I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."
The Motion I have to make, that- this Bill be read this day six months, is, on a Provisional Order Bill of this kind, I admit, somewhat unusual, but in asking the House to take what may be rather an unusual course, I am prepared to justify it by endeavouring to prove that for the proposal of the Bill itself there is no precedent whatever and that the Bill contains proposals which are very unusual both in their character and in their magnitude. If this were a case of outside areas complaining of misgovernment, areas outside the big boroughs wishing to be incorporated in those boroughs and wishing to have the benefit of the better government, and the advantages which those boroughs could give them—if this were a case depending entirely upon matters of detail, details of sanitation, details of education, administration, and so on, I quite agree that it would be a matter which ought to be decided by a Committee, and the House would be right in saying, "These are matters of detail, and the Committee is the place in which these matters of detail should be decided." But when we have a case of this sort, in which not only is there the greatest hostility to the proposed incorporation in these boroughs on the part of the outside areas, and when, in addition, the case does not depend upon matters of detail, but can be decided by this House, and should be decided by this House, on broad principles, of which this House has every opportunity of being seized, without the peculiar capacity and opportunity of going into details which only a Committee can have, in that case, I say, there is nothing contrary to precedent, and nothing unusual, in asking this House to take a decision on those broad principles, and to decide here and now that they are not going to sanction a Bill which so grossly travesties the wishes of the populations affected, and which is so contrary, as I hope to show, to many of the principles of our Parliamentary procedure as they have been expressed by previous Committees.
This is purely a case of the aggrandisement of great boroughs at the expense of their weaker neighbours. The proposal in this Bill, made on behalf of the cities of Leeds and Bradford, is a very remarkable one. Let us take the city of Leeds first. The city of Leeds has had two extensions since 1912. In that year it annexed 4,670 acres. In 1920 there was another extension and over 1,800 acres were annexed making a total of 6,400 acres and a population of nearly 9,000. They now propose to annex a further 17,000 acres—not yet having fully developed their nice little property of 6,000 acres—with a population of 48,757 giving these totals, if this Bill were passed; Total acreage, 45,000; total population, 500,000. To make an interesting comparison I find that if the proposal goes through, the city of Leeds alone, will have an acreage of between 2,000 and 3,000 acres more than the combined total occupied by Liverpool and Manchester, although it will only have a population equal to one-third of the combined totals of the populations of those cities. Birmingham with its population of nearly 1,000,000 is content to occupy an acreage 2,000 acres less than is proposed for Leeds with half the population. I might give further figures, but I do not wish to weary the House. The proposal made by Bradford under this Bill is that it shall be allowed to annex 10,000 acres making a total of 33,000 acres and a total population, if the Bill passes, of 330,000. Again I might make comparison with other cities to show that this is a proposal which cannot be said to be necessary, and is enormously in excess of what has been considered sufficient for the requirements of other great cities in the country.
If this were the wish of the outside areas it might be plausible, and a proposal for which a good deal could be said. If it were really the wish of the population, the House would feel that there must be strong reasons for their desire. But these areas have neither been considered nor consulted, and at this moment there is the bitterest opposition to the Bill. Every Member of the House who sits for any of the areas which it is proposed to annex is prepared to stand up and say in this Debate that his constituents are wholly and bitterly opposed to the Bill. In addition to that, we are to have the assistance in this Debate of two of the Members for the city of Bradford, who are prepared to say that their constituents are not anxious to see the Bill go through. In spite of every effort to persuade these outside areas; in spite of the eloquent appeals toy city councillors travelling round and pointing out the enormous advantage and the great benefits to be derived; in spite of proposals of lower rates and all the bribes that are offered in these cases, the whole of that eloquence has fallen cold. The hostility remains, as has been proved by a plebiscite and by resolutions passed at public meetings by overwhelming majorities, if not unanimously. What has finally clinched and proved the opinion of the population is that at the last local elections all the local councillors were elected largely on this point, and I do not believe one single man has been returned to any of these local bodies who is not in opposition—wholesale, hearty, and complete opposition—to the proposal for going into Leeds and Bradford. There is one small district, Clayton, which wishes to go into Bradford, and no one will object. If the population wishes, it is only right their views should be taken into account, but that is a different matter altogether. That is a district which has expressed a wish, and, apart from that, I say without hesitation it has been amply proved that every local authority and the population throughout its district is absolutely and entirely hostile to the proposal.
Let us compare with this, for a moment, the indifference which appears to be shown by the cities of Leeds and Bradford. At the local inquiry, the witnesses for the Leeds and Bradford Corporations were challenged to say that this matter had ever been before the electors. They were challenged to produce an election address advocating this proposal. That challenge was not met. There was no reply. It was impossible to produce any election address in which this pro-
posal had been advocated or any proposal passed by a public meeting of ratepayers, or any other body of the citizens. Surely, I am justified in saying that there is no precedent for a Bill of this sort, and that the House will be amply justified in throwing it out. If it is a case of dealing with precedents I should like to quote what has been said by Committees of the House on this subject on previous occasions. Take what was said by the Commons Committee dealing with the Liverpool Bill in 1890. They said:
We have heard the whole case of the promoters, and we have heard only part of the case of the opponents, and so far as we have heard the case of the opponents we are certainly of opinion that they have conclusively established to our minds that the wish of the inhabitants of these different districts is to remain under their own local boards. On the other hand, we are not satisfied by the evidence which has been adduced by the promoters, that there is any grave reason of public policy or other, which would induce us to treat these communities like a flock of sheep to be handed over without regard to their own will, and to transfer them from the government of their own local boards to the government of Liverpool, however excellent, ns we believe is to be, that government is.
Later on, in reference to the Birkenhead decision of 1920, I should like to quote the opinion of the Joint Committee which decided on that case, presided over by Lord Kin tore. The Joint Committee stated
They desire to add an expression of their opinion that subject to special considerations of public advantage"—
We can see whether any such special considerations can be proved in this case—
no Provisional Order for borough extensions should be brought before Parliament for confirmation which has not previously received the substantial support of the ratepayers in the areas proposed to be incorporated.
Those are principles I am asking the House to re-affirm. I do not think the greatest advocate of this Bill can say that the substantial support of the ratepayers has been obtained or even suggested. From the point of view of county government, I should like to suggest that a hardship will be created if this Bill is passed. What justification can the House have under these circumstances—against the hostility of the population—for entirely dislocating the system of local government? I speak strongly, as an old member of the West Riding County
Council, and I should like to ask, having regard to the statement put forward in various documents sent out by the promoters of this Bill—whether they really consider the interests of the county, or of the local bodies which govern these areas, is entirely a matter of £ s. d. I admit the importance of £ s. d., but it is a secondary consideration. The promoters suggest that the Local Government Adjustments Act, 1913, removes the county grievance. I should like to point out that ail that Act does is to give the council 15 years' purchase, as a maximum compensation, for the total annual loss which they are likely to incur. I do not know what financier would accept 15 years' purchase for compensation for loss of income; therefore, this is a matter which, I think, ought to be considered.
I do, however, want to say this: even if full compensation in money were given it would not be sufficient to make up for the loss of the system of government which has been built up through many years of patient labour, and which, it is admitted, is of a very complete, satisfactory, and thorough character. Nothing can justify the wrecking by this Bill, as would be the case, of the whole system in these districts of local government and its ancillaries, of the secondary school system, the system of joint hospitals, the tuberculous sanatoria, and so on, and which would necessitate the re-adjustment of the district surveyors, medical officers, police, petty sessions, and all the rest of it. You have no right to wreck the civic life of these rural districts, of which they are intensely proud, for the grand ambitions of these great cities which happen to be in their neighbourhood. I think I have said enough to prove to the House that it is not necessary on this occasion to go into the various details which might otherwise be given. I think the House can decide on the broad principles, so that they shall not perpetrate an act of grave injustice by this Bill.
May I just inquire for a moment or two, what is the origin of these proposals, why are they put forward, what has been the inspiring motive? I should like to tell the House that the city of Leeds has a very ambitious alderman, of whom she may well be proud, and who is one of the finest figures of an alderman that I ever saw. He is, indeed, a very great personal friend of my own, and I should be loath to say a word against him. He has a great voice, which could hold its own even in that famous traditional country of Bashan. His eloquence is equal to five minutes or to five hours. He exercises a power—for he has a cheery smile—which no one can resist. He has spent the whole of his life for the city of Leeds, he has given his life splendidly to the city of his birth, and the city to which he belongs. So much is he identified with the city that, at the local inquiry, he said proudly, and quite correctly, "I am Leeds!" It is said that an unkind counsel, looking at the admirable proportions of his victim, made the retort, "I hope, Mr. Alderman, that you do not propose to expand any further." He is a powerful personality and a justly popular personality. But in this matter he has fairly swept Leeds off its legs. He has persuaded his colleague to endorse the provisions of this Bill.
