electoral power."—(Viscount St. Aldwyn.)
§ * LORD COURTNEY OF PENWITH
My Lords, the noble Viscount who has just addressed the House has adduced many reasons for the rejection of this Bill, the force of many of which I readily recognise and with the merits of some of which I completely concur. I suppose the noble Viscount will be successful in securing the rejection of this Bill. Speaking with 1502 that anticipation, I may, perhaps, be permitted to deal with the subject of the Bill with more freedom than might be allowable if we were really fighting a doubtful issue. I have said that I assent to much that the noble Viscount has said, but I dissent from his conclusion. His premises are of great force, some of which I would not attempt to controvert, but his conclusion is not one of prudence or of wisdom.
It is trite, as the noble Viscount said, that the Bill deals with a comparatively small matter in comparison with many of the important issues to which the noble Viscount adverted; but since it is a small Bill it might be assented to without great inconvenience. I submit to your Lordships that it is especially incumbent upon you to consider whether in the interests of this House it would not be advisable to let the Bill pass. What is the principle on which the Bill is founded? The underlying idea of the Bill is equality of voting power on the part of all entitled to take part in Parliamentary elections. It is the antipathy to privilege which makes such a strong case in favour of this Bill, which has caused its principle to be taken up by every Liberal candidate, and to be adopted and embodied in the representative systems of all our self-governing Colonies. Seeing that it is really a question of antipathy to privilege, seeing that it is conceded that the privilege concerned is of comparatively small value, and seeing that it is apart from all other questions of electoral reform, I strongly urge your Lordships to consider whether the possession of real and valuable privileges may not be endangered by adhering tenaciously to small privileges which are of no account and the existence of which excites popular feeling.
Although I admit that the Bill is a small affair, and that its machinery appears to deserve much of the noble Viscount's condemnation, and although I recognise, as he has done, that Sir Charles Dilke, a man of greater authority and with a larger knowledge of the political machinery of our time than any other, has condemned the Bill from top to bottom—admitting all that, would it not be better to read the Bill a second time and then attempt to amend the machinery, so that your Lordships would have shown yourselves ready to abandon privilege and to be concerned only for the 1503 efficiency of electoral reform. Though the subject of the Bill is separated from other measures of electoral reform, its passage would not prevent the consideration of the larger questions; indeed, I think it would perhaps accelerate their consideration by tending to remove a temper of prejudice and hostility and to substitute a more open mind and a larger spirit.
I have said that this is a very small matter, and my feeling is that in the rejection of the measure there is some compensation that the interval before the reappearance of the Bill, which we all recognise must ultimately be passed, may be employed so as to lead the mind of the nation to consider the larger questions with which it is not essentially but mechanically connected, and lead to a a better understanding of what ought to be aimed at in that general Bill. The real failure of this Bill lies in its stopping short of the principle of one vote one value, and in not realising that what the promoters of it have at heart, what those electors outside who are keen about it emphatically desire, is the equality of voting power—that each man who is a voter shall have just the same influence and power as his fellow man in bringing about the election of the Representative Chamber. That is what is underlying the great demand for the legislation in this Bill.
But those who believe that this Bill will produce anything like an equality of voting power, even if accompanied by the reforms to which the noble Viscount referred, entirely err in their appreciation of the working of our electoral machinery, and make a great mistake in their anticipations of the future. The equality of voting power which is desired is not principally affected by the disproportionate size of the constituencies. Even with constituencies of the same size from end to end of the Kingdom you would still find that the voting power of those entitled to vote would vary indefinitely and be dependent on chances which that equality of constituencies would entirely fail to remove.
Let me illustrate the general argument by reference to a fact which is within your Lordships' knowledge. At the general election Wales did not return a single Member opposed to His Majesty's Government. It is true that the 1504 constituencies of Wales vary somewhat. Cardiff is overgrown; it may be that divisions of Monmouth are larger than some of the more agricultural counties of Wales; but that monotony of representation of Wales did not depend on the inequality in the size of the constituencies in Wales. You have this fact, that the 57,000 voters in Wales who all went to the poll in opposition to the candidates supporting His Majesty's Government did not secure a single Member. Where is the equality of power in the case of those 57,000 voters? It is clear that the electoral power of the minority was nothing. Equality of constituency in Wales would have produced no appreciably different result. One man one vote might be secured; you might abolish plurality of votes; you might equalise the size of constituencies; but the aim which those who are keenest in supporting this Bill have at heart— namely, the securing of equality of power, would not be realised thereby. You must go to something else.
