Clause 2. — (Continuance of certain Defence of the Realm Regulations).

Orders of the Day — War Emergency Laws (Continuance) Bill. – in the House of Commons at on 16 February 1920.

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"(1) The Defence; of the Realm Regulaions mentioned in the first column of the Second Schedule to this Act shall, subject to the limitations, qualifications, and modifications specified in the third column of that schedule, continue in force until the thirty-first day of August nineteen hundred and twenty, and as so continued shall have effect as if enacted in this Act:

Provided that it shall be lawful for His Majesty in Council to revoke in whole or in part any of the regulations so continued as soon as it appears to him that consistently with the national interest any such regulation can be so revoked.

(2) If after the termination of the present War any person is guilty of an offence under any regulation made under the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, for the time being in force, he shall be liable on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or to both such imprisonment and fine, and the court may in any case order that any goods or money in respect of which the offence has been committed be forfeited:

Provided that—

  1. (a) a prosecution for any such offence shall not in England and Ireland be instituted except by or with the consent of the Attorney-General for England or Ireland, as the case may be, or by an officer of the police, or by a person acting in each case under a special authority from the Government department concerned; and
  2. (b) in Ireland the court of summary jurisdiction, when hearing and determining an information or complaint in respect of any such offence shall, in the Dublin metropolitan police district, be constituted of one of the divisional justices of that district, and elsewhere be constituted of a resident magistrate sitting alone or with one or more other resident 626 magistrates, and the court of quarter sessions when hearing and determining an appeal against a conviction of a court of summary jurisdiction for any such offence shall be constituted of the recorder or county court judge sitting alone.

(3) The Defence of the Realm (Food Profits) Act, 1918, shall continue in force so long as any order made by the Food Controller under the powers continued by this Act regulating the price of any goods continues in force.

(4) If immediately before the passing of this Act a proclamation suspending the operation of section one of the Defence of the Realm (Amendment) Act, 1915, in respect of any area is in force, then, as respects that area, all the Defence of the Realm Regulations then in force shall, subject to the power of His Majesty in Council by order to revoke any of such regulations, continue in force until the expiration of twelve months after the termination of the present War, subject, as respects any regulations modified by the Second Schedule to this Act, to the modifications therein contained, save so far as those modifications limit the operation of the regulations, and those regulations as so continued shall have effect as if enacted in this Act; and in that area offences against the said regulations I shall, notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, continue to be triable and punishable in like manner as if the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, and the Acts amending that Act continued in force, except that where any such offence is tried by a court of summary jurisdiction or, on appeal, by a court of quarter sessions, the court shall be constituted as hereinbefore provided:

Provided that, if the said proclamation is revoked before the expiration of the said twelve months, this section shall, as from the date of the revocation, apply in respect of the area in question in like manner as it applies in respect of the rest of the United Kingdom."


I beg to move, to leave out sub-section (4).

Whilst I was dealing with the Bill on Second Reading most of my observations were directed to this particular sub-section, and therefore I do not feel called upon to repeat the arguments which I used on that occasion. Let me sum them up. This sub-section has the effect, without mentioning Ireland, of extending the provisions of what is popularly known as D.O.R.A. for a considerably longer period in Ireland than in England. The Act is practically to come to an end on the 31st of August in England, whereas in Ireland it can be kept in existence until 12 months after the termination of the war, which means when all the treaties have been concluded, so that in effect it can be continued for a year after it has ceased in England. I think that is unfair as between England and Ireland. I think also that it is part of a policy which, I hold, has abjectly failed in Ireland in putting down disorder or crime. This indirect way of passing such a provision to apply to Ireland is contrary to all the traditions of the House. One of the first businesses I had to do as a young Member of this now asked by a side wind and by a protest against a Coercion Bill. We are now asked by a side wind and by a camouflage to pass a renewal of a Coercion Act for Ireland. I feel bound to make my strong protest against such a proceeding, and therefore I move the amendment.

