In any cases where duty has been charged under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921, as respects any article which has afterwards been held not liable to duty under that Act, the Treasury may, after consultation with the Board of Trade, repay to the importer who has paid the duty the amount so collected.—[Mr. Kilcy.]
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
I want the House, if it will, to assist me in helping His Majesty's Treasury out of the very difficult and embarrassing position, due, I think, to no fault of their own. They have been found guilty by a competent authority of having improperly demanded and received sums of money to which they had no right, but I may say, on their behalf, that His Majesty's Treasury were not altogether to blame. They were asked some 12 months back if it were possible for them to collect duty on some 40 or 50 articles specified in a certain bill. His Majesty's Customs did not foresee any difficulty in collecting duties on this limited number of commodities, but one morning they, like many others, received a shock. They were furnished with a list from the Board of Trade, not of 40 or 50 commodities, but of over 6,000 different articles. These 6,000 articles, had they been specified, would have been a sufficient shock, but the Board of Trade had evidently received a surprise themselves at the lengthy list, because they had proceeded to put titles in such as "lampblown ware," but all the articles under that process—hundreds, or even thousands of them—were left undefined. When the Board of Customs were called upon to deal with 6,000 odd items without any pre-arrangement, it was found to be very difficult, especially when inquiries were made as to the basis on which the list was compiled by the Board of Trade. The staff of the Board of Trade, we were told, got to work with scissors and numerous trade catalogues, with the result that they compiled many columns of chemicals alone on which they decided duties should be levied. Some of the authorities did not even know what the articles were. In one instance, that of a proprietary article of which they had no idea what the substance was, they thought it must be dutiable because it appeared in a trade catalogue.
In passing the Bill, Members, I believe, were under the impression that articles of food were exempted altogether. That was clearly specified in Part II of the Act, but it was not so specified in Part I, because all commodities were not mentioned. It was thought generally that articles of food were outside the Act altogether. Apparently this is not the case, as when a well-known firm of chemical food manufacturers imported certain ingredients required for a well-known brand of infants' food, it was held up by the Customs, and a sum of something like £3,000 had to be paid by this firm for duty. The firm protested and lodged an appeal. At the end of something like six months the competent authority decided that the Board of Customs had no right to collect the £3,000. The firm naturally applied to the Customs for a refund, and was told that they could not have it. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in addition to being Chancellor, is, I believe, a very able lawyer, and if he can tell us under what part of the Act he has the power to refund the money, I and many others will be grateful to him. I have been through the Bill, but not being a lawyer, only an ordinary business man, it, is not surprising that I find the legal part somewhat difficult to understand. This firm, despite the fact that the duty has been improperly collected, that they have spent a large sum of money in obtaining a decision, are still without the money. I have heard, however, they have one way, apparently, in which they can obtain a refund, and that is they must pack up the commodity on which they have paid duty, and reship it, fill up forms, make declarations, and pay fees, and it is quite possible they may get a refund of the money paid. That is sheer nonsense. If the Government, as it has been declared, have improperly collected the money, it is their duty to return it to the people from whom they collected it, without putting them to the trouble of shipping the goods out and then getting them back again. There is no sense, rhyme, or reason in it. I have no doubt that His Majesty's Treasury have no desire to retain this money which they have improperly collected, and in that expectation I will conclude my remarks by moving the Clause be accepted.
I beg to second the Motion.
This new Clause raises a question brought to the notice of the Government at Question Time during the past few months. Every time we have pressed it on the Board of Trade we have been told that they had no power to grant us the relief asked for. At no time, so far as I can remember, has the Board of Trade ever claimed that they had a fair or equitable right to retain the duties which we asked should be repaid. Here is an Act of Parliament passed to put a duty on certain classes of articles. The Board of Trade bring out a long list of articles, which they say are included in these classes, and charge duties on them. The referee comes along, on being appealed to, and says that the Board of Trade is wrong. There are a number of articles which should not have been on the list at all, and he directs that they should be taken off. In the meantime, however, the duties have been paid on these articles, and they Have been paid wrongly, but the Government, in spite of the fact that the duty should never have been collected, come and say, "We arc not in a position to pay the money back to the importer, because we have not express power to do so." This Amendment is intended to give the Government that express power which they say they did not have before. If I interpret the answer correctly, they would have been very glad to pay the money back. Consider the present position. Take any particular article which has been on the list and was removed after duties had been paid. Some of the importers of such articles have paid the duty and others have not, and yet they are both in this position, that they have to compete with one another, although one is at a great disadvantage as compared with his competitor. The case that we are urging seems to me so complete that I do not think for a moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer would like to retain these duties, which everyone must admit were collected by mistake and would not have been collected at all had the Board of Trade been right in their interpretation of the Act. What possible reason can there be for refusing to take power to pay this money back? I can quite understand the Board of Trade might say some of these importers who have paid the duty may already have resold the goods and passed on the duty which they have paid to the buyers, but we do not ask that the Board of Trade should be compelled in all instances to pay it back, because we are going to give discretionary power to the Treasury, in consultation with the Board of Trade. They will be entitled to ask the importer who claims a refund to prove what he has done with the commodities, to whom he has sold them, and the price he got for them. That seems to me to dispose of any objection there might be on these lines. This is a fair and equitable Clause, and to refuse it is really for the Government to stick to money which they have no right to and which they would never have had if it had not been for their mistake, and which they are now in duty bound to return to the importer as soon as they can.
The two hon. Members who have moved this Clause are enthusiasts on this topic and there is not a single aspect of the subject with which they are not familiar and eager to enter into controversy with anyone who will stand up and take the opposite view. I therefore quite understand my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Aberdeen (Major M. Wood) when he says he cannot appreciate any reason contrary to that which he has been arguing. I am afraid, however, I cannot meet him quite in the spirit he seems to expect. The argument starts from the fallacious assumption that the Board of Trade had no original right to put the duty on these articles at all, but that is not the framework of the Statute. The provision is that the Board of Trade has not only the right but the duty to put any article in the schedule which they regard as properly coming within the purview of the Statute. They are not, on the construction of the Statute, wrong but perfectly right in taking what seems to them the proper course to follow. Thereafter no doubt the case may be presented to the Referee, and the Referee decides whether the article in question should find its place in the schedule or not. There may also be an appeal on the ground that the Board of Trade has improperly excluded from the schedule articles which ought to have been included and that case has happened like the other, as my hon. Friend who watches all these operations with the eye of a lynx no doubt knows. Take, first of all, the equitable case which is put. They say it is entirely wrong to deprive a man of money which he has paid away in the shape of a duty for an article which ought never to have been in the schedule. That is how they put the case. Where is this equity to cease? A man who has paid duty upon an article which he has imported in most cases has sold it before the case comes to be tried. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Aberdeen recognises, as a logical Scotsman, that he must follow this matter through more ramifications than only the hands of the immediate importer. If the importer has sold the commodity he will have sold it, in 99 cases out of 100, with a recompense for himself in respect of the duty he has paid. Is my hon. Friend going to find the man who ultimately ought to be repaid the duty? Is it the customer 10 degrees distant from the original seller?