I take another example of the recent general election—an example worth considering. Manchester and Salford returned, as your Lordships may be aware, another monotony of candidates all supporting His Majesty's Government; but 34,000 electors in Manchester and Salford voted for the Opposition candidates. Where is the equality of value in respect of those 34,000 votes? At the previous election Manchester and Salford returned eight Conservative Members and one Liberal; now these constituencies have returned nine Liberals. There was just the same error in regard to the power of the votes on the Liberal side last time as there is on the Conservative side this time. Look, again, at Birmingham. What is the value of the Liberal vote in Birmingham just now? The value of the Liberal vote in Birmingham is a strange thing that has come to pass of late years. The change may be duo in some respect to the influence of the distinguished man whose illness we all deplore, but the value of the Liberal vote there is about as imaginary in quantity as the value of the Liberal vote is to a Liberal Irish peer. Your Lordships know exactly what that is.
You will not get the principle of one value at all realised by simply adopting the principle of one man one vote. The monotony 1505 of representation to which I have referred does not depend upon the plurality vote. There is another large area which at the last general election departed from its usual normal course. The last general election produced a great tidal wave of resentment—I am not sure that I should not be justified in using the word disgust—which overwhelmed the supporters of the late Government. Whether justifiable or not, that was the feeling which produced the great change which then took place. These tidal waves cannot always be relied upon, and it may be that certain districts in England will in the near future return to their more normal course. I invite your Lordships to consider what has happened at more than one general election in the south of England. The value of a Liberal vote in many of these areas is next to nothing. There was a complete absence of Liberal Members in previous elections in the southern counties of England although there were a large number of Liberal voters there. Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, and Dorset, showed an absolute monotony of Conservative Members in borough and county divisions. It was only when one got to the neighbourhood of the Celtic fringe in Devon and Cornwall that one found a small Liberal representation. Yet though the Liberal representation in that area of the country was small, there were many Liberal voters in it. Owing to the present machinery, the Liberal voter had no voice and got no representation in those areas.
It may be said that the inequality of one area is balanced by the inequality in another area, but a little examination of the figures shows that this idea is wrong. The last election showed the utter failure of the distribution which now prevails to redress the inequality of the value of votes in different parts of the country. At the late election 428 Liberals were returned to the House of Commons, as against 155 supporters of the Opposition. If, however, you add together the number of voters supporting the 428 Liberals and the number of voters who supported the 155 Unionists it will be found that the number of voters ought to have secured 327 seats to the Liberals, and the number on the other side ought to have been 256 instead of 155 seats.
1506 A still more striking illustration of the extraordinary failure to reproduce in our representative assembly a true picture of the voting desires of the electorate was afforded by the election of 1895. In that election 481 seats were contested between Unionists and Liberals. The Unionist voters were 1,775,000 and the Liberals voters 1,800,000 — very nearly alike. One would, therefore, be disposed to say that the representation ought to have been nearly divided between the two Parties; but the fact was that out of the 481 seats the Unionists got 279 seats and the Liberals, though receiving the larger number of votes, got 202 seats. This shows the utter failure of the haphazard system of dividing up our political areas in order to secure what we want to produce—namely, a true comparison of the electoral forces of the country.
The noble Viscount opposite spoke of his absolute disbelief that the country would ever depart from our old system of local representatives and local areas. It is not necessary that you should depart from it. It is only necessary to revert to the local areas which were recently our units for Parliamentary elections. If you were to revert to the old system of electoral areas and have a multiplicity of candidates in them you would then be able to secure approximately, if not absolutely, a true correspondence between the electoral power in the country and at Westminster, and the representation of that intellectual, moral, and political power which the noble Viscount holds has been realised in some measure and in relation to some classes in the representation of the Universities. The noble Viscount thinks that the suggestion is one which the people of this country would never adopt; but it has been adopted in other countries in different forms, and in one at least of our own Colonies—in Tasmania; and I think it is extremely rash, in view of the great changes that must be anticipated, and which must make all reflecting people anxious about the future, to attempt to say to what changes the mind of the country may not be drawn, especially if persons of experience will turn their minds to the projected changes and inquire whether they might not be adopted with advantage here.
