HL Deb 22 November 1906 vol 165 cc941-61

House again in Committee (according to order).

[The Earl of ONSLOW in the chair.]

Debate resumed on Motion, proposed by Earl Cawdor, to leave out Clause 26:—


said that, after the exhaustive, lucid, and eloquent speech of his noble friend Earl Cawdor in moving the rejection of the clause, it was hardly necessary to detain their Lordships at any length in supporting the Amendment. He felt that to the mind of every impartial person the proposal contained in this clause must appear as one of the most extraordinary ever submitted to their Lordships' House.

At the close of the debate the previous evening, the noble Earl, Lord Dunraven made a speech in which he seemed to consider that a scheme of devolution for Wales would be an improvement in the system of government in that country. He did not wonder at the action of the noble Earl, for he had endeavoured to introduce a devolution scheme in Ireland which had been denounced by every true Unionist. The recent by-election in North Armagh had proved how cordially devolutionists were hated there. His noble friend's devolution scheme had been disapproved, if not denounced, even by the Nationalist Party. Now that the project of devolution had failed in Ireland, the noble Earl was attempting to turn his hand to the subject of devolution in Wales; but in his judgment the proposal to establish a Welsh Council for Education was absolutely impracticable. The scheme was an impossible one, because if they created a Council for Education in Wales, he asked why they should not create a council in Wales for the purposes of local government or of agriculture.

He had frequently racked his brains, but confessed that it was not easy to understand why the question should be raised of different treatment in regard to education for Wales as compared with other parts of the United Kingdom. In examining this subject he had come to the conclusion that the only reason why this scheme had been brought forward was in order to reward those dissentients who had been led by Mr. Lloyd-George in their opposition to the legal administration of the Act of 1902. He was at a loss to understand what other ground there could be for the introduction of the clause. If such a clause was to be the reward of illegality in making the law of the land unworkable, the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues in the Cabinet were raising a question which must have serious, and indeed disastrous, results. The persons who had promoted the scheme of a Welsh education council were those who had fostered the Welsh revolt against the observance of the law in Wales during the past few years.

Personally, he had no belief in the plea that this clause had been inserted in the Bill as a reward for the educational efficiency of Wales. Lord Rendel, who spoke with great authority on Welsh matters, had alluded the previous evening | to the fact that the Welsh people were very jealous with regard to the promotion of education, and he went on to say— Next to the passion for religion was the passion for education in Wales. That passion knew no difference of Party or sect. The aim it sought was the unification of education, the establishment of what was called the ladder of education, leading from the primary school to the University, so that the intelligence of the people, the most valuable asset of Wales, might be afforded opportunities for cultivation and development. He did not think that anyone would contradict the noble Lord when he made that statement. But had the people of Wales always been so anxious for education? He found, on looking back to the Report of the Committee appointed by Mr. Gladstone in 1880, that a witness there said— The inhabitants have yet to learn that it is worth while to pay a good price for a superior education. That witness certainly did not think that the love for education among the Welsh people was so strong as Lord Rendel had attempted to prove. He also found, from the evidence given before that Committee, that only 4,000 boys were receiving higher education in Wales in 1880, whereas there should have been, in the estimate of the Committee, 15,700. That certainly did not prove the contention of his noble friend Lord Rendel.

The noble Lord went on to say that Wales had, not unreasonably, been called a nation of Nonconformists. That might be so. But would the noble Lord tell him that those Nonconformists owed their education in the past entirely to Nonconformity? If he did he would refer him to the great efforts that were made by the Church of England in Wales in years gone by in the promotion of education by carrying on their own voluntary schools. In 1846 out of 685 schools in Wales, 581 were Church of England schools, and the Commissioners of 1864–66 found that there were 27 endowed higher schools in Wales owing their existence to Churchmen or Church women. Aberystwith University College received in voluntary contributions between 1863 and 1880 more than £50,000. Of this sum Churchmen contributed 33 per cent. though they were said to represent only 12½ per cent. of the Welsh people.

