In Section forty-two of the Army Act (which relates to the mode of complaint by an officer), at the end of Section there shall be inserted the words "Such examination shall he delegated by the Army Council to an independent tribunal of three members, of whom at least one shall have had a legal training, and who shall report to the Army Council."—[Mr. G. Hurst.]
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time." The only object of this Amendment is to pave the way to the improvement of the machinery for the redress of grievances in the Army. I know it is not desirable to encourage appeals to tribunals, nor do I say that the present system is prolific of injustice, but I do say, it being admitted that there should be machinery for the redress of grievances in the Army, it ought to follow that the machinery available should be of the very best character. T think it will be generally agreed that the present system, as laid down by Section 42 of the Army Act, is not the best, and can in no sense be described as judicial machinery at all. If an officer in the Army has a grievance at the present time,-that grievance is transmitted through various General Officers Commanding, who are superior to the officer who makes the complaint, to the Army Council, and the Army Council examines that complaint. The examination is held in secret conclave. It is determined, as I understand, purely by documentary evidence. There is no examination of the complainant or wit- nesses, and there is no opportunity for cross-examination. It must be clear to anybody that a tribunal of that sort cannot give-the same satisfactory adjudication on a grievance as a tribunal which examines the matter in a proper legal spirit, giving each side a fair and proper hearing. The decision of the Army Council may mean that an officer's career is completely blasted, and that he has no hope of advancement in the future. If such consequences may be involved, I think it will be the wish of everybody that the grievance., whatever it may he, should be heard before the best possible tribunal, and adjudicated upon on the fairest principles.
If the Clause now brought. forward by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Melton (Sir C. Yate) and myself be carried, it will mean that the examination will not be 'carried on in secret by an irresponsible body. It will mean that the examination will be delegated to an independent committee nominated by the Army Council. of which one member. at all events, has had experience with regard to the laws of evidence and legal principles. The advantage of that will be that the complainant will be able to put forward his grievance in person, that he will be able to meet those who are giving evidence against him face to face, and it will also mean that the tribunal which decides the question, which may have the most vital bearing upon an officer's future, is absolutely independent. Not unusually any military body which adjudicates on a grievance has a bias in favour of other military authorities. One authority will unconsciously or consciously support another authority. But having an independent tribunal, you will get a tribunal which will decide the matter entirely dispassionately and entirely free from all prejudices. Those objects are undoubtedly secured by this Clause. Nobody can say it is subversive of discipline, and it in no way encourages appeals. It does involve two clear results. It will give an absolutely fair hearing before an impartial tribunal, so that the risk of injustice, which I do not say is great now, but is in existence, must become less by reason of having an independent tribunal hearing an appeal on judicial lines.
The second good result is that whether a complaint is well-founded or ill-founded, it is always a satisfaction to a man who has a grievance to know that his complaint has been fairly heard. That satisfaction does not exist in many cases at the present time, and it is because this Amendment—I am not insisting On its particular form—because the spirit of this Amendment does fulfil these two objects that everybody must surely feel it desirable that I move it.
I beg to second the motion. It has been moved so vividly by my hon. Friend that there is very little left for me to say. I can only say I hope the War Office will take this matter into consideration and will give us hope that some remedy will be applied in the manner we have proposed. I have raised this question before for several years, and I know it is a matter which is very much thought of and considered by the officers of the Service. I have with me this evening two letters, sent to me by generals who have been in high command. I think if I give the Committee a few words of what they have written to me it will show what the feeling is, not only among the junior officers now serving, but among the senior officers who have served. One general—of course, I give no names—says:
Read Section 42 of Army Act. It is useless to appeal to the King against the Secretary of State for War, because it is he who advises His Majesty, and by our Constitution the King must act under the advice of his Ministers.
He goes on to say:
Section 42 A.A. places that good, upright, honourable and just man, our Gracious
King, in a very false and embarrassing position.
I think anyone who reads that Section will agree with him. Another General writes to me:
I have no objection to raise against courts-martial in dealing with officers. It is the treatment of officers by means of reports that is so often unjust, and which calls for reform. So much depends upon the idiosyn-cracy of the Commanding Officer and the General. I remember, when I was in China, we had a very dogmatic and irascible General, who dealt very severely with three young officers. In reference to these the Admiral on the station "—
I will not quote the name—
said to me, I do not at all like the way you treat your officers in the Army.' We "—
that is the Navy—
always have a court-martial; it is much more fair.
I think all Officers will agree with him on that. This General Officer goes on to say:
Officers frequently ask to he tried by court-martial, but it is never allowed.
I ask the Under-Secretary of State for War to take these facts into consideration. No doubt there is a very great feeling in this country. I have here various cases which have been sent to me by those very Generals, of unjust treatment of officers who have served, of which they had personal knowledge during their Commands.
I have asked for the consideration of this particular case several times already and I hope the War Office will now take it into consideration. There is a different rule for the Army and for the Navy, and I agree with the General who wrote to me that the Navy rule is the best. An officer has always to have a court-martial if anything is done. That is not the case in the Army. I hope the War Office will take this matter into consideration. If they will give us a promise that it will be fairly considered we shall be grateful.
I think the hon. and gallant Member for Melton (Sir C. Yate) is misinformed as to the practice of the Navy, because there is just the same opportunity of dispensing with the services of officers found inefficient in the Navy, without any court-martial, as there is in the Army. I am afraid that this Amendment—although although I recognise that it has been seconded with great military authority by a hon. and gallant Member with a long and distinguished military career, as well as with the military experience of the mover, would not, by any means, be overwhelmingly welcomed by the officers of the Army as a whole. The real question is whether the Army Council are to judge grievances, or whether an outside body, such as the hon. Gentleman has proposed, would be any better. What are those grievances? Very often they are confidential reports. These reports have, in all cases, to be shown to the officer concerned, and initialled by him. It is a most unpleasant duty for any senior officer to report adversely on anyone under his command, and when a man feels that he is aggrieved, he can appeal to the Army Council. Three members of the Army Council have to go into this matter, and they have all separately to record their opinions. Both the hon. and gallant and the hon. and learned Gentle men who have put forward the Amendment attach too much importance to the weight of the Appeal Tribunal. An Appeal Tribunal seems to me to be much more useful on matters of law and fact than on matters of opinion; and efficiency, after all, must be a matter of opinion. I am sure that every officer who has suffered from this kind of report feels in his soul that the senior who reported against him is, in the words of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, "dogmatic and irascible." But you have to have some meaning attached to "efficiency." You see the same distinction in civil life where employers, to the public benefit, have the right to deal with inefficiency. In War you have even a greater need for efficiency than in civil life, for not only the national interest, but the interests of the fighting men all depend upon an efficient command. We all know men of the most praiseworthy character who are quite unfit to command troops in an emergency. Some men cannot take responsibility. Some are too slow in the "uptake." Some fail from physical causes, being unable to bear fatigue. A court cannot judge of these matters. They can only really be decided by the superiors of the officer who know the work and strain and have been able to test it and to form an opinion. I must ask the Committee to reject the Clause because as we have got a small Army we must have an efficient one. I believe that this proposed change would be a serious obstacle to, and a discouragement of, the system of honest confidential reports and of promotion by merit.
The Mover and Seconder of the Clause will have received the cold comfort of the replies of the War Office with a certain amount of dismay. The remarkable thing is that the Mover of the Clause is a man with war experience, and the Seconder a member with a long military career. We have the right to assume that against the opinions expressed from the box opposite, some consideration should be given to the experience, long and varied, of the two gallant Gentlemen to whom I refer. It is said that the decision of the Under-Secretary is in the interesters of the officers themselves. But we have had quoted not only the opinion of junior officers, but of two distinguished Generals. I hope that at least my hon. Friends will have the courage of their convictions. The Mover of this Clause said he moved it because he not only believed it was right, but he thought that it was in the interests of efficiency and discipline, and the seconder supported it on precisely the same grounds. On this side of the House we believe this is a good proposal and we believe that the War Office will make a profound mistake if they ignor the experience and advice of those two hon. and gallant Gentlemen. I think an opportunity ought to be given to my hon. Friends of testing their opinion in the Lobby, because I am quite sure that they would not have stayed here until this late hour unless they were actuated by a high sense of their duty and responsibility, and unless they thought they were doing something in the interests of the Army and the country. The remarkable thing is that my hon. Friend states that in civil life and in the relationship between employer and employed thus is an innovation. Let me examine that argument for a moment. The railway porter or platelayer who is charged with an offence has the right to appear before an independent tribunal. and state his case if he thinks an injustice has been done to him. Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman going to contend that a British General or a British officer is not entitled to the same consideration as a platelayer. The Mover of this Amendment said that in this matter he had had some experience.
Here is a proposal put forward which the Mover and Seconder say is in the interests of the Army, and discipline, and if the Mover has had no experience in this matter at least the Seconder has had experience, and he has quoted the experience of others. I hope that we shall not only have a division but in addition. I trust that many of 'those officers who have expressed privately their view in favour of this Clause will at least show the strength of that opinion in this particular direction.
I have had some experience in these matters during my early days in the Army, and have been had up before my commanding officer more than once. Nevertheless I do think that there is an enormous feeling among the rank and file of the British army that they have faith in their commanding officers. After all the whole foundation of discipline is not the fear of punishment but the faith and respect which the ranks maintain not only for their superiors but also for their inferiors. Although I admit there are occasional hard cases, I think we must all admit that, hard cases make exceedingly bad laws and that the whole basis of a confidential report is, the matter of opinion. I agree that in cases of misconduct, more justice would be done by holding Courts Martial much more quickly and in granting officers courts martial instead of having them quietly send in their papers. But this would not be affected by the amendment. From an entirely junior officer's point of view, I do not think that any more justice would be done and a very great blow would be struck at the faith of the junior officer which he ought to have, and in 99 eases out of a 100 he has got in his commanding officer. After all, there is always the confidential appeal which the junior officer has to his company commander and the second in command, and they can give an explanation to the Colonel if he has made) a mistake in judging the capacity of a junior officer. There is that wonderful influence which exists in a regiment of public opinion, and that has got a control over a commanding officer as it has over the most junior subaltern.
If the commanding officer did not feel that he had the support of his junior officers, it would le a very bad regiment. There is also a very effective appeal which the junior officer has of asking to have an interview with his Brigadier General. The power which is given him of examining the case is an ample protection for the junior officer.
I hope the Committee will sec fit to accept this most reasonable new clause. Some of us on this side of the House have been in the Army as well as members on the other side of the House and some of us even to-day hold His Majesty's Commission although we do not think fit to publish it in blue books and directions. I have had some little experience of officers in the army and I have seen some things which make it necessary to bring such a matter as this before the House. It is true that I may not have had the experience of some officers in the Regular Army service, but those who only held commissions during the war had a good deal brought to their notice of the kind of thing which renders such a protection as this really necessary. I remember what happend to a gentleman of my acquaintance, a highly distinguished medical man, who gave his services freely to the country and the Army during the War. He was a great specialist, and was in charge of a hospital in which I was for the time being. One of these high officers came down on a visit of inspection, and he was, in the words of the hon. and gallant Member who seconded the Motion, certainly dogmatic and certainly irascible; and he had us all tailing one behind the other on this visit of inspection—I forget whether it was 25 or 35 officers and non-commissioned officers—behind the brass hat going round the hospital. Finally, although he knew very little about the exceedingly important work of that specialist, he spoke to one who had voluntarily given the best of his knowledge and technical advice to the relief of the men in that hospital and to the work of its organisation, in a manner which many a man, certainly on this side, would not speak to his dog. I remember, too, experiences in other stations in which I was during my service in the Army, and all I can say is that if some officers who held commissions, whether temporary or regular, had to depend entirely for their careers upon what appeared in confidential reports, it would be a very bad thing for them indeed. I do not mean to say that we did not meet in the Army many excellent. and friendly superior officers, whom I was very glad to meet, and who taught me a great deal; but at the same time we met many who could hardly be. depended upon to give a really square deal to the junior officers under them. It would be only a matter of justice and equity for this Committee to accept such a reasonable Clause as this, and give these men the right to appeal, not to a too democratic tribunal, but to a tribunal, say, of three, appointed by the Army Council itself, and including a representative with legal knowledge. I hope the Committee will accept the Clause.
I was much impressed by the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Bosworth (Major Paget). He put a point which we must have before us in considering this matter, but, when he puts forward, as his reason for disagreeing with this Clause, the time-honoured saying that hard cases make bad law, I think he is really going a little too far. It is not really a question of rectifying hard cases, but of taking precautions that hard cases shall not arise. After all, the whole career of a young officer depends entirely upon the opinion formed of him by his commanding officer, and, when a man's career is at stake, I think he is entitled to every precaution for his protection against possible injustice. The Under-Secretary for War said that this Section of the Act really only aimed at weeding out inefficients.
I accept that, of course, but, even so, the Section really goes deeper than that. It says that if an officer feels that he has been wronged by his commanding officer, and if, on due application made to him, he does not receive the redress to which he may consider himself entitled, he may complain to the Army Council. That covers a great deal more than the question of efficiency. It covers every possible cause of friction that may arise between the commanding officer and the subaltern or the captain. I quite agree that if it were a case of expediency in war time it would be an entirely different matter. It is obvious that in time of war the commanding officer, or someone higher, has to arrive at a quick judgment on the efficiency of an officer or the degree of control exercised by him over his men, and it is undesirable that there should be any misunderstanding or delay; but, after all, the purpose of the Army Act is—or at least I hope it is—to apply to peace time as well as war time. We are not at the present moment considering any case of war, and in any case it would be perfectly possible, by introducing words of limitation, to make provision that in time of war this proposed independent tribunal should not function. The proposal seems to me a very reasonable one, and I hope the Under Secretary will reconsider his decision in the matter. I would suggest that, even if he cannot see his way to accept the Clause as it stands, he might consider whether words should not be introduced into the Army Act giving an officer, in these circumstances, the right to appear in person before the Army Council. That might to some extent meet the case which has been raised, and I very much hope that some such proposal may commend itself to the Government.