Photo of Mr Gordon Hewart Mr Gordon Hewart , Leicester East

I am sorry that at the moment my right hon. Friend, the Attorney-General for Ireland, does not happen to be present The words to which the hon. Member has referred are followed by a very important proviso, as follows:— Provided that if the said proclamation is revoked before the expiration of the said twelve months this section shall, as from the date of the revocation, apply in respect of the area in question in like manner as it applies in respect of the rest of the United Kingdom. The hon. Member will observe, I am sure, from that proviso coupled with the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Clause 2 that however he may regard this Bill it is temporary, provisional and revocable.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General entirely fails to appreciate the passionate desire we all have to hear his views on the Irish question. I am one of those who was associated with him in one of the historic elections in Manchester, and I remember that he clothed with far more beauty and eloquence his words in favour of Ireland than I did. We have changed since then, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman is greatly mistaken if he thinks that we are not most anxious to hear his views on the Irish question. My only recollection of his contributions to the debates in the House during the unhappy twelve months that have come and gone is that he was the instrument and eloquent spokesman of the Government in these attempts to fetter liberty in Ireland, and I am not aware that there has ever fallen from his lips one word of sympathy with the just claims and aspirations of the people of Ireland. It seems to me a rather curious thing how office freezes the enthusiasm of young politicians who are anxious to play a large part in the affairs of the Empire. If people are to trust English public men, and I do not think there are many people who do trust them, but if there are any left, one would imagine that the way to preserve that trust would be for a politician engaged in his activities for Parliamentary glory to ensure, when he got into office, that he kept those promises made during what the right hon. Gentleman referred to in a previous speech as his predestrianism along the paths of great ideals and devotion to the cause of liberty, so that when he reached the end of the march he might reach a stage when he would be able to materialise the promises which he had given to the electorate. Therefore, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is entirely mistaken if he thinks that we do not want to hear his views on the Irish question. I would like to know from the right hon. and learned Gentleman, does he approve of the suppression of newspapers? Is that consonant with the spirit of British Liberalism? Does he think that public meetings ought to be broken up by armed forces of the Crown, and not necessarily meetings of republicans, but even meetings of consitutional nationalists called together to discuss industrial and economic questions, because the sweaters and masters of the Ulster Unionist Party, who are your masters also, do not like to hear their sweating masters criticised by politicians like myself.

I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, docs he approve of arresting lord mayors in Ireland and putting them in gaol without a trial or any charge against them, or without giving either the lord mayors or his friends an opportunity of defending themselves. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is a great lawyer. Some of the great lawyers of this country have risen to the Bench. They are now judges in this country, and I must say for the judges of this country that I do not think any citizen of England has much right to complain of the way in which they stand by the liberties of the people of this country. But then most of them are not political hacks as in Ireland, because in Ireland you have only to be a hanger-on of the Government without brains in order to be a judge. At the present time rebels in Ireland are being tried by ex-rebels. The present condition there is as if you brought a number of children on a charge of petty larceny before a jury of burglars. That is the parallel I make of the position that exists. There, potential rebels, because I do not know whether they would ever have been real rebels since I do not think the instinct for self-sacrifice was there, are on the Bench whilst the real rebels are in the prisons. You have won for the real rebels the confidence of the country. You have got the Defence of the Realm Act and all the humbug and fraud that is carried on in the name of the British Government, I will not say the British people. I do not see what right yon have to pass any Act at all. You have rigged your-majorities and you march them like sheep into the Lobby. You plaster them with your coupons and tests and you tell them to register their votes whatever way you like. The minute you face the outraged electorate of Great Britain they tell you what I tell you, that you have no moral right to pass legislation for Ireland, because you have no authority over Ireland or over England, because the English people have rejected you at every election that has taken place since the General Election and since they got to know you. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Nowcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) with tearful voice recited just now the story of a poor man arrested in this country for telling lies and sent to gaol. If everybody is going to be arrested for telling lies we would have nobody to govern us and the Government would be all in prison since you could not believe a word or a promise that comes from their lips. These are the gentlemen who are governing Ireland and want to put this Bill into operation in Ireland. We will vote against it. I am going to move later on, that this Bill shall not apply to Ireland, and I am going to give the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Northern friends the opportunity, if they like, of moving that this Act shall apply to the six Ulster counties. If we are going to have any luxuries here is a luxury for the Ulster counties. The right hon. and learned Gentleman when I move that the Bill shall not apply to Ireland can send for his friends from Belfast, and they can move that the Bill shall only apply to the six counties.