In my belief Bradford is only an unwilling accomplice, dragged into this by the knowledge that if they did not come in they would have no share in the spoils at all, and that the area that they might, from their point of view, justly claim for themselves would be engulfed by their powerful neighbour. They have, I believe, been brought into this very unwillingly. I do appeal to the House under these circumstances—which I have briefly tried to describe—to say that we are not justified in imposing upon our constituencies the additional expense of a Parliamentary Committee. We all know what the expense of the Parliamentary Committee may be
Economy is urgent. There are some sections of this House who sometimes have different views on this matter, but economy is urgent. Here is an opportunity to show we are not going to put the country nor the district concerned to expense. The rates surely are high enough without imposing this additional burden. Those opposing this Motion and who speak on behalf of the Bill may point out that the main expense has already been incurred by the local inquiry; but if they urge that, I say it is the most indecent argument that any respectable body of men could use; that is to say, that the fact that you have already imposed so much expense on your unfortunate neighbours is a reason why they should submit to still further expenditure! I hope that argument will not be used. I do say that it will be very unfair that if in addition to the expense which already has been incurred there is added the further great expense of a Parliamentary Committee. This then is our justification for asking the House not to pass this Measure. May I, in conclusion, say that those who are opposing the Bill do not say, as has been represented in some circulars which have been sent out, that there will in the future be no borough extension.
We all recognise that borough extension must take place. The Act of 1888 recognises and provides for the natural overflow of boroughs beyond their boundaries. But this is a different matter altogether. The Act of 1880 never contemplated wholesale grabbing of this kind at the expense of poorer neighbours. That is a principle which I put it this House will assert by rejecting this Bill. At the present moment there, is a Commission dealing with the question of Greater London. We say that this is a subject which ought to be dealt with by a Royal Commission before any schemes of this kind are put through. Before such is done there ought to be a regular system by which the local government readjustments necessary should be properly settled. Until that has come to pass, until there is some definite rule in these matters, and some different system set up, I say that this is not the time—and I trust the House will agree with me—to pass cruel and tyrannical schemes of this kind. For that reason I beg to move the Motion standing in my name.
I beg to second the Amendment.
The hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Lane-Fox) has covered the ground so fully, and presented so strong a case for the rejection of the Bill, by the facts and figures he has laid before the House, that there is not much left for me to say. I propose, therefore, to deal not so much with the general aspect of the question, which has been so fully dealt with, but to confine myself in the main to the particular application of what the hon. Member has said to my constituency, because it is vitally affected by this Bill. Should the Bill, unfortunately, receive a Second Reading, it would destroy the local government in the greater part of that constituency. I have received the very strongest representations from every part of my constituency which is affected by this Bill, to urge upon this House in every possible way their claim to be protected against what they can only regard as an act of unprovoked aggression. In my constituency there are four urban district councils and one municipal corporation, and if this Bill passes every one of those will cease to exist, and will be absorbed into what I can only describe as the outer fringes of an inefficiently managed area. In asking for the protection of this House against that aggression, they have not merely to rely, and they do not merely rely, upon the fact that the House is the custodian of the liberties of the people; but they rely also upon the practice and the expressed views of Committees of this House in regard to schemes of this description.
The hon. Member for Barkston Ash has road statements made by most important Committees dealing with schemes of this very character, and he has indicated that as far back as 1890, in considering the Liverpool Corporation Bill, the Committee took the view that such schemes should not go through against the wishes of the people concerned unless there were grave reasons of public policy for varying that rule. Time and again since 1890 the Committees of this House have adopted the same view, and expressed the same opinion; and in pursuance of that opinion have rejected schemes such as this when they have been presented to them. As lately as 1920 in the celebrated Birkenhead case the Committee strongly expressed its opinion, not merely that such schemes should not go through in the absence of special considerations of public advantage, but they went further and said that such Bills ought not to be presented to this House. It is in pursuance of that opinion, from which this House has never dissented, that we claim that this Bill should be rejected here and now, and not sent to a Committee.
It has already been stated that the opinion in the districts affected by this Bill is strongly, indeed unanimously, hostile to it. Speaking for the districts which I know best, to which I have already referred, the municipal Corporation of Pudsey and the urban district councils concerned, I have yet to hear of a single individual who is in favour of this scheme. As a matter of fact, the expression of opinion against this scheme is absolutely without precedent. We are accustomed to fairly large majorities on small polls, lint in this particular case the expression of opinion is based upon the whole of the local government register, and in every one of those districts not less than 90 per cent. of the actual local government electors on the register have expressed an opinion hostile to these proposals. Never before in local government has such a majority been obtained against proposals of this sort. Therefore, if this House, is prepared to support its own Committees, and act upon an opinion which has been laid down again and again, and which must be assumed to have received the support and assent of this House, then we call with confidence upon this House to-night to end this Bill here and now, and not send it to a Committee.
As a matter of fact, we are placed in a somewhat difficult position owing to the form of procedure which has been adopted. Although we are in the position of defending our own position, and we are not the aggressors, we have to state our ease before those who are making this claim have stated their case. Nevertheless we have every confidence, in the strength of our case, and we do not complain of that handicap, but it compels us to anticipate the objections and arguments of our opponents, and deal with them in advance. The people who are protesting against these schemes are protesting, not merely because they are unjust and unfair and contrary to principles which have been laid down by this House, but they protest against them because of the inordinate expense that will be imposed upon the ratepayers of these districts. I have said that we have to anticipate our opponents' arguments. So far as we can gather from what has been published, those arguments are few and very thin. There is, for example, that time-honoured old argument, always brought forward in such circumstances, about the so-called runaway ratepayer. I would like to say in this connection that the runaway ratepayers are not likely to be found in the outlying districts which are affected by this Bill. Yon will have to go to places like Harrogate and Scarborough for runaway ratepayers. As a matter of fact, there is nothing in that argument any more than in the other arguments brought forward by Leeds and Bradford. The townships they are trying to absorb do not contain the runaway ratepayers of Leeds. Such townships as Pudsey and the urban districts of Calverley, Farsley, Rawdon, Rothwell, and Yeadon are self-contained industrial townships, the people who live there, work there, and there is no sort of excuse for annexing them on the plea that they ought to be brought into Leeds in order to contribute to the rates.
There are questions, I know, in connection with health. One of the arguments, and I admit it is one of the strongest, is that it is necessary to have larger areas in order to administer public health properly. I admit that is so, but there is another solution of that, and it is not to drag these people into great cities which are altogether too large to be administered properly. The right way to deal with this problem is to link together some of these smaller districts, if they are not large enough to deal with public health properly, in the same way in which districts are linked together into Unions for the purposes of the Poor Law. You could join together districts which would be able to provide a proper health service, and that is an infinitely better solution than anything which is suggested by Leeds or Bradford in connection with this scheme. Then look at some of the other flimsy reasons which are urged by Leeds for annexing these surrounding districts. One argument they have used—I wonder how they managed to keep a straight face while they did so—was that, because some of the people of these districts used the University of Leeds, therefore they ought to be brought within Leeds. At the time that they were putting that forward, I happened to have a son of my own at Leeds University. My house is 12 miles from Westminster, and so, I suppose, if there is anything in that argument, Enfield, where I live, ought to have been brought into Leeds. Then, again, they suggested that, because the people of the surrounding districts used the railway stations of Leeds, that was an argument in favour of these places being brought in. I suppose that many of us have at times to use those railway stations, and I am not quite sure where the extension, on this basis, would stop. Indeed, I believe Alderman Wilson, who has already been referred to, suggested that his own ambition would probably not stop short of Edinburgh.
I think I have said enough to show the nature of the arguments put forward by Leeds as a ground for annexing these districts. I venture to say that none of them, nor any argument that they can bring forward, can be said in any sense to come within the description applied in the Liverpool case, that is to say, to constitute a grave consideration of public policy or a special consideration of public advantage. I know that some of the Leeds people say that it would be an advantage to bring in these districts. It would be an advantage, I grant, in some respects to Leeds, and they seem to think that the public advantage means the same thing as the advantage of Leeds, but it does not mean anything of the sort. I know they hope to get some advantage out of it. Alderman Wilson, in one of those moments of blazing indiscretion which are the dread and delight of his friends, when challenged on one occasion as to the expense that would be inflicted on Leeds, said, "I hope to make a profit out of it." That is the real genesis of the scheme. The administration of Leeds in recent years has been extravagant and inefficient, and they hope to cover up their tracks in this way by spreading the expense over the surrounding districts. The debt per head of population in Pudsey and other places is something like £5, but it is something like £25 in Leeds, and that has been one of the reasons why the Leeds City Council is anxious to bring some of these surrounding districts into its own rateable area.