I am sorry that I cannot speak with the same experience of commissioned rank with which many hon. Members have spoken. I am more familiar with what may be described by the words which have on occasion been used by the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson), that is to say, with the work of mucking out rather Than messing in." I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman was afraid of the fact that a ranker was going to speak on this matter, but as a matter of fact I was going to support the contentions which he put forward. I think the attention of the Committee ought to be drawn to what the hon. Gentleman was asking. In Clause 42 it is laid down quite clearly that an officer, if he is wronged by his commanding officer, may, if he pleases, appeal to the Army Council. What the hon. and gallant Member wants is a sort of independent tribunal. He wants something outside the ordinary Army organisation. I think that is a very good thing. Do hon. and gallant Members understand what they are doing in making a proposal of the kind? I hope the attention of the "Morning Post" will be drawn to this. [HON. MEMBERS: "And the ' Daily Herald.'"1 Yes, it is astonishing how ends meet at some points. Hon. Members are proposing something that is a feature of the Soviet Red army. The only people who have a civilian trial are the soldiers in Russia. I hope the attention of the "Morning Post" will be drawn to that fact. It is a very good thing that. this question has been raised to-night, because we are going to ask, in much graver circumstances, that the ranker should have the same liberty to appeal to an independent tribunal outside the ordinary army organisation. The ranker has to be satisfied with an appeal to the commanding officer, who is not good enough for the officer himself. It would be a very good thing when the ranker is in trouble if he had the right to appeal to an independent tribunal. I have not had the experience of being turned down very much myself by a court-martial, but I have had the opportunity of leaving my cap and stepping over it between the escort. I tried it to see what it was like. As a rule commanding officers are very decent people. There are rankers who have their grievances but I do not think they have many definite complaints against the men under whom they have served, but there are times when they do not get satisfaction. The officer should have an opportunity of appealing to an independent tribunal. We should put a little bit of civilian life into the Army. As a matter of fact, that is what the two hon. and gallant Gentlemen have been asking for. They have been asking for a civilian tribunal. I think it is a very good thing indeed, because I would like to see that operating and the rank soldier have the same opportunity.
It must. be perfectly obvious to the hon. and gallant Gentleman who represents the War Office that on this side of the House we are very anxious to help him to carry through his vote. He ought., therefore, to accept the very moderate proposal which has been put. The suggestion is not merely made on the ground of expediency, but even apart from the very important question of Army discipline, the question of political expediency, ought to enter into it also. It would be a queer thing if the "Morning Post" to-morrow morning had to record that it was the Labour Members that had to march in force into the Lobbies to support a reform for the officer class of the British Army.
It would be as well if you went at the same time, and we would be freed from an unintelligent interruption. It is alleged that we are essentially a class party. Where would the class party be when this division takes place? We are going to support a Measure of justice for the officer class, because we believe that the proposition has been made in all good faith by a distinguished soldier who is a representative in this House, and seconded by another distinguished soldier, and if they have done that it is because they realise. the time has come for an independent tribunal. May I suggest without knowledge of active service in the field, and in that respect I am on equal terms with most of the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. You conducted the War from armchairs, and you were busy making profits during the War. I am not posing as an authority on military law, but as a matter of clear interpretation may I suggest to the hon. Gentleman who represents the War Office that in the Amendment that has been moved there is nothing inconsistent with Section 42 of the Army Act, which reads
If an officer thinks himself wronged by his commanding officer and on due application made to him does not receive the redress to which he may consider himself entitled, he may complain to the Army Council in order to obtain justice, who are hereby re-
quired to examine into such complaint and (if so required by the officer) through a Secretary of State make their report to His Majesty in order to receive the directions of His Majesty thereon.
I suggest there is nothing inconsistent in that to prevent His Majesty from saying that instead of the secret inquiry going on in the future as hitherto, inquiries which have created scandals from one part of the country to the other, that these scandals should cease, and His Majesty should say that the independent tribunal should be set up. I appeal to the hon. and gallant Gentleman to accept this Amendment otherwise it will be very nasty from their standpoint to see the Labour Party march into the Lobby in support of the Officer class.
May I repeat again I have no Army experience, and may I say the only people who have the right to know why not are the Government of the country at the time. If they thought I should have been in the Army, it was their business, and not the business of the men who asked the question. I am as willing to do my part for the country as you are. [Interruption.] You cannot shout me down. You cannot bully me anyway. You will have to rise a little earlier in the morning, and come from another country. There is nobody for whom I have a greater regard than the hon. Member who is in charge of this Bill. May I remind this Committee that on many subjects which come before this House, all of us at some time or other are as it were, juries on questions of which we have had no experience at all. Large numbers of Members in this House know nothing at all, or practically nothing at all, about agriculture, for instance. They must he the juries on questions that must be discussed on one side or the other. How many of us are frankly ignorant of the Colonial Office But we must listen to the experts and then form our judgment on matters affecting it. I have listened to the experts, to the Mover and the Seconder, and to the reply by the right hon. Gentleman, and I have also listened to the excellent plea put by the Member who is now sitting below the Gangway. His argument is an argument against. the whole Clause of the Bill. His argument is that the comradeship of the Army is so excellent that no injustice can happen to any officer at all. If that is the case why have any appeal for the officer at all? But you have an appeal, and that shows there is injustice occasionally. But there is another reason why you should be even more careful in this respect. The hon. Member who opposed this Amendment stated that after all in Army life we must have efficiency, and even in ordinary civilian life the inefficients get weeded out, but there is this difference between the two branches. If the foreman or manager in the shop or warehouse is dismissed there are other warehouses and shops in which he can find employment, but if the officer in the Army is dismissed. he has no other alternative employment in which to seek around and look for, and, as a consequence, you must be very careful in the dismissal of the man, as the injustice is far greater than in civilian life. I listened with due respect. to an excellent speech delivered by one of the Liberal Members—I do not know to which wing he belongs.
There is one wing that you usually see in the Government lobby, and the other you usually see in the Labour lobby. I do not know to which wing the hon. Gentleman belongs, but he delivered an excellent speech and he put one point which is worthy of consideration. He says in effect that this is too revolutionary a change for the Government to accept, that the persons who moved it are too revolutionary to be even in the Tory party. But, he said, if you cannot accept this Amendment, accept a modest proposal that. would allow the person to appear before the Army Council. Even that modest proposal the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill casts off with scorn. If the House of Commons is going to be of any real service, it must try to look at Amendments with some idea of fairness. We are told that the Amendment. will affect the discipline of the Army. That is the kind of argument used against every reform in the Army. I remember that my father, who was in the Army, and afterwards had a long connection with the Volunteer Force, used to tell me that in his days in the Army every reform that he could think of was always opposed because it would affect the discipline of the Army. This is the old argument trotted out again. It will not affect discipline. Another thing you must remember is that you can have no discipline unless you have justice. Justice and discipline must. go hand in hand, and that is the effect of the Amendment. I would plead with the hon. and gallant Gentleman who is in charge of the Bill, who is a comparatively young member of the Government, to look on this Amendment with an unbiassed view. It generally falls to the lot of every man who hold office in a Government to introduce certain changes. These changes are usually handed down to future generations associated with his name. I would plead with the hon. and gallant Gentleman to accept the Amendment if for no other reason than that it would be associated with the honourable name which he bears. He has already accepted one Amendment in most generous fashion, and this one would go down to his credit in future years.
I intervene in this Debate with some trepidation, as my experience of the Army is confined to the Volunteer Force, in which I served in every capacity from recruit to commanding officer. I join issue with the last speaker. I do not think that justice is at all a necessary element in this; nor do I think that the most severe discipline is in any way the most just. It is quite possible to have very severe discipline with no justice at all. That is not what we want. The history of the Army in the course of the last ten years has proved that it is the desire of the authorities that all grievances should be fairly ventilated, and that every man against whom an accusation is made should have a fair chance of presenting his case. To this end when an adverse report is made on an officer a copy of that report has to be sent to the officer concerned. I am entirely in support of this Amendment. I do not say that it contemplates a civilian tribunal at all. What is proposed is that the examination shall be carried out by an independent tribunal of three members of whom at least one shall have had a legal training. From the wording of the Amendment and from what was said by the Mover and Seconder, it is proposed that the tribunal should consist of officers of the Army, and it would he perfectly simple to constitute a tribunal of this sort to hear cases as they arise. I join with hon. Members above the Gangway in pressing this Amendment upon the hon. and gallant Gentleman in charge of the Bill. If he cannot see his way to accept it as it stands, it may be possible for him to accept the suggestion that the officer should have a chance himself of approaching the Army Council. it is true there may he difficulties on some occasions. while officers are abroad on garrison duties. It would not be so easy for them to approach the Army Council, but I think it might be easily arranged that an officer might be allowed to come home for the purpose in cases in which complaints are made against him.
Some of the hon. Members above the gangway opposite have a very hazy idea of how the Army works. That is not very surprising if they take very good care not to go into the Army. They say that it will surprise officers in the Army very much when they go into the Lobby on their behalf. I doubt very much if the majority of the officers in the Army want this amendment. I sin personally an officer in the Reserve of the Army.
By no means. If I were in the Army I would not want it. The whole point is on what particular question is this independent tribunal to be set up. The whole debate has turned on these confidential reports. Confidential reports on an officer can only be made by somebody who knows that officer extraordinarily well. Supposing he is adversely commented upon. If this is brought before a tribunal of these three people they cannot have the slightest idea of what the real capacity of that officer as an officer is.
There is no earthly good in my opinion in-comparing an officer in, the Army, in his duties, with the performance of a bricklayer or any other person. The reason is that he has not in the least degree the same duties to perform. The officer is either a good officer or a bad officer. [Laughter.] You may laugh, but if some of you had been in the Army you would know. If you have an independent tribunal it may be proved that an officer has to all intents and purposes, to an outside person, performed his duty well, though he has not got personality or power of leadership to make him a good officer and may, therefore, have been adversely commented upon. I consider it is obvious that Members opposite do not know anything about this from their very senseless interruptions. If they did know anything about it they would know that powers of leadership and personality count for everything.
One hon. Member raised the point that he wished this particular Amendment to apply to private soldiers. To anybody who has not been in the Army it is difficult for them to know that the discipline of the Army is kept, up by the officers, and also by a system by which, for small offences, men are brought before the officers and given very small punishments. That keeps up the discipline of the Army. Probably to Members opposite it may be ridiculous to know that a man may be punished because he has a button off his coat or a button off his trousers, or even because he needs a hair cut. It is these small things which do make for the discipline of the Army. It is all very well to say that a soldier should have his right to appeal to a civil tribunal for things like that. I think if you got that we might get on the Russian lines and try the Red Army system.[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am sorry to hear the Members opposite cheer the Red Army, as they have said they do not admire the Russian system. I am not sure T did not. hear the Red Flag sung yesterday. [Interruption.] I understand from Members who have been in the House in previous years that this Amendment has been known as a "hardy annual," which is, I believe, always withdrawn. I am certain officers of the Army do not want this Amendment, and if you vote against the Government the officers will not thank you. They will think, as they always do. [Interruption.] If they want anything they will not come to the Socialist Labour party and ask them to give it them.
I am tempted to endorse the remarks made from these benches, that it is to me a great regret that the hon. and gallant Member for Islington (Captain Hudson) did not continue his speech and give us at greater length some knowledge with regard to what has transpired for many years in this House with regard to this Amendment, which he says has been withdrawn upon every occasion. But. I am dealing very seriously with this case, though we are indebted to the hon. and gallant Member for introducing a great deal of amusement and treating this matter lightly. I wish to assure him that if his knowledge of the Army is not greater than he has shown of the history of this matter in the House, it is not very valuable. It is more than interesting and peculiar that upon each occasion officers who have had ripe experience of the difficulties, injustice and hardship to young officers, especially by the whims and caprices of commanding officers, have supported the Amendment. I know of young officers—I am speaking with some experience, and I am saying this quite seriously. I have had some experience of the Army, both in peace and war, for twenty-five years, and I have known young men broken after they have spent a good deal of the early part of their Eves in training themselves for the Army, and then being cast on the scrap heap, so that for many years afterwards they are of no value to themselves or to the nation. I can, therefore, understand the Mover and the Seconder once more making an attempt to secure that at least a court of appeal should be provided. What can there be said against a court of appeal being provided against commanding officers. I speak as one who has had some slight experience—I hope equal to the hon. and gallant Member—during the Great War. I have found in many cases, even during the Great War, circumstances which ought at least to warrant that this Amendment should have consideration and sympathy. I found a number of cases where, if redress of wrongs as provided in this Amendment had existed, many young men whose reputation went by the board would have been saved, and I wish to join in the appeal which is made. I want to point oat that there is nothing wrong in the establishment of this tribunal, whereby the officer who thinks he has not been properly dealt with can make an appeal. This section, as many other sections of the Army Act has not been changed at least during the last 35 years. If you look at the Act of 1881 and 1885—
Not to any appreciable extent as far as establishing any further Court of Appeal. Outside the commanding officer's confidential report itself, he has no right of appeal at all. If you look at the Acts of 1881 and 1885, it was precisely, except that there are some words added, in its main provisions what it stands to-day. It was brought home to me very forcibly during the war. I was moving about a great deal in several of the zones in which our operations were carried out and I found that young officers were being proceeded against very unduly. We are living in days when, if you want the best out of men, you ought to give them reasonable security or to allow them to have all the opportunities of either proving their case or of going by the board after this tribunal has considered and examined the evidence, so that they might know fully and upon what grounds they have been charged either for inefficiency or anything else. Then they nor anyone else can have a word to say against the decision arrived at. What I do protest against and protest strongly is—and at least this side of the House will go into the division lobby to mark its disapproval—that no effort is being made that whenever an inquiry into the conduct of an officer is concerned it should be made in the light of day, above board, and without any suspicion at all. There are commanding officers who are liable to do wrong, and the young officer, when charged with an offence should have the satisfaction of knowing that at least he has had fair play to the fullest possible extent that he can have in this country.