He contended that the agitation on this subject was so much directed not to educational ends as that it formed a part of the Radical hostility in Wales to the State Church. Welsh Radicals imagined that if they could only destroy the voluntary schools in Wales a long step would be achieved towards the demolition of the Church establishment, and he certainly doubted whether this hostility would be lessened even if this Education Council were formed. There seemed to be no signs of it. The Swansea Local Education Association was still carrying on its campaign against the voluntary schools in that town, and incidentally against the Board of Education, who had taken the side of the voluntary schools. On 13th October The Times reported that at a meeting of the Welsh Liberal Convention at Cardiff a resolution was unanimously passed— That this convention desires to express its firm adherence with the stand made by the Swansea Education Authority for the control of public expenditure upon sectarian schools within the borough, and its determination to support the authority against the threatened interference of the Board of Education officials with the statutory power vested in the authority in the plain words of the Act of Parliament. The amazing point was that Mr. Lloyd-George was present at this meeting and offered no objection to this vote of censure on his colleague, Mr. Birrell. He regarded this as a most extraordinary performance on the part of one Cabinet Minister towards another, and he thought the noble Earl, the Lord President, might be invited to comment upon this new development of "Cabinet responsibility." There were occasions when a politician ascended the political ladder too quickly, and found himself a Cabinet Minister without having served in a subordinate position, and therefore without having had impressed upon him the fact that as a Cabinet Minister he spoke with considerably more authority than would otherwise be the case.

He had only to say in conclusion that he looked with great mistrust on elementary education being handed over to a council in Wales. He had had experience of local education authorities in Wales during the time he was responsible for the administration of the Act of 1902, and he certainly then saw action taking place which he was sure noble Lords opposite would repudiate if they considered the matter. On 1st July and 1st October, 1905, 205 teachers of voluntary schools in Montgomeryshire were without salary; and they would not have got it at all, nor would the voluntary schools have been provided with coal or light, but for the operation of the Default Act.


My Lords, I think there was something of a general hope in the House yesterday that the Committee stage of the Bill might have concluded last night, but it very soon became evident, in the course of the debate, that that not undesirable consummation was not likely to be brought about; and when we consider the importance of the subject which is now under discussion, I feel sure that the Committee cannot be surprised that such was the case. Last night we had some very interesting speeches. The debate was opened by the noble Earl opposite, Lord Cawdor, in one of his very trenchant speeches, and he apologised, quite unnecessarily, as I think, for the length at which he developed the subject. Then we had a speech to which I am sure the whole House listened with interest—a maiden speech from my noble friend behind me, Lord Rendel, who speaks with great authority upon this question.

Lord Cawdor stated last night that there was no kind of precedent for this proposal, and he devoted an elaborate argument to explaining that in his opinion the existence of the Welsh Intermediate Board under the Act of 1889 ought not, and could not, offer a distinct precedent for the introduction of this clause. I do not think it has ever been maintained that that Act offers an exact precedent for this proposition; but when the noble Marquess who has just sat down says that he sees no reason why the system of Welsh Education should in any way differ from that which exists in this country, I am obliged to refer him to that Act, which does involve a very marked difference between the two systems, and which, as my noble friend Lord Rendel, who himself took so much part in promoting it, reminded us last night, was carried through, not merely by the goodwill, but by the active assistance of a Conservative Minister, Sir Willliam Hart Dyke. I say that the parallel is not exact, and we have never pretended that it is, but what happened then was that the system of technical and secondary education was placed for the first time on a firm and uniform basis, and it was natural, having regard to the desires of the Welsh people, that that part of education should be managed by a central board. What we propose to do now, now that we hope by our Bill that elementary education is also to be established as far as possible on a uniform basis, is to devise a manner by which, also in accordance with the desires of the Welsh people, a somewhat similar centralisation of Welsh elementary education should take place.