8.0 P.M.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

I think it would be very interesting to the House if the Attorney-General would develop somewhat the cryptic utterance with which he sought to satisfy the House when he asked my hon. Friend (Mr. O'Connor) to note the fact that there was a proviso at the end of this Clause whereby the proclamations could be withdrawn. What did he mean by that? Did he mean to give us to understand that important changes are pending in the Irish Executive and that there is going to be a reversal of the coercion policy and that these proclamations are merely going to be withdrawn before they run their natural course? If he did not mean that, what did he mean by calling attention to the existence of the proviso? I think he did mean something, or, otherwise, it is too Gladstonian for ordinary politicians to understand, and his utterance is wrapped up in great ambiguity and in a great mass of words. I would much prefer him to tell us frankly what he is driving at. The right hon. and learned Gentleman used to be a Gladstonian himself. I do not know what he is now since he joined the Coalition. Ho is trying to learn, and he is succeeding very well, in wrapping his ideas in such a mass of words that nobody can make out what he is driving at. If he means that this proclamation is going to be withdrawn at an early date, he should frankly say so, and if he does not mean that, I do not see what right he has to raise the question at all. I agree entirely with my two hon. Friends who have spoken with regard to the powers conferred by these proclamations and to the manner in which they are being carried out. I do not know whether the Attorney-General for England, amidst his multifarious official duties, has time ever to give a thought to the manner in which we are governed in Ireland, but it is very interesting. We have a Box and Cox arrangement over there, and I believe the Box and Cox arrangement applies to the Cabinet also. We are supposed to be governed in Ireland by two members of the Government, one or other, or both, and we are in this unhappy position, that when we are not being governed by a returned empty from the front, we are being governed by a gentleman who took jolly good care that he would never go to the front himself. The Cabinet, to keep up the delusion, takes one of these gentlemen in one day and the other one the next day, and we do not know to this day in Ireland which is a member of the Cabinet, and I do not think any member of the Cabinet knows, and the two gentlemen themselves are blissfully ignorant as to whether they are permanent or temporary members of that Cabinet. That is part of the administration. Beyond that, the fact is that neither of them is really governing Ireland. Nominally there is a Chief Secretary in charge at the present time, but he does not count. He is of no importance whatever in the administration. His private secretary has more to do with the government of Ireland than the Chief Secretary himself, and the private secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, in carrying out the provisions of this Act, has also more power actually than the Lord Lieutenant.

But we go beyond that to the Assistant Under-Secretary for Ireland, Sir John Taylor, who assisted the "Times" in the preparation of the case against the late Mr. Parnell, and who was of such a mercantile disposition that he first of all got paid by the Government for the services which he rendered to the "Times" newspaper, and then he wrote to the "Times" demanding that he should be paid by them also. The "Times" sent the correspondence to the Government and said, "We have received this claim from one of your officials for services rendered in attacking the Irish party; what do you think we ought to do?" The Government said, "You ought to pay him," and he got paid twice for the work of calumniating his own countrymen, and that is the gentleman who is administering D.O.R.A. in Ireland to-day. I do not know whether be will get paid twice now or not, and I do not know whether he has any other source of income than his Government salary, but that gentleman goes to the Kildare Street Club, the headquarters of Irish landlordism, and he gets his instructions there, and that is how Ireland is governed to-day. What is the result? We have no institutions such as those of which Englishmen are justly proud; they find no place in the public life of Ireland to-day.

Take trial by jury. We heard the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Duncairn Division (Sir E. Carson) asking to-day in the most plaintive tone when trial by jury was going to be restored in civil cases. We are more concerned to know when trial by jury is going to be restored to the Irish people. The Attorney-General for Ireland does not know. He does not know how long he will be on that Bench, and he does not care very much what the policy is. But the Attorney-General for England hears a whole lot more of what is going on behind the scenes, and he might be able to throw a little light upon that problem, as to when we are going to have trial by jury restored to us in Ireland. At present the only experience we have of trial in Ireland in political cases is trial by drumhead court-martial, or by resident magistrates who receive their instructions as to the sentences they are to pass from Dublin Castle. Another thing that has disappeared in Ireland is the liberty of the subject. Men can be arrested in Ireland to-day under the Defence of the Realm Acts without any conviction being recorded against them, without any charge having been preferred against them, and you have got in Wormwood Scrubs Prison at present not merely the Lord Mayor of Dublin, but over one hundred Irishmen against whom you have preferred no charge and obtained no conviction, but you arrested them and took them away from their own country, and you have interned them here. Is that Liberalism? Is that even an English Unionist's idea of the liberty of the subject?

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

You told the Germans what charges there were against them, but not the Irishmen.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

These gentlemen can obtain no information, and the only approach to information we can get is when the Chief Secretary gets up yesterday and asks the House of Commons to be satisfied with the assurance that these gentlemen are in custody and removed from their own country and interned here because they are thought to be suspected of being about to commit some offence which the Government did not like. No information even as to what the offence is that they are suspected of being about to commit, but simply that some official like Sir John Taylor or the Chief Secretary's private secretary thinks they are about to commit an offence. But it is not only the politicians who are imprisoned without trial. The Government arrest under these provisions even children and take them away from the control of their parents and keep them for months in Dublin in police custody, and the defence was put up when they were brought into court on a Habeas Corpus motion that it was in the interests of the safety of the Empire that they arrested these children and took them away from the custody and control of their parents, the real object being of course, to frighten and intimidate these children into giving evidence such as the police desire in any particular case. But it is not merely the liberty of the subject that has gone.