I do not want to take the time of the Committee, but I think my hon. and gallant Friend is under a misapprehension. He seems to think that there is no appeal. There is an appeal and a very definite appeal. Any officer can appeal to the Army Council or to the Air Council. If he appeals to the Army Council or the Air Council he has the right, so I am informed, of actually interviewing a member of the Army Council or of the Air Council in certain serious cases—in cases, for instance, in which he may be required to resign. He has the right, so I am informed, of actually seeing
Will the right hen. Gentleman tell us whether the information he has now given us is provided by Statute, and, if so, how it did not apply to the very notorious case we discussed clay after day in this House of young Barrett and Mrs. Cornwallis West? There was a case where a young officer was absolutely and completely ruined. The hon. Member for Mansfield, the late Sir Arthur Markham, day after day in this House raised that case, and there-came such a storm of protest in the country that an investigation was made and the late Member for Anglesey, Brigadier-General Sir Owen Thomas, was empowered to make the investigation. The young lad was vindicated. The whole position would have been saved if a tribunal had been in existence. That is one case. There is another case that applies to a lady where the same circumstances arose. Miss Douglas Pennant was dismissed on the ground of inefficiency. There was no appeal and the Prime Minister, owing to the influence that. was brought to bear, had to set up a special committee of investigation. This would have been avoided if the proposal we are now making had existed. Here is a proposal made not from this side of the House, because I want to make it perfectly clear that there are Motions coming up of vital importance that we ourselves are moving—but here is a proposal made by two responsible officers, a proposal not made in this House for the first time, but made year after year, reflecting not only their individual opinions but the opinion of officers in the Army. I only want to remind my hon. and gallant Friend that he himself would not pit his experience against the Member who seconded this motion or against the two generals quoted by my hon. Friend. But what is more significant is this, that a statement has now been made that there is a right of personal appeal. Is it provided by Statute? I want the hon. Member to apply himself to the many arguments that have been adduced. We have been debating this for an hour and a half, and I would appeal to my right hon. Friend to give full consideration to this matter and to remember that we are dealing with something that affects the future and the lives of those people, and we are entitled at least to see that justice is done to them.
I have had the opportunity of conferring on the statement I made to the Committee. I find that Section 255a of the King's Regulations states that if an officer is called upon after the date of this order to retire or resign his commission he may after submitting an application through the usual military channels immediately be accorded an interview with a member of the Army Council in order that he may have an opportunity to state his case if he so desires. Further than that, in every case where he feels aggrieved he can appeal, though not in person, to the Army Council. This is a very important question and one wishes to remove any possibility of injustice, but I do feel most strongly that an appeal to the Army Council is really much fairer to the officer than an appeal to a special tribunal such as is described in this Amendment.
I want to avoid any possibility of injustice, but I disagree with the right hon. Gentleman if he thinks that the Army Council or the Air Council is a partial body. I hold it is a much better body to deal with a case of this kind, for the reason that it knows all the officers concerned in a particular case. It knows something about the commanding officer who originally reported unfavourably on a young officer. That in itself is a very valuable thing, and a tribunal of that kind is much more likely to take an impartial and merciful view than an outside tribunal.
Is that not exactly the reverse of the Barrett case? Barrett was a young lieutenant who was dismissed by an officer. The case was ultimately investigated and those responsible knew the officer that had created the injustice, but notwithstanding all that machinery it was proved that a wicked injustice had been done, and that boy's life had been blasted, and he died. If an independent tribunal had been in existence we believe that would have been prevented.
I am afraid I cannot carry my mind back to the Barrett. case, but the right. hon. Gentlemen and I disagree, and there is no use disguising the fact. I hold strongly the view that the Army and Air Councils are independent bodies which is much more likely to be impartial and merciful to the young officer, than some outside tribunal. That is the whole case of the Government. Having said that, I venture to suggest to the Committee that we have had a very full debate. [HON. MEMBERS "No! "] I suggest that. while we are quite ready to discuss this or any other question, it would be a good thing to get on to the many other Amendments, and I therefore ask the Committee to let us come to a decision on this question.
I desire to say a few words on this Amendment and I should like first to deal with the last point made by the right hon. Gentleman who replied for the Government. I feel as one who was wearing His Majesty's uniform before the right. hon. Gentleman who spoke opposite was born, and who was in the National Reserve at the outbreak of war, and who came up at once and served until after the Armistice, that his view of discipline is one I do not hold, and one that tended very considerably to lengthen the late War. I feel as one who has had experience of the Army, that the proper thing to do is to insure for these officers a tribunal in which at least one Member has not soaked in the old Army tradition. There must be many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the Committee, who were officers in the Territorial Army at the outbreak of war, and they know how they were unable, in spite of long experience, to break through the cast-iron traditions of the officers of the Regular Army. We had our attention drawn to the fact from time to time that no officer of Territorial experience had managed to rise to any very high office in spite of the marvellous work the Territorials did during the War. If we are to test the real efficiency of the Army, we must have it open to the reception of new ideas among the officers, and there is a general feeling that I have heard voiced by officers in the Army and after they have left the Army, that new ideas are not too readily accepted and men who have new ideas are not too readily welcomed by those holding the old army traditions. I applied twice for a commission during the War. I applied to the Lord Lieutenant of the county for a commission. was his colleague on the County Council.
I was trying to support the argument with which I started that it was necessary to have an independent tribunal so as to break with the old tradition. The question that was asked me was how much of my private income I would be prepared to devote to the commission. I do feel if you have an army based on a tradition like that, if we are going to get real justice for an officer with new ideas that we are riot going to get it if he has to go in front of such a tribunal as that, and. I totally dissent from the argument used by the hon. Member for Islington with regard to the question of discipline. He pointed out the necessity of preserving the old British tradition, and that dirty buttons are a sign of bad discipline.
Is the French Army badly disciplined? Did the French Army bother about shining their buttons during the war? I was attached to the French Army during the war, serving under British officers, and no one worried whether a man was shaved or not. I suggest that if we are to get a really efficient army we are only going to get it by encouraging men of independent thought. to enter the corn-missed ranks, to let them feel that if they have ideas of their own they will be able to work them out, and will not be up against the cast-iron spirit that has too long kept the British army the preserve of one class, and one set of ideas.
|Division No. 83.]||AYES.||[1. 22 a.m.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Briggs, Harold||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Brittain, Sir Harry||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)|
|Amery, Ht. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Bruton, Sir James||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Baild, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)|
|Ballour, George (Hampstead)||Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Dawsun, Sir Philip|
|Banks, Mitchell||Butt, Sir Alfred||Doyle, N. Grattan|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Button, H. S.||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Cadogan, Major Edward||Edge, Captain Sir William|
|Becker, Harry||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Edmondson, Major A. J|
|Berry, Sir George||Cassels, J. D.||Ednam, Viscount|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn, J. A. (Birm., W).||Ellis, R. G.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Clarry, Reginald George||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Clayton, G. C.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Erskine-Boist, Captain C.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)|
|Brassey. Sir Leonard||Colvin, Brig. General Richard Beale||Eyres-Monseil, Com. Bolton M.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Cope, Major William||Falcon, Captain Michael|
|Falle, Major sir Bertram Godfray||Lorimer, H. D.||Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)|
|Fawkes, Major F. H.||Lort-Williams, J.||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Forestier-Walker, L||Lumley, L. R.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Furness, G. J.||Manville, Edward||Husselt, William (Bolton)|
|Garland, C. S.||Margesson, H. D. R.||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Mercer, Colonel H.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey. Farnham)|
|Golf, Sir R. X.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J,||Sanders, Rt- Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Sandon, Lord|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Moreing, Captain Aigernon H.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Morrison-Bell, Major A.C.(Honiton)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Halstead, Major D.||Murchison, C. K.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nail, Major Joseph||Somervllie, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Harrison, F. C.||Newman, Cofonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Harvey, Major S. E.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Stanley, Lord|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Steel, Major S Strang|
|Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Nield, Sir Herbert||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Herbert, Oennis (Hertford, Watford)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Sutcliffe, T.|
|Hiley, Sir Ernest||Paget, T. G.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Pease, William Edwin||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Hohier. Gerald Fitzroy||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Penny, Frederick George||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancester, Mossley)||Philipson, Hilton||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Houfton, John Plowright||Pielou, D. P.||Wells, S. R.|
|Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Pownall, Lieut-Colonel Assheton||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Hudson, Capt. A.||Privett, F. J.||Willey, Arthur|
|Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Raine, W.||Winterton, Earl|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart||Wise, Frederick|
|Jarrett, G. W. S.||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Renter, J. R.||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rentoul. G. S.|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Reynolds, W. G. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel Gibbs.|
|Lloyd-Greame. Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)|
|Barnes, A.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Batey, Joseph||Hardie, George D.||Paling, W.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hastings, Patrick||Parkinson, John Allen (Winan)|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Hayday, Arthur||Pattinson, S. (Korncastle)|
|Bonwick, A.||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Phillipps, Vivian|
|Bowdler, W. A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Potts, John S.|
|Broad, F. A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Bromfield, William||Herriotts, J.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Brotherton, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Riley, Ben|
|Buchanan, G.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Ritson, J.|
|Buckle, J.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Burgess, S.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Saklatvala, S.|
|Cairns, John||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Sexton, James|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Kirkwood, D.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lansbury, George||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Lawson, John James||Snell, Harry|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Leach, W.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Dunnico, H.||Lee, F.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Ede, James Chuter||Linfield, F. C.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Lowth, T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Foot, Isaac||Lunn, William||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Gosling, Harry||M'Entee, V. L.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Pialstow)|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||McLaren, Andrew||Turner, Ben|
|Greenall, T.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Warne, G. H.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Watts-Morgan, Lt. Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth. Pontypool)||Maxton, James||Weir, L. M.|
|Groves, T.||Middleton, G.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Morel, E. D.||Westwood, J.|
|Wheatley, J.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Whiteley, W.||Wright, W||Mr. Morgan Jones and Mr. Ammon.|
|Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Division No. 84.]||AYES.||[1.32 a.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayday, Arthur||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Riley, Ben|
|Batey, Joseph||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Ritson, J.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Lelth)||Herriotts, J.||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Hirst, G. H.||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Bonwick, A.||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Saklatvala, S.|
|Bowdler, W. A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Broad, F. A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Sexton, James|
|Bromfield, William||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Brotherton, J.||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Shlnwell, Emanuel|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Buckle, J.||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Burgess, S.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Sitch. Charles H.|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Cairns, John||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Snell, Harry|
|Cape, Thomas||Kirkwood, D.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lansbury, George||Stephen, Campbell|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Lawson, John James||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Davies, Oavid (Montgomery)||Leach, W.||Sullivan, J.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lee, F.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Linfield, F. C.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Lowth, T.||Turner, Ben|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Lunn, William||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dunnico, H.||M'Entee, V. L.||Warne, G. H.|
|Ede, James Chuter||McLaren, Andrew||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col D. (Rhondda)|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow. Govan)||Weir, L. M.|
|Entwistle, Major C. F,||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Foot, Isaac||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'd'ne, E.)||Westwood, J.|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Maxton, James||Wheatley, J.|
|Gosling, Harry||Middleton, G.||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Morel, E. D.||Whiteley, w.|
|Greenall, T.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, A, (Nelson and Colne)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grenlell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Newbold, J. T. W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Oliver, George Harold||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Groves, T.||Paling, W.||Wright, W.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)|
|Hall, F. (York. W. R.. Normanton)||Philliopps, Vivian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Philipson, Hilton||Mr. Amnion and Mr. Morgan Jones.|
|Hardle, George D.||Potts, John S.|
|Hastings, Patrick||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles.||Brittain, Sir Harry||Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brown, Brig.-Gen, Clifton (Newbury)||Curzon, Captain viscount|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Bruton, Sir James||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Baird, Rt. Hon, Sir John Lawrence||Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Doyle. N. Graltan|
|Balfour, George (Kampstead)||Butt, Sir Alfred||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring|
|Banks, Mitchell||Butlon, H. S.||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Barnott, Major Richard W.||Cadogan, Major Edward||Ednam, Viscount|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)|
|Becker, Harry||Cassels, J. D.||Ellis, R. G.|
|Berry, Sir George||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Clarry, Reginald George||Erskine-Bohn. Captain C.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Clayton, G. C.||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Falcon, Captain Michael|
|BoydCarpenter, Major A.||Collox, Major Wm. Phillips||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray|
|Brass, Captain W.||Colvln, Brig-General Richard Beale||Fawkes, Major F. H.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Cope. Major William||Ford, Patrick Johnston|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Courthope. Lieut-Col. George L.||Forestier-Walker, L.|
|Briggs, Harold||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot|
|Furness, G. J.||Lumley, L. R.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Garland, C. S.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||Manville, Edward||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Margesson, H. D. R.||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Mercer. Colonel H.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Guinness, Lieut-Col. Hon. W. E.||Mocre, Major-General Sir Newton j.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Sandon, Lord|
|Halstead, Major D.||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Harrison, F. C.||Murchison. C. K.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Harvey, Major S. E.||Nail, Major Joseph||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Newman. Sir R. H. S. U. L. (Exeter)||Stanley, Lord|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H||Nicholson. Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Nield, Sir Herbert||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Hiley, Sir Ernest||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Sucter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Sutcliffe, T.|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Paget. T. G.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Hohier, Gerald Fitzroy||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pease, William Edwin||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Pennefather, De Fonblanaue||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Penny, Frederick George||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Houfton, John Plowright||Perkins, Colonel E. K||Waring, Major Walter|
|Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Pielou, D. P.||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Wells, S. R.|
|Hudson, Capt. A.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Privett, F. J.||White. Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Raine, W.||Willey, Arthur|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.||Winterton, Earl|
|Keiley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Wise, Frederick|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Remer, J. R.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rentoul, G. S.||Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Reynolds, W. G. W.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Lorimer, H. D.||Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lort-Williams, J.||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel Gibbs.|
|Loyd, Arthur Thomas-(Abingdon)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
Before I move my new Clause I wish to raise a point of Order, and to ask you. Mr. Chairman, whether it is in order for an bon. Member to raise a point of Order while a Motion is being put, and what is the proper procedure to adopt. I felt I adopted the right procedure by sitting down and putting on a hat, and at the top of my voice trying to gain your attention, but you refused to see me. I should be very much obliged if you would tell me what is the procedure.