Now, my Lords, is this measure de manded or not? The noble Earl denied that Wales was unanimous in the matter. That is obvious. The noble Earl's speech shows, at any rate, that there is one Welshman who strongly objects to it, and I do not know that we have ever used the word "unanimity'' in respect to this matter. In the debate on the Second Reading the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of St. Asaph said— I should be tampering with accuracy if I led the House to believe that Churchmen in Wales were unanimously in favour of such a council. That is not putting it very high, and I cordially agree with the right rev. Prelate. I have no doubt there are a very distinct number of Churchmen who have a dislike, and even a dread, of this proposal, but what we do say is that there is a very general demand, and a demand not by any means confined to one Church or to one Party throughout Wales; and, after all, my Lords, it must be remembered that, so far as the representatives of the Welsh people in Parliament are concerned, there is, so far as I know, no difference of opinion as to the desirability of forming a council of this kind. And I am confirmed in my impression of a general demand when I remember that both the right rev. Prelates the Bishop of St. Asaph and the Bishop of St. David's, who spoke last night, although each of them severely criticised this particular proposal, did not in express terms state that they were averse to the idea of a Welsh Council of Education. The right rev. Prelate the Bishop of St. David's seemed to prefer that if such a council were to be formed it should take the shape of a re-constituted central board with additional powers. That is a perfectly fair criticism to make, but it is quite a different character of criticism from that which fell from the noble Earl, Lord Cawdor.

The noble Earl had two main reasons, both of which he developed with great force, for objecting to this proposition. The first was the history of this clause— a somewhat chequered history, I freely admit—in another place. When the proposal first appeared in Parliament it no doubt did provide for a very complete system of educational autonomy in Wales—not, I think, Home Rule in any possible sense, but very complete educational autonomy; and I think we all felt that for so bold a proposition as that a pretty general measure of assent would be demanded. That assent was not forth-coming. The proposals were severely criticised, but they were not criticised in another place in the tone adopted by the noble Earl. Sir William Anson, who spoke, of course, with all the weight of his experience, and a very brilliant Conservative Member of Parliament, Mr. F. E. Smith, devoted themselves to the criticism of the clause. But they also devoted themselves to what they considered its Amendment, and they laid down certain propositions which, in their view, were indispensible if a council of this kind was to be brought into being.

The first proposal which they made was one for minority representation. In this country, as a rule, we are not very fond of minority representation. My noble friend Lord Courtney will bear out that statement. Various propositions have often been made, as we know, for minority representation, which, however fair we may admit them to be in theory, are considered difficult to put into operation. However, in this case the general rule was departed from and minority representation was cheerfully provided for. Then, my Lords, in view of a certain fervour which exists in Wales on these religious difficulties, it was agreed that all religious questions should be referred to the Board of Education. Further, in order to ensure, again at the request of these gentlemen, proper control over finance, the accounts of this council were to be submitted to the Committee of Public Accounts and to the Controller and Auditor-General; and, lastly, full willingness was expressed to meet the point of Parliamentary control and control over the estimates to be submitted to Parliament. I confess I do not see what ground of complaint the noble Earl has in the fact that those Amendments, suggested by his own Party, were readily accepted in another place.


I made no complaint of it.


Begging the noble Earl's pardon, I think he did complain, because he seemed to regard that as so hopelessly unbusinesslike a way of conducting a Bill through Parliament that that fact alone afforded a ground for asking your Lordships to reject it. We do not think that any discredit whatever attaches to the acceptance of suggestions of that kind under the circumstances under which this clause was introduced. Noble Lords opposite may pretend that it is a proper method of carrying legislation to introduce a measure in another place, to force it through by a majority, and then, as in the case of the Licensing Bill, to compel its passage through this House without even verbal Amendment. The last feat is obviously impossible for us. We could not do it if we would, and I say quite definitely we would not if we could. After all, the noble Lord's criticism of the conduct of the Bill in another place, and of which I confess I admired the dialectical ingenuity, did not appear to be absolutely relevant. What your Lordships have to consider is what are the merits of this particular proposal as it appears before your Lordships, and what adventures it went through elsewhere are really not relevant in that connection.

The noble Earl dwelt on the fact that the control under this clause was vested in the Treasury, and he offered some strong criticisms upon that point. It certainly seemed to us, in view of the fact that the Intermediate Board is under the control of the Treasury, that it might be and would be advantageous to adopt a similar plan in relation to this proposed central council. But it is not a crucial matter, and I can only say that if, as a condition of acceptance of this clause the noble Earl and his friends ask us to substitute the Board of Education for the Treasury in that matter, we shall be perfectly prepared to consider that proposal and to make the necessary alterations in the clause. From what followed in the noble Earl's speech, I fear that even such a concession as that, which would be of a very considerable character I should think from the noble Earl's point of view, would not satisfy him, because his objection to the council, unlike that of other critics of the Bill and of the right rev. Prelates, appears to be largely founded on the fact that he regards it as a dangerous measure of Home Rule, and the noble Marquess who has just sat down appears to share that view.

