§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a."—(The Earl of Portsmouth.)
§ THE EARL OF WEMYSS
My Lords, before this Bill passes I wish to say a few words in order to make my own position with regard to it clear. This Bill is a revolution. It tears up by the roots our existing military system, and it is wholly inconsistent with the Resolution which was unanimously passed by your Lordships' House in 1904 —That any scheme of Army reorganisation which does away with the Militia Force is contrary to sound policy, destroying as it does the ancient constitutional foundation of our military system.No doubt it may be said that, in consequence of the arrangement made in the other House, the Militia has been retained; but while it has been retained in name, its whole constitution has been changed. At present it is a force which can volun- 1286 teer to go overseas, but under the Bill it will be a force which may be ordered to any part of the world. Therefore, I hold that your Lordships have acted inconsistently with the Resolution I have just read, and which was passed unanimously by both sides of the House.
But it is not so much to this as to my own position that I wish to refer. I have taken a very keen interest in the Militia Force, and have thought it wise that it should be retained as originally desired. I have, nevertheless, avoided all participation in the discussion on this Bill. This is my first appearance since the Bill came up to your Lordships' House. I knew that this great change was about to be made, and that my single voice raised against it would not have been of the slightest use. Therefore, I have abstained from coming here until tonight, and I propose not to make a speech, but to read a protest which I desire to have entered upon the Journals of the House, and I hope that other noble Lords will be willing to add their names to my dissent. I will read the document, which states that I protest against the passing of the so-called Army Reorganisation Bill for the following reasons—Because it destroys the foundations upon which our military system has rested from all time.Because that system was admirably suited to our insular position a like as regards home defence and service over sea, resting as it did on (1) voluntary service in the Regular Army for service alike in this country and over sea; (2) compulsory service in the Militia for home defence; (3) voluntary service in the Yeomanry and Volunteers for those who desired to escape the chances of compulsory service in the Militia under the Militia Ballot Act, which was an alleviation of universal compulsory service for home defence.Because by the system of compulsory service in the Militia the competition for voluntary recruits with the Regular Army was taken away.Because the Militia thus compulsorily raised for home defence was free to volunteer for service over sea.Because it has in the past done admirable voluntary service with the Regular Army in our foreign wars.Because this one, up to the present time, existing military system has been approved alike by all statesmen and soldiers.Because it is only required to be put in force to render our country absolutely immune from foreign invasion, and in the state aimed at by the Resolution of the House of Lords, passed unanimously on July 16th, 1905—'that in the opinion of this House it would be a danger to1287the Realm, and limit the power of the Navy as an offensive force in war to trust to it alone for home defence, and inasmuch as it is admitted that the Navy cannot guarantee us against so-called hostile raids it is the more needful that our land defences should be at all times such that no nation would ever attempt in any form a hostile landing on our shores.'Because in the place of our existing military system, by which these results could at once and without extra cost be obtained, we are to have a Militia Force liable to compulsory service over sea, thus doing away with the power of compulsion through the Militia Ballot which can never be applied to a force thus subject to compulsory over-sea service; while the Yeomanry and Volunteers are to be made liable for four years service in a so-called Territorial Force, from which continuous service they can only escape on payment of £5—'their present term of service requiring only fourteen days notice.Because the training to which this Territorial so called Force is to be subject can in no way fit it to meet the picked foreign troops with which an invasion of this country might in future be attempted with every prospect of success, supposing the Navy to be unable to protect our shores, a possibility foreseen by the Lords in the Resolution already quoted.Because in this Army 'reorganisation' scheme the so-called Territorial Force rests on no other foundation than 'hope, speculation, and optimism,' the words applied to it by the present Secretary of State for War.Because as shown in the acompanying paper, we could at once, without one penny additional cost, by a moderate application of the Militia Ballot have 1,250,000 troops for home defence, exclusive of Regulars; whereas, after deducting all those in the Territorial Force under twenty years of age and the men necessary for the garrisoning of Ireland, the Channel Islands, and our naval stations, there would only remain 50,000 insufficiently-trained men for the defence of Great BritainFor these reasons I enter my protest against this Array Bill, the passing of which in its present form is due to the action of the late as well as of the present Government.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, my noble and gallant friend Lord Wemyss—I might refer to him as" my gallant friend" in more senses than one—has informed your Lordships that he desires to clear his conscience by recording on the Journals of the House the dissent which he has just read to your Lordships. I, too, desire to say a few words on the Motion that the Bill be read a third time, not with the object of protesting against the Bill, but to make clear to the House the manner in which I and some of my friends regard the measure. 1288 One observation I hope I may be allowed to make without fear of contradiction, and that is that noble Lords opposite have certainly no reason to complain of the manner in which this Bill has been treated in your Lordships' House. It has met, no doubt, with a considerable amount of criticism, but that criticism has been entirely of a reasonable description, and it has proceeded almost entirely from noble Lords who have a right to claim that they speak on this subject as experts. It has been criticism, not of a merely destructive character, but criticism full of useful and valuable suggestion. The result has been that we now have in our hands a much better Bill than that which came in the first instance before your Lordships.