The procedure adopted on the last occasion was the wrong procedure, because the hon. Member rose to his feet uncovered. On a previous occasion the procedure adopted by the hon. Member was the right procedure, but the point he raised was of a frivolous nature, and no ruling was called for.
Do you consider an action frivolous which call attention to the importance of a Debate in which nearly twenty Members took part. The Minister who moved the Closure was not present to hear this Debate and therefore was not a judge as to the-arguments used or the necessary action. Do you consider you are justified in laying down that no answer from you is necessary to a protest made, on these grounds?
The right hon. Gentleman is now putting a different question. When I spoke of frivolity, I was referring to the objection taken by other hon. Members. I think as a point of Order it applies to him, too.
I to raise a point of Order. I put on a hat on the second occasion and sat down. [Interruption.] Excuse me, unless you are going to help to maintain the privileges of individual Members, there cannot be any order ill the place. Mr. Hope, you did not hear my point of Order. You refused to hear me, and that is the point I am raising. I am not raising whether my point was good or bad. You did not hear it because I never put it. You did not allow me. You waved your hand and turned aside.
I understand from the Standing Orders that a Member must be covered if he raises a point of Order while a Division is in progress. That is in paragraph 136 of the Manual. Do you rule that the hon. Member, who raised a question after the Division took place, and after the next Amendment was called, was raising a point of Order during a Division?
I only want to say what 1 have said many time before in this House—that I think the rulings one gets on these points are bewildering. I read the rules of this House, and I have been here a good long time, at one period and another, and I see fresh rulings every day, rulings which simply contradict one another. The Amendment I now move is one which I have handed in by manuscript.
That will not come before the one I indicated, Before I consider manuscript Amendments as to whether I should accept them or not I consider the Amendments upon the paper.
When an Amendment is handed in in the ordinary course of a debate on a question before this House, is it not the practice to take the Amendments in their proper sequence—both new Clauses and Amendments to Clauses. For instance, where the Clause is 41, is it not the practice to take next an Amendment to the subsequent Clause 42?
Yes, in Amendments to a Bill before the House, but these are new Clauses, and new Clauses may amend existing law. For the purpose of procedure, they are new Clauses and must be taken in the order in which they are on the Paper.
In Section forty-four of the Army Act (which relates to scale of punishments by courts-martial), after the word "flogging," in Sub-section (5) thereof, there shall be inserted the words "and other than personal restraint by being kept in irons or other fetters," and the words" and such field punishment shall be of the character of personal restraint or of hard labour," in the same Sub-section shall be omitted, arid the words "and such field punishment may be of the character of hard labour" shall be inserted in lieu thereof.—[Mr. Lansbury.]
I beg to move, "That the Clause he read a Second time."
I do not agree with hard labour—[Laughter]—and I understand nobody on that side does either, or with any kind of labour. I move the Amendment in this form because I think it necessary that we should get a fair and square discussion on this subject. Before going on further I would like to read what punishments may be inflicted on a soldier in the Army or an officer. Perhaps I may omit those for an officer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not at all."] In the case of officers the penalties are death; penal servitude for a term not less than three years; imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceding two years; cashiering; dismissal from His Majesty's service; forfeiture in the prescribed manner of seniority of
rank, either in the Army or in the corps to which the offender belongs, or in both, or in the case of an officer whose promotion depends upon length of service, forfeiture of all or any part of his service for the purposes of promotion; reprimand or severe, reprimand. In the case of soldiers: Death; penal servitude for a term not less than three years; imprisonment with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding two years; detention for a term not exceeding two years—anti this is in Section (e)—discharge with ignominy — I have often wondered what hell meant; in the case of a commissioned officer in His Majesty's service it means forfeiture in the prescribed manner, of seniority of rank, or reduction to a lower grade, or to the ranks; in the case of a non-commissioned officer, reprimand or severe reprimand and forfeiture, fines and stoppages. It is further provided that:
Where in respect of any offence under this Act there is specified a particular punishment or such less punishment, as is in this Act mentioned, there may be awarded in respect of that offence, instead of such particular punishment (but subject to the other regulations of this Act as to punishments, and regard being had to the nature and degree of the offence) any one punishment lower in the above scales than the particular punishment:
(1a) For the purposes of commutation and revision of punishment, detention shall not be deemed to be a less punishment than imprisonment if the term of detention is longer than the term of imprisonment:
(2) An officer shall be sentenced to be cashiered before he is sentenced to penal servitude or imprisonment:
(2a) The Army Council may restore the whole or any part of any lost seniority or forfeited service in the case of an officer who may perform good or faithful service, or who may otherwise be deemed by the Army Council to merit such restoration:
(3) An officer or a non-commissioned officer when sentenced to forfeiture of seniority of rank may also be sentenced to reprimand or severe reprimand:
(4) A soldier when sentenced to penal servitude or imprisonment may, in addition thereto, be sentenced to be discharged with ignominy from His Majesty's service:
(5) Where a soldier on active service is guilty of any offence; it shall be lawful for a court-martial to award for that offence such field punishment, other than flogging, as may be directed by rules to be made from time to time
by a Secretary of State, and such field punishment shall he of the character of personal restraint or of hard labour, but shall not be of a nature to cause injury to life or limb.
If you will allow me to read the next one it will round them all off—
(6) In addition to or without any other punishment in respect of an offence committed by a soldier on active service, it shall he lawful for a court-martial to order that the offender forfeit all ordinary pay for a period commencing on the day of the sentence and not exceeding three mouths.
I think the House would take a very wise course if it really wiped out, the whole of these punishments that I have read, and drew up a few quite simple rules and punishments, and allow the ordinary man in this House to understand what punishment it is that may be inflicted upon an ordinary soldier, because, for the life of me I cannot quite understand what this particular Clause 5 of Section 44 really means. No Member in this House would gather from this that field punishment meant really the crucifixion of which we have heard so much. I have never been in the Army myself, and for the satisfaction of those gentlemen opposite who are so anxious to know whether some of us on this side of the House have been in the Army, I might say that I never would go into the Army. I do not want there to be any misunderstanding. Although I am above military age, I should not go if I were of military age. [An HON. MEMBER: "Shame! "] Shame or no shame, I do not want anyone to kill for me, and I do not want to kill anyone.
The point I want to make is that I have taken the trouble to consult friends who have been in the Army, who have served a good deal of time in the army, both during the late war and previously and I cannot understand hon. Members opposite who stand up and say that the one thing that keeps the army together is not the discipline but the respect of the ordinary soldier for the command, from the subaltern upwards. If that is so, why do you want such a hideous punishment as that of tying a man to a wheel or pegging him down on the ground in the open sun and exposing him in that sort of way to all the rigours of heat and in addition to all the rigours of not being able to move his body or his arms and generally to be treated just like a lump of wood? The reason you always give for that sort of punishment is because war is unnatural. It is something that men would not undertake if they had freedom of choice. You may think that an army is a free army, free enlistment. There is economic conscription driving men into the army because of hunger and privation.
You have this brutal and hideous form of punishment in order to preserve discipline in the Army, which is created by economic conditions. That is my argument, and I should have thought that it was perfectly relevant and perfectly clear to any ordinary intellect. The difficulty in dealing with this subject is that one has to read through first of all a tiny Bill which is brought in this year and which continues for another year a big Act. I think the Committee ought to consider whether we ought not to have the whole Bill circulated in time for Members to make themselves acquainted with it. We have had the greatest difficulty until to-night in getting sufficient copies of the Act in order to make ourselves acquainted with it, yet we are expected to discuss the question intelligently. I cannot tell, and I challenge hon. Members who do not belong to the Army and have not had experience of these Regulations to tell exactly for what offences this particular punishment is inflicted. Here are some of the offences for which men may be sentenced to this kind of punishment. During the war, there were something like 287,049 men charged with various offences. No one knows what punishment was inflicted on most of them. We know that only 21,225 were acquitted, and that means that 266,784 were convicted. Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman who is representing the Army to-night tell us how many of these men suffered this hideous punishment? The crimes these men might have been punished in this way for, were offences against inhabitants, 1,810; 1,483 were charged with mutiny, 420 for cowardice, 37,000 desertion, 83,000 absence, 12,000 striking or violence, 29,000 insubordination, 11,000 disobedience, quitting their posts 8,562, drunkenness 39,000, loss of property 26,000. I believe loss of property meant that a man lost his kit or his gun or some other property of the State. There were 8,809 cases of theft, and it is a big tribute to the Army that only that tiny fragment was charged with that offence, and the eases of indecency were only 259. Then you get miscellaneous military offences nearly 48,000. How many of these men suffered crucifixion and pegging to the ground? There were 3,890 cases of self-inflicted wounds. There were 7,338 cases sentenced to penal servitude, including 140 for life. It would be very interesting to know for what these men were sentenced to penal servitude for life. I should like to appeal to the Army authorities that these men might be set free now, all these years after the conclusion of peace.
I understand that during the war field punishment No. I was inflicted in 59,843 cases, and field punishment No. 2 in 19,207 cases. It seems to me no reasonable man would want to continue that punishment. If you tell me it must be done to maintain discipline, that destroys altogether what we have heard about good feeling between officers and men, because it is perfectly certain that a large number of these men who underwent this punishment did so for offences against officers. I know that from what I was told by!,.oldiers who served in the Army during the late War. One who became a sergeant-major told me that a very large number of the offences with which the men were charged were quite trivial and that field punishment was really held over the men in a way that produced a terror-stricken condition amongst them. We are asking that this inhuman, brutal punishment shall be altogether done away with, that it should he taken right out of the Statute and that you shall rely on the ordinary punishments of hard labour and detention. I would prefer the Amendment that one of my hon. Friends is to try to move, that it be detention pure and simple, without hard labour. Many men might feel when serving, say, in Iraq, and when called upon to go up into the air and bomb natives or destroy unprotected villages that that was a very cowardly thing to do and they might refuse to do it, and the authorities might not want to shoot them or kill them. This amendment gives the power of inflicting another sort of punishment on the men. In an Amendment which I hope to move later on I am going to try and get the ordinary soldier the right to be tried in another way, but for the moment I want to argue on this particular question of field punishment. I want to remove the airman and the ordinary soldier from the risk which comes from his refusal either to shoot down unarmed people in Indian villages or bomb Arabs from the sky, because I am one of those who had to enjoy, like everyone who lived in London, being bombed from the sky, and I know the feeling of intense disgust which arose when the bombing commenced. We were in a position to retaliate, but the unhappy Arab is not in a position to retaliate. When the Germans did so we called them Runs, and every name we could think of, and you blackguarded the King's cousin the raiser as a ruthless, brutal tiger. What do von think the people of Mesopotamia and "India think about you to-day? Anyone who declines to do that dirty work must not be subjected to crucifixion. We move this Amendment because we want to give the soldier the chance of refusing to do such miserable work as that. We want to give him the chance of refusing to bomb and kill unarmed people, and we want to save him from this beastly field punishment.
The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley has covered such a large field that I feel in doubt whether it would be in order for me to follow, and in any case I hope that if this Amendment is to be allowed to range over so many cognate subjects which are not directly involved we shall at least not have to discuss them over again when the other Amendments upon the paper are reached. The hon. Member read out a large part of Section 44, which has nothing to do with the Amendment which is before the House. The punishments to which he referred are in all cases maximum punishments. They sound very severe but in practice they are applied in a far more mild form than the legal phraseology that was read out suggests. King's Regulations lay down normal punishments in paragraph 583. They are far less severe than these maximum penalties to which the hon. Member refers.
Let me just explain. We had no notice that these matters were going to be brought up. [HON. MEMBERS: "They were on the paper."] The Amendment of the hon. Member does not deal with the first part of Section 44 at all. It deals with a few words under which field punishment is instituted. We had no indication whatever that the whole of these punishments were going to be raised on this Clause. The hon. Member quoted a great many figures. I have not had notice of these particular figures and, as he knows, it is impossible to carry all these statistics in one's head. There is not a single man in prison at the present time on a sentence which was inflicted for a military offence during the war. I do not think I need follow the hon. Member into his misrepresentation—.
I said misrepresentation of field punishment. I want to point out that many years ago so-called crucifixion was finally abolished. Crucifixion was applied as a former field punishment, where a man's arms were not allowed, when tied, to rest in a natural position. That was finally and completely forbidden, and it was laid down that if a man was tied, he had to have play for both his feet and for his arms, and his hands had to rest in a natural position. But I do not want to enter into details of field punishment No. 1, Why I think it is quite irrelevant is that we are already abolishing it. I will only enter into it to this extent, that I want to relieve the misapprehension that crucifixion has been the law up to the present time. The position is this, that we believe that field punishment No. 1 is no longer necessary in view of the splendid discipline of the Army and it is a punishment which, however useful it may have been formerly, may now be abolished. These Rules for field punishment are laid down in the words to which the hon. Member's Amendment is directed, and the Rules are at file present time being agreed with the other Departments concerned, the Air Ministry and the Air Force, and as soon as these negotiations are at an end they will, under the Rules of the Act to which they are subject, be laid forty days before they are finally settled. We have no choice in the matter. We are bound by statute.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman says these Rules will be laid. We know that, but the House has no power. They are laid but never discussed. Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman give an undertaking that the House will be given an opportunity when Rules are laid to say whether they approve or not.