When I was listening last night to the noble Earl, I confess he took me back thirteen or fourteen years, to the time when I lived in Ireland. I recognised that tone so well, and I could not help thinking that the noble Marquess, who was then sitting next to the noble Earl, must have felt what an Orangeman was lost to the North of Ireland by the fact that the noble Earl's interests are divided between Scotland and Wales. I do not wish to be otherwise than polite, but I confess that it does appear to me that to speak of the dread of Home Rule in this connection is really Unionism run mad. The noble Earl said that he disliked Home Rule step by step as much as in any other form. Yes, my Lords; but what is step by step? There were plenty of people in Ireland who thought, and I daresay some still think, that the concession of local government to Ireland by noble Lords opposite was a dangerous step in the direction of Home Rule. What is a step in the direction of Home Rule must always be a matter of opinion. It might very easily happen that, in the opinions of people who favoured Home Rule, a concession in the direction of devolution was a positive bar and obstacle to their ultimately obtaining their wishes. These matters will always remain matters of opinion, and I really do not think the noble Earl, even if he regards this as a dangerous step of devolution, is justified in saying that it is a step towards Home Rule.

Then the noble Earl dealt with what has been nicknamed the Welsh Revolt, and I was sorry that he went out of his way to make such a very formal attack upon my right hon. friend the President of the Board of Trade. I think it is rather contrary to the custom of this House to make elaborate attacks of that kind on Ministers who sit in another place. My right hon. friend is well able to take care of himself, but, of course, he is unable to answer the noble Earl here. I would only say just this much on that point, that everybody knows the part my right hon. friend has played in the public life of Wales, both in relation to education and other matters, and I think it would be too much to expect that he, having obtained high office under the Crown, should at once adopt a chilly attitude of detachment in these matters and altogether break loose from the former career in which he had become so distinguished. I have no wish to discuss the incidents of that unhappy war, for so I must call it, in Wales. I say, frankly, that I deeply regret a great many of those incidents, but although I might not in any particular case be able to withhold blame from those who have conducted these warlike operations in Wales, yet at the same time I cannot forget that if noble Lords opposite and their friends in 1902 had not so completely ignored the sentiments of those of whom the population of Wales is so largely composed, these difficulties never could have arisen. Noble Lords, as it seemed to us, thought at that time of very little but the triumph at the moment of their own views, and it is impossible, from our point of view, to absolve them from a large part of the blame of these untoward events which have occurred in the Principality. The noble Marquess said he did not see why the creation of an Education Council for Wales should cause this hostility to cease. No, my Lords; but we do believe that if what the people in Wales consider to be the serious injustice inflicted on them by the Act of 1902 were remedied by the passing of our Education Bill, those fires of controversy would die down. It is not the creation of the council, but the passing of the Bill as a whole to which we look for that happy result.

I cannot help saying, in conclusion, that it seems to me that your Lordships undertake a very grave responsibility in placing yourselves in the hands of the minority in Wales. The noble Earl who has moved the rejection of this clause is a very distinguished Member of this House. We all admit his great business capacity, and we admire the way in which he states his views, but we are not prepared to appoint him a dictator for Wales or a general arbiter of what is to take place with regard to the government of that country. So far as criticism of this clause is concerned in any of its details, we entirely admit your Lordships' right not merely to criticise, but to exercise in the lobby your power of carrying that criticism into formal effect; but we do think, and I hold this view very strongly, that you will be stretching your functions very far indeed by the total rejection of a clause of this kind.