But I hope I shall not be understood as suggesting that we on this side of the House regard the Bill as by any means a perfect measure. All we can say is that it is a great outline. It is an outline which to my mind presents some attractive features, but it is full of immense gaps, upon the filling up of which depends entirely the ultimate value of the Bill. The first of these gaps seems to me to be that which has reference to the numbers of the Territorial Army to be created under the Bill. The Territorial Army is, after all the main feature of the Bill. We have failed altogether to obtain any precise information as to the total numbers of the Territorial Army. The matter really stands where it did when my noble friend Lord Newton referred to it the other evening, when he complained that we were not even told within half a million what the strength of the Territorial Army was to be. We are equally left in the dark as to the strength of that portion of the Territorial Army which will be I will not say a mobile force, because the noble Lord opposite objects to that expression, but which will be available when the obligatory points have been occupied in different parts of the United Kingdom.
Another point on which we are left very much in the dark is the cost which this Bill will entail upon the country. My noble friend Lord Midleton, in the debate on the Second Reading, pointed out that the apparent saving—a saving, remember, not to be arrived at once, but after a considerable lapse of time— could probably not exceed somewhere 1289 about £800,000. I do not think that figure has been challenged. Against that we have to set the enormous expense which cannot fail to be involved by the setting up all over the country of these new County Associations, which have been well described as miniature War Offices, and which it will be impossible to run except at very considerable cost to the country.
At another point we are inevitably very much in the dark. Will the terms which His Majesty's Government are going to offer under this Bill to the Militia, to the Yeomanry, and to the Volunteers be a sufficient inducement to obtain the men whom we want in over to create those forces? That, after all, is a matter almost entirely of conjecture. The anticipations of His Majesty's Government, as my noble friend said a moment ago, are to a great extent based upon hope, speculation, and optimism.
We must also remember that, whatever accession of strength may be derived by the passing of this Bill, it will be obtained at the cost of a great, and to the minds of many of us a dangerous, weakening of the Regular Army. As to that there can be no controversy. It has not been disputed that a number of fighting units have disappeared in order to make room for this Bill, and we have never yet been able to get to the bottom of what I may call the mystery of the Regular Artillery. The explanations we have received upon that point have been confusing and diff -cult to follow. It will, moreover, I think, scarcely be contradicted that, as a result of this diminution in the strength of the Regular Army, there will be a diminution in the number of the Army Reserve upon which we have to a great extent depended to bring about the efficiency of our fighting line.
It is, I conceive, our duty to point out these matters. We have certainly not stood in the way of this Bill, or denied those in charge of it facilities for carrying it through Parliament. But it is necessary that we should make it quite clear that the responsibility for it rests upon the shoulders of noble Lords opposite, and not upon our shoulders on j this side of the House.
I think it only due to noble Lords opposite that I should say that if the passage 1290 of this Bill has taken place without much heat or friction, if the discussions have been of a considerate and instructive character, if the result has been, upon the whole, to give us a better Bill, that has been due in great measure to the considerate attitude of the Minister who is the author of this Bill, and has had charge of it in the House of Commons. The suggestions that have been made from this side have without exception been examined in a thorough and considerate manner—they have not been hastily put aside—and I think we may claim that both in the case of the Militia and in the case of the Yeomanry changes have been made which render this Hill far more acceptable than it was at first to the members of those forces.
I dwell with pleasure upon this circumstance, because I think it due to His Majesty's Government that I should do so, and also because the attitude of His Majesty's Government in this case seems to me to be of happy omen for the future. During the few weeks of the session which remain several other Bills of a very difficult and controversial nature are likely to be brought before us. It is impossible that those Bills should be satisfactorily dealt with unless our criticisms of them are received in the same considerate and tolerant spirit as that in which our criticisms of this Bill have been received, and in resuming my place I desire to express my hope that when these other measures come before us we shall find n able Lords opposite not less ready than they have been in the case of this Bill to listen to our arguments and to deal fairly with them.