This Bill is founded on the principle of equality of voting power. When I 1507 have addressed electors as a candidate, in answer to the suggestion of one man, one vote, it has always been said, "Yes; you mean not merely that, but one man, one vote, one value." This Bill would not realise that desire. It would only go a very little way. It would remove a prejudice, and in my judgment it would be wise for your Lordships to do your best to remove that prejudice, seeing that the Bill would not materially interfere with the greater changes which you know to be imminent. The Bill cannot be accepted as a solution of the electoral question. It is confused in its machinery, it is complex, and it is in the last degree vexatious and irritating. I confess I have never been able to see why we should not be content with a simple Act making it penal for a person to vote more than once at a general election, leaving it to him to choose his constituency. That would be the simplest way of dealing with this question.
I end what I have to say by expressing the opinion that it would be wise to accept this Bill, but if it is to receive the coup de grace, it will not surprise your Lordships that I shall accept that result with a not unbecoming serenity, thinking that in the end not much mischief will be done by delay, and that the interval may be well used in attempting further to direct the mind of the nation to the true solution of the whole question.
THE EARL OF MEATH
My Lords, although I am not a recognised adherent of either of the two great Parties in this House, perhaps I may be permitted to make a few observations on the Amendment of the noble Viscount. I was very pleased that the noble Viscount's Amendment contained the statement that this House was willing to consider a complete scheme for reforming the Parliamentary franchise and securing the fair representation of the people. Without the insertion of those words I should not have found myself able to support the noble Viscount. I must say I think those words make it quite clear that your Lordships are in no way opposed to any Amendment of the franchise law which may be for the interest of the people.
I do not propose to enter into any discussion of the merits or the demerits 1508 of plural voting. My opposition to the Bill is that it is a disfranchising Bill. I am no opponent of the extension of the franchise or of electoral reform as long as that reform does not disfranchise any portion of the population which in the past has exorcised the vote. But this Bill, to my mind, distinctly disfranchises certain classes of his Majesty's subjects, and I think it might very well be described as a Bill for the encouragement amongst voters of a disinclination to exercise the Parliamentary vote. The one complaint which we have heard of recent years has been that there is the greatest possible apathy amongst voters, and we have heard over and over again that this is a real danger to the country. Here is a Bill which, to my mind, is going to disfranchise several classes, and amongst them perhaps some of the most public-spirited men to be found in Great Britain.
The noble Viscount has told your Lordships that this Bill is calculated to disfranchise large numbers of the University voters. I will not, therefore, dilate upon that class. But in addition there are three other classes which will be disfranchised by this Bill. The first is those law-abiding citizens who are cursed with very sensitive consciences, and who dread more than anything the possibility of its being said that they have done anything, however innocently, to break the law. The second is a very numerous class, I regret to say, citizens of property who take life easily, and who would rather suffer disfranchisement than be bored by having to give notice of the selection of a constituency to any official whatever. The third class is composed of those timid persons who are so opposed to the idea of publicity that they would rather suffer disfranchisement than be accused, even without the least chance of its being true, of having done something which would bring them before public notice.
The noble Earl who moved the Second Reading of this Bill stated that imprisonment was done away with. But in reading the Bill I see that the direction to the Court is not that it "shall" not imprison but that it "may" not imprison. A timid person would say he would rather run any risk than incur the chance of being imprisoned, and the amount of the fine—£500—would be absolute ruin 1509 to many individuals. There are large classes who will be disfranchised by this Bill, and I, for one, say that I will have no part or lot whatever in voting for a disfranchising Bill. If the noble Lord brings in a Bill which shall place the Constitution on a wider and more steady basis I will support him, but I will have absolutely nothing to say to a Bill which disfranchises a large number of His Majesty's subjects, and only gives security to voters who possess all their property in one constituency, or who are possessed of so little property that they only have one vote.
§ * THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My noble friend behind me has so skilfully and so effectually exposed the unsoundness of this measure that I need not detain your Lordships for more than a few moments with the observations I am about to offer. The Bill has been recommended to us upon one ground, and one ground only—namely, that it is a Bill intended to remove what noble Lords opposite are pleased to call an anomaly in our electoral system. Now I am not prepared to admit so readily as noble Lords opposite that the system of plural voting is necessarily an anomalous system. But whether it be an anomaly or not, it is certainly not the only anomaly to be found within our electoral system. And our complaint of His Majesty's Government is that they have singled out this one anomaly, and have turned their blind eve towards the other anomalies with which our electoral system bristles. That system is not, and does not pretend to be, a symmetrical or scientific system, and the passing of this Bill certainly will not make it a scientific or symmetrical system.