said the noble Earl, the Lord President of the Council, had spoken of the responsibility which, in his judgment, rested on their Lordships in dealing with this clause. There were several points to be remembered in connection with the matter. The first was the fact, which no one could deny, that the minority in Wales, which was a strong minority, and a minority whose interests he was sure noble Lords opposite would admit ought fairly to be considered, had been left by the fortunes of the electoral system without a single representative in another place. Secondly, it must be admitted that no settlement of this question, as the noble Earl himself had stated, could possibly be arrived at which would be lasting, unless it were a settlement arrived at in accordance with the general feeling of those who lived in Wales. He would also point out that the proposal before their Lordships was never really discussed in the House of Commons at all. The last addendum to the proposal, that which imposed on the Treasury the financial responsibility for submiting to Parliament the Estimates for Welsh education and for controlling the council, was carried without a single word of debate, and was now for the first time under discussion in either House of Parliament.

The Lord President of the Council had objected to the argument of the noble Earl, Lord Cawdor, in opposing the clause on the ground that it was a step towards Home Rule. He found himself to some extent in accord with the Lord President. Parliament had on several occasions legislated separately for Wales, and it must be admitted that there was a kind of distinctive character about the population of Wales which justified that legislation. But he was convinced that the spirit in which this proposal of a Welsh Council was originally framed and the desire of those who framed it were the spirit and the desire of Home Rule. It also appeared to him to be absolutely unconstitutional to make the proposal contained in this clause as first proposed to the House of Commons, viz., that they should abolish the direct control of Parliament over the Estimates of the country so far as the cost of elementary education in Wales was concerned. If that was not the spirit of Home Rule he did not know what the spirit of Home Rule was.

But there was another way in which the spirit of Home Rule showed itself in the orginal proposal. One grave objection to the proposal to establish a separate Parliament for Ireland free from the control of the Parliament of the United Kingdom was that no care was taken to safeguard the rights of the minority. How were the rights of the minority in Wales safeguarded under the original clause? There was not a word about it. As their Lordships knew, the rights of the minority in Wales had been abused in the last few years in this very matter of elementary education, and yet they were to be governed absolutely by the votes of the majority in the Welsh Council. As the noble Earl had said, there was no such general approval of the clause in the original shape as would justify the Government in proceeding with it. What did they do? They turned the clause inside out, and in the final shape in which it was now presented it was absolutely unworkable.

He did not think there was anyone in the country outside the ranks of the permanent Civil Servants who had a greater administrative experience in Treasury matters than he had, and he ventured to say that the financial control by the Treasury which was now proposed by the clause would be absolutely inefficient for financial purposes, and would be worse than inefficient for educational purposes. The Treasury was accustomed to raise ways and means for the expenditure of the country, and to cheek the expenditure of the various departments so far as it was able to control them, which sometimes was not to any great extent, but it was impossible for the Treasury to judge what the educational policy of such a body as the proposed Welsh Council ought to be, and to decide on the details of the Estimates both from the point of view of those who desired the efficiency of education, and from the point of view of a department which desired to restrict expenditure.

From his own experience he knew that the thing was absolutely unworkable, and there was nothing in the Intermediate Education Act which in any sense would justify such an experiment. The administration of that Act was entrusted not to the Treasury, but to the Charity Commissioners, whose powers had since been transferred to the Board of Education, but that Board had been deliberately cut out of this clause as far as it was possible to do so. The Government had not been too ready to accept suggestions from that side of the House for the Amendment of the Bill, but this clause was thrown on the Table for them to amend as they liked. If they desired they might put in the Board of Education instead of the Treasury; indeed, if he interpreted the noble Earl aright, the Government were prepared to accept pretty nearly any Amendments they might put into this clause.


I certainly did not go as far as that.


thought that was very nearly the position. The noble Earl had admitted the importance of the proposal, but said that some change of this kind was desired by the majority of the population of Wales. It might be so; he did not question that. But the more important the matter was, the greater the desire might be for such a change, the more incumbent it was on the Government to consider it carefully from every point of view before they embodied their proposals in the Bill. Yet they had had three different editions of the proposal, none of them satisfactory, and now their Lordships were asked to help the Government in finding another edition. In his humble opinion that was not the way to deal with a question which might become a great constitutional question if they went beyond a certain point in attempting to deal with it, and he hoped their Lordships would reject the clause.


said he had in his diocese a considerable portion of two Welsh counties, and his observation during the last eleven years had enabled him to form an opinion on this subject at first hand. He, therefore, hoped he would not be considered intrusive in venturing to take a small part in this discussion. He thought it would be a real misfortune if this clause were rejected, and he was positive that its rejection would produce consequences which their Lordships would not desire. He, therefore, sincerely hoped that the clause would be passed possibly with some Amendment, and that it would remain an integral part of the Bill. Looked at from a purely educational point of view, the point of view which he personally had endeavoured to maintain throughout these discussions, he could not but feel that it was a very reasonable clause.