I have spoken of the politicians and how they are treated, and I have told you how the children are treated, but they arrest the girls, too. Very respectable girls going out soiling flags on behalf of the Gaelic League or any other political organisation in Ireland, or any other educational organisation, are arrested and imprisoned under this Act as though they were the vilest criminals. Girls can sell flags in the streets of London and of every city in England, but if they try to do it in Ireland and they are political opponents of the Government, those girls are thrown into prison under the Defence of the Realm Acts. So much for the liberty of the subject. But what about the freedom of the Press? Is there any freedom of the Press in Ireland such as all Englishmen love? No; that, too, is a thing of the past. This Government has suppressed over thirty newspapers in Ireland since it came into office, and do not imagine that it is merely Republican newspapers that they suppress. I deny the right of any Government to suppress any newspaper, even when it is advocating the establishment of a Republic. It is a perfectly legitimate point of view in this country or in any other country, and I deny their right to suppress any newspaper, whether in London, or Birmingham, or Dublin, that is advocating a republic, on that ground alone. I deny the right to do it. But the Government has suppressed them all ruthlessly, and it has suppressed Labour organs in Dublin—seven or eight of them—because they advocated the support of the Republican party. But they have also suppressed the organs of the constitutional Nationalists, such as "The Cork Examiner" and the "Freeman's Journal," two of the most powerful daily newspapers in Ireland, which supported the policy of my late friend and colleague, Mr. John Redmond, which have at all times, and in face of all opposition, been the stalwart supporters of the constitutional movement in Ireland. They were treated the same as the Republican organs, because they were opposed to the Government in power to-day. Therefore, I say, the freedom of the Press is at an end.

How does freedom of speech stand under the Defence of the Realm Act? There are seventy-two or so Sinn Fein Members in Ireland, and not one of them is allowed to address his constituents, because he is a political opponent of the Government. The Attorney-General for Ireland knows that every statement I have made is absolutely true, and cannot be contradicted. Not one of these Sinn Fein Members of Parliament is allowed to address his constituents. What do Englishmen think of that state of affairs? What would you think if men, simply because they were opponents of the Government in power to-day, were told, for that reason, that every meeting they attempted to address in their own constituency would be suppressed; The liberty of the subject, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of speech are things that no longer exist in Ireland in consequence of the operation of this Act. More than that, over 12,000 private houses in Ireland have been raided by police and military under the Defence of the Realm Act. The houses of over 12,000 people have been entered, nearly all of them in the dead of night, and terror has been struck into the hearts of the inhabitants by these armed military going in with their drawn swords, sticking their swords and rifles into bedding and walls and everywhere else for things that are not there—searching for rifles and ammunition, and yet, in point of fact, in not one per cent. of the raids on private houses have they discovered anything to justify this inroad on the sanctity of the home. That is going on to this hour all over Ireland. These raids are being carried on with impunity.

But I ask the House to note this very interesting fact. There were more rifles, smuggled in the Province of Ulster by the right hon. Member for the Duncairn Division (Sir E. Carson) and his friends than were ever smuggled in by the Sinn Feiners. But there has never been a raid carried out in the home of any Ulster Unionist. They have never gone there to look for rifles. These were German rifles got from the German Government, with the connivance of the ex-Kaiser, whom the Attorney-General is now going to prosecute—at least, so he promises. Of course, he has no intention of doing it, but he promised at the General Election that he would hang the Kaiser. He is not likely to do it. But this Kaiser facilitated the export of arms from Germany to Ulster, and is it not very remarkable that when they are raiding 12,000 private houses in Ireland looking for arms, not even by accident have they happened to stroll into a house occupied by any Ulster Unionist who has got the arms obtained from the Kaiser?

I say this Act has been administered in a grossly partisan manner. It is being used for political purposes, and used by the Government for the persecution of political opponents, and this House ought to be very chary indeed in allowing such powers to be conferred. Thousands of Irishmen, moreover, have been court-martialled for violation of this Act. They have been court-martialled for having in their possession newspapers of which the Government did not approve. It was enough to secure for them savage sentences by court-martial—for having even newspapers which the Government themselves did not suppress. And if you go out and deliver a speech in Ireland, even a speech which is mildness itself compared with some of the speeches delivered by Ulster Unionists in the days when they were preaching civil war, mildness itself in comparison with speeches by the Leader of the House during the Ulster campaign, these men are sentenced to twelve months' and two years' hard labour up and down the country, but no Ulster Unionist, no matter what he threatens, is ever put upon his trial by court-martial. The only justification I hear for the maintenance of this policy in Ireland is that crimes have taken place in Ireland. The first thing that any politician ought to learn is, that it is not crime that produces coercion. It is coercion that pro- duces crime. You have had nearly five years of repression in Ireland, and it is only within the past few months that you have had the outburst of crime.