I am afraid I am not following the effect of that suggestion upon the hon. Member's argument because, whether it is a chemical food or a patented article or a parcel of some quite ordinary commodity, in each case it would be absolutely futile and impossible to follow the transaction to the extent of discovering the person who in the end has paid the duty. It has always been the contention of hon. Members opposite that the only system to be adopted was the Free Trade system because the ultimate customer paid the duty, but my hon. Friends propose by this Clause that we should give back the duty to the man who by that time has recompensed himself by sale to a customer. The hon. and gallant Member for Central Aberdeen imperfectly realises the inequity of the Clause and suggests something quite different—that we should discover someone at a remote distance from the original importer and pay him the money.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that the Clause gives the Treasury a discretion to pay back the money if they think fit, and they need not pay back a penny until they are satisfied that the person to whom they are paying it has really had to pay the money out of his own pocket?
I realise all that. The hon. and gallant Gentleman supplies me with more ammunition the oftener he speaks on the subject. His national gifts have not carried him far enough in this argument. We are to repay the importer who, as he agrees, in most cases is not the man who is entitled to get the money. If that be true, he says, your discretion is to pay, but only to the importer, and it is only where we find that the importer is the man who has suffered that payment is to be made. If there is a great grievance in this case it is only remedied in the most infinitesmal degree by the proposal that is here made, because the number of cases in which you would find the actual importer was the man who in the end suffered the duty would be very few indeed. Either the Clause is absolutely unworkable or it is workable in only the most infinitesimal degree.
Let me take the other side of the matter. If we are to repay these very few people who can be discovered to have suffered we ought to exact from the people who ought to have been included in the Schedule—
On the contrary, we do nothing of the kind. The cases of people who have imported articles which ultimately are found by the Referee to have been subjects which ought to have been included in the Schedule are not investigated, and they arc not asked to pay duty on articles which they imported long ago. Such a proceeding would be futile and impossible, and nothing of the kind is done. In fact, the wisdom of Parliament realised the absolute impracticability of the proposal which my hon. Friends make. What did they do at the time they passed the Act. knowing that this kind of thing would come up at the instance of someone who was an enthusiast on these topics, and realising that such cases must be provided against by wise and sane measures? Parliament said the decision of the Referee should be final and conclusive;
without prejudice however, to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.
Therefore Parliament closed the door on just the kind of impracticable suggestion which has come this evening from my hon. Friends opposite. So far as I am concerned, I think that concludes the argument. The last part of it answers the question put by my right hon. Friend who moved the Clause, because it shows, not merely that it is proper for the Board of Trade to refuse to pay back the money until some alteration is made in the law, but that Parliament does not allow them to pay it back.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer made some reference to what he called the wisdom of Parliament in this matter. I think that the folly of legislation of this kind was never more clearly exemplified than by the operation of the Act and the experience of the trading community of the Act. The defence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is simply this, that the Board of Trade unjustly exacts money from the subject by the duty levied on these things, money proved to be unjustly exacted by the decision of the Referee, a decision that the article ought not to have been included in the Schedule—
All lawyers arc liable to make mistakes, but that is the case here. It has been wrongfully held liable to duty, and if that is the case why should not the subject get back the duty it wrongfully paid? One defence is that you cannot trace it, but there may be some cases which I do not know of—1 cannot imagine them at the moment—but suppose there are, it is fair that he should get it back, and in any case it should be repaid to the importer. He has paid it. He is the only man who can get it, and if there are circumstances in connection with them, according to which he should not be paid, under the proposal of my hon. Friend the Board of Trade may refuse to pay him, but, says the Chancellor of the Exchequer, "the wisdom of Parliament foreseeing this expressly provided that where an order has been found by reference to the appropriate authorities to have been wrongfully made it should not affect the validity of it." This ingenious defence does not hold. The intention was to protect the officials from actions for damages for all sorts of commercial damnification which might happen owing to the operation of the order. 'Certainly it was never in the mind of Parliament to say that that should mean that duty wrongfully exacted from the subject should not be returned to him. Here is an instance which shows that Parliament expressly contemplated a return of the duty. I refer to Section 4 of the Act. The side note is:
Remission and repayment of duty in certain cases.
The second Section says:
If any person by whom any duty has been paid proves to the satisfaction of the Commissioners that the goods were on the first sale thereof within the United Kingdom sold at a price which was not less than the cost of production of the goods or"—
I hope that the House will see the complications of this matter and how determined Parliament was that where injustice was done it should be righted—
where he shows that there has been a change in the market conditions in the country of manufacture not less than the amount which would on the date of sale
have been the cost of production in this country of similar goods he shall be entitled to repayment of the duty so paid.