The noble Marquess, Lord Londonderry, had gone back to the year 1846, but he preferred to look upon the present state of things as resulting in some degree from what was done in the year 1889. The Intermediate Education Act for Wales had, by universal consent, been of the greatest possible value to education. Knowing some of its results in those counties with which he was connected, he had often wished that they could have had such an Act in force throughout the length and breadth of the country. Had that been so, the intermediate education of England would have been in a far more advanced condition than it was to-day. No one who knew the Welsh people questioned for a moment their intense enthusiasm for education, and no one who had visited, as he had, the Welsh colleges in Cardiff and Aberystwyth could for a moment doubt what an immense benefit had accrued to the Welsh people in every grade of life through their enthusiasm for popular education. He held that the clause was a natural development of the Act of 1889; it was simply another case of extended devolution.

He could not share the a'arm—whether it was real or artificial he was not quite sure—which had been expressed with regard to the bogey of Home Rule. There were persons whose imaginations became so inflamed when they had to discuss matters of local self-government that these bogeys rose in front of them at every turn; but, when they looked at this matter dispassionately and from an educational point of view, he ventured to assert that they must recognise that the clause was simply a natural expansion of the principle of devolution which had worked so well under the Intermediate Education Act. He thought they ought to bear in mind the fact that the powers given under this clause were simply administrative powers. Looking at the clause as it stood, he thought the Government had been careful to protect and

safeguard the rights of minorities. He was glad that it should be so, because he had for many years past been in the position of advocating the rights of minorities in one cause or another when they did not receive so much attention from noble Lords opposite as they appeared to receive now.

He thought that the safeguards were of a very adequate kind, and that the administrative liberty of the proposed council would be surrounded on all important sides by what had come to be called a "barbed wire entanglement." He saw no possible loophole for maladministration. If noble Lords opposite were dissatisfied in regard to Treasury control or any other particular point, it would be as well that they should at this stage suggest Amendments. They had not been shy of suggesting Amendments to the Bill, why should they be so shy on this particular clause? He hoped the clause would keep its place in the Bill either as it now stood or with some reasonable Amendment.

On Question, "That Clause 26 stand part of the Bill," their Lordships divided: Contents, 44; Not-contents, 109.