My noble friend referred to some of the anomalies which this Bill would leave in existence. He spoke of the Irish anomaly. If you object to one man having two votes, why do you look with so much equanimity upon an arrangement which gives to the Irish voter a vote worth ten times as much as the vote enjoyed by voters in other parts of the United Kingdom? And is not the argument greatly strengthened when you consider the proportion to which illiteracy prevails in Ireland? The Irish voter, with a vote that counts ten times as much as that of his fellow voter in this country, belongs 1510 to a part of the United Kingdom in which illiterate voters are as one in ten, whereas in Scotland they are as one in 300. Then, my Lords, there is the Welsh anomaly, and I think I caught from the noble Lord on the back benches a reference to the case of Wales. My Lords, in the last election there were seventeen contests in Wales. The Unionist candidates polled 52,000 votes; the Liberal candidates polled 91,000; and yet the Unionists are without a single Member. Is not a system which admits of such a condition of things an anomalous system? Again, in this country is it not the case that a single Liberal Member of Parliament represents something like 7,000 voters, whereas a single Unionist Member of Parliament represents something like 17,000? The Liberal votes were, I believe, as five to four; the Liberal Members returned were as three to one. Then there are the seventeen varieties of franchise which you find in this country. There are the infinite differences to be found in our local and municipal franchises, and the arbitrary rules as to residential qualifications in counties and in boroughs. Within the last few days His Majesty's Government have tried a new little experiment of their own in the direction of plural voting. Let me remind them that under the Education Bill three parents with ten children apiece will be entitled to as many votes as ten parents with three children apiece. What is the ostensible ground upon which this particular anomaly is to pass under the dissecting knife of His Majesty's Government? We are told that a voter votes as a man, and not as a resident. I should be slow to accept that doctrine. I am under the impression that a voter enjoys a vote not because he breathes the air of the British islands, but because he resides in a particular part of those islands, because he has a local stake in that part of the islands, and he is therefore accorded the privilege of assisting to select a Member of Parliament who shall be the spokesman for that part of the country in which he lives. That seems to me to be a reasonable and common-sense view of the case. And it is for that reason that I am not greatly perturbed by the illustration advanced by the noble Earl who introduced this Bill, when he told us it was quite conceivable that the owner of a large estate in a ring fence would have only 1511 one vote, whereas the owner of a number of small patches of property aggregating altogether much less than the estate of the larger proprietor would be entitled to a number of votes. The man with the scattered property has more than one vote because he has a local interest in the parts of the country where those sporadic pieces of property are to be found. You are now going to say to that individual that he is to be deprived of one or more of his votes, not because he has done anything wrong, but because he has the misfortune of being entitled to vote in some other part of the country. What is the real origin of this proposal? It is a matter of notoriety that it is made because His Majesty's Ministers and their supporters believe that by attacking this particular franchise they will do something to diminish the strength, not too great at this moment, of those who are in opposition to them. It is for that reason that they are ready to do that which Mr. Gladstone refused to do in 1884, and that which was not contemplated by their own registration proposals in 1893.
My Lords, I regard this proposal with alarm, because, it seems to me to involve a still further step in a direction in which I fear His Majesty's Government are too fond of travelling— I moan in the direction of separating representation and taxation. It means the transfer of power from those who are liable to ever-increasing direct taxation to those who are immune from direct taxation and liable to indirect taxation only. I also object to this Bill on account of the penal character of some of its provisions. Under the Bill a man with two votes is actually worse off than a man with a single vote, because he is liable to the heavy penalties which this Bill contemplates. It is disfranchisement carried out in a most invidious manner; I say that particularly on account of the manner in which the Bill disfranchises the University constituencies. We also dislike this Bill on account of the extreme complexity of its provisions. It seems to me to have a characteristic which is noticeable in a great many of the Bills proposed by noble Lords opposite and their friends—I mean that it will lead to a great deal of litigation and expense. The noble Lord told us that the 1512 voter would choose his constituency. I do not believe it. I believe the person who will choose his constituency for him will be the agent, and that there will be an infinite amount of what we usually speak of as gerrymandering under the provisions of this Bill. The noble Lord on the back bench, I think, let fall an observation that your Lordships might amend the machinery of the Bill. How are we to amend it without substituting for the seventeen various franchises with which this country is familiar a single, simple, and uniform suffrage? That surely is not a task which this House could be expected light-heartedly to undertake.