§ *LORD HAVERSHAM
My Lords, I should not have ventured to detain your Lordships even for a moment upon the finance of this Bill had not the noble Marquess again repeated what I cannot but think the extraordinary fallacies under which he labours in regard to the expenses of the County Associations. Since the Second Reading of this Bill I have had several interviews with those in the financial department at the War Office, and I could show your Lordships the exact items upon which the County Associations will have to incur expenditure. On Wednesday last, the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition 1291 assured your Lordships that the expenditure under these associations would be enormous. He said—He was bound to add that the more the position and duties of these County Associations were considered the more evident it became that the expenditure which their operations would necessitate would be an enormous expenditure.The noble Marquess has virtually repeated the same expression to-day. I hold in my hand Command Paper No. 3370, in. which it is explained exactly what the County Associations will have to spend. I may observe that all expenditure upon the troops during the time that they are in camp is removed altogether from the County Associations; the money will be paid direct to the general officer commanding. There are four headings under which the associations' requirements are to be presented to the War Office. The first is establishment grants, and that is met by the £75 per company of which we have heard a great deal during these discussions, and which I would remind noble Lords would amount in a ten company battalion to £750 a year. Out of that it is true there will be the new expenditure on the secretary and the headquarters, but it does not include repairs to headquarters; and it is generally assumed that two rooms will be hired either in the town hall or at the headquarters of the corps, which would accommodate them sufficiently. Then there are the ordinary expenses of these rooms, such as fuel, lighting, and cleaning, and there are certain expenses for prizes and small items of that kind. There is also what is called the care and maintenance of ranges, but everything connected with ranges, except merely the upkeep of them, will be provided for under another head. The County Associations will have nothing to do but to find a caretaker; all the large expenditure, if any, in the hiring of ranges will be defrayed entirely by the War Office, and will not be found from these sums at all. Neither will structural repairs to the drill hall or headquarters be defrayed out of this fund. Then there is the question of stationery, but it is probable that the Stationery Office will supply that direct. Again, the Associations will not be out of pocket in regard to the capitation grants. The capitation grants will be given to cover 1292 two suits of clothing, at the rate of 22s. 6d. per man, to last three years, or 67s. per head. This is the average cost. As to the travelling grant, the amount will probably be a penny per mile for men going to the ranges, and will be paid by issue of routes. Lastly, there are the payments for drill hall accommodation and rifle ranges, but this includes only the actual rent or repairs; it does not mean structural repairs. The actual rent will be ascertained from the corps and will be paid in one lump sum from the amount taken in the Votes. If there is any question of excessive expenditure, such as the obtaining of a new range, that would be made a special requisition and would not be included in the annual Budget. This proves, I think, that it is impossible for the expenditure of the County Associations to run into a great amount. In fact, the whole of the expenditure does not go through the associations at all. To say, therefore, that there will be gross expenditure on the part of the Associations is exceedingly misleading, and there is no reason to fear that the cost of these associations will militate against the success of the Bill.
THE EARL OR MOUNT-EDGCUMBE
My Lords, I desire to say a few words at this stage. I should like to inquire of the noble Earl the Under-secretary whether it is possible under the Bill for the County Associations not to be formed, or, at least, not to be formed universally. These associations were originally designed to deal with a homogeneous body of Volunteers, Yeomanry, and Militia, firming together the Territorial Force: but all that has been changed, and the force will now be composed exclusively of Volunteers. It is very difficult to see what the associations can do for the Volunteers that is not done under the present system.
Of course, the Bill does a good deal besides for the Volunteers. It introduces great changes which may be of considerable advantage, but on which I am not competent to form an opinion. A new system of training is introduced, but these things are quite independent of the County Associations. This new training system may be excellent and may produce a great improvement in the efficiency of the Territorial Force, but 1293 the County Associations will have nothing to do with it. The men are in future to be enlisted instead of enrolled, which may some day lead to their being paid. That is another matter which makes a great change, but which has nothing whatever to do with the County Associations.
The points with which the County Associations may be called upon to deal by the Army Council are enumerated in the various paragraphs of Clause 2. The first is the organisation of the units. I do not quite understand that. The units are organised now. The Volunteers are organised in companies, in battalions, and in brigades, according to the resources of the localities in which the units are maintained and according to a system which has been developed under the supervision of the War Office during the last forty years. The next point is the recruiting for the Territorial Force, and there, again, I cannot see how we can hope that the recruiting will be more strenuous or more successfully encouraged by a body of gentlemen forming a central committee in a locality than by the officers directly connected with the centres in which the units are raised, It is not like recruiting for any other Force. The men can only be recruited in the place in which they live, and if the interest of a particular locality not sufficient to maintain a unit in that place I do not think it at all likely that any influence brought to bear by a County Association will add a single man to the muster roll. I think that is the opinion of the officers of the Force.
The next point is of great importance —it is the provision and maintenance of rifle ranges and buildings, including magazines and armouries. These are provided already, and I do not see what is to be gained by transferring the responsibilities of property in these things from the commanding officer to a central association, unless, indeed, the Volunteer officers desire it themselves, and I have not been able to find out that they do. It is not as if the County Associations were going to give them any pecuniary help. They cannot levy rates. The members are not going to be personally liable. All the money that is given to them must come, under the sanction of the Treasury, through the War Office and by direction 1294 of the Army Council, and I can quite understand that the Army Council may desire a source of local information to guide them as to the needs of the different units. I think, however, that such source might be very well supplied by a small committee, or, better still, by one man—by such a person as the Secretary whom it is proposed to appoint under this Bill. The other points referred to seem to me to be dealt with very well at present by the County Volunteer Rifle Association, which in my county has lately taken to encouraging rifle clubs, boys' brigades, and so on, and by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Help Society and by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association.