No special facilities will be necessary and the Rules can be discussed when the ordinary opportunities arise. The matter is in no way urgent, as Field Punishment No. 1 is not in force at the present time. It is an active service penalty. We are bound before the Roles reach their final form to lay them before Parliament.
For many years past there has been no flogging. We are as anxious to abolish Field Punishment No. 1 as anybody. I may say that it was put up to the military advisers on the Army Council, and they were unanimously in favour of abolishing Field Punishment No. 1 in view of the state of discipline in the Army. This is an active Service penalty, and if we were to have nothing to take its place, no Field Punishment No. 2 under which a man can be kept with his unit, we should certainly strike a very serious blow at discipline when troops are in dangerous positions. It is only human nature, when troops are in unsafe positions and when men's nerves are stretched to breaking point, that a man should be tempted to take an opportunity of getting away from the firing line. If, by committing a small offence, men could ensure going back to the comparative safety of a military prison, it is perfectly certain that we would put a very great incentive upon them. For that reason we must have some form of punishment which can be carried out while a man remains with his unit. The Amendment which the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley proposes is that we should strike out the words "under restraint." That would mean that we should not be able to keep a man with his unit at all, because if a guard is put over a man, if he is told to sit under a wall, he is under restraint. If a man is to be kept with his unit at all, taking part in the common danger, it is absolutely essential that there should be power to put him under restraint. We certainly have no reluctance to meet the demand for humanising Army punishment, but we do feel that it would be disastrous to discipline if this Amendment were carried, which would mean that for the most trivial offence on active service a man would be able to secure complete release from the firing line, and insure that he should be kept in a position of safety to the end of the war, when the inevitable amnesty would release him.
I do not think there is much difference between us and I think that the hon. Gentleman who has shown such admirable good temper will be able to appreciate the point I hope to make. In the old days there was flogging in the Army. I used to hear old Generals and Admirals say that they would not have been the men they were if it had not been for flogging; it was the one thing that had introduced virility into their character. In the course of time, but not due to the conscience of Army men, flogging was abolished, and I am afraid that we must attribute the abolition of field punishment No. 1 to the same process and not to self-inspired instincts of humanity at the War Office. When
flogging was abolished, the Army Act was altered and it was forbidden in the Statute. It was quite possible to abolish flogging by omitting it in the regulations. That was not the course taken. The course taken was to put into the Statute words abolishing flogging. What does the hon. and gallant Gentleman propose to do about field punishment No. 1? He says he is agreed that this form of punishment has to go. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) says put it on the Statute and then there will be a statutory prohibition of the infliction of this punishment. I think it is a very reasonable request and it is one which is supported by precedent. Now the hon. and gallant Gentleman says we are to put it in the Regulations and these are to be laid before this House. That is quite true, but the Regulations are not under the control of this House. The part of the Act which implies to them merely says:
All rules made in pursuance of this Section shall be laid before Parliament as soon as practicable after they are made, if Parliament he then sitting; if Parliament be not sitting, as soon as practicable after the beginning of the next session of Parliament.
That does not confer any power on the House to say whether it approves or disapproves of the form of the Regulations. They are laid, but unless the Government should give some time for their discussion the laying before the House has absolutely no effect at all. That being so, is it unreasonable to ask that in the case of field punishment No. 1 as in the case of flogging words should be introduced into the Statute which shall make it impossible for the War Office to make regulations inflicting this punishment. That seems to be an unanswerable case, and as everybody is agreed that field punishment No. 1 should go, I hope the Government will accept this Amendment or some Amendment of the kind and put,t into the Statute.
I desire to support the Amendment. I happen to be an official of a society, 19,000 of whose members joined the Army for the last war, and I found in the records of their health after their return that many of these men have had their health broken, not by actual service in the Army, but by many of the inflictions that were imposed in connection with the Regulations that we are now discussing. The Committee ought to bear in mind two or three points in relation to these punishments. The hon. Gentleman tried to turn us away with nice words, but I felt that he made the most feeble speech that I have ever heard in defence of a case. The mentality of those people who are connected with the Army must be completely changed. A man brought up for insubordination and penalised in this way, I venture to say that once he is punished in this form he will never again make a good soldier. I feel positive of this, too, that this punishment is not intended to reform the man who is punished. It is intended only to prevent other men from running away from nasty jobs.
That, I think, is the intention of the Regulations. We are told that there is such esprit de corps in the Army that the men will fight if you do nothing more than call upon them to do so. If that is so, I am astonished that more than a quarter of a million of men during the last war were charged with insubordination, at one time or another. Attention ought to be called to another aspect of this problem. I have read these Regulations, and I am surprised that no one has pointed out that the punishments for men are of a very much more severe character, and of a different kind and type, to the punishments intended for the officers in the Army. The responsibility of an officer is a great one. I have noticed, however, that when an ordinary soldier has failed in his duty he is sent to prison, and it is stated, on good authority, that when same generals fail in their duty they are sent to Parliament. They have in some cases been given huge pensions to get rid of them out of the Army. The ways of mankind are various. The Under-Secretary of State for War has stated that these are maximum punishments. We have had figures given in this House that the total number of men sentenced tr. death, whose sentences were carried out, was 260 odd during the last war. Surely that is a maximum punishment, and I do not think the hon. and gallant Gentleman can hide himself behind that point. But I would raise it to a little higher level than that. The world is moving to a different order of things.
In view of the fact that the proceedings are now almost taking a turn of comedy, and in view of the fact that certain Members are unable to carry on through exhaustion, would I be in Order in moving that the House should adjourn?
I would like to ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman if he would tell the House the difference between the sentences meted out to officers under Clause 44 of the Army Act and the sentences meted out for the same insubordination to the ordinary soldier? It would be very interesting if we could get to know whether the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows what regulations govern the Red Army in Russia, for instance. It would be very interesting to know whether the British War Office at any time has ever studied how the Russian Army of about three quarters of a million men is carried on, I believe, without any punishment at all. I feel there cannot be any punishment for a man who joins the Red Army. There may be, but I am entitled to ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman whether he has studied the
army regulations of the Army of Russia. I know we have travelled a great deal away from the Amendment. But I do want to say that the hon. and gallant Gentleman in supporting and justifying his case to-night has, in my view, definitely given the whole case away. He has stated in fact that you cannot carry on a war unless you inflict punishments up to the point of death itself upon our own people. I believe I am right in stating that the punishment upon our own soldiers who are caught acting in an insubordinate way is more severe than is meted out to men who are captured from the enemy camps. If that can be proved, and I think it can he proved, it makes the whole case of war ridiculous. I agree with regard to war, that war after all is
The statesman's game, the priest's delight,
The lawyer's jest, and the hired assassin's trade.
I trust that this House will declare that this brutal punishment shall once and for all be done away.
I am not going to follow the hon. Member in a survey of the disciplinary system of the Russian or any other army, because the question before the Committee is field punishment. The hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Wedgwood Benn) was dissatisfied with our proposal to leave this matter to he dealt with in the ordinary way by regulation. Well, we have nothing to keep back. We are quite prepared to put our words into the Act and if it will satisfy the Committee—though I cannot take the words of the Amendment—I am prepared to move to insert after the word "flogging" the words—" or attachment to a fixed object "—if the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley will withdraw his Amendment.
I do not think that the suggestion made by the hon. and gallant Gentleman gets us any further. In point of fact this Amendment refers to both field punishments. The only difference between field punishment No. 1 and field punishment No. 2 is this question of attachment to a fixed object. Field punishment No. 2 permits of a man being loaded with chains and fetters, and ropes or straps may be substituted if fetters are not available. It is identically the same punishment and it was devised at the same time as field punishment No. 1. The hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain W. Benn) referred to the Debates that took place in this House when flogging was abolished. There was some difficulty in devising a form of punishment that should take its place, and after some six months' delay Regulations were laid upon the Table devising this No. 2 punishment. When they were examined by the House, all those Members who had been in favour of corporal punishment were unanimous in denouncing this new form of punishment as being far more barbarous than flogging. The Amendment abolishee both, and I maintain that the hon. Member ought to carry his Amendment to a division in order that we should once and for all get rid of these forms of putting people into irons and handcuffs. The suggestion put forward by the hon. and gallant Member makes no difference whatever.
I do not think any useful purpose win be served by the Amendment indicated because it is clearly obvious that the speech first made demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that the concession in no way meets the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). I would like to draw the attention of the Committee to this significant change. We are discussing field punishment at the moment. My hon. Friend and the whole House was agreed that it is wrong and ought to be abolished. But only 12 months ago we were debating this same subject and I remember the hon. and gallant Member's predecessor from the Treasury Box, in defence of field punishment No. 1, read a letter from the Commander in Chief and the whole case turned on that letter. We are now told that perhaps all parts of the House agree to what we said 12 months ago and which was defended on entirely different grounds. The fact is that we must go to a Division on this matter. It has been demonstrated that the concession offered from the Government side is not a concession and for that reason I suggest that no purpose would be served in moving the Amendment, because there can be no agreement upon it.
I was merely dealing with the point you made. You dealt with the question as being something that the Whole House had agreed with and that the Army Council had accepted, and I was merely indicating that the last time we were debating this question not only was the House agreed, but it is the same Army Council that has now agreed it was wrong.
I only made the offer of the Amendment to meet the point of the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Capt. Benn), but if it is not satisfactory to the other sections of the Opposition it would be absurd of me to press it. The reason we cannot accept the proposal to take away all power to put a man in fetters is that, if we did so, we would not have the power which the police have to place a violent man under restraint or in handcuffs. Such restraint, however, never is and never can be used as a punishment. I made this offer in an effort to meet hon. Members opposite, but, as I have failed, the question will go to the Division, and we will deal with the matter by Regulation.
I have just refreshed my memory, and it is important the Committee should know exactly what was said on this question 12 months ago. Let us compare the difference in the Debate and the Army Council's view 12 months ago. A Committee fully considered the matter and decided that Field Punishment No. 1 ought to be kept. The opinions of such military leaders as Sir Douglas Haig and Sir William Robertson were taken
and they were in favour of the retention of the sentence. The Committee said:
The Committee consider that the question of the retention or abolition of Field Punishment No. 1 is one depending mainly on whether any other punishment can be devised to take its place which is 6uitable and effective on active service. The views of officers commanding in various theatres of war were obtained by the Army Council. These strongly support the necessity of retaining Field Punishment No. 1, and this view i6 endorsed by the service members of the Committee. No suitable alternative punishment which has the support of Military and Air Force opinion has been suggested to the Committee. In these circumstances, they do not feel that they are in a position to recommend the abolition of Field Punishment No. 1.
That is from the OFFICIAL REPORT of 11th April, 1921. I want to submit that if any evidence were needed to persuade Members in all parts of the Committee as to the reasonableness of this Amendment it is the words I have just quoted. These words were the considered judgment of the same Army chiefs who report to-night that they have not only found an alternative but that they do not consider field punishment necessary. The real explanation for that change of opinion is clue to the knowledge of the change that has taken place in public opinion, and therefore for these reasons I hope my hon. Friend will reconsider the situation and let the suggestion he has made apply to Field Punishment No. 2.
I want to support the Amendment. Field Punishments No. 1 and No. 2 are cruel and have not a reformatory effect. All punishments should have as their object making people better and not making them worse. Violence of this kind does not have the effect of producing proper discipline. It seems to me that in Section 44 there is a tremendous number of punishments devised for the ordinary soldier in the Army. When you start with the word "death," to me that is a very frightening punishment. Then you follow with penal servitude for a term of not less than three years, imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding two years, detention for a term not exceeding two years. All these things appeal to me as things that should be considerably reduced. Under Section 45, an officer may order into military custody an officer of inferior rank or any soldier engaged in a quarrel, fray or die-
order, and the punishments in Section 44 apply to Section 45. I think there have been disorders this week which, if they had taken place in the Army, would have led to some kind of punishment. I would not like to see field punishment No. 1 or No. 2 applied to my friend's on the other side who have created disturbances both in this and some of them in previous Parliaments. I urge that the best discipline in the Army is s cured by kindness and not by coercion, by example and not by this cruel punishment. Crucifixion has been condemned by most soldiers in His Majesty's Forces. They have looked upon it as a degrading, dehumanising, debasing thing. It has not been a corrective in any form. Anyone who studies our methods of punishment in the Army or outside of it is hound to lament the fact that our cruelties under our prison and military systems have not been beneficial to the discipline and well-being of the Army. In the last war many people were taken into the Army and many people joined out of patriotic and good motives. They tried to do their best, but in this world we are all liable to imperfections and failures. The Almighty does not endow us with all the perfections that mankind think we should realise. I do not want that in any shape or form we should blaspheme our Creator by such a system as Field Punishment No. 1 and No. 2. I am one of those old-fashioned folk who have, a great dislike for force or militarism of any sort, and I have a keen recollection of the verses of Russell Lowell, written during the civil war in 1865, when all those things, field punishment and flogging and so on, were in force in the American Army as in ours. The verses are:
Ez fer war, I call it murder,—
Ther you hey it plain and flat;
I don't want to go no furder
Than my Testyment fer thet
If yer take a sword and draw it
And go stick a feller through,
Government ain't to answer for it,
Cod'll send the bill to you.