That is what the wisdom of Parliament decided, that where duty had been wrongfully exacted, where the importer proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners that the conditions contemplated had not be fulfilled, he was entitled to get his money hack. The very reasonable proposal of my hon. Friend, soundly based on ethical considerations, is that where the referee finds that duty has been paid on an article on which it ought not to have been paid he ought to get his money back. Of course he ought. If you get money back under Section 4, why not get money back in the conditions contemplated in the proposed Clause? The defence against this Clause is ingenious but not soundly founded on the precedent set in the Act itself. All that my hon. Friend is doing is bringing to the notice of Parliament an injustice in the operation of the Act. That is what Parliament is for. It is for testing the administration of Acts passed by itself, and, where it is proved that injustice has been done, we are here to remedy these injustices. Here is a clear case. The Chancellor of the Exchequer evades the issue. His arguments are not consistent with the framework of particular Sections of the Act which we are here discussing. Neither are they just to the importer. The truth is that this ridiculous Act is so full of injustices and inconsistencies that he knows that if you begin to allow Amendments of wrong it will lead to the abolition of the whole thing, which is exactly what should happen.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer twitted the hon. and gallant Member for Central Aberdeen (Major M. Wood) with showing some of the qualities of the Scotsman, but the right hon. Gentleman has shown in this case an alleged characteristic of the Scotsman, that he keeps the Sabbath and everything else that he can lay hands on, whether he has got it honestly or otherwise. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer has got a purse with money and he does not know to whom it belongs-it may belong to any one of half-a-dozen people—he cannot take the trouble to find out, and therefore he keeps the money. That is not an unfair representation of the attitude of the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer has got money which the law says he ought not to have taken it is his duty to apply his mind to finding out to whom the money belongs. If he finds out that it belongs to the importer he should give it to the importer. If he cannot find out to whom it belongs that is a reason for his keeping that part of the money, at any rate, until the owner turns up. But in a large proportion of these cases the man who paid the money can be found. Therefore the Chancellor of the Exchequer, according to the Act, and certainly according to the ethics of honesty, is bound to find out, if he can, to whom the money belongs and to disgorge his ill-gotten gains. The Solicitor-General may, by legal ingenuity, appear to get over the legal difficulty, but he cannot escape the ethical considerations in the matter.
The position is quite plain to anyone except those who sit on the Treasury Bench. One is glad to think that we have been helped in the matter by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is a lawyer, and that his place is now occupied by the Solicitor-General. I suppose they would assent to what is a plain proposition in English law—that if money has been paid under a mistake of fact, that money can be recovered. If I paid money under a mistake of fact, and could prove that the money had been so paid, on proving that, I am entitled to recover the money. That fact governs this situation. Here in an Act of Parliament a certain list is thrown together in so slovenly a fashion that when the list comes to be scrutinised later on it is agreed by the Board of Trade or by the referee, and sometimes by both, that there are certain items which are included in the list improperly. That is a matter of fact. It has then been found that by reason of that mistake of fact money has been paid, and the question has arisen, to whom does that money belong? It is quite clear that it does not not belong to those who made the blunder. It cannot belong to them. The retention of the money would never be argued by any counsel in a Court of law, but, apparently, what no counsel would attempt to argue is put forward with effrontery by those who sit on the Treasury Bench. They do not deny that they are possessed of money which does not: belong to them, but they say it is difficult to pay it back. That has very often been argued. I have no doubt that the Solicitor-General has heard many persons in the dock use that argument. I suppose that the only reluctance which the Government has in paying back money which is not their money, but which is in their pocket owing to their own mistake, is that they would have to come down from the pedestal which they have constantly occupied over the Safeguarding of Industries Act. They know, and they admit amongst themselves, that the Act is a mass of intricate complications and stupidities, and the paying back of the money might be a constant confession of the mistake of the Act. Whatever may be said, it is impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, even with the very able assistance of the Solicitor-General, to make wrong right.
Mr. T. THOMSON:
The House will have noticed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer stressed points which my hon. Friends did not make. My hon. Friends never suggested that where the goods had been sold and the importer had recovered from the consumer the duty which had been paid on them, there should be a refund. What they did suggest was that where there were stocks which had not been sold and where the duty had not been passed on to the consumer and a charge had been wrongfully made, that sum should be refunded no the importer. Surely it is only just. Suppose you have two business firms. One firm imports a considerable quantity of goods on which duty is wrongfully imposed. They pay that duty and have their goods in stock. Another firm, after the duty has been found to be wrongfully imposed, imports a similar quantity of the same goods, and they pay no duty. When those two importers place those goods on the market, one has paid 33⅓ per cent. more than the other. That is not a position of justice or equity. The question is one to which the House should have some reply from the Treasury Bench. It is an illustration of the fantastic difficulties of carrying out an impossible Act.
If I followed the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer aright, the first ground upon which he opposed this Clause was that it was a mistake to suppose that the articles in
question were improperly included in the list from the beginning, and that although the referee may subsequently decide that they should come off the list, yet they were properly included in the first instance. That statement hardly coincides with the wording of the Act. Section 1, Sub-section (5), provides that
If within three months after the publication of any such list any person appearing to the Board to be interested delivers to the Board a written notice complaining that any article has been improperly included in, or excluded from, the list …
So that the ground of the application is that the articles have been improperly included in or excluded from the list, as the case may be. That is the question which the Referee has to decide. It naturally follows that when the Referee has given his decision, the decision he gives is as to whether the article was improperly included or excluded. On that point the Chancellor of the Exchequer is left only with the defence which he obtains from the very last phrase in that same Sub-section, namely:
…the decision of the referee shall be…without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) pointed out, it surely was never in the contemplation of Parliament that those words should prevent any person who had paid duty upon goods improperly included in the list, from obtaining a rebate. If the words can be construed to mean that the subject has no redress in such cases, then Parliament is here, this House is now sitting, to grant that redress if a proper case has been made out. It is for that purpose the Clause has been put down. I now come to a second argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer anticipated by one of my hon. Friends who suggested the reply would probably be made that the duties which have been paid, having been placed upon the articles, therefore have passed to other shoulders, and even if the importer did obtain a return of the duty, there was no possibility of the person who ultimately paid it, namely, the purchaser, obtaining a rebate. The Chancellor must have forgotten one very important factor relevant to that argument. He seems to forget that these articles were competing with articles
manufactured in this country which did not pay a tax.
I quite admit where you have an article imported into this country upon which a duty is paid, and there is no similar article produced in this country, or, if there is, there is an Excise duty on it, equal to the import duty, then it is quite true the tax would, in all cases, be passed on to the purchaser. In a case, however, where the imported article which bears the tax is competing with an article manufactured in this country which does not pay a tax, then it is quite impossible to follow the incidence of that tax. Where you get to, ultimately, depends naturally on the price of the home-manufactured article. That is a fact which should be taken into consideration when an argument of that kind is used. Quite obviously, it never was in the contemplation of Parliament that anyone who paid duties, admitted to have been improperly exacted, should not be entitled to a rebate, and if the Government cannot sec their way to con-code the point, I hope the House, on a Division, will grant the justice which the Government does not see fit to extend.