The noble Earl suggested to us that this was a Bill we should hesitate to touch, because he said your Lordships' House had no direct interest in the measure. No direct interest in the measure? My Lords, if your Lordships are to have the right of rejecting any measures, surely you have the right to reject a measure which touches the machinery by which all legislation is produced in this country, the machinery which lies at the very fountain head of our legislation. I therefore raise my protest against the doctrine that because this Bill touches the House of Commons franchise, we are for that reason in any way precluded from dealing with it as we think proper. That right of dealing with the Bill seems to me strengthened when we come to consider the moment at which this proposal is made to us. Noble Lords opposite have chosen a moment when they are already in a position of overwhelming strength in the House of Commons. Are they so insecure in their position that it is necessary for them to bolster it up by this petty attempt still further to increase the weakness of their adversaries? My Lords, the scales may be rough and imperfect, but I think we have a right to raise our voices against this attempt to tamper with them. I hope your Lordships will stick to the old principle—which has been affirmed by members of His Majesty's Government— that when you deal with the suffrage you deal also with seats. I hope your Lordships will refuse a Second Reading to the Bill. If I wanted to write its epitaph I should do so in the words used a few moments ago by the noble Lord who 1513 said that this Bill was a Bill confused in its machinery, perplexing and irritating, and in the last degree vexatious. A Bill which can be so described is not, I venture to think, one to which your Lordships should give a Second Reading.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (The Marquess of RIPON)
My Lords I have listened with the utmost attention to the speech of my noble friend who has just sat down. He addresses the House upon this question from a somewhat different position from that of the noble Viscount opposite. In several respects the noble Lord cannot place himself in the position which the noble Viscount is entitled to take up. In the first place, my Lords, this Bill has been objected to because it has been argued that if you wish to deal with the great question of Parliamentary representation you ought to deal with it as a whole. I do not agree to that principle if it be carried to an extreme. The noble Viscount was perfectly entitled to use that argument, and he used it with his accustomed skill. But, my noble friend opposite is not, I humbly think, entitled to use it, because if my memory serves me rightly, in the course of the last session the then Government brought in a Bill, or rather, made certain propositions—for they never got as far as a Bill—with respect to redistribution. Redistribution is only one part of the question of Parliamentary reform. Redistribution is a part of the question intimately connected with the further question of what is to be the franchise. And yet last year there was no hesitation on the part of the then Government in proposing to deal with the question. They found it impossible to do so, and perhaps it is from a kind feeling to His Majesty's present Government that they are induced to point out that they are attempting to take a line in which the Opposition themselves failed. The question proposed to be dealt with separately last year was a very large question indeed. This question, I quite admit, is a small one. My noble friend who has just sat down says it is only one of many anomalies. I quite agree with him. There are a great many anomalies in our present electoral system. I shall be very glad indeed to see those anomalies removed, and I confess I am rather comforted by one part of the Amendment moved by the noble Viscount. 1514 I do not know why noble Lords opposite have proceeded by this process of Resolution, because obviously from the speech of the noble Lord who has just sat down it is not any part really of the Bill itself to which you object—it is the whole principle of the measure which you desire to reject, and which you might have rejected just as well by means of a simple Motion to read the Bill this day six months. You are very much mistaken if you think that the people of this country will not be able to see through the thin veil of this Resolution, and be able to understand perfectly well why you voted against this Bill. I was a little surprised by one remark of my noble friend. He said, and said quite frankly and openly, that this proposal of ours was simply intended for the purpose of putting an end to a system which we found told to our disadvantage at a general election. My Lords, as the noble Lord took that line, I will venture to tell the noble Viscount and noble Lords opposite that their opposition to this Bill arises from their fear that if it be passed it will do them an injury at the next general election. I am quite entitled to make that remark, although I do not think I should have made it but for what fell from my noble friend.