I now want to dwell for a moment upon another aspect of the question, and to state other reasons why this Bill should not receive a Second Beading, but should be summarily rejected by this House. I want to refer to the question of economy. Never was it more necessary that we should do everything in our power to economise, not only in national finance, but perhaps even more in local finance. The rates are becoming an intolerable burden in this country, and, unless something is done to check their growth and hinder unnecessary expenditure, they may reach the breaking point, as, indeed, they already have in certain districts. If this Bill is not killed by this House at this stage, what is it going to cost? Alderman Wilson has made a statement on that subject. My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer), in a most cogent and convincing letter to the Press a few days ago, showed conclusively the need for rejecting this Bill, in order to save the terrible expenditure which its further progress would entail. Alderman Wilson replied to that in a letter which appeared in the "Yorkshire Post" of Friday last, in which he said that for the most part this expenditure has already been incurred. No one wishes to doubt the good faith or the veracity of Alderman Wilson. No one who knows him would dream of doing so. Otherwise, I should feel compelled to apply to that statement a well-known Parliamentary expression which contains the words "frigid and calculated." It simply is not true. I charitably assume that that statement was due to the same cause which, I believe, Dr. Johnson on one occasion gave as the explanation of an extraordinary error in his Dictionary. He said it was due to sheer ignorance. I venture to think that that statement of Alderman Wilson is also due to sheer ignorance.
I do not know how much the Leeds Corporation has spent already on the Bill. It may well be that it has spent such an enormous amount that anything it can spend hereafter may be small by comparison. That is a matter for the Leeds ratepayers to settle with their city council. If I were in the secrets of the Finance and Parliamentary Committees of the Leeds Corporation, perhaps I should know better, and I think I should have more arguments against this Bill. But, in any event, whatever the Leeds Corporation have already spent on the Bill, I can tell them that if they go beyond this stage they are going to spend a tremendous amount more. I know that the other districts, which have been more careful in their management than Leeds in this respect, and have not briefed their counsel so far for this inquiry, because they are confident that this House will reject the Bill, have not incurred so much expense, and the greater part of their expense is still in front of them. But, lest there should be any misunderstand- ing on the part of Members of this House as to what this Bill will involve if it goes any further than the Second Reading, let me say something of what I have seen myself in my experience as a member of the Local Legislation Committee of this House. For the last three weeks we have had before us an extension scheme, very much smaller than that of Leeds and Bradford. The Leeds and Bradford scheme involves, I think 15 different local bodies. The scheme to which I have referred involved only four local bodies.
May I say, as Chairman of that Committee, that in the scheme to which the hon. Member refers there were at least nine different authorities who were interested, and they were represented by some 13 counsel.
Perhaps the hon. Member for South Leeds will note exactly what I said, namely, that there were four local bodies. I was particular to say that, but there were other interests involved. There were four local bodies concerned in that particular scheme, and there are 15 concerned in this one. In that case not one of -those four local bodies would have been seriously injured, and certainly would not have been injured in any vital point, however the decision had gone, whereas, if this scheme of Leeds and Bradford went in favour of those two cities, it would mean that some eight or nine local bodies would be swept out of existence altogether. That means that these bodies will fight desperately to the very last to maintain their existence. It has been said in reproach against some of these places that they are spending too much in fighting this scheme, but it is still true, even as it was in the days of Job, that all that a man hath he will give for his life, and what is true of a man is true of a locality also. They will make any sacrifice in order to preserve their separate identity, and who shall blame them for doing so? Therefore, from every point of view, this scheme, if it goes to an inquiry, will be longer, more difficult, and more fiercely contested than the one to which I have referred. And what has been going on there? We have had before us day after day for the last three weeks an array of 10 or 12 members of the Parliamentary bar, and they are not there for nothing. Then there are the Parliamentary agents with them, and behind them there is a great cloud of witnesses, expert and otherwise, hovering like vultures round a carcase: all this and more also is going to happen if this Bill is allowed to have a Second Reading. All that expenditure, the expenditure on refreshers day after day to counsel, the expenses of witnesses, bringing them up, sending them home for the week-end and bringing them back again next week, is going to be saved if this House will act according to the principles its own Committees have laid down and reject this Bill because it has not complied with the wishes of the people concerned.
There are two general considerations that I want to put before the House in conclusion. There is sitting at present a Royal Commission in regard to the government of Greater London. Most interesting proposals are being put before that Committee at present, proposals which if effect is given them will perhaps revolutionise local government. They are giving a new conception of local government, of great centralised bodies dealing with what I might call centralised services, such as water, gas, electricity, and perhaps transport, dealing with these over very wide areas with great populations, and leaving the minor aspects of local government to smaller local bodies. It may well be that that is the future of local government. If it should be, and if the Commission should report in favour of it, this scheme of Leeds and Bradford has already become obsolete and out of date, and there will be something much bigger than this in the future. It will not be Leeds and Bradford fighting to annex their neighbours, but Leeds and Bradford, and many another place too, will form one great central body for these centralised services, leaving the smaller local bodies to carry on their lesser functions, and if the Bill should pass, which I do not think will be the case, and you were to destroy those small local bodies, yon might in the near future have to call them into existence again to carry out your new and larger conception of local government. There is another consideration. This scheme of Leeds and Bradford is what might be called a sort of proof charge. Just as in testing a gun you put in a charge so great that if it will stand that it will stand anything, so is it with this scheme. If this House will stand a scheme such as this, over- riding as it does all the wishes of the inhabitants of the surrounding districts, with such a wide sweep as this, taking in and destroying 10 or 11 of these local bodies, it will stand any sort of scheme; and many another city which has ambitious schemes in mind is only waiting for the result of this Bill to decide whether it will bring them forward or not. If unhappily this Bill should pass, many another district will be threatened in the same way, and because I feel very strongly indeed that this is a thoroughly bad Bill in every way, and ought to be put an end to to-night, I ask the House to refuse it a Second Reading.
I rise to support the Second Beading, and to say how much I admired the ability with which the Mover of the Amendment put his case, and how much I enjoyed the humour with which he tried to turn it into a matter of enjoyment for the House itself. After all, that policy was an extremely skilful one, because it was meant to evade what for to-night's purpose is the main point at issue, which is whether the House shall follow what has been the customary and the almost invariable practice of referring questions of this sort to a Court constituted by itself as one of its own special Committees. So far we have had assertions, some denunciatory, some reasonable and fair, some of them expressing the point of view of one side of this controversy, but all matters which will be challenged, and probably to a great extent denied, and in the issue that is before us Parliament in years gone by has realised, with regard to schemes of this nature, that we should be in this position, and that the House of Commons would not have before it, sitting as a House, the material to enable it to form an independent, unbiassed and reasonable conclusion as to the questions in issue between us. It therefore has settled the procedure which should be adopted in matters of this sort, a procedure which in former days, prior to 1888, was a matter of a private Bill by the authorities seeking these schemes, which private Bill was almost invariably sent to a Committee of the House for consideration. My friends who are strongly opposed to this have been quoting to us the dictum and the action of various Committees which have sat in recent years upon these schemes. With this I am in full accord, but I say to them, "If you rely so strongly as you have done to-night upon the action of Committees of this House, why your lack of confidence in following the ordinary procedure with regard to the case in which you are interested? Why not show your confidence in the Committee whose judgment you have been relying on in your arguments to-night, and let the issue between us be decided in the usual procedure which this House allows?
There is a general recognition that there are some places where changing conditions, growth of population, outspread of industries and dwellings necessitate extensions of the boundaries of boroughs. It is admitted by the Mover of the Amendment that that is the case, and it undoubtedly is so, and therefore Parliament laid down the procedure to follow. It used to be to come to Parliament and to stand the expense of two inquiries through a Committee of this House and a Committee of the other place. That was unnecessarily expensive, and in the Act of 1888 Parliament for the first time directed that where such an application came to the Local Government Board that Board should appoint a suitable officer to hold an inquiry in the locality, to give to all opponents an opportunity of stating their case and expressing their views, and that is the course that has been taken in this case. The application was made to the Ministry of Health. One of its most experienced officers was sent down. For ten days he held this inquiry at Leeds and for nine days he held it at Bradford. He then gave a full report of what he recommended should be done. That report did not give cither to Leeds or to Bradford the full extent of the area they asked for, but it gave them what in the judgment of that officer was justified by the grounds upon which Leeds and Bradford based their claim, and those grounds were efficiency of administration and economy of administration for the two boroughs and the other authorities proposed to be included. Now the matter is brought before us, and Parliament reserves to itself the final decision. It is realised by our opponents that, if they can defeat the Bill in this House, their opposition is thoroughly successful and the matter is closed, once and for all. That is their avowed object, and I ask the House whether a purpose of that sort should be attained in such a way. This House has itself, years ago, set up a tribunal capable of inquiring into all the details. Many assertions have been made by one or other of my hon. Friends. For instance, the Mover of the Amendment said that the object of the proposals was the aggrandisement of the two strong boroughs at the expense of their weaker neighbours. My answer to that is, that unless the promoters can prove to the satisfaction of the Committee and this House that their proposals have substance in them, beneficial not to themselves only or to the other authorities only, but beneficial in the public interests, they must stand or fall by the result of such an inquiry. It was said, further, that these proposals cannot be said to be necessary. Is not a Committee of this House the most efficient means that exists to test that question? It was further said that bribes are offered by way of differential rating, to induce the outside places to consent to come in. That is a total misapprehension of the position. It is quite true that differential rating is offered to places to be brought within the boroughs, as is usual, because it must take a period of time, longer or shorter, before a place brought in can begin to receive the full advantage of their connection. You cannot provide a new sewage works, you cannot extend your waterworks, and you cannot give all the other facilities, immediately this House passes a Bill of incorporation.