I hope that before the Question is put we may have a reply from the Solicitor-General to the arguments advanced in support of the new Clause. Let me advance one further argument. The Safeguarding of Industries Act, for the first time in British history—at any rate within recent years—placed the responsibility of fixing taxation in the hands of a Government Department. That new principle is the law of the land —how long it may remain the law of the land is another matter—as long as the Safeguarding of Industries Act is on the Statute Book. Surely if taxes are unfairly levied, as between one subject of the Realm and another, the least the Treasury can do is to remit those taxes or grant a rebate. The new Clause gives the Treasury discretionary powers to do so. The Chancellor of the Exchequer advanced just one reason against the new Clause. He argued that by the time the duty was repealed the importers would have sold these articles and have recouped themselves from the consumer, but the Clause, as drafted, meets that point. The Treasury might after consultation with the Board of Trade ask the importers to submit to the Treasury the amount they have in stock at the moment the duty is repealed, so that the particular importer would not have any unfair advantage. I expected the the Government to accept this Clause, because it might have made the Act more workable, and it would have been conducive to its smooth working in the City of London. Another argument employed against it was that there were very few cases such as would be covered by the new Clause. Whether the cases are few or many, if one subject is unfairly taxed in comparison with another, the matter should be considered, and the least the Solicitor-General can do is to treat all alike and remit the duty where it has been improperly levied.
I did not intend to speak on this particular Clause, had it not been for the speeches to which we have just listened. These only show how perfectly hopeless are the minds of hon. Members opposite. They are always thinking of these wretched Cobdenite theories which are as dead as the dodo. Those who sat on these benches through the passage of the Safeguarding of Industries Act remember that there were put into that Act as concessions these very provisions enabling appeals to be made to the referee. Now that the referee has given concessions hon. Members are not satisfied. They want to try to take advantage of the Chancellor, and get this further miserable concession out of him. I hope the Chancellor will present a stony heart to people who come here asking for concessions of this kind, because instead of being whittled away, the Safeguarding of Industries Act ought to be extended and put on a more sound and solid basis.
I am amazed that the Government should refuse the Amendment. It is only a matter of elementary justice that money improperly extracted from the taxpayer should be returned. If an article on which duty has been levied was improperly included in the Schedule on which that duty is levied, there should be a rebate, and I fail to see how the Government have any justification whatever for their attitude. Unfortunately, I have not had the advantage of hearing the whole of this Debate. I heard much of it. I must say that we on this side of the House accept the reproof of the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) with a quite easy mind, remembering it is not so long ago that he introduced a Bill, or tried to introduce a Bill, to repeal the whole of the Safeguarding of Industries Act.
I apologise; it was in connection with dyestuffs. But they are very much the same, being part and parcel of the Government's protective policy. In regard to these duties, however, I can quite understand why the Government should not make their Clause retrospective. But surely the time has come when everything that ought to be included under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and that ought to be scheduled, has been included and scheduled, and, therefore, there cannot be any reason why they should refuse to pay back money which they have improperly collected on articles that have not already been adjudicated upon. If the liability to return this duty to the taxpayer were imposed upon the Department that is scheduling these articles, I think it would make that Department very much more careful. They would not simply put an article in the schedule because somebody thinks it ought to be put there. They would make due inquiry and find out whether the thing was justified and under what terms of the Act that article should be included.
The Government has been, I believe, during the last few days engaged in a controversy at The Hague in regard to the rights of private property. What have they got to say to their opponents in that discussion if they deliberately annex the money of the taxpayer which has been wrongfully extracted from him. They have not a leg to stand upon. It is not honest. The Solicitor-General ought to make us some reply, but apparently there is going to be no reply from the Government Benches. [An HON. MEMBER: "The reply was made long ago"] Yes, but the hon. and learned Gentleman spoke before the arguments were advanced which have been advanced by my hon. Friends on this proposed new Clause.
I do not know that I agree with that. I was here until four o'clock the other morning on this very Bill, but I did not see my hon. Friend here. Certainly we did a very good night's work when hon. Friends behind me, who take an interest in the proceedings, induced the Chancellor of the Exchequer to alter his policy in regard to the taxation allowances which were given to War widows and their children. I would like to ask the Solicitor-General to try and justify the action of the Government in seizing and retaining money to which they are not entitled.
Before the Solicitor-General replies—and I have no doubt he will, for I believe he is at all times anxious to make a courteous response to appeals—let me say that I do not agree with the observations of those who say that no new argument has been advanced. The Solicitor-General, doubtless, will appreciate that a very important point has been raised which answers the principles of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As I understood the Chancellor, he said that the difficulty was that if the goods had been sold and the duty had been passed on to the consumer it would not be fair to repay the money to him or he would have the money twice. As I understood the Mover and Seconder of this proposed Clause, they have answered the Chancellor in speeches that I am afraid that my hon. and gallant Friend did not hear.
I am dealing with two points put forward since the Chancellor left the House, the one that this Clause does not come under that exemption which the Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed out, but only asks that the duty shall be refunded if the goods have not been sold, and the other argument, in answer to the Chancellor, was that it puts the two classes of sellers into two different classes in competition, which is very unfair. The one trader has goods on which duty has been wrongfully paid; the other trader has goods upon which no duty has been paid. The Chancellor admits to the House that the duty ought not to have been paid, therefore he is asked to agree that those people who have wrongfully paid duty have a just case for refunding. The hon Member for Macclesfield who addressed the House, as he usually does, with that air of superiority, fitting singularly and accurately the in- feriority of his arguments, and in view of the long time he has had the opportunity of honouring the House with his presence, said that these arguments to which I have referred and the Debate had proceeded on exploded Cobdenite theories. He could not have heard what the Debate was about. He cannot know what this Clause contains. This Clause has nothing whatever to do with the merits or demerits of the Safeguarding of Industries Bill.
Either the hon. Gentleman's hearing is not very good, or there in another reflection which I do not care to follow up. This Clause has nothing whatever to do with the merits or the demerits of the Safeguarding of Industries Act. We may all have our views upon that, but we keep them carefully sealed up within our bosoms, and not a word shall we emit which expresses our opinion on that Act. But this question before us is one only of pure honesty, and that is, whether or not the Government admit that these articles are not properly included in the list, and have wrongfully paid duty, shall have a proper chance of having redress. I cannot believe for a moment that the Solicitor-General, who has heard these arguments, and always shows himself most anxious to deal fairly with matters of argument, will not reply to the House.