Crewe, E. (L. President.) Coleridge, L. Kinnaird, L.
Courtney of Penwith, L. Lyveden, L.
Ripon, M. (L. Privy Seal.) Davey, L Mendip, L (V. Clifden.)
Denman, L. [Teller.] O'Hagan, L.
Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.) Overtoun, L.
Ashburnham, E. Pirrie, L.
Beauchamp, E. Eversley, L. Reay, L.
Chesterfield, E. Farrer, L. Rendel, L.
Chichester, E. Fitzmaurice, L. Sandhurst, L.
Craven, E. Granard, L. (E. Granard.) [Teller.] Saye and Sele, L.
Portsmouth, E. Shuttleworth, L.
Grimthorpe, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Althorp, V. (L. Chamberlain.) Hamilton, of Dalzell, L. Tweedmouth, T.
Haversham, L. Wandsworth, L.
Hereford, L. Bp. Headley, L. Weardale, L.
Boston, L. Hemphill, L. Welby, L.
Burghclere, L. Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)
Colebrooke, L.
Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.) Cathcart, E. Lichfield, E.
Devonshire, D. Cawdor, E. Lonsdale, E.
Newcastle, D. Clarendon, E. Manvers, E.
Northumberland, D. Denbigh, E. Mar and Kellie, E.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) Morley, E.
Ailesbury, M. Onslow, E.
Bristol, M. Egerton, E. Plymouth, E.
Lansdowne, M. Eldon, E. Rosse, E.
Salisbury, M. Feversham, E. Saint, Germans E.
Halsbury, E. Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)
Bradford, E. Hardwicke, E. Verualm, E.
Camperdown, E. Jersey, E. Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]
Yarborough, E. Belhaven and Stenton, L. Mostyn, L.
Biddulph, L. Muncaster, L.
Bridport, V. Blythswood, L. Napier, L.
Churchill, V. [Teller.] Borthwick, L. Oranmore and Brown, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Braye, L. Penrhyn, L.
Cross, V. Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.) Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough)
Falkland, V. Brougham and Vaux, L. Rathmore, L.
Falmouth, V. Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.) Ravensworth, L.
Goschen, V. Clifford o f Chudleigh, L. Redesdale, L.
Halifax, V. Colchester, L. Ritchie of Dundee, L.
Hill, V. Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.) Robertson, L.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.) De Mauley, L. St. Oswald, L.
de Ross, L. Sanderson, L.
Iveagh, V. Digby, L. Seaton, L.
Knutsford, V. Estcourt, L. Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)
Llandaff, V. Faber, L. Sinclair, L.
St. Aldwyn, V. Fermanagh, L. (E. Erne.) Stalbridge, L.
Forester, L. Stanmore, L.
Bangor, L. Bp. Gage, L. (V. Gage) Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
London, L. Bp. Hatherton, L.
St. David's, L. Bp. Hay, L. (E. Kinnoul.) Stratheden, and Campbell, L.
Heneage, L. Stuart of Castle Stuart, L. (E. Moray.)
Ampthill, L. Kelvin, L.
Ardilaun, L. Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.) Ventry, L.
Ashbourne, L. Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.) Vivian, L.
Ashcombe, L. Lawrence, L. Waleran, L.
Atkinson, L. Leith of Fyvie, L.
Barrymore, L. Masham, L.

On Question, Schedule agreed to.

Clauses 27, 28, and 29 agreed to.

THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved to add the following new clause after Clause 29—"Section 16 of the Education Act, 1902, shall apply to any failure of a local education authority to fulfil any of their duties under this Act." He said there was a clause at the end of the Bill which prescribed that it was to be read along with the other Education Acts. He did not know how far that would apply all the provisions of former Education Acts, such as were not repealed, to this Act. If the noble Earl in charge of the Bill assured him that Section 16 of the Act of 1902 would apply under the provisions of the Bill as they stood, he would not press his Amendment. But if there was any doubt about it he submitted that his Amendment was required. Some such provision was necessary, because, whether the Bill was to be finally passed in the form in which it now stood, or, indeed, even in the original condition in which the Government introduced it into their Lordships' House, there must be certain Orders of the Board of Education which would require to be enforced. For example, as the Government introduced the Bill Clause 3 was mandatory upon the local education authority, and if the local authority did not comply, there must be some machinery created under which they could be compelled to do so. Then, again, under Clause 5 as the Bill was introduced to their Lordships' House the Board of Education, on appeal, were empowered to make Orders compelling the local education authority to take certain action. If these Orders were to be carried out there must be some means of enforcing them. The method adopted in the Act of 1902 was contained in Section 16 of that Act, and in the absence of any other provision it appeared to him necessary that that clause should be embodied. But, as he had said, if the noble Earl could assure him that it was already embodied he would not persist in his Amendment.

Amendment moved— To insert the following new clause,' Section 16 of the Education Act, 1902, shall apply to any failure of a local education authority to fulfil any of their duties under this Act.'"— (The Marquess of Salisbury.)


The noble Marquess has explained quite correctly the state of affairs. It certainly was the intention of His Majesty's Government to incorporate Section 16 of the Act of 1902 in this Bill. There is just a doubt as to whether that is done without the insertion of a clause of this kind. I am looking into the matter and provisionally will accept the noble Marquess's Amendment; but if it should prove at a later stage that it is not necessary I hope the noble Marquess will not mind its being removed.


indicated his agreement.

LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY moved a new clause making it lawful for any ratepayer to have access to the books and documents of the local education authority without payment. He said that this right was enjoyed by ratepayers under the Act of 1870 and was only taken away by the Act of 1902. He had reproduced the words of the Act of 1870, with this very small modification, that he provided that the local authority might refuse to disclose any particular document if they could satisfy a court of summary jurisdiction that there were special grounds for refusing the demands as being under the circumstances unreasonable. He could imagine, of course, that there might be confidential letters and papers which it would not be advisable to produce.

Amendment moved— To insert the following new clause: 'It shall be lawful for any ratepayer in the district of a local education authority, at all reasonable times without payment, to inspect and take copies of, or extracts from, all books and documents relating to education belonging to or under the control of the local authority. Any person who hinders a ratepayer from so inspecting or taking copies of, or extracts from, any book or document, or demands a fee for allowing him to do so, shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a penalty not exceeding five pounds for each offence, provided that the local authority may refuse to disclose any particular document if they can satisfy a court of summary jurisdiction that there are special grounds for refusing the demand as being under the circumstances unreasonable.'"— (Lord Stanley of Alderley.)


This is in some respects rather a doubtful matter, and there are arguments against going the full length which the noble Lord desires. Under Section 233 of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882, the minutes of a council are open to burgesses on payment of 1s. They may make copies and extracts, and also inspect any orders for the payment of money. The noble Lord complains that the larger power, although applicable to the old school boards, is not now applicable to the local authorities in respect of education. It is obvious that it is very difficult to give these powers in respect of educational matters without giving them in respect of other matters with which the local authorities are concerned. An attempt was made in the London Act of 1903 to meet the case by applying the powers. I have mentioned to the Education; Committee of the London County Council. If the noble Lord will agree to the giving of those powers of inspecting minutes and orders to pay in the case of all education committees we should be prepared to go as far as that; and I might remind the noble Lord that if we are to delegate money-spending powers, to small committees the power of inspect-ting the orders would be a very valuable-one to the ratepayers in that case. I hope my noble friend will agree to limit the power in the way suggested, and if he does I will bring up a clause at a later stage.


said that the offer made by the noble Earl was, to his mind, quite inadequate' to secure that proper knowledge of the way the business was transacted which the ratepayers had a right to have. Some noble Lords might have seen a letter in the Westminster Gazette the other day calling attention to the fact that in the Tower Hamlets Division, where there was a great pressure of school accommodation, the managers, in making remonstrances to the local authority and complaining of the want of school provision, desired to fortify their case by submitting the figures in the adjacent schools showing that they were overcrowded. That information was actually withheld, and the managers were not allowed, although the documents were in the possession of the local authority, to know what was the relation of school provision to school attendance in that neighbourhood. If such information could be refused it prevented that valuable criticism which the electors had a right to bring to bear on those who transacted their business. This was not a new clause, but one which had worked well for thirty-two years, and he believed the Liberal Party actively protested against its repeal in the Act of 1902. He gathered from what the noble Earl had said that unless he accepted the offer now made he would get nothing. The responsibility must rest with the noble Earl to put down a new clause on this matter. As what the noble Earl had offered him was, to his mind, quite inadequate, he must allow the Amendment to be negatived.

On question, Amendment negatived.

Remaining clause agreed to.

On Schedule:—


My Lords, I would point out that the Bill has undergone very considerable amendment since the Amendments to the Schedule were put down, and that it is not outside the bounds of possibility that there may be still further Amendments on Report, involving further alterations of the Schedule. I therefore think it would be more convenient if the most rev. Primate and the other noble Lords who have put down Amendments to the Schedule would defer them until a later stage when the Bill assumes its final shape.


I think your Lordships will be disposed to fall in with the suggestion of the noble Earl the Lord Chairman. The schedule is naturally explanatory and consequential, and it would be a waste of time to bring it now into conformity with the Bill, when it is possible that further alterations may be made. I therefore think your Lordships would be wise in deferring the Amendments to the Schedule.


assented. If the Bill was to be further altered there could, he said, be no object in proceeding with the Amendments to the Schedule at this stage.

Standing Committee negatived. The report of Amendments to be received on Thursday next, and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 214.)

House adjourned during pleasure.

House resumed by the Lord FITZ-MAURICE.