What I desire to know is whether it is supposed to be absolutely necessary that these associations should be established in every county. Clause 9 says that no man can be enlisted for a county for which an association has not been established under this Act. Therefore, if there is a county in which no association has been formed you would not there apparently be able to enlist men. I have ventured to give notice of an Amendment to make it read that every man shall be enlisted in such county as he may select, the words being the same as are used in the rest of the clause with regard to his appointment to a particular unit. Then Clause 8 would be inconsistent. It vests the right to recommend for first commissions in the president. If there is no association formed there will, I suppose, be no president, and this right would then, so far as I can judge, be vested in nobody. The clause is a curious one both in form and in substance. No mention is made in the clause that this duty has vested in the Lord-Lieu-tenant from time immemorial in regard to the Auxiliary Forces generally, and with regard to the Volunteers ever since the Force came into existence. I think it is usual, when a change of that kind is made, to refer to the existing state of things which has to be changed. That, however, is not a matter of great importance. What the Bill does is to transfer from the Lord-Lieutenant a duty which he has performed up to the present time, and to vest it, not in a popularly elected officer, which might be in accordance with the spirit of the age, but purely and simply in a nominee of the 1295 Army Council; and this duty is the only duty assigned by the Bill to the president of the association. No other duties are defined, nor is anybody empowered to define them in any scheme.
We may be told that the nominee will prima facie be the Lord-Lieutenant, but that does not affect the principle or the practical consequence. Suppose a Lord-Lieutenant shrinks from undertaking the responsibility which he may incur by accepting the post as president of the association. I do not mean official duties, because, as I have said, they are nil, for the only duty which is assigned to him is this particular duty which he is performing at the present moment. Or suppose he is declared incompetent by the Army Council. I do not know what noble Lords who hold the position of Lord-Lieutenant would feel, but if they were so declared incompetent to perform the duty which they are performing at this moment I should be surprised if any of them continued to hold the office, and in that way the Army Council would have practically the power to dismiss the Lord-Lieutenant.
But suppose the other alternative, that he declines to accept the office and another person is appointed. On the demise of the Lord-Lieutenant a younger man, able, willing, and competent to do the work, is appointed as his successor. Should we then expect that the Army Council would cashier their nominee for the purpose of putting in the new Lord-Lieutenant? I think that shows that this clause is, at any rate, one which ought to be considered. My only desire is to express the hope that the Government regard the appointment of these associations as permissive, and that they will not consider that because they have been talked about so much they are bound to be appointed in every county, but will see from experience how they work in one or two. I share the fear of the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition, that these associations will cause considerable unnecessary expenditure of money which might be far better used in other ways in promoting the improvement of the Territorial Forces.
*THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE
My Lords, the noble Lord opposite who followed the noble Marquess the Leader 1296 of the Opposition took him to task, and I have no doubt intended also to take us to task, for complaints as to absolute ignorance of the financial intentions of His Majesty's Government under this Bill. He called attention to a Paper which has been on the Table of your Lordships' House for some considerable time, and practically suggested that if your Lordships had carefully studied this Paper you would have had no ground whatever for complaint on this head.
I should like to remind your Lordships what this Paper is. It is a statement showing the proposed financial control over the expenditure connected with the Territorial Forces. It shows how the financial control is to be maintained, but it says nothing whatever about the effects of this Bill on the Estimates, or of the changes which were introduced in the scheme in Committee in another place and in your Lordships' House. Part of this document is dated 15th April and part 17th May, so that it was, of course, written before the changes which were made in the Bill in your Lordships' House could possibly have been taken into consideration; while the appendix, which doubtless should teach us everything we want to know, is almost entirely blank. This is the document that we are told we ought to have digested.
The noble Lord gave us a few details —the 1d. per mile travelling allowance, and so on; but he gave no totals. Our ignorance on that point is not due to our not having: asked for information. We have: asked for information all this year, and, indeed, all last year, and we have been told absolutely nothing. I therefore think that it is rather hard that thus late in the day we should be reproached for being ignorant when we have been diligent, if not importunate, students for two years.
What broadly, are, our financial fears? They come under two heads. First of all we know that there is to be a grant of £75 per company to the County associations for the business of these miniature War Offices up and down the country; but we do not believe that £75per company is going to be enough, and no attempt has been made to prove that that sum will be sufficient. We have: asked, and hon. friends in another 1297 place have: asked, for the production of a model scheme, but our request has been refused time and again. I was rather surprised at one remark which Lord Haversham made. He refused to take the cost of stationery into account, because, ho said, the Stationery Office were going to provide it, and therefore it would not come into the Army Estimates. But the nation is going to pay for it. It is to be juggled out of the Army Estimates and saddled on to the Stationery Office Vote in order that His Majesty's Government may be able to show, either a saving, or not such a large increase as a result of their policy. The very fact that this suggestion has been made is proof of the slipshod financial methods that have been pursued in this connection from the very first.