Now, my Lords, this is a single question, standing by itself, and capable of being dealt with by itself, and it is just the sort of question which my noble friend opposite the other day, in rather startling words, laid down as a question with which your Lordships had better not deal. My noble friend was then speaking upon the Trade Disputes Bill—a Bill, it will be remembered, which was denounced in language almost stronger than even the strongest language of the noble and learned Earl (who does not mince his opinions when he gives them to your Lordships House), and of which my noble friend Lord Lansdowne also expressed considerable abhorence. But you were to pass that Bill. It was bad, it was unjust, it was an infringement of liberty, and I really do not know what else; but you were to pass that Bill, because you considered that the principle of it had been accepted by the country at the general election. That argument applies quite as much—I venture to think that it applies much more—to this Bill as it did to the Trade Disputes Bill. I 1515 accept it for the Trade Disputes Bill. I hope to see your Lordships acting upon it when that Bill comes into Committee, but I say that if ever there was a question upon which the opinion of the Liberal Party has been freely expressed, it is this question of what is called "one man one vote." This Bill has passed the other House of Parliament by overwhelming majorities; it was discussed at the last general election in every part of the country. My noble friend behind me, in the admirable speech with which he introduced this Bill, said, with perfect truth, that he did not believe there was a Liberal candidate at the last general election who did not pledge himself in support of the principle of "one man one vote." Therefore, if you are going to act upon the principle—a wise and discreet principle I quite admit —that what has been accepted by the country by an overwhelming majority at a general election ought to be accepted also by your Lordships, at least in its main principles, then I say that you ought distinctly and without hesitation to pass this Bill. I know my noble friend used some ominous words on that occasion. He said that it was desirable that when your Lordships were dealing with Bills which came up from another place you ought to take care that in joining issue upon them you should, as far as you are able, be sure that you were doing so upon grounds as favourable as possible to yourselves. That is a rather remarkable statement. It may show what is the reason of the difference between the mode in which you are treating this Bill and the mode in which you are proposing to treat the Trade Disputes Bill, because in a certain sense—not in an open sense, not in a Parliamentary sense, not in the sense of the public interest, but in another sense— in a party sense—no doubt it may be quite true that this Bill does affect the interests of the Party opposite.
My Lords, it is not necessary for me to keep your Lordships much longer at this moment by arguments upon the Bill itself. The details of the matter were dealt with so skilfully by my noble friend behind me that it dispenses me from detaining your Lordships long, but one remark I would make. The present law in regard to this matter of one man one vote is, as your Lordships know, inconsistent with the principles 1516 which govern the franchise in other cases. In borough elections, as was stated by the noble Viscount opposite, and in county council elections, persons are not allowed to vote in two wards, or in two districts, of the county or borough with which they are connected. What does that mean? What is the principle involved in that? That, mind you, was the principle adopted by the Conservative Government in the Local Government Bill, 1888. What is the meaning of that principle? Surely it is this, that a man is not to vote twice in regard to the election of a body which is to deal with a particular area. He is not to vote twice in a county council election; he is not to vote twice in a borough election; and therefore, the same principle—the general principle upon which you act in these cases—the principle which you yourselves adopted in 1888, when applied to Parliament means this, that a man is not, at a Parliamentary election, to give a vote in two places. The present system does confer a privilege upon one man above another. It does establish a difference between the voting power of one man as compared with another, and generally it is in favour of the rich rather than of the poor. It is a system which has created considerable dislike on the part of those who now represent at all events the great majority of the people of this country. It is a principle which, as far as I can see, is not to be defended. The measure by which we propose to get rid of this anomoly is one which stands by itself, one which can be dealt with by a single Bill, and one which, as was pointed out by my noble friend behind me, can clear away difficulties which might beset you when you come to deal generally with this question, and under those circumstances I think it will be greatly to be regretted if this Bill is rejected to-night. Your Lordships have claimed—and I do not contest it—your right to reject this Bill. No doubt you have that right. Whether it is wise of you to exercise it I do not say. I think that every argument which was used by my noble friend opposite in reference to the Trade Disputes Bill applies equally to this measure, and I should very much regret, upon general public grounds, if it should be your Lordships' pleasure now to throw it out.
1517 A great deal has been said about the machinery adopted in this Bill for carrying out its object. It really is no use discussing the question at this moment, because, when I look round me, I know of course what is going to happen to this Bill. It will never get into Committee. You do not mean it to get into Committee. You really care but little about its details. But this I do say, that, if the Bill be complicated, it is due to the concessions made to hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House of Commons in consequence of objections which they urged. And, after all, it does not appear to me to be of that complicated nature which has been charged against it,
§ but rather to be as simple as it could be made having regard to the nature of the measure. Therefore, my Lords, although it is useless to argue questions relating to the details of a Bill that you intend to reject, I repeat my earnest regret—a regret far wider than for the mere loss of this measure—that you should think it fit upon the Second Reading of this Bill, to reject a measure affecting the election of Members of the other House of Parliament.