The effect of an Amendment of this sort, which is proposed by the opponents of the Bill, will be, if it is successful, to deprive these boroughs of the right of access to courts set up by Parliament, where all these things we state and deny across the Floor of the House can be investigated and challenged. Statements have been made by the seconder of the Amendment to which I take strong exception, and which, if he were before a Committee of this House, liable to examination and cross-examination, he could not find the means of substantiating. They were made in all good faith, and under the enthusiastic earnestness with which he has taken up the case of those he so ably represents. The object of the existence of these Committees is to give the opportunity of testing all these questions, and the opponents have as full an opportunity as the promoters of putting their views and stating their case and asking the Committee to take care of their interests. There are places connected with both Bradford and Leeds, which are outgrowths of their boroughs, which are wishful to come into them. Clayton, Baildon and Esholt are wishful to come into Bradford. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Adel is anxious to come into Leeds.
I understand that part of the Urban District of Roth-well has expressed its willingness to come in. Subsequent to the inquiry, and upon learning the full facts of the case, a poll was taken of the inhabitants there, and 800 voted in favour of going into Leeds and only 100 against.
The hon. Member said that Adel, part of my constituency, is anxious to go into Leeds. I have received a communication signed by the whole of the Parish Council of Adel, saying that there is no one in that parish who is in favour of going into Leeds, but that a meeting was held in the parish by people who came from Leeds, and they passed a resolution in favour of Leeds.
That is another illustration of the need for sending this Bill to a tribunal of this House. My hon. Friend has stated, with full sincerity, that the district in question has taken an adverse attitude to this Bill, but I am speaking for the part of Adel which it is proposed to incorporate, and he is speaking for the parish council of the whole area, which is not included in this proposal. I am referring only to that part which is proposed to be included, and it has expressed its willingness to come in. The effect of the Amendment would be to prevent that being carried out. If the Bill goes to a Committee, they can reject anything that shows justification for its rejection, and they can include that which shows justification for its inclusion. This House does not possess that power of selection. It must destroy the good as well as the bad. For that reason the House has set up a tribunal that can investigate these cases.
There are two main reasons given for the opposition. One is the expense that will be incurred. I am in favour of everything that has been said in regard to the necessity for economy in Imperial and local affairs, but my hon. Friends have either not realised the position or they have not stated the exact facts. I am going to make an assertion which I am sure will startle them and will bring an immediate contradiction, but I am not making it without a great sense of responsibility. That assertion is this: that before the time that any Committee sits to investigate this Bill, from 75 to 80 per cent, of the total expense to be incurred up to any Committee proceeding will have actually been spent. It has mostly been spent now. I will give my justification for that statement. I base it first upon my own experience, which is not small. I made the statement privately to one or two of my opponents, and they at once expressed their doubt about the truth of it. I therefore took the care to ask one of the leading Parliamentary agents, who is more conversant than any other with these proceedings, and also our own Town Clerk, who is very experienced in the matter, if they would give me their own calculations, independent of my own. One gave 75 per cent., the other 80 per cent., and thought it might be a little more
The hon. Gentleman says that 75 per cent. of the total expenditure would be incurred if the Bill had its Second Beading before it actually went into Committee. Will be tell the House what proportion of the 75 per cent, would be saved if the Bill did not get its Second Reading to-night?
No! What I put to the House is this, and I do it with great confidence: that of the total expense from the inception of these schemes up to the close of the Committee stage, of the total expense between those two points, 75 per cent, at least, more probably 80 per cent., has already been incurred. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO!"] Yes! I stand by that statement definitely, and may I say to hon. Gentlemen who are not so conversant with the working of these things that when you reach the Committee stage the whole of your prepara- tions are made, the ground has been investigated, the scheme prepared and the plans prepared, the experts have been retained, the evidence taken, the briefs all prepared. In this particular case of which I am speaking the local inquiry has been held with the opponents and all the witnesses and everyone else, and I feel sure I am putting a very moderate estimate when I say that before the Committee stage commences—to-night, I might say—75 per cent. of the expenses that will be incurred up to the end have already been incurred and cannot be saved. Let me give another test as to whether my opponents are thoroughly sincere on the question of expense, or whether they desire to use it as another argument to destroy the opportunity of this Bill going to a Committee. There are two methods by which questions of this sort can be dealt with in Parliament. We in this House may give a Bill a Second Reading, and send it to a Committee of this House. Another method is that the two Houses may unite in one Joint Committee to investigate any question, and each House accept the Report of that Joint Committee. The former case is, naturally, more expensive because you have a double hearing; the latter case is economical as compared with the former because one hearing covers the whole. My friends have been offered, and we, the supporters, are prepared to accept, a Joint Committee of both Houses in order to minimise the expense, but I take it that some of my opponents at all events are sportsmen, and like sensible sportsmen they prefer a gun with a double-barrel so that if the first shot does not achieve its object they have a second. They omit to note, however, that that double chance means a double expense, and therefore they should not put forward the plea of economy and at the same time decline that offer.
A word has been said about local opinion. I attach as much importance to local opinion as those opposing the Bill do. It is one of the main elements in considering questions of this sort, but it is not the only element. I have urged it in seeking to defeat my own city on one section of their first proposals. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, Hear!"] But it is not the only argument. Where the area in all its component parts or largely is distinctly a part of the greater authority it is natural for ratepayers if they can be there at a lower expense for their rates to say they prefer to stay outside. In regard to Leeds, the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Lane-Fox), said that some time ago Leeds had an extension. That is quite correct. The reason was this: Leeds, many years ago, bought one of the largest parks in the country, outside Leeds. It developed that park, provided tramway access, and all other accessories. The natural thing was that on the outskirts of that park grew up a large community consisting entirely of Leeds people attracted out there by the provision Leeds had made and the services Leeds had rendered, but who paid much lower rates than Leeds itself did. Surely, no one would suggest that those inhabitants should overrule all considerations of inclusion because of the uses they were making of the amenities and services the city had provided.
I am using that simply as an illustration of a case where the objection, even if unanimous, should not be the overruling consideration of all others. There is one other consideration, and I think it is upon this that these boroughs will have to rest for their success or otherwise. It is that you must show that both for the promoter of a scheme and for those of the inhabitants who do not wish to come in there will be an overwhelming public interest in the improvement of the health and of all health services, in the efficiency of administration, and in the economy with which administration can be carried out. If those were proved, I should be prepared, even against the wish of the majority of the inhabitants, to say they should come in. I want to urge on the House the importance of maintaining its old procedure with regard to this question. For 13 years in succession this House has honoured me with the appointment to a Committee that has to deal entirely with Bills for municipal government, and that Committee has further honoured me by appointing me as Chairman for 10 years in succession. I only mention that to show that it has brought me into direct association with municipalities throughout the whole of the country. Many a time, as has been referred to to-day, we have to refuse either a muncipality or an opponent something they are urging in these Committees, and I have noticed with appreciation—I am not referring to this Committee only, but to all the Private Bill Committees of the House—that not infrequently representatives of great authorities in this country who have been here with their Private Bills and have been defeated in obtaining the objects they wished to obtain have said: "We are disappointed in what we wanted to get, but we are satisfied we have had a full, a fair, and a free opportunity of putting the whole of our case and circumstances." After all, the local government work of this country—county, borough, urban, and rural—is one of the main elements in the management of our country. We here legislate, they administer; and they come into very close touch with the lives of the people of this country. Consequently, to retain their confidence in the impartiality and fairness of this House and its willingness to give them access with any proposals they have to make, to consider those proposals and grant or refuse them on the merits that can be alleged with regard to them, is one very important thing for this House to maintain. From that point of view infinitely more than from any other—because I am not wedded to every detail of these two schemes; there are differences of degree in regard to them, I agree—I urge on the House that it should give what is an almost absolute right, namely, the access of these authorities to the tribunal which the House itself has created for investigation.