As has been well said by the hon. Member who has just resumed his seat, this is not a question of law, it is a question of common honesty. Despite his special pleading the Chancellor of the Exchequer can get away from that in no way whatever. Money has been obtained by the Treasury to which we are not entitled. The onus of proving that is on the importer. The Clause provides the means whereby this may be done. Does the Government want a precedent? If so, they established one themselves not very long ago when we had a return of some of the taxes ranging over three years. So if they want a precedent they themselves have established one. As I understand it, the Board of Trade themselves removed from the list articles upon which duty has been paid, and now have turned round and say, "Although duty ought not to have been paid upon these articles we refuse to refund the money which we have obtained by methods which we had no right to use." Speaking as a plain, blunt man, surely the only question that appeals to us is how this money, whether by inadvertence or in any other way, having been obtained, it ought to be returned by the Treasury to the people who have paid it. No Government that at all values their reputation— and sometimes we have professions on the other side that they do—will dare to take a stand upon the position which they have-expressed from the Treasury Bench, and refuse to refund the money to which they have no scrap of entitlement.
I am not without hope that, even at this late hour, the Solicitor-General may find some way out of the painful position in which he is placed. I realise the full force of the argument used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it has happened in some cases that this expropriation of the money which has commenced with the Treasury has continued with the public, and after wrongfully taking this duty from those individuals, they have gone on inadvertently taking it wrongfully from the public. If the Treasury were to pay back to the importers this duty, no doubt the importer would get his money twice over. That is the position in which the Government have placed not only themselves, but the importer. It would be perfectly true to say that we have robbed the importer, and he has gone on and robbed somebody else, and therefore the thing had better stand just as it is. That is a regrettable situation in which the Government should place themselves or any individuals.
There still is the case of those importers who have paid duty upon goods which they have not yet passed on, and where, if the course suggested by the Amendment were taken, the man would not get twice over the money to which he is entitled. Is the Government going to do anything to meet that case? This Amendment does not say that they shall meet that case, but that they may meet it, and it is a purely permissive power. If the word had been "shall," in view of these circumstances, there might be the faintest shadow of ground for resisting it, but it does not go so far as that. If the Government accepted this Amendment, it would simply give the Treasury power, after consultation with the Board of Trade, to make this refund. Such a consultation would disclose all the facts and it would ascertain whether the importer had parted with the goods and passed them on.
I take it, if consltation disclosed that, the Treasury would say, "He has got his money, at all events, and it is no good paying him again, and we will do nothing." With this Amendment the Treasury would have the power of dealing with the cases where the importer is still in possession of his goods, and unless this action is taken he is going to compete with the man who has acquired goods upon which he is not paying the duty. That is a very strong case, and I cannot see how the Government can resist taking this permissive power to enable them to make good what, to put it in its best light, has been an error and blunder on their part. We know what has followed the passing of the Act. We know how lengthy the Schedules are, and even those who supported the Act are not altogether surprised that in the application of the Act some mistakes were made, and a Department unused to this procedure, having to compile a Schedule with thousands of articles, should have put in some articles which ought not to have been there.
When all allowance is made for that, it is difficult to understand how the Government can resist taking this opportunity of making good their blunders. If the Government are adamant and obdurate, the only thing left is for some trader who has the courage and the money to take the thing into the Courts. It is one of the gravest reflections upon the administration of this Government that more than in the case of any other Government of recent times the Courts have had to come in and stand as a protection between the subject and the executive. I hope that course will not be followed in this case, and if the Government will take this power that course reed not be followed. I press upon the very serious attention of the Solicitor-General the question as to whether the Government cannot do something to meet the case which has been presented to the House with overwhelming conviction.
Sir W. BARTON:
In this case my sympathies are entirely with the Solicitor-General for I have never known a case before where a Minister has sat so long without attempting to answer the arguments. No doubt the reason is that they are unanswerable. I hope the career which the right hon. Gentleman has started on the Treasury Bench will be a long and a distinguished one, but I trust that he will never be Chancellor of the Exchequer because he has too kind a heart altogether. I feel sure that he cannot like this thing at all. It has nothing to do with tariff reform or protection and it is merely a question of common honesty. The Government have collected money believing they were entitled to collect it, but now they admit that they have no right to collect it, and yet they refuse to return the money. I have always understood that it was one of the sound tenets of taxation that a tax should be of a kind that it applied equally to all who paid the tax, and that it should not be possible to evade it. Does this tax comply with both those simple tenets of taxation? Anyone having these goods in stock who desires to obtain the return of what he has already paid can do so by re-exporting them to the continent and then importing them into this country, and in that way he obtains relief from taxation. A man who would take that trouble can avoid this taxation as between one taxpayer and another. Surely the arguments which have been put forward in this question are unanswerable. You have a man with these goods in stock and he has paid a tax upon them. Another trader obtains them without the payment of the tax and they are put in a totally unequal position. I am sorry to press the hon. and learned Gentleman, but I ask him to take his courage in both hands. This is not a matter of law or of tactics or of one party attacking the other. It is simply a matter of common honesty. [Laughter..] Hon. Members laugh, but are we going to say we are more honest than you are? If it were a fighting party matter, I might claim that we are superior in our honesty, but I am not going to do that. Surely, however, the time has come when we should get a straight answer to the question we have addressed to the Government—"Are you going to be honest?"
I did not, unfortunately, hear the arguments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it docs not seem to me there should be any difficulty about this Clause. It provides that where the duty has been charged in respect of an article afterwards declared to be not liable to the duty, it shall be repaid. In other words, where a charge has been made and it has afterwards been found that it has been made in error, then the Treasury should be permitted to repay the duty. If that was all that was entailed by the Clause, I should certainly support it, but I could not support it if it went any further and if it provided that where the Board of Trade had come to the conclusion that a class of article on which duty bad been charged in April should not be liable to the duty in May. If it were a case, not of a mistake, but of an alteration in policy, then I should not support the refundment of the money. If, however, the charge has merely been made in error, I really cannot see how the Exchequer can keep the money. I have always supported the Safeguarding of Industries Act, but I do not see that that has anything to do with this particular question. The issue is merely whether the Treasury or the Board of Trade, having taken a certain sum of money wrongly, should not refund it.