Our first fear, as I have said, is that this £75 is not going to be sufficient. Secondly, we feel that if the Government are really in earnest, and are going to make the Territorial Army efficient in the new organisation into brigades and divisions, you will have to spend very much more on the Volunteers and Yeomanry than you do at present. As far as we have been able to ascertain, no calculation whatever has been made as to what will be necessary under this head. I understand the Secretary of State to have said, in reply to a question on the subject in another place on almost the last day of last session, that he was not so foolish as to make any prophecy as to what the financial result was going to be. Possibly Mr. Haldane was wise, from the Parliamentary point of view, not to make any prophecy, but it illustrates the fact that this is a financial leap in the dark. If it is necessary to spend more money in order to make the Territorial Army efficient, where is that money coming from? What will be the temptation? Will not the pressure of their followers be brought to bear on His Majesty's Government, as it has been brought to bear in regard to other matters, to reduce the Regular Army in order to provide the extra money required for keeping the Territorial Army up to a state of efficiency? That is my second fear, and I desire to protest against the possibility of that eventuality.
*THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (THE EARL OF ELGIN)
1298 My Lords, I do not propose to enter into any detail in regard to the criticisms of this Bill which have been made at this stage, because I think it was quite clear, from the speech of the noble Marquess opposite, that it would not be expected that we should now re-enter into the discussions which took place in Committee. But with regard to the observations made by the noble Earl who has just sat down, and by others, as to the finance of the Bill, I would just say this, that it seems to me that the money which is to be provided by Parliament is, under Clause 3 of the Bill, strictly regulated. The associations have in each case to submit their estimates, which have to be approved by the Army Council, and it is on those estimates and those approvals that the money is to be expended. In these circumstances, for all those services which are to be provided from moneys voted by Parliament, it does appear to me that the Bill supplies the essential part of the scheme under which this organisation is to work. There is provision in the Bill that the associations should also receive money outside that voted by Parliament; but it is laid down that that money may be expended on any of the purposes of the regulations. But in regard to that part of the expenditure involved in the regulations of the Army Council, there can be no doubt that the associations have a right to look, and will look, to the provision which will be made from the Votes.
I venture to think that in connection with the whole of this subject there has been some tendency to overlook the fact that the Bill which we are now passing is only the first stage in a certain process. The first clause of this Bill provides for the preparation of schemes, and there has been much criticism of the particular provisions laid down for incorporation in those schemes. But those provisions are not exhaustive; all that is provided is that they shall be included in every such scheme. That is entirely consistent with leaving a certain amount of discretion in the preparation of schemes in order to meet the varying circumstances of different parts of the country. That, I think, will apply also to the question of finance. In many instances the conditions and circumstances of the locality will have a very material effect upon the expenditure 1299 which will be necessitated under the provisions of this Bill. In the case of a straggling county, for instance, the expense involved will be greater than in one which is well concentrated and where the various forces can meet together with greater facility. I have had some experience of dealing with the preparation of schemes and the application of schemes in local management in different directions; and I venture to say again, what I stated on the Second Reading of the Bill, that it appears to me that to allow a sufficient amount of elasticity in the preparation of these schemes will be far more likely to result in good work in the different parts of the country than to send down a cast-iron scheme from head-quarters.
The noble Marquess alluded to the Bill as one of which as a general measure he might speak with a certain amount of approval, but in which he found a number of gaps. I venture to suggest that the gaps which the noble Marquess finds in this measure really arise from the same circumstances as those to which I have alluded. In the matter of numbers, of which the noble Marquess spoke, I do not see how under present circumstances it would be possible to give any accurate estimate of numbers until the schemes for each county have been prepared and the whole matter brought into operation. As I have said, I do not wish to dwell on details. With regard to the questions raised by the noble Earl, Lord Mount-Edgcumbe, I believe that, when we come to the Amendments of which ho has given notice, my noble friend behind me will be prepared to give him an answer.
I am glad that the noble Marquess recognises that this Bill has been presented to Parliament in a spirit of which he could approve, and that he was able to say that my right hon. friend the Secretary of State and my noble friend behind me had been always ready to consider, so far as it was possible, the adoption of any suggestion coming from the other side which could be incorporated in the Bill. I know there are some in this House, and especially my noble friend at the Table (the Earl of Wemyss), who still protest against interference with the Militia; but I do hope that the concessions which have been made in regard to the Militia and also the Yeomanry have been such as to inspire the feeling which 1300 the noble Marquess has expressed. I think I may say that they have shown that there is every disposition on our part to make the changes in this great scheme of reorganisation as little irksome as possible.