I wish to know whether it is in accordance with the traditions of this House to accept the Closure when an hon. Member below the Gangway has risen throughout the Debate and has not had an oppor-
|Division No. 85.]||AYES.||[3.1 a.m.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Forestier-Walker, L.||Pease, William Edwin|
|Alexander, Co'. M. (Southwark)||Foxcroft. Captain Charles Talbot||Pennefalher, De Fonblanque|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S.||Furness, G. J.||Ponny, Frederick George|
|Arcner-Shee. Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Garland, C. S.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Willrid W.||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Golf, Sir R. Park||Phllipson, Hilton|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Pielou, D. P.|
|Banks, Mitchell||Greene. Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hackn'y. N.)||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Earnston, Major Harry||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Privett, F. J.|
|Becker, Harry||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Raine, W.|
|Berry, Sir George||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Halstead, Major D.||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Blundell, F. N.||Harrison, F. C.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Harvey, Major S. E.||Remer, J. R.|
|BoydCarpenler, Major A.||Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Reynolds, W. G. W.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hennessy, Major J. R G.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Brings, Harold||Hiley, Sir Ernest||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Hogg, Rt. Hon.Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Ruqgles-Brise. Major E,|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clitton (Newbury)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Holbrook. Sir Arthur Richard||Russell, William (Polton)|
|Bmton. Sir James||Hood, Sir Joseph||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hopkins, John W. W.||Samuel. A M. (Surrey, Farnhaml)|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Koufton, John plowrioht||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Howard. Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Button, H. S.||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Hudson, Capt. A.||Sandon, Lord|
|Campion, Lieut.-colonel W. R.||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Skeiton, A. N.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Chamberlain. Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm.,W.)||Jonps. G. W. H. (Stoke NewInqton)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Ketley, Major Fred (Ftotherham)||Spender-Clay. Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Clayton, G. C.||King. Captain Henry Douotas||Stanley, Lord|
|Cobb. Sir Cyril||Kinloch-Cooke. Sir Clement||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Colfox, Major Win. Phillips||Lane Fox, Lieut. Colonel G. R.||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Boale||Lloyd, Cvril E. (Dudley)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Cope, Major William||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Courthooe, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Lorimer. H. D.||Sutcliffe, T.|
|Craiq, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Lort-Wllllams, J.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford. Henley)|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Thomson. F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||Lumley, L. R.||Titchlield, Marquess of|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||McNeill. Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||T'yon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Davidson. J. C C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Manvilte. Edward||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Mafesson, H. D. R.||Turton, Edmund Russborouqh|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Mercer, Colonel H.||Wa'ts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Milne. J. S. Wardiaw||Wells, S. R.|
|Du Pre. Colonel William Baring||Moore. Major-General sir Newton J||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Moore-Brabazon. Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||White. Col G. D. (Southport)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Mnreinn. Captain Alnernon H.||Willey. Arthur|
|Ednam, Viscount||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Hontton)||Winterton. Earl|
|Elliot. Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Murchison, C. K.||Wise. Frederick|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Nail, Major Joseph||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Nevman. Colonel J. R. P. (Flnchley)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Ersklne-Bolst. Captain C.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Woodcock, Colonel H, C.|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Nieid, Sir Herbert||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Lolton M.||Norton-Griffiths. Lieut-Col. Sir John|
|Falcon. Captain Michael||O'Neill. Rt. Hon. Hugh||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Falle. Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Fawkes, Major F. H.||Paget, T. G.||Gibbs.|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Parker, Owen (Kettering)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield. Hlllsbro')||Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Brotherton, J.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Bonwick, A.||Buchanan, G.|
|Barnes, A.||Bowdler. W. A.||Buckie. J.|
|Batey, Joseph||Broad. F. A.||Burgess, S.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Bromfield, William||Buxton, Charles (Accrington)|
|Cairns, John||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Saklatvala, S.|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Sal'er, Dr. A.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Sexton, James|
|Darbishire. C. W,||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Shinweil, Emanuel|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, D.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R,||Lausbury, George||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Lawson. John James||Sited, Charles H.|
|Dunnico, H.||Leach, W.||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Ede, James Chutor||Lee, F.||Snell. Harry|
|Entwlstle, Major C. F.||Linfield, F. C.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Foot, Isaac||Lowth, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Gosling, Harry||Lunn, William||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Grey, Frank (Oxford)||M'Entee, V. L,||Sullivan, J.|
|Greenall, T.||McLaren, Andrew||Thomas, Rt. Hon, James H. (Derby)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Thorne. W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Grenlell, D. Ft. (Glamorgan)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Klnc'd'ne, E.)||Turner, Ben|
|Groves, T,||Maxton, James||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Middieton, G.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Warne, G. H.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Weir, L. M.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Newbold, J. T. W.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Hardie, George D.||Oliver, George Harold||Westwood, J.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Paling, W.||Wheatiey. J.|
|Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Patllnson, S. (Horncastle)||Whiteley, w.|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Phillipps, Vivian||Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)|
|Herrlotts, J.||Potts, John S.||Wilson. C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Pringle. W. M. R.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Jenkins W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wood. Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Riley, Ben||Wright, W.|
|Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Ritson, J.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Sromwlch)|
|Jonas, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Amnion and Mr. T. Griffiths.|
|Division No. 86.]||AYES.||[3.10 a.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hlllsbro')||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Ritson, J.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Barnes, A.||Herriotts, J.||Saklatvala. S.|
|Bntey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sexton, James|
|Berkeley, captain Reginald||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Bonwick, A.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Shinweil, Emanuel|
|Bowdler, W. A.||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Sllvertown)||Simpson. J. Hope|
|Bromfield. William||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Brotherton. J.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Snell, Harry|
|Buckle, J.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Burgess, S.||Kirkwood, D.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrlngton)||Lansbury, George||Stevart, Gershom (Wirral)|
|Cairns, John||Lawson, John James||Sullivan, J.|
|Cape, Thomas||Leach, W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lee, F.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Darbishire. C. W.||Linfield. F. C.||Turner, Ben|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lowth, T.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Waring, Major Walter|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||M'Entee, V. L.||Warne. G. H.|
|Dufly, T. Gavan||McLaren, Andrew||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Dunnlce. H.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Weir. L. M.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Klnc'dine, E.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Maxton, James||Westwood, J.|
|Entwistie. Major C. F.||Middieton, G.||Wheatiey, J.|
|Foot, Isaac||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Whi'e, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Gosling, Harry||Murray. R. (Renfrew, Western)||Whiteley, W.|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Newbold, J. T. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grecnail, T.||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercllffe)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Paling, W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grenlell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan)||Wood. Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Groves, T.||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Wright, W.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Phillipps, Vivian||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||Potts, John S.|
|Hall. F. (York, w, R., Normanton)||Pringle. W. M. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES —|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Mr. Morgan Jones and Mr. T.|
|Hardie, George D.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Griffiths.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Riley, Ben|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Pease, William Edwin|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Furness, G. J.||Pennelather, De Fonblanque|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Garland, C. S.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Ashley. Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Goft. Sir R. Park||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent Dover)||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Fhilipson, Hilton|
|Battour, George (Hampstead)||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hackn'y. N.)||Pielou, D. P.|
|Banks, Mitchell||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Pownall. Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Privett, F. J.|
|Becker, Harry||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Raine, W.|
|Berry, Sir George||Halstead, Major D.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Blrchall, Major J. Dearman||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Blades. Sir George Rowland||Harrison, F. C.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Blundell. F. N.||Harvey, Major S. E.||Remer, J. R.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hay. Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Reynolds, W. G. W.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford. Hereford)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hiley, Sir Ernest||Robertson. J. D. (Islington, W.)|
|Brions, Harold||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Ruggles-Brise. Major E.|
|Brown. Major D. C. (Hexham)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Hood, Sir Joseph||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hopkins, John W. W.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Houlton, John Plowright||Samuel, Samuel (Wdsworth, Putney)|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Howard, Lapt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Howard-Eury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Button, H. S.||Hudson, Capt. A.||Sandon, Lord|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Shepperson. E. W.|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Inskip. Sir Thomas Walker H.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Caycer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Jones. G. W. H. (Stoke Newlngton||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N (Ladywood)||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Spender-Clay, Lieut-Colonel H. H.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Stanley, Lord|
|Clayton, G. C.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Colvln, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Cope. Major William||Lorimer, H. D.||Sutcliffe, T.|
|Courfhope. Lieut-Col. George L.||Lort-Willlams, J.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxlord. Henley)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Thomson. F C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Crott, Lieut.-Colonel Henrs Paoe||Lumley, L. R.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||McNeill. Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Curzon. Captain viscount||Manville, Edward||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)||Margesson, H, D. R.||Turton, Edmund Russborouqh|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Mercer, Colonel H.||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Wilhington)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Milne, J. S. Wardiaw||Wells. S. R.|
|Doyle. N. Grattan||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Wheler. Col. Granville C. H.|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||White. Col G. n. (Southport)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Morelng, Captain Algernon H.||Willey, Arthur|
|Ednam, Viscount||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Winterton, Earl|
|Elliot, Caut. Waller E. (Lanark)||Murchison. C. K.||Wise, Frederick|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Nail, Major Joseph||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Flnchley)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Erskine-Bolst. Captain C.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen.J (Westminster)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Norton-Griffiths. Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Faile, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Paget, T G.||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Gibbs.|
On a point of Order. In a case where one Division follows another, is it in order for Members of the House who have already recorded their votes in one Lobby to enter the other Lobby in anticipation of another Division, and to take their places in such a way as to prevent Members passing through between the clerks so that they can have their votes recorded?
If some hon. Members willingly or unwillingly cause actual obstruction to other Members at the turnstile, undoubtedly it would not be in order, and I should very much deprecate it.
I think that to give an instruction from the Chair would rather imply that there would be some means of seeing that the instruction was carried out, and the Chairman cannot be in the Lobby as well as in the House. I would suggest that hon. Members do not go into the Lobby in which they are intending to vote in the Division until the Question for the next Division has been put.
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I do so with the single-minded desire to meet what I feel are the wishes and convenience of Members in all parts of the Committee. I am very doubtful whether, in the whole history of Parliament, there has been a Government faced with such a situation as they are at the present moment. Here they have passed thought a strenuous week's work. Those of us who sit on this side of the House can quite imagine how worried, how tired and how totally unfitted—[Interruption.]
I hesitatingly withdraw the statement that the hon. Member is unfit, but I felt that he had perhaps some sympathy with his leaders. Let us visualise the situation at this moment. The Government have gone through the experiences of the last few days. Here is the Opposition ready to relieve them of their difficulties; able and willing to give them a chance on Friday morning, at 3.30 after such a week. At this time I ask Members seriously to remember
May I ask whether the Motion put by you, Mr. Hope, is a debatable Motion and whether an hon. Member is in order in rising to address you on your putting the question?
May I ask whether, on a Motion to report Progress, when the Chair allows a speech in favour of the Motion that does not by itself indicate that the Motion is debatable and admit a reply is allowable to such a speech?
|Division No. 87.]||AYES.||[3.27 a.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Dunnico, H.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Ede, James Chater||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Entwistle, Major C. F.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)|
|Barnes, A.||Foot, Isaac||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Batey, Joseph||Gosling, Harry||Jones, R. T, (Carnarvon)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Greenall, T.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)|
|Bonwick, A.||Greenwood. A. (Nelson and Colne)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.|
|Bowdler, W. A.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Broad. F. A.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Lansbury, George|
|Brsmiietd. William||Groves, T.||Lawson, John James|
|Brutherton, J.||Grundy, T. W.||Leach, w.|
|Buchanan, G.||Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||Lee, F.|
|Buckie, J.||Hall, F. (York. W.R., Normanton)||Linffeld, F. C.|
|Burgess, S.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Lowth, T.|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Hardie, George D.||Lunn, William|
|Cairns, John||Hayday, Arthur||M'Entee, V. L.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hayes. John Henry (Edge Hill)||McLaren, Andrew|
|Charleton, H. C,||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Marlin, F. (Aberd'n & Klnc'dine, E.)|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Maxton, James|
|Davies. Evan (Ebbw Vain)||Herriotts, J.||Middleton, G.|
|Davies, Rhvs John fWesthoughton)||Hirst, G. H.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Murray, R. (Renfrew. Western)|
|Dutfy, T. Gavan||John, William (Rhondda West)||Newbold, J. T. W.|
|Oliver, George Harold||Simpson, J. Hope||Welsh, J. C.|
|Paling, w.||Sitch, Charles H.||Westwood, J,|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)||Wheatley, J.|
|Phillipps. Vivian||Snell, Harry||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Potts, John S.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Whiteley, W.|
|Pringle, W. M. R.||Stephen, Campbell||Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Riley, Ben||Sullivan, J.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Ritson, J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Wood. Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)||Thorne. W. (West Ham, Plaistow)||Wright, W.|
|Saklatvala, S.||Turner, Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Sexton, James||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Shaw. Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Warne, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Shlnwell, Emanuel||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Mr. Neil Maclean and Mr.|
|Short, Allred (wednesbury)||Weir, L. M.||Robertson.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Pease, William Edwin|
|Alexander, Col, M. (South.vark)||Furness, G. J.||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S,||Garland, C. S.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Archer-Shee. Lieut.-Colonel Martin||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Golf, Sir R. Park||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Philipson, Hilton|
|Balfour. George (Hampstead)||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Pielou, D. P.|
|Banks, Mitchell||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Guinness, Lleut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Pownall. Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Privett, F. J.|
|Becker, Harry||Hacking, Captain Douglao H.||Raine, w.|
|Berry, Sir George||Halstead, Major D.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Harrison, F. C.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Blundell, F, N.||Harvey, Major S. E.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Bowyer. Capt. G. E. W.||Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Remer, J. R.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Reynolds, W. G. w.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Cllve||Hlley, Sir Ernest||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford. Hereford)|
|Brigqs. Harold||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)|
|Britain, Sir Harry||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Roundeil. Colonel R. F.|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Ruggies-Brise, Major E.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Hood, Sir Joseph||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hopkins, John W. W.||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Houfton, John Plowright||Samuel. A M. (Surrey. Farnham)|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Howard, Capt D. (Cumberland, N.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Button, H. S,||Hudson, Capt. A.||Sanderson. Sir Frank B.|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Casseis, J. D.||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Ladywood)||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Somerville. A. A. (Windsor)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H H.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stanley, Lord|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Steel. Major S. Strang|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Cope. Major William||Lorimer, H. D.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Lort-Wllllams, J.||Sutcliffe. T.|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Lumley, L. R.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Manville, Edward||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Davidson, J.C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Margesson, H. D. R.||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Meicer, Colonel H.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Waring, Major Walter|
|Doyle, N. Gratlan||Moore. Major-General Sir Newton J.||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Wells, S. R.|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Wheler. Col. Granville C. H|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Ednam, Viscount||Murchison. C. K.||Willey, Arthur|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Nail, Major Joseph||Winterton, Earl|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Wise, Frederick|
|Ersklne, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Excter)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Erskine-Botst, Captain C.||Nicholson, Brio.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Nield, Sir Herbert||Woodcock. Colonel H. C.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Felle, Major Sir Bertram Godlray||Paget, T. G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Fawkes, Major F. H.||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Gibbs.|
(2) The general conditions of the contract to be entered into shall include an option as to whether the recruit is willing to take duty in aid of the civil power in connection with a trade dispute, and unless this has been signed in the affirmative by the recruit his refusal to undertake such duty during his period of service shall not constitute an offence under this Act or of any rules or regulations connected with service in the Army.—[Mr. Lansbury.]