I thought for once I was going to find myself in agreement with the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), but I do not think he has shown his usual acumen in understanding the Clause—the acumen he almost invariably displays in this House. If I may, I want to put this point to him. It is quite axiomatic that if we acquire money wrongfully we ought to return it. But let me give the House an illustration how this particular Amendment would act. Suppose a merchant in the City of London bought £10,000 worth of goods from Germany and had to pay the duty imposed under the Safeguarding of Industries Act. On the delivery of those goods here he would add to the price the duty he had paid, and he would sell them to his customers on that basis. If he has cleared his stock, how is the money to be returned? Is he to go to the people to whom he sold them and tell them he has charged them too much and is going to return the money?
That is not the question. The question is whether the Treasury should retain the money to which they had no right. If the merchant were an honest trader he would send to his customers and tell them that the duty had been returned to him and that he was prepared to hand it hack to them.
I know cases of hardship are bound to crop up, but let me put this to my right hon. Friend. Take the case of a great store in the City of London which is selling goods for cash every day. They have had goods in stock which they have sold and on which duty-was wrongfully charged. It is quite impossible for them to return the amount of the overcharge to their clients. If any feasible plan could be suggested whereby that could be done I would support the Amendment. I am opposed to the Safeguarding of Industries Act in every form, but I contend that the principles of Free Trade are not involved in this at all. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is a matter of common honesty."] That is a very cheap thing to say. The term has been employed a dozen times to-night. This is really a matter of expediency in business, and in spite of the arguments that have been advanced by my hon. Friends I cannot see my way to vote for this Amendment.
If the hon. Member for Dunfermline (Mr.Wallace) had only been present in the House during the Debate he would have known that every point made by him had been dealt with and dealt with unanswerably. Our contention is that the onus of proof that the duty has not been passed on to the purchaser lies with the merchant, and it is only in those cases that we recommend that the duty be returned. If the hon. Member had had that in mind he would not have delivered his entirely unnecessary speech. His points have in fact already been answered. It is a unique experience for me to hear the hon. Member making such a speech, and I hope he will do better another time. From the purely party point of view, which I never consider, it would be a fine thing for us in the country if the Government did not accept this Clause, with or without Amendment. It is a splendid point for the platform, for Chambers of Commerce, Chambers of Trade and in the trading communities of the country. Fortunately for the country, however, we never think of the purely party point of view—we leave that to the Cabinet. We think of the welfare of British trade, and apparently the Government are intent on putting every sort of obstacle in the way of the wicked man who engages in foreign trade. Their theory is that we should live by taking in each other's washing, and the man who engages in foreign trade—
I am sorry if I rather digressed, and used arguments which are not quite in order. At the present moment I would draw attention to the fact that The Hague Conference has broken down on just this sort of difference of opinion as to the sanctity of bargains; and now we have the Government out-Bolshevising the Bolshevists, seizing money to which they have no possible right at all, and keeping it. It is simply the rule of the strong man doing what he will. The Government happen to be in a strong position at the present moment against these traders, who are mostly small men, without much capital and severely hampered by the present depression, and they are refusing to give them their just rights. I understand that this mostly applies to chemicals, and to a certain extent to infants' food that has been wrongly taxed. It is extraordinary that anything that affects the nursery immediately attracts the attention of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, who, I dare say, are great child-lovers and very good fathers when happily married. Nevertheless, they go out of their way to tax anything that affects children. This is an absolutely wrong tax on infants' food, and, where the food has not been sold, what argument can there possibly be, when the merchant can prove that the tax has not been passed on, against allowing this criminal who imports infants' food to get his duty back. This Clause has been upheld by speaker after speaker on this side and on the other side of the House. The only attempt that has been made to defend the Government's refusal to give it a Second Reading, apart from the Government Bench, has been that of the hon. Member for Dunfermline, who tried to make points which had been completely answered and disposed of, showing that he really did not understand the case at all. I rose, amongst other reasons, in order to give time for the Solicitor-General to consult the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to whether he could meet the valuable proposal made by the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Sir J. Hood). I hope that he will do that. As you have said, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I was out of order in referring to the Government's well-known hostility to the trading community, but it is not question of Free Trade and Protection at all. It is a question of the most elementary decency and honesty to comparatively small business men who have suffered by the gross blunders and mistakes of the Government and the Executive.
Hon. Members opposite, particularly, have had a very happy hour. The Safeguarding of Industries Act might almost have been called an Act for safeguarding the happiness of the Independent Liberals, and I do not grudge them for a moment the enjoyment they have had out of their pleasant attacks upon that Act. Now let me come to the realities of the situation. Of course, obviously, whenever a tax has been exacted upon an article which was supposed to be dutiable and which turns out not to be dutiable, there is a primé facie case, and a strong primé facie case —let us be quite frank about it—in favour of re-payment. But one has in these matters to take a sensible, broad, common-sense view of the position. Hon. Members opposite have referred to the honesty of the lawyer. Let me say at once that I am approaching this matter, not in the least as a lawyer, but trying to appreciate the realities of the position.
Before I deal with those realities, I want to make one observation. More than one speaker in the course of this Debate has indicated the view that a discretion to tax or not to tax ought not to be left to a Government Department. With that view, on general lines, I, for one, am in complete agreement, but I want to observe this, that this proposed new Clause necessarily sins against that principle- It leaves to the Treasury, after consultation with another Government Department, a discretion to decide, in effect, whether an individual subject is to remain taxed or not. That is an extremely invidious task to put upon any Government official. It is a task which I frankly would say that it is most undesirable to place upon any Government official. Let us see what the facts are. Where the goods have been sold, it may be across the counter for cash, to customers who have passed out of vision and can never be identified—there are no invoices to trace them—in those cases, it is conceded that it is not practical politics to pay back the tax to the individual customer who has bought the small article in question which includes in its price some element of duty. If you concede that, can you really, as a matter of the practical carrying out the Act, say that you will repay the tax in those cases where goods have not passed into trade to individual customers? In fact, you cannot, and that is exactly where the difficulty arises. In the first place, it is an ad valorem9, duty, and the goods must be identified in respect of which tax has been paid, in order to see what is the ad valorem return that is to be made.
Not as regards an individual article, but only as regards a purchase of a large number of articles, and that is where the whole difficulty arises. In practice it would be found, if you attempted to carry out this Clause, that it would be impossible to trace the individual article and to decide which articles had been bought before the decision of the referee exonerating them from duty and which had been bought after. Different stocks would be mixed together, and in practice it would be quite impossible to trace them.