I desire to support the remarks of my right hon. Friend, the Member for South Leeds (Sir W. Middlebrook) in regard to this Bill. I have been at a loss to understand the deliberate opposition to this Measure. The constitutional history of this House, although I am but a new Member, has led me to believe that under circumstances that have arisen, and will always arise, when there is no new principle involved in the Second Reading of a Bill, and when the principle that is involved in the Second Reading of a Bill has been endorsed by Parliament, by ages and years of experience, it goes through, and subsequently the merits and details of the Bill are considered in Committee upstairs. Here, under extraordinary and very unique circumstances, the Second Reading of what practically amounts to a Local Legislation Bill [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—at any rate, the principle of it has been endorsed by Parliament, in 1888—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]— yes, in the Local Government Act of 1888—is now opposed. The hon. Member for South Leeds has been a member of the Local Legislation Committee for longer years than I have, but ever since I came into this House I have been upon it. I have sat for three days of each Parliamentary week. The majority of the Bills which come before us deal with the extension of boroughs and, as the hon. Member for Pudsey and Otley (Mr. Barrand) knows, we have been dealing for the last three weeks with a Bill which was never challenged in this House on Second Reading, but was passed to the Committee upstairs for consideration on its merits. Yet today, because Leeds is a big city, because Bradford is a big city, and because the West Riding County Council, of which the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Lane-Fox) and myself were members for a good many years, is a big County Council, it is opposed.
Yes, and it is to be opposed on the merits of the situation, but the principles of the Bill are not to be considered at all. It is to be opposed, what for? I am in the position of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in this matter, because I have been on the West Riding County Council for a good many years, and I have equally been interested in boroughs. I know the position, perhaps a little more intimately than do some hon. Members in this House. These people are neither more virtuous nor more vicious than the rest of mankind, but they have very considerable ideas as regards their own potentialities and responsibilities, and they have a good deal of consideration or less consideration for the potentialities and responsibilities of those who might be potential opponents. Is not that a fact? It is human nature. The West Riding County Council is the author and forefront of the opposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, it is. It is the County Council's Association against the Association of Municipal Corporations.
My brother Member for Bradford (Lieut.-Colonel Willey) talks of the ratepayers. He is the last person who ever considered them. I do not know what he means by referring to the ratepayers. Really this is a fight between two associations in this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] On principle. It is a fight between the County Council's Association and the Association of Municipal Corporations.
On principle, based upon the necessary result of past legislation, where, under the Act of 1888 Parliament endowed boroughs with certain powers, and invited them to ask for more. It then said, "If you will ask for more, we will consider it," under what was the Local Government Board administration and under what is now the Ministry of Health. There it is; that is a new development. Those powers are there. What happens to-day? These boroughs, under the Act of 1888, are entitled to ask for those powers. If they get them, a Provisional Order is issued. To-day the opposition to this Measure is based, not upon any question of, shall I say, contravention of or disgust with the Act of 1888. It is based on the question of expense. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, principle and expense. There is no objection in that at all, for this reason, that whatever Parliament in its wisdom may do hereafter as regards revision of Local Government Acts, those who are opposing this Bill to-day ought to remember and to recognise the fact that Parliament, in its wisdom or unwisdom, in 1913, stated that wherever a borough got powers to extend its boundaries compensation should be given to the local authorities outside the borough extension for the deprivation they had suffered in the value of rateable payment. We know that that is true to-day. The West Riding County Council, by reason of the extensions of the boroughs in the West Riding of Yorkshire, has received payment by means of compensation.
My hon. Friend is still on the West Riding County Council, of which I have no longer the honour to be a member. He has received—I speak with regard to his County Council interests and, of course, not personally—£221,000. I do not know what the County Council have done with it. When it is suggested that the extension of our borough and city boundaries may adversely affect these areas, I would venture to point out for his remembrance, and for the remembrance of the West Riding County Council, that apart from the financial payments that the West Riding County Council have received, the rateable value of those areas still outside the boroughs in Yorkshire has increased by £2,000,000. That has been the ground of the opposition to the extension of our boundaries, namely, that we were depriving the other areas outside of their rateable value and financial resources. With regard to any injustice that may have been created, as has been frequently represented, and has been represented to-night, there has been no such thing, for now the rateable value of these areas has actually increased.
The whole thing boils itself down to this, whether it is a matter of practical politics, or a matter which should be considered on its individual merits. I do not care, personally, whether a county council or a borough council governs local matters. Both are probably inefficient and expensive. But the whole question from a House of Commons point of view is, how far can you enable an authority to which you give powers to operate, from the point of view of a consideration of the merits of the case, and how far you have equally eliminated further expense. If the merits of the case are right—and you cannot gauge the efficiency or inefficiency of a local authority in the future, as we know from experience—then I submit that it is unjustifiable to say that the House of Commons upon this Bill, which is based upon Acts of Parliament, tradition and habits, should refuse to the local authorities promoting the Bill the right to consideration by a Committee upstairs, which which would eliminate what they consider to be wrong and keep only what they consider to be right. It is wrong from a constitutional point of view to refuse a Second Reading of this Bill. No new principle is involved. The hon. Member for South Leeds (Sir W. Middlebrook) referred rather shortly to a Bill which had been upstairs, and had been dealt with by a Committee of which he and I and the hon. Member for Otley (Mr. Barrand) were Members. The hon. Member for Otley opposes the Second Reading of this Bill. Does he really consider, after what was done by the Committee of which we were Members, that because a Second Reading is given to a Bill there will not be adequate and due consideration given to the details of any Bills promoted elsewhere? The Bill upon which we have been working for some weeks now dealt with borough extension for the city of Swansea, a limited borough which——
I daresay; that is your fault. It is hard to avoid expense nowadays. Nobody can. Apart from that these great boroughs are out for extension. The hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Lane-Fox) says that we must reject this Bill on Second Reading. What did we do, as a very small insignificant Local Legislation Committee of this House, quite unimportant, comparatively reasonable and thoroughly honest—nobody is honest in the House of Commons to-day, or at least the public outside say so—but honest according to our convictions? We turned down the application of the Corporation of Swansea for their borough extension. Is it right to say, with that example and scores of other examples before us, that when we judge these matters, as we do honestly, irrespective of political prejudice and purely on the merits, you should to-day reject a Bill of which the vast majority of the House of Commons cannot know the merits? It is no discredit to them not to know the merits. Every honest Member knows that there are scores of subjects which come up, and if you are a Member of the Committee which deals with those subjects you become au fait with them while the rest of the House of Commons do not, and have no knowledge of the details——
And you may understand the principles and act against them. The main fact is that we know these questions have got to be judged on the merits. The only way we can arrived at an appreciation of the merits is, after the principle is endorsed by a Second Reading in the House of Commons, that a Committee appointed by this House should then without prejudice consider the matter and come to a decision, according to what they think is fair to the localities concerned and how far Parliament is justified in giving the powers asked for. I have no particular interest in the extension of Bradford or in the elmination of other portions of the West Riding from the county council area and having them thrown into the areas of Leeds or Bradford. It is a question of Parliamentary procedure and statutory right. So far as Parliament gives power to local bodies and ordinary citizens recognise Parliamentary institutions, it would be a mistake for Parliament not to act upon them. Otherwise you reduce yourself to the position of a Bolshevist or an anarchist, because you refuse to recognise the wise, deliberate, considered opinion, not of the Parliament of to-day, but of wiser Parliaments of the past. The House of Commons would be wrong to reject the Second Reading of a Bill which does not involve a new principle but endorses an old one, and to refuse to allow a Committee of the House of Commons, set up for the purpose, to consider all the different details of the Bill. If you do so, it will be a prejudice to the extension of good local government of this country.
When the cry of exepnse is raised it is ridiculous. The expense is incurred long before the Second Reading of the Bill is brought before the House. The hon. Member for Barkston Ash made a plea ad misericordiam, "Do not involve us in further expense." I say it is their responsibility. I am asked, Why should they incur it? If they are so convinced of the rectitude of their own position, naturally they must incur it, but if they would only take a common-sense point of view and grasp the fact that there really is not any hostility towards the local government of county councils and boroughs, they would merely be facing the true position. It is ridiculous to say that Parliament must come in with a new Royal Commission before we can decide these matters. A Royal Commission to effect a revolution in local government acts would take years, and I do not suppose that this Parliament, or any other, would have time to deal with it. Even if it were so, that would be merely delaying what is justified and is needed, and is literally demanded on the basis of past local legislation. We ask that the House shall give a Second Reading to this Bill, not that all the details are necessarily correct, but in order that the matter might be thoroughly investigated upstairs and the question decided on its merits.
It is right that I should say a few words on the position in which we are placed by the action of the hon. Members who have moved the rejection of this Bill. It is an unusual procedure and almost unprecedented, I believe, to move the rejection of a Provisional Order Bill on the Floor of this House on Second Reading. The discussion which has taken place has been sufficient to prove the unwisdom of asking the House to decide a question full of controversy, full of contradiction, and full of detail, with all the problems affecting borough extensions and the relations of local authorities to each other. Hon. Members have pointed out, I think with unanswerable force, that the House of Commons in the Act of 1888 laid down a procedure, for good or evil, which it is our usual practice to follow. It was under this procedure that the Ministry over which I preside, on the application of those concerned, sent one of its own experienced officers to hold a local inquiry. The object of that local inquiry was to find out whether a primâ facie case could be established for extension of the borough. As a matter of fact, that is one of the endeavours made in order to save the expense of which we have heard so much to-night. I am afraid that the endeavour has not proved successful. Why? Largely because the opponents of the Bill consistently refused to accept the findings of the impartial person who conducted the inquiry. Therefore the argument of expense is not a very pertinent one or one which should sway us now.