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
In moving this Clause I would like to say first that it is not necessary that such a rule or such a proviso should apply to officers. Officers, it has been demonstrated in the British Army, are free either to serve or not to serve. During the Home Rule controversy at the Curragh Camp a number of officers under, I think, General Gough, refused to take orders in regard to putting down the incipient rebellion which was being organised by the friends of the present Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs and led in the main by Lord Carson and Mr. Galloper Smith, now Lord Birkenhead.
The proviso such as this which we require for the private soldier is not required for the officer, because the officer can use his discretion. If the private soldier could use his discretion as did the officers of the Curragh we should not need to move this Amendment. I think that is perfectly clear to the Committee. In connection with the war itself there was a right hon. Gentleman who made a dramatic exit from this House to go to his place in France and in a few months' time he was back in his place on the Front Treasury Bench.
On a point of Order, I want to submit to you that my hon. Friend is entitled to give reasons for his amendment that are relevant. Surely nothing is so near his contention than the fact that what he is now proposing for the private soldier is not necessary for the officer because the discretion is given, and surely he is entitled to submit that to the consideration of hon. Members who may not be aware of the fact.
He has said nothing about officers being called upon to make this declaration on enlistment. What he has contended is that officers are given this power to-day, and because they are given this power it ought not to be denied to the private soldier. Surely a Member is entitled in a matter of this kind to use officers as merely illustrating his point.
Officers are riot enlisted in the technical sense of this particular Section of the Army Act. Therefore no Amendment with regard to them can be brought under this particular Clause. Officers must use discretion, but the word "discretion" here must not be so used as to introduce a new and contentious line of argument.
Would it be relevant for me to point out that the present Prime Minister, from the box that I am standing at now, declared that an officer was entitled to use his discretion and act on the dictates of his conscience in a matter that affected his position as an officer, and if it is in order to quote such a statement from the Prime Minister to prove that what is now being asked for is already conceded to one section of the Army, is it out of order to ask the House to consider that aspect of the case?
This is not now a question of the merits. This is question of protecting the rights of Members. It is a new issue, and I am raising it purely on that ground. I again submit that my hon. Friend is entitled to draw the attention of the House to an analogous position applying to officers that he is now contending should be conceded to all soldiers. I do hope you will, at least, allow that point, because it is the only subject that for the moment we are raising on the point of Order.
If the hon. Member goes no further than the right hon. Gentleman has suggested, I could say nothing, but hon. Members are not entitled, under cover of a quotation, to bring in controversial matter that is not relevant to the argument.
On a point or Order. I wish to ask whether, in the first place, yon rule an argument by analogy out of order and, in the second place, whether you rule out of order an argument that raises controversy?
I must repeat the illustration I gave the other night. Supposing one hon. Member were complaining that another hon. Member was trying to destroy a Bill. If the hon. Member said: "The hon. Member has a passion for killing even as he killed his grandmother in the past." The argument would then be diverted to the death of the grandmother. The hon. Member would be entitled to show that he did not so kill his relative, and the Debate would be diverted from its proper channel. It is against that that I protest.
I want, Mr. Hope, to recall to your mind that when you and others occupied the position I am occupying here this evening, there was in my judgment very considerable latitude given in discussing this Bill. We were ruled out from discussing it on Second Reading, and I was assured by yourself from the Chair that there would be ample opportunity of discussing it in Committee, and I have never yet known so restricted a discussion on this Bill as has been laid down to us to-night. I want to protest, on my own behalf, against the doctrine that I must not use an example. I am not arguing that officers are enlisted. I am arguing that they ought to come under just such a provision as shall be provided for the ordinary soldier. I am only arguing that the officers have a privilege which I want the common soldier to enjoy, that is, the freedom to decline certain service if it is obnoxious to him, It was distinctly and definitely stated in this House that certain officers would not take service against the Ulster men if called upon. I repeat that officers in the British Army, according to Lord Roberts, have a right to exercise their conscientious objections to certain service and to refuse to undertake it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No! "] Well, it is on record that the late Lord Roberts most definitely and distinctly stated that an officer had a conscientious right to refuse to do what his conscience told him he ought not to do, and I am claiming to-night that the ordinary trade unionist who, either from choice or economic force, is driven into the Army should have the same right. He may he called upon, as he was at Featherstone, to shoot miners, or at Hull to shoot dockers, or at Llanelly to shoot railwaymen, and I say every workman in the Army should have the right to say, "No, that is something I will never do, to shoot down my own class in my own country." Therefore, we want, when the man enlists, that he shall have put before him the alternative of either accepting universal service, according to the orders of his superior officer, or that he shall have the right to sign this affirmation. We ask that the man shall be, as hon. Members opposite are, loyal to his class. There are no more loyal people to their own set than hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite and we want to create the same sort of spirit among the British workmen who have to join the Army, because whenever he is called upon to shoot and interfere in a dispute he is ranging himself or the side of the employers, the capitalists and the landlords. That is what he is doing all the time. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh. Could any hon. Member tell me of any strike or ally lock-out where the possessing classes have taken sides with the workmen? You know you never have. You are ranged in a clear division against the workmen and up to now you have been able to have the Army and the Navy at your disposal. We want to prevent that in future. We do not want that in addition to the weapon of hunger and the weapon of starvation you should also have the lethal weapon of the Army with you. We do not want our people to be called upon to shoot down unemployed men and men on strike. If there are disturbances —and we do not believe there would be disturbances except for the causes that lead to the disturbances, and these causes ought to be removed—we ask you to-night to give to our people the same right that was exercised by officers in the Army, either to join the regiment or leave the regiment. We want them to have this choice. We Want the ordinary common soldier to have the same choice as the officers of the Curragh had. I hope hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who want these privileges will vote with us and give them to the working classes as well.
Some of the words I have heard to-night with regard to the British Army have really annoyed me so much that f have decided to speak in defence of the Army which we all realise has been one of two things—if I include the Navy which has made it possible for us to sit here to-night. A privilege has always been given to Members who rise for the first time and I hope it will be accorded to me. With regard to the suggestion that a man who enlists in the Army should sign a certain declaration that he will not in certain particular circumstances carry out the duty which lie has enlisted to do, I think the ease is very similar to the system we have heard suggested that a man who joins a certain trade union should specifically sign a declaration that for certain specific purposes he will not have to pay his contribution. I was going to speak about officers of the Curragh but I think, Mr. Hope, you have ruled that to be out of order. Officers certainly cannot be compared, as I think has been done, to conscientious objectors. I have the honour of serving His Majesty in the Army for some 17 years and I rather object to hearing the officers M the Army compared even by inference to conscientious objectors. One other particular thing struck me in the speech of the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). He said that trade unionists are driven into the Army. Perhaps that may he, but if they join the Army, I submit that they are joining the hest trades union in the country.
I was just comparing the Army to the trade unions. I should be very sorry to think that this Committee would agree to the Amendment which has been proposed, that these men should be permitted to sign a declaration of the sort which would not only permit them, but absolutely force them under certain circumstances to refuse to obey the dictates of their hearts and their conscience and really stultify their very existence as soldiers of His Majesty's Forces.
I would put it. to my hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) that this new Clause is a mistake. All that can happen if this were the law of the land would be that the man who fused to sign the form saying that he was willing to do anything he eras requested—I think that is the form would not be accepted. The result would be that you would get an Army not sympathetic to the trade unions and to the Labour movement and the last resort of the people, namely, the refusal of the troops to shoot when the worst, happened, would be gone. After all, I do not think there is any danger of revolution in this country. What happened in the French, Russian and German revolutions, three great revolutions in the last hundred years or so, was that the troops went over to the other side, the side of the people. If you are going to have an Army who are willing and eager to obey orders and shoot down their own class, you have that last safeguard removed.
Let us not put our heads into the sand and pretend these things are impossible. We may get a Government even more stupid than the present one. [HON. MEMBERS: "Impossible.") Supposing the Die-hards went into the Government, they might use the armed force so as at to exasperate the people and such a situation would arise. I think that reason I have given is a very powerful one against this Clause and I will give another. Supposing we have a Labour Government in power and there was trouble say in Northern Ireland which threatened the security of these islands, and it was necessary to send troops to restore order there—
A great part of the officers of the Regular Army might plead for the same exemption as the soldiers. That happened of course in the case of the Curragh. I do not think it will happen again. They learned a pretty severe lesson at that time. I think the much-abused Liberal Government of that day handled the situation very well. I was an officer serving in the Navy at the time, and heard it frequently discussed.
When a Labour Government come in they may need a reliable Army. It is perfectly legal to call out the Army in defence of the Civil power. You cannot get away from that. But it is necessary that Parliament should watch that there is no abuse of the Army power. Nevertheless it is necessary to have an army to keep order, and hon. Gentlemen on the Labour benches may be very glad in ten years time to have an army to put down a Fascisti movement organised by hon. Gentlemen opposite. These are two very weighty reasons why hon. Members should not press this Amendment. I have never been abused for want of sympathy with the Trade Union or democratic movement in this country, but if hon. Members go to a division I really will be forced to vote against them.
I have listened to some very extraordinary arguments, but I do not think any of them has been more extraordinary than the one to which we have just listened. I suppose I shall be accused, like other hon. Members on this side of not knowing anything about the Army or having no right to speak on Army Regulations because we 'have not been in the Army. It is true that I was in the Army only for about fourteen hours. My mother then came and fetched me home. It is one of the things I always thank my mother for. The only excuse I have to offer was that I vas very young. But the argument I have heard to-night appears to be that because one has never been in the Army, therefore he has no right to discuss the problems relating to the Army. That reminds me of an argument once put to me when I was discussing a question in the local Press, that because I had never been dead I had no right to discuss the burying laws. As a trade unionist, who has been in a trade union for about thirty years, I believe from my own personal contact with men who have served in the Army, and who are now serving in trade unions, that these men, like myself, are convinced that the soldiers to-day who have been trade unionists are compelled to do something that they do not desire to do, and things that no man ought to be asked to do. I remember the Curragh incident very well, and I remember then arguing that in my opinion the decision of the officer who refused to take part in any action against their colleagues was right. It might not have been strictly within the Army Regulations. I do not know whether it was or not, but I believe that it is a thing we ought not to insist upon that men who felt as they felt on a matter of conscience, a very important religious feeling—I felt that they were right in refusing to take any action against men in Belfast or anywhere else. I felt for these officers and I want to say I feel the same with regard to the men in the circumstances mentioned by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). These men who were trade unionists in principle, and desired to carry out these principles, were compelled to fire on their fellow trade unionists. I reason that as it was in the case of these officers it should have been in the case of these men and the officers did what I think they had a right to do. If this privilege is conceded to one section of the Army, it ought to be conceded to any section of the, Army. If an officer has the right, as he appears to have, to refuse to serve against his fellow countrymen with whom he is in deep sympathy and with whom he has probably worked in the same movement, then men who are in the trade union movement, and men who are Socialists as I am and who believe in those principles of Socialism for which we are prepared to make very great sacrifices—for which many on these benches have made great sacrifices—should have the same right as the officers. This House has no right to say to these men that they shall be called upon to shoot down their fellow countrymen—men with whom they have worked and in whose principles they believe. [AN HON. MEMBER: "No, no! "] An hon. Member whose principles they believe. [An HON. MEMBER: "No, no "] An hon. Member says they do not, but does he know? I tell him that I know at the present time scores of men who are in the Army and who are Socialists.
I made no such assertion. You are not quite awake. I say distinctly that there are scores and thousands of men in the Army who are proud to call themselves socialists, and I say you have no right to call upon these men to shoot down their fellow countrymen—[An HON. MEMBER: "They will not do it, either!"]—in a dispute between your class and my class. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is the difference? "] Your class has got everything and my class has nothing. You have got it because you have the power to rob.