It is impossible, my Lords, in any such scheme not to come into contact with the feelings of those who are attached to the old system. But I do venture to repeat my opinion that this Bill is the first real attempt to give to our military system the powers of expansion beyond the Regular Forces of the Crown which we need; and as I believe it to be the wish of every one of your Lordships, even those who have most seriously criticised the provisions of the Bill, that these powers of expansion may prove real, I have no hesitation in asking your Lordships now to assent to the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to; Bill read 3a accordingly, with the Amendments.
§ THE EARL OF ERROLL
moved an Amendment to Clause 1 (establishment of associations) to provide that during the first three years after the passing of the Act the appointment of the chairman and vice-chairman of the County Association should rest with the Army Council. He urged that the responsibility in this matter ought to belong to those who had worked out the details of the scheme. He confessed that at first he thought the decision arrived at by their Lordships on this matter was a sound one, but on second thoughts he had come to the conclusion that in the special circumstances of the case it would facilitate the working of the Bill if the Army Council had the appointment of the first chairman. But he agreed that when the associations had become firmly established it would be better that they should elect their own chairman.
In page 2, line 19, after the word ' for' to insert the words ' the appointment by the Army Council during the first three years after the passing of this Act, and subsequently for.' "—(The Earl of Erroll.)
§ THE UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOE WAR (THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH)
said he had no objection to the 1301 Amendment, which proposed to give effect to a suggestion that he had ventured to make to their Lordships when this particular clause was under discussion in Committee. In this matter he was in the hands of the House. He had heard from the Duke of Northumber land that he was quite willing to accept the Amendment, but he would like to know the view of his noble friend Lord Haversham upon it.
§ *LORD HAVERSHAM
said that so far as he was concerned he strongly objected to the acceptance of the Amendment. The proposal was made by him, and from both sides of the House the opinion was expressed that the Chairman should always be elected by the Association.
THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE
said that what really mattered was what the House thought now, not what was thought last week. Speaking entirely for himself, he felt strongly that if their Lordships refused to pass this Amendment they would be placing an unnecessary obstacle in the way of the Army Council. He agreed that once the associations were running it was absolutely necessary that they should have the election of the chairmen in their own hands. The Bill would obviously pass into law, and the earliest date at which any association could be started would be late in the autumn. But there was nothing to prevent the War Office, as soon as the months of August and September had passed by, from getting to work, appointing their chairmen, and proceeding with individual schemes 30 that they could be ready to start in full working order by the end of the year. Unless the Army Council had the power of setting up the local men with whom they would discuss the details it would be impossible to get the associations started smoothly and quickly. Therefore he felt, at the time the suggestion contained in the present Amendment was made by Lord Portsmouth, that it was a reasonable one, and that a special case had been made out for allowing the Army Council to appoint the first chairman and vice-chairman. But he would strongly deprecate a reversal to the original position of the Bill, by which the Army Council was to appoint the chairman for all time.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, this is really not a question of principle, but one of machinery. The general principle, that it is desirable that the chairman should be an elected person, is admitted by us all; but I confess that we do retain the opinion that while the schemes are getting into shape the Army Council should have the assistance of a chairman whom they themselves appoint. I hope, therefore, that my noble friend will not press his objection further.
§ LORD NEWTON
did not see why the House should reverse their previous decision on this matter. He was quite unable to understand why it should be assumed that the associations would be incapable of electing the right person as chairman.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
moved an Amendment to Clause 2 (powers and duties of Associations), to provide that the date at which regulations issued to County Associations embodying the requirements on mobilisation which are to be supplied locally, should be not later than 1st January, 1909. It had been impossible to extract from the Government either what would be the numbers of the Territorial Army, or at what date it was to be organised. At the present date that Army was absolutely unemployable for home defence, as it had got neither staff, organisation, nor transport, and could not be billetted. He trusted that His Majesty's Government would be able to accept this Amendment, otherwise they might have it said of them that they were unable to state within 500,000 how many men they were likely to get for the Territorial Force, and within a quarter of a century how soon they would be able to be mobilised.
In page 4 line 25, after the word ' regulations' to insert the words 'which shall be issued to County Associations not later than the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred and nine.'"—(Lord Lovat.)