Therefore it is not difficult to trace the cause and the effect. You have smashed the Constitutional party in Ireland by your administration of this Defence of the Realm Act. At the door of the Government, and at the door of the Government alone, must be laid the responsibility for the failure of the Constitutional movement in Ireland. Every act which this Government takes in Ireland seems to be deliberately designed further to discredit the advocates of constitutionalism. These courts-martial have been for the most frivolous charges, and have inflicted the most savage sentences. I wonder what the Government really thinks is going to be the effect of sentences of that kind? When these men are released from prison do you think they are going to be loyal, and do you think their children are going to be loyal subjects? No, Sir, the Government has set out, under the direction of a vicious and pestiferous nest of politicians in Dublin, to persecute those men who differ from them. The Government has already reaped the harvest. In the course of its operations, as I say, it has destroyed the Constitutional movement. But when the defence is put up that it is because of crime, I say that more civilians have been killed by police and military in Ireland during the last two or three years than there have been police or military killed by civilians. Only the other night in Limerick a crowd of police and military were let loose and fired upon the people.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

This is going really a good deal beyond the Sub-section.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

It is, I agree. I was seeing how far I could get. I was quite conscious I was getting far, but I wanted to point these things out to the Attorney General. It is not often we get him here to talk about the Irish Question. I am quite sure he is a sincere friend of Ireland, and I think I can say the same about his colleague the Solicitor-General. I know there is not a particle of anti-Irish feeling on their side, and I am sure they are intensely desirous of ending a system of government that is a discredit to the British Empire—a system which, as one of the London newspapers said the other day, is making the name of the British Empire stink in the nostrils of the world. I appeal to them to use their influence to end this. It is perfectly futile to attempt to bring about the settlement of the Irish controversy in double harness with coercion. You cannot do it. You have to create an atmosphere for settlement in Ireland if you want settlement; and the way to do that is not by passing Coercion Acts such as this that we are engaged upon tonight. I would appeal to the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite to use their influence, which is considerable, with the Government to end the present administration in Ireland, to clear out the military gang, root and branch.

Division No. 6.]AYES.[8.22 p.m.
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel JohnMacleod, J. Mackintosh
Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William JamesGlyn, Major RalphMacmaster, Donald
Archdale, Edward MervynGoff, Sir R. ParkMacnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.
Baird, John LawrenceGould, James C.Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Baldwin, StanleyGoulding, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward A.Macquisten, F. A.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)Moles, Thomas
Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)Greenwood, Colonel Sir HamarMolson, Major John Elsdale
Barnett, Major R. W.Gregory, HolmanMoreing, Captain Algernon H.
Barnston, Major HarryGretton, Colonel JohnMurray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh)
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)Gritten, W. G. HowardMurray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)
Bennett, Thomas JewellGuest, Major O. (Leic., Loughboro')Murray, Major William (Dumfries)
Birchall, Major J. DearmanGuinness, Lieut. Col. Hon. W. E.Neal, Arthur
Blake, Sir Francis DouglasHambro, Captain Angus ValdemarNicholl, Commander Sir Edward
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.Hanna, George BoyleNorton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Breese, Major Charles E.Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)Oman, Charles William C.
Bridgeman, William CliveHenry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry
Brittain, Sir HarryHerbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)Perkins, Walter Frank
Broad, Thomas TuckerHewart, Rt. Hon. Sir GordonPickering, Lieut.-Colonel Emil W.
Brown, captain D. C.Hills, Major John WallerPollock, Sir Ernest M.
Brown, T. W. (Down, North)Hinds, JohnPratt, John William
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesHohler, Gerald FitzroyPurchase, H. G.
Burdon, Colonel RowlandHope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)Rae, H. Norman
Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)Ramsden, G. T.
Campbell, J. D. G.Hopkins, John W. W.Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)
Carr, W. TheodoreHoward, Major S. GRobinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)
Carter, R. A. D. (Man. Withington)Hurd, Percy A.Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)
Casey, T. W.James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertSanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.
Chadwick, R. BurtonJesson, C.Seager, Sir William
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)Jodrell, Neville PaulSeddon, J. A.
Cheyne, Sir William WatsonJohnson, L. S.Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Conway, Sir W. MartinJones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Courthope, Major George L.Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.
Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)Jones, J. T. (Carma then, Llanelly)Stewart, Gershom
Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid.)Keilaway, Frederick GeorgeStrauss, Edward Anthony
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryKerr-Smlley, Major Peter KerrSturrock, J. Leng
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.King, Commander Henry DouglasSugden, W. H.
Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)
Davies, Sir Joseph (Chester, Crewe)Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)Taylor, J.
Dawes, James ArthurLewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)Lewis, T. A. (Glarn., Pontypridd)Waddington, R.
Edgar, Clifford B.Lister, Sir J. AshtonWallace, J.
Edge, Captain WilliamLloyd, George ButlerWard, William Dudley (Southampton)
Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)Lloyd-Greame, Major P.Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Edwards, John H. (Giarn., Neath)Lorden, John WilliamWhitla, Sir William
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)Loseby, Captain C. E.Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.Lyle-Samuel, AlexanderWilliams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)
Falcon, Captain MichaelLynn, R. J.Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald
Farquharson, Major A. C.Lyon, LauranceWilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)
Flannery, Sir James FortescueM'Curdy, Charles AlbertWilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)
Fraser, Major Sir KeithM'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P.Winterton, Major Earl
Gardiner, JamesMacdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray
Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Bas'gst'ke)Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachle)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Gibbs, Colonel George AbrahamMcLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)Lord E. Talbot and Capt Guest.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