Would the hon. Member be so good as to allow me to finish my sentence? Where an individual shipment into the country has been retained intact, or divided into separate parcels, the whole or some of which are re-exported, the identity of these parcels is clearly preserved, and is shown by the books. But where stocks are not kept separate in that kind of way, in a very great number of cases—and this is the point to be realised—it will be found that it is impossible really to trace the identity of the goods. It cannot be done. That is what the officials have told us whom we have consulted, and consulted very carefully, before to-day, in order to consider the whole position. They say that it cannot be done in practice. In some cases it is conceded that it may be possible, but you cannot apply a tax to some cases and not to all. In those circumstances, and for those very reasons, when Section 1, Sub-section (5) of the Act was passed by this House, the Clause to which the Chancellor of Exchequer referred was added at the end of it, because it was realised in advance that where those mistakes were made it would be impossible in practice to rectify them.
It is a little difficult offhand to answer the right hon. Gentleman, but I will have it looked into. We have discussed at very considerable length one type of mistake rectified by the referee—the case where a duty has been imposed and the referee decides that it ought not to have been imposed. What about the other case, where a duty has not been imposed and the referee decides that it ought to have been?
The hon. and gallant Member contradicts me flatly, and says there has not been one. I would ask him not to be quite so quick with his flat contradictions. In the case of gas mantles, the ingredient of thorium and cerium oxides and nitrates was treated as a non-dutiable ingredient. The referee decided that it was dutiable, and, consequently, that those mantles came within the scope of the tax. How many more cases of that kind there may be it is impossible to say, but it is perfectly clear that if you are to repay tax in all cases where the duty has been imposed and the referee decides that it ought not to have been imposed, you can only do it if, conversely, you impose a tax on articles that have gone through without duty, when the referee so decides. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?] I fail to see any justice whatever unless you do it alike in both alternatives. The fact of the matter is, that this is an Act which was passed in order to meet an unexampled and unprecedented state of affairs. This is an Ac—
Allow me to say, Sir. that I have not the faintest intention of discussing the Act. I bow to your ruling, which I was going to obey had it not been given. You cannot expect perfect justice in the working out of an extremely difficult Act like this. Practical considerations, in our view, show a great balance of advantage to the existing circumstances, and the trade of the country has to accept this kind of comparatively small difficulty, which looms so very large in the eyes of the individual.
I am mainly concerned about the consistency of the attitude of the Government. The Solicitor-General suggests to-night that when you have discovered you have wrongfully imposed the duty then, not merely is it incumbent upon you to retain for the revenue the duty improperly collected, but in the alternative you will be compelled to impose duties upon others who have escaped when you discover that that escape has taken place. When the Government had to deal, not with importers into this country, but with the landed interests, represented by the right hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman), they did not act in this manner. What they then said was that when the Courts had found that certain taxes had been improperly imposed, interest and honour dictated that the whole amount improperly paid should be refunded. Not only so, but to make it perfectly certain that nobody should be wronged in the matter, they decided that it was incumbent on them to pay back all the duties paid by anybody, whether properly collected or not.
The attitude of the Government, when they have to deal with the trading com-munity, is vastly different in regard to these questions of honour and interest than their attitude when they have to do with the landlord party, as represented by the right hon. Member for Chelmsford. It would be impossible to find, amongst all the records of legislation and administrative action in this country, any precedent for the action of the Government. You cannot find in the legislation of this House hitherto any occasion on which, when it has been found that money has been improperly and wrongly paid, that this course, that it should not be returned, has been adopted. I am somewhat afraid that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, I am proud to say, is a fellow-countryman of mine, has gone for a precedent to Scotland in the achievement of one whom Wordsworth celebrated as a great Scotsman of his time, and whose rule was that
They should take who have the power, And they should keep who can.
I think, except upon the basis of that simple creed of the freebooter Rob Roy, it is impossible to find any justification whatever for the action of the right hon. Gentleman.
Really, however, this is the practical point about which I have risen. We have listened to an extremely ingenious defence from the Solicitor-General. I will admit that to some extent he has punctured the exact language of this Amendment. I have said throughout, whenever I have encountered the hon. and learned Gentleman before, that I regard him as one of the most practised debaters in this House. If we were only engaged in a dialectical combat I certainly would never venture to engage with him. We are face to face here, however, with a practical proposition affecting the trade of the country. We have also to deal with questions which involve honesty and integrity on the part of the Government. The hon. Member for Wimbledon (Sir J. Hood), who is not associated with the opposition to the Government, has made an extremely practical proposition, which was not met in the slightest by the speech of the hon. and learned Solicitor-General. I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will indicate, if he cannot accept the Amendment as it stands, that he will, at any rate, consider the suggestion of the hon. Member for Wimbledon. It meets the very able arguments which the Chancellor of the Exchequer addressed to the House, and I think meets all the points raised by the Solicitor-General. We ought not to approach this matter merely from the point of view of dialectics. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might consider one of the practical suggestions by one of the Government supporters, and in that way do something to relieve the real anxieties of the business world, and also retain the credit and honour of the Government.