Not merely was an inquiry held, but after the inquiry the opponents of this Measure were specially invited to come to an amicable settlement in conference. That conference was refused, and they also refused a further endeavour at settlement which was made in connection with the appointment of a Joint Committee of both Houses. Those who refuse every endeavour to arrive at every kind of settlement, and ask the House of Commons to throw out the Bill on Second Reading, are not the right parties to put expense in the forefront of their programme. I do not think they can ask Members of this House to depart from the usual procedure on Bills of this kind simply on the ground of expense. I listened very carefully to the speech of the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment. I expected to hear from them some exceptional reasons why the Bill should be thrown out instead of proceeding in the usual way to a Committee upstairs. I cannot say that in the two speeches I heard a single argument which influenced me in favour of the course they proposed. [HON. MEMBERS: "You are already committed!"] I am only committed in a Ministerial capacity.
I have no interest in the extension of Leeds or Bradford, nor have I any interest in their disputes. I was bound to hold an inquiry. The inspector made a report, I carefully examined it to the best of my ability, and I came to the conclusion that there was a primâ facie case for extension to go to a Committee of this House, subject to reservations which on reflection we made. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill made the extraordinary statement that there was no reason at all for this Bill, except the ambition of the two corporations. But that is not the case. If it had been the case, the inspector who made the inquiry would have reported that there was no primâ facie case, and the Department would not have brought in this Bill. This is not the opportunity to go into matters of detail, but there are very serious reasons on the ground of public health, on the ground of economy, and on the ground of housing to induce the corporations of these two very large industrial areas to apply for an extension of their boundaries I say that without committing either myself or the House in any way.
As to the question of whether the extension should be made, I say emphatically it is not correct to say that no reason of any kind, value or importance can be adduced in favour of the Second Reading of this Bill. It is obvious the Bill could not have stood the criticism of a local inquiry, or the criticism of experienced officers of my Department, if the case had been as the Mover and Seconder of the rejection have tried to make out. You must either adopt the argument that no borough council on any ground is entitled to any extension whatever, or you must argue the details to ascertain whether the extension that is asked for is to be given. The hon. Member who moved the rejection has not given a single reason why any part of the extension should be rejected. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the wishes of the people?"] I am coming to that. The question of the opposition of the surrounding local authorities has often been debated in this House, and it was debated three times in this House at very great length in 1920 on the Edinburgh and Leith case. Edinburgh wished an extension, and Leith opposed violently. The case went up to a Committee, and it was recommitted to the House. After three Debates, this House laid down a principle which, I think, is the guiding principle in this matter, and that is, that although, undoubtedly, the wishes of the inhabitants of the surrounding districts must always form a very important factor in the consideration of any claim for extension, it cannot be, and never has been, accepted as the only and decisive factor. If you once regard it as the only and decisive factor, you come to this conclusion, that a huge area enclosed in a borough could never have any extension on any terms, if the smaller authorities refused. You could never be committed to a conclusion of that kind.
The question of how genuine is the opposition of people around is a question for examination by a Committee upstairs, but to-night we hear hon. Members saying or denying that such and such a parish council is opposed, and the very fact that these statements are made across the Floor of the House proves that it is, impossible for us to sift these statements on Second Reading. It is the most convincing proof that these are questions for a Committee upstairs, and I would respectfully ask hon. Members not to take what, in my opinion, would be a very serious precedent. The question of the extension of borough boundaries is a very difficult one, but it is also a question which affects to a very large extent the welfare of the industrial population in very large areas. I do not want to go into details on these Bills. There are many questions which arise on this Bill and other Bills, such as large corporations requiring land outside their boundaries, say, for housing purposes. All this kind of question is involved in Bills of this character. They are questions for a Committee upstairs, where they can be dealt with effectively and fairly between all parties, and not questions to be dealt with on the Floor of the House, where we hear eloquent and plausible speeches on both sides—speeches containing, I daresay, some justifiable exaggeration on both sides. Nothing arouses so much interest or so much excitement as these local questions, but the Members of this Chamber, with the best intentions in the world, can scarcely on Second Reading, in a discussion of this length, make up their minds on all the points involved. I can see nothing to separate this Bill, in principle, from all the other extension Bills, which have been going to Committees upstairs, and the House has seen fit in the past to send these Bills upstairs. I would ask the House to treat these Bills in the same way, and not take upon itself the responsibility which really belongs to a body specially created to deal with it.
It would be very difficult to contest the statement that this House is a democratic institution when we realise that we may be discussing questions that affect the furthermost points of the earth one day, and the next day we drop into the parish affairs of some of the local councils, with which some of us have been connected; but it is difficult to understand the position taken up by some Members of this House. For instance, to-night the hon. Member for South Leeds (Sir W. Middlebrook), who is taking the side of Leeds and Bradford in this Bill, under other circumstances that might have arisen, and were very possible to arise, would have been the bitterest opponent of this Bill. It is only a few weeks since the local inquiry was held, and at the inquiry the borough in which the hon. Member for South Leeds has lived all his life was then included in the scheme of the extension of Leeds, and I know the hon. Member so well that if that borough had been in the Bill to-night he would have made an equally powerful speech against this extension. Some of us are a bit astonished at the arguments used in this Debate regarding economy. Much has been said during the last year or two in this House regarding national economy, and I am one of those who believe that there is equally a necessity to consider the economy of local rates as well as of taxation.
I believe that the Division which will be taken to-night will have far-reaching effects, and if the decision be against this Bill, I am satisfied that it may either save local rates, or that the money may be spent on necessary improvements to the extent of hundreds of thousands of pounds. That is the position. For nearly two years we have been trying to urge on the Minister of Health the necessity of preventing a Bill like this coming before the House, and preventing the inquiry. Week in and week out we have tried the Coué method on the Minister of Health without avail. We are told to-night in this Debate that practically the whole of the expense has been incurred in connection with it. A more ridiculous statement could not be made than that. As a matter of fact, the Gallery is full of local councillors who will be transferred, if this Bill gets a Second Beading, along with experts, engineers, accountants, and a regiment of counsel, into the Committee Booms upstairs in order to carry on the agitation for weeks and weeks longer, and although these schemes have now cost probably about £150,000, I can see a possible cost of far more than double that amount before the Bill is passed by the two Houses of Parliament. Not only will it have an effect upon this particular Bill, but a decision of this House will have an effect upon other extension schemes also, and after all, is it not an important matter that in local government there has been practically a standstill during the War? Nothing has been done to cope with the necessary require- ments in the localities, and would it not have been better for the Minister to have met us and appointed a Commission to consider the extension of borough boundaries in the country, as he has done with regard to the County of London, and so tided us over these hard times, when money is so scarce and when every penny ought to be spent upon useful work and not squandered in the way that it is being squandered in connection with Bills of this description? I feel that the question of economy at this moment is a most important one. I know the areas concerned in this Bill at least equally with any hon. Member of this House, and I know that the whole of the officials of these local authorities at this moment are, for the last two years have been, and for the next 12 months will be, engaged on nothing else but preparing and fighting the case in connection with this Bill. I urge upon the House the necessity that we should defeat it in the interests of economy for the many local councils who are affected.
I am satisfied that Bradford are not very much in this Bill; they are in this business in order to save their own skins. Leeds are the culprits with regard to this Bill. I remember the day, not very long ago, when Leeds was considered the largest city in Yorkshire, but a few years ago Sheffield outclassed them and became the largest city in population. The very distinguished alderman of the city of Leeds, who has been referred to, who rules the city, who moulds his party like bits of putty—and the other parties are very little better—sees Sheffield in this position, and it is his desire, his determination, at whatever cost, that Leeds must replace Sheffield from that proud position which they occupy at this moment, and it is only this week-end that I have seen an article in a Leeds newspaper from which it appears that in a very short time not only is this Bill to be passed, but Bradford and Ilkley and many other places will be parts of the city of Leeds.
I do not say that position is unjustifiable. There may be a case for it, but if there is a case for extending borough boundaries, then it is for the House to deal with it as it affects the country as a whole, and not in small cases such as that which is before the House at the moment. It is more in the interests of economy than anything else, that I feel we ought to defeat this Bill and urge the Minister to take up the matter in a national way. What about the outside areas concerned? The hon. Member for Bradford (Major Boyd-Carpenter) seemed to ignore the opinions of the people who are to be brought into these cities. I gave evidence before the inquiry, and presented a petition from a very large urban area, which was to be included within the city of Leeds and where 93 per cent. of the people voted against inclusion. That was a plebiscite taken in an honourable and honest manner. To-night we have had a decision in regard to the same area quoted by the hon. Member for South Leeds (Sir W. Middlebrook). Another plebiscite has been taken, of which some of us never heard the particulars before. I wish to say that this plebiscite was most irregular and there can be no guarantee as to its accuracy. Since it was taken, there have been, in this particular area, two local elections and not one candidate could be found to stand for inclusion. All the candidates have been in favour of remaining outside the city.
Regarding the question of public advantage, I say there is no question of public advantage in including these districts in the city of Leeds. They are absolutely independent and self-contained. They have their own sewerage schemes and they drain away from the city. The people who live in these districts are miners and railwaymen, and neither coalpits nor coal measures come over the city boundary. They are not runaway ratepayers in any sense of the word, because most of them never lived within the city of Leeds. Why should they wish to go into a city like Leeds? Leeds is the city of back-to-back houses. It has more of them than any other city in the country. Leeds is the city where people pay more rent to live on the sunny side of the street than to live on the shady side. I have visited schools in Leeds where there are children inches shorter in height and pounds less in weight than the children in some other schools which I have visited in the same city. If Leeds wishes to spend its money in a useful way why does it not tackle its roads? There are some of its roads which it would take an expert trick cyclist to ride upon and only on Sunday night, a very capable cyclist told me that he very rarely rides one one of the main arteries into that city without losing the chain from his bicycle. I feel that we have no need to wish to go into a city like that and that with the government we have outside, we are in a much better position than we should be within the city. There is a serious aspect of this matter apart from the present Bill. The inspector has reported to the Ministry and the Ministry has introduced a Bill which has cut up some districts and inquiry has never been made into the effect upon those districts of the cutting-up process. As a matter of fact this Bill gives the richest part of my own area to the city without any consideration as to the effect of this on the remaining part. That is a serious matter. If this Bill should be carried it will mean that we will have very seriously to consider whether or not, seeing that Leeds will have got the plum, we should not give the rest to them! That is the sort of thing that comes in a Bill of this description.
For 28 years I have been very much wrapped up in the local government of these districts, and I am much concerned in this matter. I have been before in the fights against the extension of this city, and we have defeated the city. There is much in local government which a Bill like this will wipe out. We are not all rich men. Some of us have to get up, or had to get up, very early in the morning and go to our work. Our only hobby has been participation in local government. We have given our time to it. We have been interested in it, and a Bill like this will, if passed, absolutely wipe out the possibility of working men taking part in the local government of their neighbourhood. How could I, as a miner, have attended meetings of the Leeds City Council at 11 o'clock in the morning or 2 o'clock in the afternoon? I could not have done so, and I would never have had the training I got—and other men are getting similar training to-day—in local government in one of the areas that are mentioned in this Bill, and which Leeds and Bradford are seeking to include within their boundaries. Every one of these areas, is bitterly opposed to this projected extension because of love of the district and the local government of it in which they are wrapped up. We take an interest in the local elections equally with Leeds. I know Leeds, because for the past 25 years I have been on the platform at every local election in Leeds. I have never heard, either on the platform nor at any of the elections in the past, anything with regard to a desire of the ratepayers of Leeds to extend the boundaries of the city. The people have never been consulted.
I ask the House on this occasion, because of the interest I feel in economy, when we have the opportunity of exercising it, to give a vote, and to say that these areas who do not wish to spend money—which they will be compelled to do if this Bill gets its Second Reading— shall have the power to do as they wish. If there are those who wish to spend the rates let them spend them at the present time on the useful public work which is necessary in view of what we have experienced during the last seven years of neglect of public work. It is my earnest desire, and the earnest desire of 90 per cent. of the people living on the outside areas of Leeds and Bradford, that this Bill should not be given a Second Beading. I hope we will carry the Amendment so that the Minister may take up the whole question of the extension of boundaries, not only as regards Leeds and Bradford, but the nation as a whole, so that the extension of boundaries, whenever necessary, may be dealt with on a proper basis. I am not opposed to the national extension of borough boundaries—not for a moment! I believe there is much justification to be put forward in many cases, but I say it is for the Minister to take up the matter nationally and for us to defeat this Bill.
I desire, in the five minutes to which I am glad to limit myself, to speak on this issue with the fullest sense of responsibility with which I have ever ventured to speak in this House during the 15 years I have sat here. We have been told by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health we are to send this Bill upstairs because it had become an almost universal custom. He talked about the Act of 1888. What does my right hon. Friend know about the Act of 1888? When that became law he was happily and usefully employed in investigating the relations between chemistry and wealth. It is only in the last few months, when he has had a deserved passage from private prosperity to public eminence, that he has been the mouthpiece of the Ministry of Health. To-night he is merely the mouthpiece of that Department, which in this matter is still, alas, in the toils of an evil and obsolete tradition. They fancy that even to-day it is as it was before 1888, when, outside municipal boroughs, there was little or no intensive local government; and it was fair and right to extend municipal boroughs in order that people who had little self-government might share a more highly-developed system. Since 1888 there have been developments throughout the country. To-day outside great county boroughs there is an alternative method of local government by county, urban and rural district and parish council, and although these do not claim to be better than county boroughs they claim equal status and equal consideration. When that is the case, the determining factor should be, not the outworn traditions of a Government Department, but the wishes of the people concerned.
We are told that we must send something upstairs. The very Act of 1888 provided that there should be an opportunity of this House deciding these matters on a Second Reading, and I decline to be a party to handing over the liberties and privileges of this House, either to a department on the one side or a Committee on the other side. I am speaking on behalf of the County Councils Association of England and Wales, the Urban Districts Association of England and Wales, and the Rural Districts Association of England and Wales, and all these bodies are united in opposing a Bill which adds to great cities which are already large enough to practice the higher forms of local government and to exhaust the energies and ambitions of the most brilliant citizens without increasing their boundaries, and which now seek against the will of the inhabitants to annex large districts that are contentedly and prosperously administered by the local authorities.
We are divided in ordinary times by principles which have upon them the label Conservative, Liberal and Labour. I hope every one of us has something of each three in his composition. As Conservatives, are we going to destroy the great historic unity of English counties. As Liberals, are we going to deprive our fellow-citizens of the varied opportunities of self-government close to their homes, which would be weakened if they were merely items of gigantic entities. As Labour—including, not only hon. Members on those Benches, but the great number of us who have to work for our living day by day—are we not anxious to be allowed to have such local institutions that, while we are working day by day for our living, we may have some little time to take part in the local government of the neighbourhood in which we live and of the places we love? On these grounds I ask the House most earnestly to reject this Bill, which has no basis in the opinion of those most concerned, which is not needed for the efficiency of the two great cities whose acquisitiveness is so conspicuous, and which cannot be granted without implying, if not asserting, that a great fabric of local government in the West Biding of Yorkshire is open and ready for mutilation at the hands of those who seek it.
As regards the question of expense, as one who in his time has had a little practice at the Parliamentary Bar, I assure the House, with regard to what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for South Leeds, whose transparent personal sincerity is in such contrast to the imperfect instructions that he has received—I assure the House that, if expenses have been incurred, if briefs have been delivered, if large fees have been promisd to counsel and expert witnesses in this case before the House of Commons has decided on the Second Reading, those are extravagant and improper commitments. If, on the other hand, they have not been so incurred, I assure the House that a very large expenditure will be saved if it will only, in this hour of compulsory economy, for the sake both of the nation and of its inhabitants, protect the people most interested from having to spend thousands more in protecting the autonomy of their neighbourhood and the self-government of their homes.
I think the House will be willing to hear a few words from the inside in opposition to this Bill. I feel that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Bradford (Lieut.-Colonel Willey) and myself have the right to speak on behalf of the ratepayers of Bradford, who have never had an oppor- tunity of making their wishes known in connection with this proposal, although it is fraught with such tremendous consequences. We, as natives of Bradford, who have lived in Bradford all our lives, and who feel at any rate that we are in a position to form something like a sound judgment on the matter, are personally against this Bill, and we are trying for all we are worth to articulate the wishes of the ratepayers of Bradford and of our constituents. I want to say candidly to the House that on no single occasion have the ratepayers had any opportunity of voting or being consulted on these proposals. We have had two municipal elections—and there are altogether 21 wards in the City of Bradford—and at neither of those municipal elections, either in November, 1920, or in November, 1921, was it ever mentioned on a single election platform. On these grounds, in the first instance, I feel it to be my duty to offer the most uncompromising opposition to the Bill and to express the hope that the House will reject it. There are, however, other grounds. As a plain sort of everyday man, I think that, before people try to extend their businesses to so large an extent, they should show their ability to manage those businesses which they have. There is no necessity on geographical grounds for this Bill. Bradford has thousands of acres at present unbuilt upon, so that, although the Minister of Health has mentioned the housing question, it does not affect it one iota. Also in the Census in 1921 we were between two and three thousand less population than we were in 1911, so that there is not very much to be said for Bradford being crowded out.