"Sack the lot!" as my hon. Friend says. Let us begin another chapter in the history of Ireland, a chapter in which the Government will take as their motto: "Trust the people," and which will lead them to success. If they are to be ruled by coercion they are marching on the road to disaster.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 162; Noes, 56.

Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamKenworthy, Lieut-Commander J. M.Sitch, Charles H.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)Kenyon, BarnetSmith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Brace, Rt. Hon. WilliamLawson, John J.Spoor, B. G.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Lunn, WilliamThomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Cairns, JohnMaclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Cape, ThomasMacVeagh, JeremiahThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)Malone, Lieut.-Col. C. L. (Leyton, E.)Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)Morgan, Major D. WattsTootill, Robert
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Finney, SamuelMyers, ThomasWaterson, A. E.
Galbraith, SamuelNewbould, Alfred ErnestWignall, James
Glanville, Harold JamesO'Connor, Thomas P.Williams, John (Glamorgan, Gower)
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)Onions, AlfredWilliams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Grundy, T. W.Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Raffan, Peter WilsonWood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Hancock, John GeorgeRedmond, Captain William ArcherYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hayward, Major EvanRichardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Hirst, G. H.Robertson, JohnTELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Hogge, James MylesRoyce, William StapletonMr. Devlin and Mr. J. Jones.
Holmes, J. StanleyShaw, Thomas (Preston)

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Enactment.Nature and Extent of Limitation.Nature and Extent of Extension.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this be the First Schedule of the Bill.

Photo of Mr William Adamson Mr William Adamson , Fife Western

Evidently there is some misunderstanding as to what is the nature of the undertaking given when this Question was before the House last December. My impression was that we agreed to take the Second Reading and the Committee stage in one day. My right hon. Friend the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) seems to be under the impression that that implied that we were not moving any Amendment in the Committee stage. I do not take that view. In fact we have put down several Amendments. The Labour party will be quite willing to carry out their agreement. I understand that the Second Reading and the Committee stage were to be taken on one day, but I did not give that undertaking under the impression that there would be no Amendments moved during the Committee Stage. There is plenty of time to deal with our Amendments and get through the Committee stage in the course of this sitting. I should like to hear what the Attorney-General has to say on this point.

Photo of Mr Gordon Hewart Mr Gordon Hewart , Leicester East

As this question has been raised I have referred to the actual words used on the 23rd of December last year in the Debate on this Bill when there was a Motion before the House the-effect of which would have been to carry over this Bill from last Session in the form which it had reached. At the end of the discussion my light hon. Friend the-Member for Peebles said: The Second Reading, certainly, I would regard as a matter to be dealt with, although not carried certainly to any undue length. But it is on the Second Reading where the occasion would arise for demonstrating any real difference between then and now. So far as the Committee stage, which really causes delay, is concerned, I would strongly advise my colleagues to treat that as practically a formal stage. Those were the words actually used by the right hon. Gentleman. May I point out what reason and good sense there was behind that suggestion? At that time we had spent a great number of days in Committee, and the spirit of this; arrangement was that we were not to be prejudiced, and we were believed to have reached a position we had in fact then reached. Then the Leader of the House (Mr. Bonar Law) asked Could you give us all these stages in one day? My right hon. Friend the Member for Peebles said:— You mean the Second Reading and Committee stage—that would be a Committee of the whole House? Then the Leader of the House said:— I can assure the House I should be very glad indeed to arrange something of this kind. It seems it could be done if a general undertaking were given that we should be allowed to get the Second Reading and the Committee stage on the floor of the House in one day. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Adamson) then said:— I want to say that, so far as I am personally concerned, I will do my best, if the right hon. Gentleman thinks this is the better course to pursue. I submit that it was an essential part of that arrangement that the words of my right hon. Friend implied that the Committee stage should be treated as practically a formal stage, and those remarks were made after we had spent seven days in Committee.

Photo of Mr William Adamson Mr William Adamson , Fife Western

I had not the privilege of hearing the first statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles. It has been explained to me that the discussion was as to whether the various sections of the House would agree to the Second Heading and the Committee stage being taken on one day. I agreed on behalf of our Party, and I stated that I believe our Members would give effect to the undertaking which I was giving on-their behalf, but, as I have already explained, I did it under the impression that the Second Reading and the Committee Stage were to be taken in one day, and that we should have the opportunity of moving Amendments during the Committee Stage. We do not propose to move many Amendments, and we are prepared to give effect to the undertaking which I gave that the two stages should be got through in one day. There are one or two vital Amendments which we consider are Amendments of substance.

Photo of Mr Gordon Hewart Mr Gordon Hewart , Leicester East

Cannot you move them on the Report Stage? The fact that I have given notice of an Amendment during the Committee' Stage renders it possible to have a Report Stage.

Photo of Mr William Adamson Mr William Adamson , Fife Western

That is a point with which I was going to deal. If we are going to forego moving Amendments on the Committee Stage we can only take that course on the clear understanding that we shall be allowed a considerable amount of liberty on the Report Stage. There are points in the Bill where we consider some amendment is necessary, and we are very anxious to have the oppor- tunity of amending the Bill in that direction. If we can have an undertaking that we shall have considerable freedom on the Report Stage I have no doubt we are prepared to consider that.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

I should like to say a word with regard to the attitude of my colleagues and myself. I can say that during the forty years that the Irish party has been in this House no one has ever been able to say that any contracts entered into by the Irish party have been broken. So far as our attitude to-day is concerned, I want to make it clear that we never entered into any undertaking of any sort or description, directly or indirectly, and if we had been invited to do so, if we had been invited to enter into an agreement under which the rights and liberties of our countrymen would have been sacrificed, we should have refused. The Attorney-General understands that we never gave any undertaking not to oppose the Committee Stage, and in our action we have not departed in any degree from what we believe to be the right course.

Photo of Mr Donald Maclean Mr Donald Maclean , Peebles and Southern

It is not a question of accommodating the Government at all, because we thought we did very well that day. I can only say that the Attorney-General has exactly described the undertaking, as I understood it, and as we intended to carry it out to the letter.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

I did not mean that either the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles or his right hon. Friend (Mr. Adamson) entered into the agreement with the intention of accommodating the Government. We should not, under any circumstances, have entered into any compact with the Government, whether we gain by it or not.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Penry Williams Lieut-Colonel Penry Williams , Middlesbrough East

A good many of us who have borne the brunt of the attack on this measure in Committee and who belong to the party led by my right hon. Friend below me (Sir D. Maclean), are very anxious to move a considerable number of Amendments, and, if we are to be debarred from putting those Amendments on the Committee Stage by the joint arrangement made by the leader of the Labour party and our own Leader, we do not consider it right that the whole of the time should be monopolised by members of the Labour party. The agreement, if binding upon anyone, should be binding upon all. I am quite ready to agree, because the Government had the power to put themselves in exactly the same position as if the Bill had passed the Committee stage, and I do not think that they ought to be placed in a worse position because they forebore to do so. Moreover, they have given us a whole day to discuss the Second Reading and the Committee stage, and we have scored on that.

Photo of Mr William Adamson Mr William Adamson , Fife Western

I must enter a protest against the statement of the hon. Member that it was a joint agreement. I have already explained that I understood the agreement was that the Second Reading and the Committee stage should be taken on the one day, and that we should not be precluded from moving Amendments on the Committee stage if time permitted. I have already said, however, that if we can get an assurance of some measure of freedom on the Report stage, there is just the possibility that we shall not proceed to move our

Number of Regulation.Subject Matter.Limitations, Qualifications and Modifications subject to which extension is made.
30 E, 3O EE,Provision as to coinage and bullion
30 ERE. 30 FRestrictions on new capital issuesExcept subsections (1). (2), (3), and (5).

Photo of Mr Gordon Hewart Mr Gordon Hewart , Leicester East

I beg to move, in Regulation 30F, column 3, after "(5)" to insert the words, "and paragraph B of sub-section (4)."

If this Amendment be carried, there will be a Report stage. Regulation 30 F contains various provisions as to restrictions on new capital issues and paragraph B of sub-section (4) is in these words: No person shall, except under and in pursuance of a licence granted by the Treasury, buy or sell any stock, shares, or other securities which have at any time since the 30th September, 1914, been in physical possession outside the United Kingdom.

Amendment on the Committee stage. If I can get that undertaking, I will do my best to carry it through. I have explained frankly what I believed to be the undertaking that I gave, and that so long as it was within the one city, even if Amendments were moved, I should be carrying out to the letter that undertaking.