|Division No. 220.]||AYES.||[9.45 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Bruton, Sir James|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S.||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Bennett, Sir Thomas Jewell||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Betterton, Henry B.||Burdon, Colonel Rowland|
|Atkey, A. R.||Bird, sir William B. M. (Chichester)||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Blair, Sir Reginald||Casey, T. W.|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Briggs, Harold||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Broad, Thomas Tucker||Clough, Sir Robert|
|Barrand, A. R.||Brown, Major D. C.||Coats, Sir Stuart|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Brown, Brig-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Calvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hurd, Percy A.||Remer, J. R.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Renwick, Sir George|
|Cope, Major William||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Richardson, Lt.-Col Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Jephcott, A. R.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Jesson, C.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesali)|
|Davidson,J.C.C.(Hemel Hempstead)||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Johnstone, Joseph||Rodger, A. K.|
|Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Kidd, James||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Seager, Sir William|
|Evans, Ernest||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Seddon, J. A.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Lloyd, George Butler||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Falle, Major sir Bertram Godfray||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Lorden, John William||Simm, M. T.|
|Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Lort-Williams, J.||Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)|
|Forrest, Walter||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Stanley, Major Hon, G. (Preston)|
|Frece, sir Walter de||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Gee, Captain Robert||McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Sugden, W. H.|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Macquisten, F. A.||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel sir John||Maddocks, Henry||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Taylor, J.|
|Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Martin, A. E.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Gregory, Holman||Matthews, David||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Greig, Colonel Sir James William||Mitchell, Sir William Lane||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Grenfell, Edward Charles||Molson, Major John Eisdale||Townley, Maximilian G|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Murray, Rt. Hon. C. D. (Edinburgh)||Waddington, R.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor|
|Hallwood, Augustine||Neal, Arthur||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Hamilton, Sir George C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton;|
|Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Warner. Sir T, Courtenay T.|
|Haslam, Lewis||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Warren, Sir Alfred H.|
|Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford,||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.||Willoughby. Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Parker, James||Wilts. Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Hinds, John||Pearce, Sir William||Wilson, Col. M. j. (Richmond)|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Wise, Frederick|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Perkins, Walter Frank||Wood, Hon. Edward F L. (Ripon)|
|Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)||Perring, William George||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Pickering, Colonel Emil W.||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge & Hyde)|
|Hope, J, D (Berwick & Haddington)||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Pratt, John William||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Home, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Purchase, H. G.||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere||Rae, Sir Henry N.||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Houfton, John Plowright||Ramsden, G. T.|
|Houston, Sir Robert Patterson||Randies, Sir John Scurrah||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Rankin, Captain James Stuart||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr. McCurdy|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Hirst, G. H|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hogge, James Myles|
|Ammon, Charles George||Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Holmes, J Stanley|
|Banton, George||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Irving, Dan|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Edwards. G. (Norfolk, South)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Foot, Isaac||Kennedy, Thomas|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||France, Gerald Ashburner||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Galbraith, Samuel||Lawson, John James|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Gillis, William||Lunn, William|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D.(Midlothian)|
|Briant, Frank||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mosley, Oswald|
|Bromfield, William||Grundy, T. W.||Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||Murray, Or. D. (Inverness & Ross)|
|Cairns, John||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Myers, Thomas|
|Cape, Thomas||Halls, Walter||Naylor, Thomas Ellis|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Hayday, Arthur||Newbould, Alfred Ernest|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Hayward, Evan||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)||Poison, Sir Thomas A.|
|Ralfan, Peter Wilson||Swan, J. E.||Wignall, James|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough E.)|
|Royce, William Stapleton||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Sexton, James||Tillett, Benjamin||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge.)|
|Sitch, Charles H.||Waterson, A. E.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Spoor, B. G.||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Sutton, John Edward||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)||Mr. Kiley and Major Mackenzie Wood.|
|DivisionNo. 221.]||AYES.||[9.58 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Naylor, Thomas Ellis|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Griffiths, T, (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest|
|Ainswortb, Captain Charles||Grundy, T. W.||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Amnion, Charles George||Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Banton, George||Halls, Walter||Rendall, Atheistan|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayday, Arthur||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hayward, Evan||Rodger, A. K.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Wiones)||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Barton. Sir William (Oldham)||Hinds, John||Sexton, James|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bennett, Sir Thomas Jewell||Hogge, James Myles||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavnndish-||Holmes, J. Stanley||Spoor, B. G.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hood, Sir Joseph||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Briant, Frank||Houston, Sir Robert Patterson||Sutton, John Edward|
|Bromfield, William||Hurd, Percy A.||Swan, J. E.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Irving, Dan||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Cairns, John||Johnstone, Joseph||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Cape), Thomas||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Kennedy, Thomas||Tillett, Benjamin|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Waterson, A. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lawson, John James||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Ciltheroe)||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lunn, William||Wignall, James|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Maclean. Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Foot, Isaac||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Mosley, Oswald|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Murray, Hon. A. c. (Aberdeen)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gillis, William||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Mr. Kiley and Major Mackenzie|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Myers, Thomas||Wood.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Coats, Sir Stuart||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Greene, Lt.-Col- Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Greenwood, William (Stockport)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Greig, Colonel Sir James William|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Cope, Major William||Grenfell, Edward Charles|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Guthrie, Thomas Maule|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Dalzlei, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Barrio, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Hallwood, Augustine|
|Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hamilton, Sir George C.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Haslam, Lewis|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||Dockreil, Sir Maurice||Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Hilder. Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Briggs, Harold||Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Hohier, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Evans, Ernest||Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)|
|Brown, Major D. C.||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Fell, Sir Arthur||Hopkins, John W. W.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Forrest, Walter||Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow. Hillhead)|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Frece, Sir Walter de||Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Houfton, John Plowright|
|Casey, T. W.||Gee, Captain Robert||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)|
|Chamberlain. N. (Birm., Ladywood)||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Glyn, Major Ralph||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.||Sturrock, J. Long|
|Jesson, C.||Parker, James||Sugden, W. H.|
|Jodrell, Neville Paul||Pearce, Sir William||Surtees, Brigadier General H. C.|
|Johnson, Sir Stanley||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Perkins, Walter Frank||Taylor, J.|
|Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Perring, William George||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Pickering, Colonel Emil W.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Kidd, James||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Pratt. John William||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Lane-Fox, 6. R.||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Purchase, H. G.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Lindsay, William Arthur||Rae, Sir Henry N.||Waddington, R.|
|Lloyd, George Butler||Ramsden, G. T.||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Randies, Sir John Scurrah||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Lorden, John William||Rankin, Captain James Stuart||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Lort-Williams, J.||Ratclifte, Henry butler||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Loseby, Captain C. E.||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Renter, J. R.||Warren, Sir Alfred H.|
|McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)||Renwick, Sir George||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|McMicking, Major Gilbert||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)||Williams. C. (Tavistock)|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Richardson. Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Maddocks, Henry||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Wilson, Col M. J. (Richmond)|
|Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecciesall)||Windsor, Viscount|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Roundel!, Colonel R. F.||Wise, Frederick|
|Martin, A. E.||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Matthews, David||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Mitchell, Sir William Lane||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge & Hyde)|
|Molson, Major John Elsdale||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Morrison, Hugh||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Murray, Rt. Hon. C. D. (Edinburgh)||Seager, Sir William||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Murray, John (Leeds, Watt)||Seddon, J. A.||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Neal, Arthur||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. O. L. (Exeter)||Simm, M. T.|
|Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Stanton, Charles Butt||McCurdy.|
|Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark|