Clause 1. — (Appointment of Minister of Ways and Communications.)

Orders of the Day — Ministry of Ways and Communications Bill – in the House of Commons on 1st July 1919.

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For the purpose of improving the means of, and the facilities for, locomotion and transport, it shall be lawful for His Majesty to appoint a Minister of Ways and Communications (hereinafter referred to as the Minister), who shall hold office during His Majesty's pleasure.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The first three Amendments on the Paper have been covered by what has already been done.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I do not think that there is anything which prevents the Bill being restricted to railways. All that has been done is to deal with certain powers with regards to docks and harbours. That leaves tramways and canals. The first Amendment which stands in my name is, after the word "for" ["for locomotion"], to insert the word "railway," and I do not desire to move this with a view to restricting the Bill to railways, but in order to have a financial discussion with the officials of the Board of Trade, to clear up the question of the £100,000,000 deficit. I see no official of the Board of Trade here, and I do not know whether there is any good in going into these questions to-day. They have been raised in the House during the last few weeks. If my right hon. Friend is prepared to deal with that point, I will raise it now. If not, I do not want to take up the time of the House now.

Photo of Sir Eric Geddes Sir Eric Geddes , Cambridge

I cannot answer for the Board of Trade or for any estimate that the Board of Trade has made. Any figures which I gave—and there has been a great deal of comment on what I said in my Second Reading speech—were supplied to me by the Board of Trade, because, as the House will know, I have no Department of my own. Speaking on the Second Reading of this Bill, I made several references—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I have not anything before the House. I was not clear whether the hon. Member was moving his Amendment. This seems to me to be a rather inconvenient place for the large discussion which the Amendment of the hon. Member suggests.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

If the House thinks it better, I could raise it on the Third Reading. What I want is, not to move an Amendment in the Bill, but to utilise the Bill—which is a justifiable Parliamentary procedure—to raise a discussion on the £100,000,000 deficit some time or other. We have tried to get this information by question and answer, but have not succeeded. But the country does want to go fully into the question. As the Board of Trade is not represented here, I do not want to make the Minister responsible for figures collected by other Departments. But I will take the opportunity of raising the matter on some other Clause of the Bill, or, if I cannot get it on a Clause, on the Third Reading.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I think that it would be better on the Third Reading, or, perhaps, on the first of the Financial Clauses.

Photo of Sir William Pearce Sir William Pearce , Stepney Limehouse

I beg to move, to leave out the words "Ways and Communications," and to insert instead thereof the word "Transport."

It was generally considered in the Committee that the present title, "Minister of Ways and Communications," is too long. It was described as cumbersome, and if the Minister will be prepared to alter the title, and accept the word "Transport," it would reduce the length of the title to one line, and you will have one line for the title in every Clause, and in this way the whole Bill would be somewhat reduced. I think that the public generally have begun to recognise this Bill as the Transport Bill, and although "Ways and Communications" is rather a, pretty phrase, it is almost early Victorian. We have to consider the public convenience. I submit that "Transport Bill" is a better designation of the Bill. The matter was twice discussed in Committee and the Committee were almost unanimous for the change. The Government agreed to consider whether an alteration in title might not be arranged. It is not a matter of great importance, but I think I have voiced the opinion of nearly every member of the Committee when I urge the alteration of the title to "Transport."

Photo of Sir Eric Geddes Sir Eric Geddes , Cambridge

It is largely a matter of taste as to whether it is to be a Ministry of Transport or a Ministry of Ways and Communications. I agree with the Mover of the Amendment that the word "Transport" is applied to a certain extent in speaking of the new Ministry, but recently I have observed an improvement in the references to the Ministry and it has been increasingly called "Ministry of Ways and Communications." We prefer the title "Ways and Communications." If the House has any strong view on the subject it is not a matter of great importance. I do not think that any expenditure in writing out the longer title would be a very serious burden on the country, but the title was chosen after considerable discussion and because it seemed best to describe what was intended. I will leave it to the House, but as it is quite possible that I shall be the first Minister, perhaps the House will allow me to have a personal view on the matter.

Photo of Mr Joseph Johnstone Mr Joseph Johnstone , Renfrewshire Eastern

In Committee upstairs there was a strong feeling that the word "Transport" was more concise and would suit the purpose far better than the long-winded title "Ways and Communications." I trust the Minister will not press his objection to the change.

Photo of Mr James Wignall Mr James Wignall , Forest of Dean

It may be asked, "What's in a name?" We want a title expressive of what it is intended to mean.

"Transport" means, of course, the conveyance of goods and animals and passengers, and it is true that roads and railways are the means of transport and conveyance. If this Bill was simply a transport Bill, I think "Transport" would be the correct title for it, but when there is embodied in the Bill the ownership of the roads and the docks and the piers, and all the means of communications, I think the present title is more comprehensive. I did not like it at first. I thought it was a very awkward title and one that was very difficult to use freely, but now we have become accustomed to it and it seems to me that more confusion than good would be created by changing it.

Photo of Mr George Balfour Mr George Balfour , Hampstead

I wish to support the Amendment. I have some recollection that in Germany a corresponding Ministry is designated "The Ministry of Ways and Communication's." [Sir E. Geddes: "No."] That, to my mind, would be an all-sufficient reason for retaining the title.

Photo of Mr Robert McLaren Mr Robert McLaren , Lanarkshire Northern

I rise to support the new name. I think the word "Transport" takes in everything in ways and communications, and it would be well if the Minister could accept the new name at once.

Question put, That the words, 'Ways and Communications ' stand part of the Bill.

The House divided: Ayes, 109; Noes, 65.

Division No. 53]AYES.[9.4 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamForestier-Walker, L.Malone, Major P. (Tottenham, S.)
Baird, John LawrenceFraser, Major Sir KeithMartin, A. E.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)Galbraith, SamuelMason, Robert
Barnett, Captain Richard W.Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir A. C. (Basingstoke)Middlebrook, Sir William
Back, Arthur CecilGeddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Cambridge)Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)Gibbs, Colonel George AbrahamMoreing, Captain Algernon H.
Benn, Sir Arthur S. (Plymouth)Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel JohnMosley, Oswald
Benn, Capt. W. (Leith)Glyn, Major R.Murray, William (Dumfries)
Birchall, Major J. D.Gregory, HolmanNewbould, A. E.
Brackenbury, Col. H. L.Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)Palmer, Brig.-Gen. G. (Westbury)
Bramsdon, Sir T.Griggs, Sir PeterParker, James
Britton, G. B.Grundy, T. W,Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Brown, J. (Ayr and Bute)Guest, Capt. Hon. F. E. (Dorset, E.)Perkins, Walter Frank
Buchanan, Lieut.-Col. A. L. H.Guest, J. (Hemsworth, York)Pinkham, Lieut.-Col. Charles
Burn, Colonel C. R. (Torquay)Hennessy, Major G.Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray
Cape, TomMilder, Lieutenant-Colonel F.Rae, H. Norman
Carter, W. (Mansfield)Hills, Major J. W. (Durham)Ramsden, G. T.
Casey, T. W.Hoare, Lt.-Col. Sir Samuel J. G.Remnant, Col. Sir J. Farquharson
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.Hohler, Gerald FitzroyRichardson, R. (Houghton)
Coats, Sir StuartHope, Harry (Stirling)Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Coote, William (Tyrone, S.)Home, Sir Robert (Billhead)Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)
Cope, Major W. (Glamorgan)Hughes, Spencer LeighRowlands, James
Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)Jones, J. (Silvertown)Royce, William Stapleton
Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe)Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)
Davies, T. (Cirencester)Knights, Capt. H.Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)
Dawes, J. A.Larmor, Sir J.Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur
Dockrell, Sir M.Law, Right Han. A, Bonar (Glasgow)Seager, Sir William
Edwards, C. (Bedwellty)Lort-Williams, J.Sexton, James
Foreman, H.Lunn, WilliamShaw, Captain W. T. (Fortar)
Short, A. (Wednesbury)Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough)
Sitch, C. H.Tootill, RobertWilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Smith, Capt. A. (Nelson and Colne)Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, W.)
Spencer, George A.Wardle. George J.Woolcock, W. J. U.
Stanier, Capt. Sir BevilleWaterson, A. E.Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Stephenson, Col. H. K.Wignall, James
Swan, J. E. C.Williams, A. (Consett, Durham)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr-
Talbot, Rt. Hon. Lord E. (Chichester)Williams, J. (Gower, Glam.)Remer and Col. Ward,
Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
NOES.
Adair, Rear-AdmiralHolmes, J. S.Nield, Sir Herbert
Armitage, RobertHopkinson, Austin (Mossley)Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.
Arnold, SydneyHoward, Major S. G.Pennefather, De Fonblanque
Astbury, Lt.-Com. F. W.Hurst, Major G. B.Perring, William George
Austin, Sir H.Jodrell, N. P.Pratt, John William
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Johnson, L. S.Prescott, Major W. H.
Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)Johnstone, J.Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Blake, Sir Francis DouglasJones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Bower man, Right Hon. C. W.Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Renwick, G.
Broad, Thomas TuckerKellaway, Frederick GeorgeRichardson, Alex. (Gravesend)
Campbell, J. G. D.Kenworthy, Lieut.-CommanderRodger, A. K.
Carter, R. A. D. (Manchester)Kenyon, BarnetStevens, Marshall
Cobb, Sir CyrilKiley, James DanielSugden, W. H.
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University)King, Com. DouglasSurtees, Brig.-Gen. H. C.
Doyle, N. GrattanLambert, Rt. Hon. GeorgeThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Gange, E. S.Lorden, John WilliamWallace, J.
Gardiner, J. (Perth)M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.)Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)
Glanville, Harold JamesMallalieu, Frederick WilliamWilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)
Gritten, W. G. HowardMitchell, William Lane-Young, Robert (Newton, Lancs.)
Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.
Haslam, LewisMorgan, Major D. WattsTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir W.
Hayday, A.Murray, Major C. D. (Edinburgh, S.)Pearce and Mr. A. Shaw,
Hogge, J. M.Neal, Arthur