Photo of Mr Gordon Hewart Mr Gordon Hewart , Leicester East

May I say that we are perfectly willing, as we always have been, that there shall be an adequate opportunity given on the Report stage for discussing Amendments. I am quite sure that my right hon. Friend can go away from the House without any reproach upon his conscience, because he certainly did nothing whatever in the way of making any concession, undue or otherwise, to the Government. There was no concession.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Spoor Mr Benjamin Spoor , Bishop Auckland

Under the circumstances, I have no alternative but to let my Amendment stand over until the Report stage is reached.

Question put, and agreed to.

It is proposed to insert the restrictions on new capital issues except certain subsections. This sub-section was in the Bill, but if this Amendment be carried it will be taken out.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

May I ask, before the Amendment is put, whether it will preclude discussion of all other items in the Schedule which precede the Regulation which it is now proposed to amend? There are some other points on which we ought to have some explanation, especially as there is to be a Report stage.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

This Amendment has been moved, and I am bound to put it to the Committee. We cannot go back unless the Amendment be withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

Is it not permissible, before you put the Question, for any other Member to move an Amendment at an earlier stage so as to elicit a statement from the Attorney General? The Question has not been actually put, and I take it that no technicality would prevent any hon. Member raising any other point on which a statement was desired.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

It could be done on the Question of the Schedule standing part of the Bill. I must take the Amendment and put it before the Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Schedule, as amended, be the Second Schedule of the Bill."

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

I would like, for the purpose of consideration of the Bill on the Report Stage, to know what is meant by some of these limitations and qualifications and modifications set out in Column 3. I see that it is proposed to take power to continue the commandeering of hotels and other buildings for Government Departments. I think the House will want to know on the Report Stage what Departments need to commandcer for further hotels and buildings. I think the Attorney-General will find a very pronounced unwillingness on the part of the House to confer further commandeering powers on any other Government Department. Then there is a proposal to confer certain powers on the Food Controller and powers with regard to flax. Why flax comes under that section I am at a loss to understand? I read that it is proposed to take power to regulate the transport of goods as if certain words with regard to the prosecution of the War were omitted, and the real effect is that without an Act of Parliament we are to confer upon the Minister of Transport powers going beyond the powers conferred by the Transport Act, and we are to do it by a side wind—by simply omitting the words, "for the further successful prosecution of the War," and so on. That is a very dangerous precedent to establish and we are entitled to have from the Attorney-General some explanation of the proposal.

Then later on there are proposals to take over the control and maintenance of highways. There were proposals made in Committee upstairs, fought through many weary weeks on the Transport Bill and the Electricity Bill, with regard to the powers to be conferred on the Ministry of Transport in relation to the roads. Parliament deliberately conferred certain powers and withheld certain other powers, but here we find in the Schedule, practically unobserved by anybody, we are to continue these powers now as though they were still required for the Defence of the Realm. The proposal is to substitute for the words, "relating to the Defence of the Realm "the words," in the national interest "and we are going to confer on the Ministry of Transport power to take over any road he may think fit in the national interest, whereas previously roads could only be taken over when public safety demanded it or the Defence of the Realm required it. The same question arises with regard to the proposed power to restrict lighting. In fact, we are asked to pass legislation which the House has not adequately considered and which certainly has not been explained to it in any memorandum or statement by the responsible Minister. I would suggest that the Attorney-General might now give me a conclusive answer on the points I have raised. I do not think we should pass legislation in the dark, or confer powers on any Government department without knowing exactly what we are doing.

Photo of Mr Gordon Hewart Mr Gordon Hewart , Leicester East

I shall not attempt to give my hon. and learned Friend what he calls a very conclusive answer. My answer is that all these matters were dealt with by the Committee upstairs. The proceedings of the Committee were reported in certain small volumes, and is it really to be suggested that it is a proper use of the time of the House that some hon. Member should get up and ask for an explanation of items which were explained upstairs. I am not prepared at this stage to reiterate what was perfectly explored upstairs.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

I never heard the explanations upstairs. We have such a peculiar method of conducting business now that it is not surprising. I understand that the reports of the proceedings upstairs are only sent to the Members on the Committee. At any rate, I never saw these. We are drifting into a most extraordinary condition of affairs. A Committee upstairs on which an infinitesimal number of the Members of the House serve—probably not more than twenty-five—deals with the Bill. The proceedings of the Committee are reported, but nobody ever reads the report, and are we to understand that therefore nobody in this House is to have any right to ask for an explanation? I can assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that that will not wash on the Report stage, and we are going to have an explanation of all these things, whether one was given upstairs, or not. We want to know the object of these items in the schedule, and I give the right hon. and learned Gentleman due notice that he is not going to smuggle this Bill through, but we are going to insist on an explanation of every item we can.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.