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
assured the noble Lord that the question of mobilisation was being thoroughly considered by the General Staff. It was their desire not to lose any time, but a certain amount of elasticity was necessary. The question of home defence 1303 would have to be considered to a certain extent separately in each county, and it was possible and probable that for certain counties, in which there were towns or ports supposed to be specially liable to raids, mobilisation schemes would be settled upon much sooner than for others. They could not accept the Amendment, which would have no practical value. If after a reasonable interval the noble Lord had good ground to suppose that no steps had been taken in this matter, he could again raise the question in Parliament.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
regretted the attitude adopted by the Government. What they feared was that under the new system they would simply have Volunteers and Yeomanry under a new name, but with an enormously increased expenditure. If the whole of the money to be voted by the Army Council was to be assigned to other purposes before the requirements for mobilisation had been laid down, then no progress would ever be made in the preparation for mobilisation. He ventured to say, with some authority, that the cost of mobilisation in the counties would be very great. If they were merely going to get all wagons and horses that would be required scheduled, even then there would have to be some small payment made. His fear was that the means and money would not be forthcoming to make provision for mobilisation at all. Lord Lovat had certainly touched
|Marlborough, D.||Mount-Edgcumbe, E.||Barrymore, L.|
|Portland, D.||Nelson, E.||Blythswood, L|
|Roberts E||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.|
|Bath, M.||Romney, E.||Clifford of Chudleigh. L.|
|Camden, M.||Vane, E. (M Londonderry.)||Clinton, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]||Clonbrock, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Colchester, L.|
|Churchill, V. [Teller.]||Ellenborough, L.|
|Abingdon, E.||Cross, V.||Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare)|
|Bathurst, E.||Falmouth, V.||Kensington, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Goschen, V.||Killanin, L.|
|Carnwath, E.||Hardinge, V.||Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll)|
|Cathcart, E.||Hill, V.||Lawrence, L.|
|Cawdor, E.||Hutchinson,V. (E. Donough more.)||Lovat, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Newton, L.|
|Dartrey, E.||Knutsford, V.||Ravensworth, L.|
|Denbigh, E.||Tredegar, V.||Robertson, L.|
|Devon, E.||Saltoun, L.|
|Halsbury, E.||Abinger, L.||Seaton, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Ampthill, L.||Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)|
|Lonsdale, E.||Armstrong, L.||Sinclair, L.|
|Mar and Kellie, E.||Ashbourne, L.|
|Mayo, E.||Balinhard, L. (E. Southesk.)|
§ one of the most vital points in the new organisation, and he hoped the Government would accept some such Amendment. Perhaps Lord Lovat's words were a little drastic. He would suggest to Lord Lovat to allow the Amendment to run so that these regulations should be issued to County Associations "from time to time, and on the first occasion not later than 1st January, 1909". That form would have the advantage that, while it would leave the Government practically a free hand to issue the regulations as they liked, it made it necessary for them within eighteen months to face the question of these mobilisation regulations. Of course, the Government would not be precluded from altering the regulations when they pleased.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
In page 4, line 25, after the word 'regulations' to insert the words ' which shall be issued to County Associations from time to time, and on the first occasion not later than the first day of January, 1909.'"—(Viscount Midleton.)
§ On Question, "That these words be here inserted," their Lordships divided:—Contents, 62; Not-Contents, 32.
|Loreburn. L. (L. Chancellor.)||Althorp. V. (L. Chamberlain.)||Granard, L. (E. Granard.) [Teller]|
|Crewe, E. (L. President.)||Hamilton of Dalzell,|
|Allendale, L.||L. Haversham, L.|
|Armitstead, L.||Lucas, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Burghclere, L.||Nunburnholme, L.|
|Carrington, E.||Coleridge, L.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Chesterfield, E.||Courtney of Penwith, L.||Pirrie, L.|
|Chichester E||Denman, L.[Teller,]||Shuttle worth, L.|
|Elgin, L. (E Elgin and Kin cardine. )||Stanmore, E.|
|Craven, E.||Sudley, L. (E. Arran.)|
|Durham, E.||Fitzmaurice, L.||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Portsmouth, E.||Glantawe, L.||Welby, L.|
THE EARL OF MOUNT-EDGCUMBE
moved the omission of Clause 8:—Subject to any directions which may be given by His Majesty, first appointments to the lowest rank of officer in any unit of the Territorial Force shall be given to persons recommended by the president of the Association for the county, if a person app-roved by His Majesty in recommended by the president for any such appointment within thirty days after notice of a vacancy for the appointment has been given to the president in the prescribed manner, provided he fulfils all the prescribed conditions as to age, physical fitness and; educational qualifications; and where a unit comprises men of the Territorial Force of two or more counties, the recommendations for such appointments shall he made by the president of the Association for the respective counties in such rotation or otherwise as may be prescribed.He had, he thought, fully explained, in his speech on the Motion for the Third Heading of the Bill, his reason for moving this Amendment.
§ Amendment moved—
§ "To leave out Clause S."—(The Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe.)