§ On Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Motion," their Lordshiss divided:— Contents, 43; Not-Contents, 143.1519
|Loreburn, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Boston, L.||Mendip, L. (V. Clifden.)|
|Brassey, L.||Monkswell, L.|
|Crewe, E. (L. President.)||Colebrooke, L.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Coleridge, L.||Pirrie, L.|
|Ripon, M. (L. Privy Seal.)||Courtney of Penwith, L.||Reay, L.|
|Denman, L. [Teller.]||Ribblesdale, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Emly, L.||Sandhurst, L.|
|Carrington, E.||Eversley, L.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Chichester, E.||Farrer, L.||Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)|
|Craven, E.||Fitzmaurice, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Durham, E.||Granard, L. (E. Granard.) [Tiller.])||Sudley, L. (E. Arran.)|
|Kimberley, E.||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Portsmouth, E.||Grimthorpe, L.||Wandsworth, L.|
|Russell, E.||Weardale, L.|
|Temple, E.||Hamilton of Dalzell, L.||Welby, L.|
|Solby, V.||Lyveden, L.|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Derby, E.||Falkland, V.|
|Bedford, D.||Devon, E.||Halifax, V|
|Devonshire, D.||Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)||Hill, V.|
|Leeds, D.||Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)|
|Newcastle, D.||Fitzwilliam, E.|
|Northumberland, D.||Hardwicke, E.||Knutsford, V.|
|Richmond and Gordon, D.||Innes, E. (D. Roxburghe.)||Ridley, V.|
|Rutland, D.||Lindsey, E.||St. Aldwyn, V.|
|Sutherland, D.||Lonsdale, E.|
|Wellington, D.||Lytton, E.||Abinger, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Addirgton, I.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Mar and Kellie, E.||Alington, L.|
|Bath, M.||Mayo, E.||Allerton, L.|
|Camden, M.||Mount Edgeumbe, E.||Ampthill, L.|
|Hertford, M.||Northbrook, E.||Annaly, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Onslow, E.||Ardilaun, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Pembroke and Montgomery, E.||Armstrong, L.|
|Zetland, M.||Plymouth, E.||Ashbourne, L.|
|Radnor, E.||Ashcombe, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Romney, E.||Atkinson, L.|
|Bradford, E.||Scarborough, E.||Balfour, L.|
|Cairns, E.||Shaftesbury, E.||Balinhard, L. (E. Southesk.)|
|Camperdown, E.||Shrewsbury, E.||Barrymore, L.|
|Carlisle, E.||Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Basing, L.|
|Cathcart, E.||Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]||Belhaven and Stenton, L.|
|Cawdor, E.||Biddulph, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Churchill, V. [Teller.]||Blythswood, L.|
|Coventry, E.||Colville of Culross, V.||Bolton, L.|
|Borthwick, L.||Hothfield, L.||Poltimore, L.|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Kelvin, L.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)|
|Braye, L.||Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)||Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.)|
|Calthorpe, L.||Kenyon, L.||Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranfurly.)|
|Chaworth, L. (E. Meath.)||Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)||Rathmore, L.|
|Clinton, L.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore).||Redesdale, L.|
|Clonbrock, L.||Lawrence, L.||Revelstoke, L.|
|Colchester, L.||Leith of Fyvie, L||Ritchie of Dundee, L.|
|Dawney, L. (V. Downe.)||Lovat, L.||Robertson, L.|
|De Freyne, L.||Macnaghten, L.||Rothschild, L.|
|De Mauley, L.||Massy, L.||Saltoun, L.|
|Douglas, L. (E. Home.)||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)||Sinclair, L.|
|Dunboyne, L.||Michelham, L.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)|
|Ellenborough, L.||Middleton, L.||Southampton, L.|
|Estcourt, L.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)||Stalbridge, L.|
|Forester, L.||Moncrieff, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Gage, L. (V. Gage.)||Montagu of Beaulieu, L.|
|Glenesk, L.||Mowbray, L.||Stratheden and Campbell, L.|
|Grey de Ruthyn, L.||Newlands, L.||Talbot de Malahide, L.|
|Harris, L.||Newton, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Hastings, L||North, L.||Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)|
|Heneage, L.||Oranmore and Browne, L.||Wolverton, L.|
Proposed Resolution agreed to.