I want to deal with this matter largely on financial grounds. I am sorry to say it, but I know of no city, unless it be Poplar, where the finances have been so badly handled during the last two or three years as they have been in Bradford. The figures I will give you are from their own official reports. In the three years ending March 31st, 1922, they overspent their estimates—we know what Supplementary Estimates are—to the tune of £552,578. Yet they are supposed to be making the most careful estimates they can at the beginning of each year. That necessitates very nearly 7s. in the £ on the rateable value of the city. A petition was forwarded to the Minister in the later part of 1920 and an inquiry was held early in 1921. It was stated at the inquiry by the head financial official of the Bradford Corporation that the rates—16s. 10d. in the £—had then reached the maximum. That was certainly cheering as far as it went, but that was within a month of the end of the financial year, and when the new rate was laid there had been a re-valuation and a re-assessment, and the re-assessment raised the assessment by £536,000, estimated to produce £418,000 additional. The rate was reduced on account of the increased assessment, but the aggregate was not lowered, and it meant that if the same amount of money had been raised on the assessment that was in operation when the inquiry was held, the rates, instead of remaining at 16s. 10d., would have, been between 24s. and 25s. in the £. Of the four largest towns in the West Riding—this appeared recently in the "Yorkshire Observer"— the lowest was £4 13s. 2d. and the highest £6 17s. 7d., or £2 4s. 5d. above the lowest, per head of the population, man, woman, and child. There is another point that affects the taxpayer. The gross expenditure in Bradford in 1901, when the last extension came into operation was £492,378, of which the Government paid £65,000. In 1920–21 it had grown to £2,247,133, of which the Government had to pay £476,603. The ex-Lord Mayor of Bradford stated a few days ago that the cost of education from 1914 to 1922 had risen from £309,000 to £760,000, although there were 4,000 fewer scholars in the schools.
My chief contention is that until Bradford people want an extension, until Bradford can keep its own house in much better order than it is at the present time, and can manage its finances in a more economical way, there is no justification for handing over to them any outside authority who can manage their own local affairs better than Bradford can manage its own or can manage theirs for them.
May I remind the House that we are discussing a Bill to confirm certain Provisional Orders dealing with the extension of Leeds and Bradford. We have heard many brilliant speeches, but we have heard practically nothing about the particular point dealt with by this Bill. I ask the House whether this Debate has not shown the wisdom of our Private Bill procedure. I challenge hon. Members with this statement, that after having reached the conclusion of this Debate there is not one out of 20 capable of giving an opinion—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speak for yourself," and "Withdraw!"]—
If hon. Members had heard the conclusion of my sentence they would not have objected. I was saying that not one out of 20 is capable of giving an opinion now upon the details of this Bill. Do hon. Members seriously contend that it is possible within two and three-quarter hours, as against the whole practice of this House for the past 30 years, to decide upon the details of a Bill which would take, perhaps, 30 or 40 days to hear witnesses? In regard to this Bill there was an inquiry extending over 21 days. Is this House seriously, as a matter of practice, going to accept or reject Private Bills upon two and three-quarters hours' hearing? No. If you are going to carry this to its logical conclusion and to treat other Bills upon the same principle the Act of 1888 is going to be absolutely unworkable. Private Bill procedure would, firstly, be dislocated, and, secondly, superseded. It must be, and the time of the House would either be exclusively occupied by details of vital importance to separate localities, or local government would be rendered absolutely impossible. There is not a Member of this House who is seriously going to argue that the course argued by the hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of this Bill is a practicable Measure. I do urge the House to realise that it would indeed be grossly unfair because hon. Members wish for a general change in legislation to pick out these two particular municipalities without hearing the evidence, except certain speeches, and against the finding of a tribunal which sat over 21 days to reject it without a tittle of evidence, and to say that that finding goes for nought.
I am mainly concerned with answering my hon. Friend and colleague (Mr. Ratcliffe), for whom I have such a deep regard. My hon. Friend suggests that Bradford is not in favour of this particular Bill. How are we to judge whether Bradford is in favour of it or not? I can only say that I myself and my colleagues have had many resolutions in favour of it, and we have not had one single one from Bradford as against it. I would remind the House, as against my hon. Friend, that this was passed in municipal council unanimously, 73 out of 84 being present, that a resolution was passed unanimously in the city council in 1913, that since then 30 resolutions have been passed by the Parliamentary Committee and have received their place in the Press, and that not one single member, so I am instructed, in Bradford has either moved an amendment or motion or has even spoken against any of these 30 resolutions which have been made public. The most brilliant supporter of the Bradford position has been my hon. Friend himself. In giving evidence in regard to Shipley in the year 1898——
—he suggested that Bradford had better complete its schemes before it embarked on others, and I would like to give his answer to that same question which was put to him when he did not hold the same views as he does to-day.
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that at that time Bradford consisted of 10,000 acres, and that to-day it has 22,000? Is he also aware that the ratepayers had a meeting and approved that scheme?
My hon. Friend's answer was so much better than any I can give that he must allow me to answer in his own words. Mr. Balfour Browne, cross-examining, asked:
Don't you think, Mr. Ratcliffe, it would have been more prudent, as business men, to consolidate and complete the works you have in hand before going in for this huge extension and increased liabilities?
The hon. Member replied:
I think that the present people in Bradford owe a great deal to the foresight of
Answering another question, my hon. Friend said this:
I think it is the best thing for these places that they should be joined to Bradford. I think so. It will tend to do away with the multiplication of officials and there will be one central administration,
and so on, and so on. [HON. MEMBEES: "Divide, divide."] My hon. Friends must have a weak case if they will not hear the other side. There is a point in my hon. Friend's remarks, if he will allow me to say so. He opposes it, I take it, on the ground that it will not be good for Bradford. We have a great deal of evidence on that point. I hope the House will note that Bradford is accused of embarking on this scheme entirely from ideas of aggrandisement and for its our selfish purposes. Yet here my hon. Friend comes forward, and, I take it, his main line of argument is this: "It is all very well to be philanthropic to Shipley, but I believe it is going to cost Bradford too much."
In conclusion, I would remind the House that this is not an original Order. An Order has already been made by an independent tribunal. The House is not asked to confirm or to reveiw that Order It is only asked, in accordance with the ordinary Private Bill procedure, to allow that Order to be taken upstairs to be examined impartially by an impartial tribunal, to see if it is possible to arrive at an impartial decision.
|Division No. 104.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Armitage, Robert||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Davies, A (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.|
|Banton, George||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Irving, Dan|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Finney, Samuel||Kennedy, Thomas|
|Bowerman, Bt. Hon. Charles W.||Foot, Isaac||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.|
|Bromfield, William||Gould, James C.||Law, Alfred J, (Rochdale)|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Hancock, John George||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hayday, Arthur||Matthews, David|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor|
|Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Neal, Arthur||Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Spoor, B. G.||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C)|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Sutton, John Edward|
|Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Sir D. Middlebrook and Major Boyd-Carpenter.|
|Adkins, Sir William Ryland Dent||Gillis, William||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Perring, William George|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Pickering, Colonel Emil W.|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Grant, James Augustus||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Green, Albert (Derby)||Polson, Sir Thomas A.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Rae, H. Norman|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Gretton, Colonel John||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Ramsden, G. T.|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Grundy, T. W.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Guest, J. (York. W. R., Hemsworth)||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Reid, D. D.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Remer, J. R.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l,W.D'by)||Renwick, Sir George|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Halls, Walter||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Bennett, Sir Thomas Jewell||Hartshorn, Vernon||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Henderson, Major V L. (Tradeston)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Rose, Frank H.|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hills, Major John Waller||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Hinds, John||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Hirst, G. H.||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Holmes, J. Stanley||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Hood, Sir Joseph||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hopkins, John W. W.||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Smithers, Sir Alfred W.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Jesson, C.||Spencer, George A.|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Cairns, John||Johnstone, Joseph||Starkey, Captain John Ralph|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Stewart, Gershom|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Sturrock, J. Long|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Kidd, James||Sugden, W. H.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Kiley, James Daniel||Swan, J. E.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)|
|Cope, Major William||Lawson, John James||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Waddington, R,|
|Davidson, J.C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)||Lloyd, George Butler||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Lorden, John William||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lort-Williams, J.||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Edgar, Clifford B.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Willey, Lieut.-Colonel F. V.|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Manville, Edward||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Evans, Ernest||Mason, Robert||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M.(Bethnal Gn.)|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Mildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Windsor, Viscount|
|Fildes, Henry||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Morris, Richard||Wise, Frederick|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Foreman, Sir Henry||Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Forrest, Walter||Myers, Thomas||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Nield, Sir Herbert||Younger, Sir George|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gange, E. Stanley||Parker, James||Mr. Lane-Fox and Mr. Lunn.|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham|
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.