§ THE EARL. OF PORTSMOUTH
said he was in some doubt as to the object of the Amendment, and he hoped it would not be pressed, as it was opposed to the whole spirit of the Bill. The president of the association would be in almost all cases the lord-lieutenant, but there might be cases in which the lord-lieutenant, although the status he would give to the association by being connected with it would be of great value, would not care to add to his already heavy duties the active work of the association. There might also be cases in which for other reasons the lord-lieutenant would not be a suitable person. Lord Newton had instanced the ease of a lord-lieutenant being a Quaker. The Government desired that these appointments should 1306 rest in the hands of the president of the. association, who they presumed would have the necessary local knowledge. He hoped that as the Amendment ran counter to the whole spirit of the Bill it would not be pressed.
THE EARL OF MOUNT-EDGCUMBE
could not imagine that the gentleman who would be appointed president of an association would be likely to have more local knowledge than the lord-lieutenant. The clause did not place this duty in the hands of the County Association; it simply transferred it from the lord-lieutenant to an individual who was named by the Army Council. It seemed to him that this was really a move to alter the position of the lord-lieutenant in his relation to the Auxiliary Forces.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said the noble Earl the Under-Secretary had altogether failed to answer the noble Earl who had moved the Amendment and who had shown most convincingly that there was no provision in the Bill making it certain that there would be an association in every county; and if it was made necessary that the first appointments should be by the president and there should happen to be no association, there would be a casus omissus. That was a difficulty which his noble friend Lord Mount-Edgcumbe was fully justified in pointing out. But the Amendment would hardly, perhaps, carry him to the full length he desired. The noble Earl's second object was that these appointments should rest with the lord-lieutenant, as at present. He (Lord Salisbury) could not make out why the Government did not adopt that course, but he was afraid that the Amendment as it stood on the Paper would not carry out the second 1307 object the noble Earl had in view. Still, the point the noble Earl made remained unanswered—that in cases where associations were not appointed it would be difficult to work the Territorial Force at all. The responsibility for that mistake in drafting would rest, of course, with the Government, and it was too late now for their Lordships to alter it.
§ *THE EARL OF ELGIN
assumed that if there was no association it would be because there was no Territorial Force in the country. It was to meet that possible conjecture that the word "may" was used. He believed that if the noble Earl's Amendment were pressed, nomination to first commissions would rest with the King, as in the Regular Army.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
THE EARL OF MOUNT-EDGCUMBE
explained that his next Amendment turned on the question whether the appointment of the County Associations was compulsory or permissive. He begged to move.
§ Amendment moved—
§ "In page 9, line 15, to leave out 'a' and to insert the word ' such,' and in lines 15 and 16 to leave out the words 'for which an association has been established under this Act' and to insert the words ' as he may select.' "—(The Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe.)
§ *The Earl of PORTSMOUTH
said the omission of these words would seriously interfere with the general purpose of the Bill. For enlistment purposes the county existed only in so far as it had an association, and the words proposed to be omitted were absolutely necessary to define the meaning. The recruit selected the particular unit to which he wished to be posted, but he was enlisted for the county to which that unit belonged. If the object of the noble Earl was to secure to the recruit the right of selecting his county he would see on reference to the latter part of Subsection (a) of the clause that the Bill not only guaranteed him such a right, but even the right to select any particular unit in that county.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1308
§ THE Marquess OF SALISBURY
moved to add to Paragraph (c) of Sub-section (3), which relates to the transference to the associations of property belonging to or held for the benefit of Yeomanry and Volunteer units, the following:—"The corresponding unit of the Territorial Force shall, in the event of any such transfer, become entitled, notwithstanding the terms of any trust, limitation, or condition affecting the property so transferred, to the estate or interest in such property of the unit to the property of which the order relates; but, subject to this provision, the interest of any beneficiary other than such unit shall not, without the consent of such beneficiary, be affected. The order may, if it be deemed proper, having regard to the special circumstances of any case, provide for the appointment of special trustees to act together with or to the exclusion of the association in regard to any such property, and such special trustees may be the existing trustees of such property." He said he understood the Government were prepared to accept this Amendment. The object was to deal with certain mixed trusts existing in the case of the present Volunteer Force. There was certain property in which other persons as well as a Volunteer unit were interested. So far as the interests were not military interests, they would be saved by this provision.
In page 21, line 29, after the word 'final' to insert the words 'The corresponding unit of the Territorial Force shall, in the event of any such transfer, become entitled, notwithstanding the terms of any trust, limitation, or condition affecting the property so transferred to the estate or interest in such property of the unit to the property of which the order relates; but, subject to this provision, the interest of any beneficiary other than such unit shall not, without the consent of such beneficiary, be affected. The order may, if it be deemed proper, having regard co the special circumstances of any case, provide for the appointment of special trustees to act together with or to the exclusion of the association in regard to any such property and such special trustees may be the existing trustees of such property.'"—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH,
in accepting the Amendment, said he wished to take that opportunity of stating that nothing would be done by the Army Council in reference to the 1309 transfer of property without full consultation with Volunteer officers with regard to the transfer of any of the properties of these units to County Associations.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Bill passed, and returned to the Commons; and to be printed as amended. (No. 129.)