I do not think I wandered from it. We are asking in this Clause that the men shall have a choice whether they shall enlist for any purpose of all purposes, or that they should have a choice of the limits of those things they agree to do on joining the Army. A man should be able to go to a recruiting office and say I am prepared to sell my labour as a soldier—I am prepared to defend my country against any foreign enemy but I am not prepared to defend your class interests against the class interests of my own class. We are asking you that that man should have an opportunity to limit his service to fighting the enemies of his country. Surely there is nothing unreasonable in that? If you allow that you will get a bigger and better Army and Navy because some of those who have been brought up in the beliefs I hold—and I had a share in teaching some of them—which tell us that under no circumstances should they be prepared to sell themselves to the Army, or any force, to shoot down their fellow countrymen. I shall continue, to teach that on every opportunity I get. [An HON. MEMBER: "You should feel ashamed of yourself."] I never criticised the action of the officers in the Curragh because I believed they were right, and I believe you should give to the men of the working classes the right to say whether they should enter into the full enlistment or should limit their Army service to that against an enemy from some other country. You have power to determine by your votes whether you will give us what we are asking for, but if you fail to give it now we shall take it by and by.
I want to support this Amendment, and to draw your attention to the faces on the other side. We are seriously discussing a very serious matter to the people I represent, and it is being discussed when the average man here is not in a fit condition. [Interruption.] Come over here and look at yourselves, you are a sight for the gods. This is a very serious matter to the great majority of the people who join the British Army. They are not the officer class, they are the "have nots," and that is the reason why so very little interest is taken in the matter. If it were the officer class whose fate was at stake as much as the fate of the working class is at stake here it would be quite a different matter. What is at stake here? It is that our soldiers shall have the option whether they will blackleg the working class or not. As I understand the working class they have no desire to blackmail their own class. There is no discussion in which we will be able to get you men in the wrong so readily as this discussion and you have brought it upon yourselves. Here you are proving beyond all shadow of doubt that there are two classes in the British Army. We who believe that there is a class struggle in society find it exemplified here. The working man who has nothing but his labour power incorporated in his body, which he has to sell is to be denied the right to have a conscience. Your conception of an Army means that a soldier shall have no conscience, that he ceases to be a man. That is your idea of a soldier. Our idea of a soldier is a man who would be free to act, not a man to be dragooned, to be treated as if he had no soul. But I am not astonished at this, because the class opposite have no souls themselves. I would like the Government to be very careful what they do in matters of this kind. I would warn them to be very careful because you must under-stand—
Oh, it is very easy to say "hear, hear!" I would like to draw the attention of the Committee to this point, that not only the men in the Army but the potential soldiers outside the Army are watching very care fully the actions of the men on the benches opposite. It was no idle statement that I made in my maiden speech when I told you that the writing was on the wall. There are no two ways about it, because there is a body of men in opposition to the powers-that-be who have the confidence of the people of the country. There is no denying that fact. There never was a time in history when the powers-that-be in this country as far as the Army is concerned—
I am most anxious that those who are in authority to-day will exactly understand the feeling that is abroad in the country. Possibly there was a day when you could go on legislating in a given direction for the Army and for the working people, but that day has gone. It is over the border and away. The men who make up the Army were never so enlightened as they are to-day. The working class, from which it is largely drawn, and which we on these benches truly represent, were never so enlightened, or had as many men who are capable of stating their case as they have to-clay. Never in the history of the world, never at any time had the slave class so many capable men to defend them against you tyrants. Why we are so anxious that this Amendment should be accepted is because in 1911 the soldiers of this country were being organised to take the place of the railway men. Churchill was responsible for that. I suppose I dare not mention his name. I am desirous of burning in on the mind of those who are in power that we do not forget and we will not let our people forget, what has been done through actions like these by having the soldier tied. We are desirous of having the soldier free, so that any future Winston Churchills will not have the power to organise the British Army to take the place of the British working class, and of the railwaymen as in 1911. The right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) when he was Home Secretary used troops against the miners of the Featherstone, and the miners were murdered by Liberals. [Interruption.] It is all the same, whether it is Liberal or Tory or Coalition.
I am just on the point now. I must ask hon. and right hon. Members to accept this Amendment which has been put forward by the Labour party. Surely if you wish tc, be honest, if you do not wish to take a mean advantage of working men who have been driven by hunger and economic force—as the great majority of working lads are driven—into the British Army, I want you to have regard to the warning I have issued to you in good faith, because I believe everything I have told you about what is going on among the working classes as far as your fate is concerned. Having said so much, I want to appeal to you on this occasion to support the Labour party on this and every other occasion, as I believe the Labour party is the hope of Britain. Your day has gone.
Lieut. - Colonel GUINNESS:
The speeches which have been made on this Amendment show that its supporters attach the very widest meaning to those duties to aid the civil power in connection with trade disputes from which, under their proposal, future recruits to the Army would be entitled to claim exemption. Those non-military duties which sometimes fall to the lot of the Army are, from the soldiers' point of view, the most detestable work they are called upon to undertake, but it is work which, in the interests of the community, must be carried out in emergency by the Army. For that reason it is impossible for the Government to accept this Amendment. The duties which may fall under this definition are of two classes. First, there is the very exceptional case of troops being used, not in a riot, but in a national emergency. That is a case which occurs very rarely and it is carefully hedged round with safeguards. Troops can only be used in that way in connection with a trade dispute when, in the words of the preamble of the Bill, we are considering, there is danger to the United Kingdom. Otherwise it would not he lawful for orders to be given or the troops to act. In an ordinary trade dispute there is not power under our law for troops to be used in interference with industrial matters.
I said there were two functions to be performed. The first function is in a great emergency where troops can be called out in other than conditions of rioting. In the ordinary trade dispute there is no power to use troops.
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but may I put the point to him that, in connection with the Forty Hours' dispute in Clydeside, troops were held in readiness. accompanied by all the paraphernalia of war, before the Riot Act was read or the magistrates or the Sheriff of the, County had given any intimation whatever to the Army authorities with regard to the dispute. The fact that the troops were held in readiness, without municipal sanction or judicial sanction, was largely responsible for the attitude of the public during the whole of the proceedings.
I submit very respectfully that with your consent, Mr. Chairman, and with the consent of the hon. Gentleman a very important point of Order was raised by me to which the hon. Gentleman was very generously and courteously going to reply. I wish to ask if it is desirable, in the interests of decorum that hon. Members opposite should interrupt. I warn them I will not stand it. I will not try to get up a row.
My point is that, in the ordinary way, it is not in the scope of military service and authority for troops to be used in disputes. Time after time they have been asked for, and time after time the military authorities have held that it is not within the scope of military power or authority that they should be employed.
There was a case in Ireland, in Ballinasloe, which caused a good deal of comment, where in the case of the lunatic asylum, it was proposed that troops should be called out. It was decided that it would not be a proper occasion for troops to be called out. More often they are called out in connection with riots, but in these cases the troops merely have the obligation of ordinary citizens under the common law to use such force and no more force as is necessary to maintain the peace. A common law obligation does not only arise, as the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Shinwell) suggests, after the Riot Act is read. The Riot Act is not an essential ingredient in the common law obligation of the citizen and the soldier as a citizen to maintain peace. All the difference that is made by the reading of the Riot Act is that anyone who disobeys it incurs penalties for felonies or misdemeanour. The obligation to maintain peace in no way depends upon it. The best the troops can do is to use their military formation and their discipline. They are not in any different position from any other citizens. The Amendment would really put the soldier above the law in this respect. It would exempt him from the obligation which is imposed upon any citizen, and it would further divide the Army into two classes with different obligations. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are divided already."] One can picture the hopeless position. The troops called out under conditions of riot and the officer trying to make out on a roll, perhaps by striking a match, what soldiers may be employed as citizens in their obligations to restore order, and those who are above the law and should perhaps be allowed to go over and join the rioters. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment told us that he objected to any Army, any Air Force or any fighting force at all and I recognise and am grateful for his frankness. He put before the Committee what was in his mind. He said that the people who joined the Army should he true to the class to which they belonged. I do not believe the Army is kept for that purpose. It is kept to be true to the nation and I can only say that if you wish to destroy the efficiency of the Army I can imagine few Amendments more likely to achieve that object than the one before the Committee.
I am perfectly convinced that this Amendment will become the law of the land in the not far distant future. It. is unfortunate that hon. Members on the opposite side are not allowed to deal with the point so insistently made on this side that there is a distinction in the Army between the officer and the ordinary soldier, and I believe it is admitted that it is true that au officer may object to undertake certain duties that he may be asked to do, and the private soldier is not in that position. We say in this Amendment that a man who has been a life-long trade unionist when he enlists in the army or is driven there through circumstances should have the option of declaring that he will not take part in shooting down his father or his brother. We think the civil force ought to be sufficient to deal with all trade disputes. Only this week we discussed another force, the special constables who are to add to the civil force. One thing I particularly want to mention. I come from the neighbourhood of Featherstone. I was at Featherstone in 1893 and saw the effect of what took place, and attended the funerals of the men who were shot down, and I know how the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) was refused to be heard in Leeds not long after as a result of what took place at that time. The point with me is this: that more than one soldier refused to shoot on that occasion.
I am sure the hon. Member does not want to misrepresent what occurred on that occasion. The military were summoned by the civil authorities and the Home Office had no option under the Statute but to comply with the request. Is not that a fact? I ask the hon. Gentleman whether that was not so and whether the Home Secretary had any knowledge of the circumstances?
It is quite sufficient for me to say that I never charged him in what I said. That is not my position. I said I know what happened at Leeds as a result of what happened at Featherstone, and the blame attached to the right hon. Gentleman by the population of the West Riding for the events that took place.
That is not surprising when you know what Liberalism is in Leeds. A soldier must undertake any kind of duty or he must be treated as an offender and dealt with accordingly. We are not discussing whether we should have an Army or not, but one important matter that ought to be settled is that the Army ought never to be used in a trade dispute in this country. Men were told to shoot in the case of Featherstone and more than one refused to shoot. Is there any record of that? There ought to be a record of whether men did refuse, and it is because we wish to protect those who wished to refuse to shoot their relatives and friends that this Amendment is put down. I appeal to the Government that they ought to accept the Amendment. If they do not do so some other Government will do it before very long. It is absolutely necessary in the interests of equality in the treatment of our fellows that you should not, maintain an Army with a distinction between one section and another.
The question which has been discussed for some time this morning is one which has in the past presented very real difficulties, and is going to raise on many occasions a very unfortunate grievance. It is not my purpose to enter into the merits of any of the incidents to which reference has been made. I wish however to raise this question in a special form in relation to the present Government. We are face to face with the question of whether the officer and the private soldier are on the same footing. The contention put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley is that on the statements of Members of the present Government an officer is entitled to refuse duty to which he objects. There are hon. Members on the Government bench just now who have put forward that contention, and that contention, has been maintained by the head of the Government himself. I know of no other case in which the head of the Government in this country has said that an officer in the army is entitled to refuse duty to which he conscientiously objects. That is what justifies the Amendment. In a debate in this House on 23rd March, 1914, the present Prime Minister, then the Leader of the Opposition, not an irresponsible person, the heir presumptive to the premiership to which he has since succeeded, dealing with the situation at the Curragh, and to justify what the officers were alleged to have done said:
The House knows that we on this side have from the first held the view that to coerce Ulster is an operation which no Government under existing conditions has a
right to ask the Army to undertake, and in our view, of course, it is not necessary to say that any officer who refuse is only per-funning his duty.
That is one case. The importance of that submission is that it was made by the present Prime Minister, the head of this Government, for which all these gentlemen sitting on that Front bench are equally responsible now. At that time the Prime Minister sought to justify this as a constitutional doctrine of this country. That was why in an interruption I referred to the American War. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite did not know what I meant when I made reference to the American War, but I knew it as the main precedent quoted by the present Prime Minister, and if they jeered about the American War they are jeering at their own leader. He said there were cases of this kind in that war, and here you have what he said on 23rd March, 1914:
We in this period of our country's history are not going to be less fair than was the case in England 100 years ago. At that time Great Britain was engaged in a war against the American Colonies. What happened then was described in a book which is quoted in a newspaper which I saw yesterday, by Sir George Trevelyan:—
'That war was marked by a feature unique in English history. Not a few officers of every grade, who were for the main part distinguished by valour and ability, flatly refused to serve against the Colonies, and their scruples were respected by their countrymen in general and by the King and his Ministers as well.'
There you have the Prime Minister, on 23rd March, 1914, stating that an officer in the Army was entitled to refuse to perform a duty to which he conscientiously objected. If that is a sound doctrine Members of the House are entitled to put forward an Amendment and ask that the same doctrine should he extended to the private soldier. They are entitled to do that until the Government disavow the doctrine put forward by the Prime Minister. There is a dilemma. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) did not accept that doctrine. Now, for the first time, we have a Prime Minister who says the officer who has a conscientious objection is entitled to down tools. [An HON. MEMBER: "Constitutionalism goes bang."] Then what is to be the position of the private soldier? Is there any hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench in a position to disavow that doctrine?
Is he going to throw over the Prime Minister without authority? The House is placed in a position in which we do not know what the position of the Government is on this vital matter. The Prime Minister is not here: there is nobody here to talk for him. We cannot tell what the view of the Prime Minister is, and it entirely depends upon his view what line the Committee is to take upon this Amendment. They cannot say in respect of this Amendment that they are applying the same principle to the officer as to the private soldier; until this doctrine is disavowed they cannot say that. There is no man on the Front Bench who can tell us the view of the Prime Minister, but I am glad to see that the First Lord of the Admiralty here, for he distinguished himself in these debates of 1914. He is one of the gentlemen who got information from the officers of the Curragh and put questions by the hundred to the hon. Member for Paisley. He was one of the confederates of the mutineers. In the present Government we have not only the Prime Minister who laid down this doctrine but we have, holding one of the most responsible positions, as head of one of the fighting services, one who has been in the past a confederate of mutineers and who has supported them in their mutiny in this House. I am not so sure about the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In regard to the question of Ulster my hon. Friend undoubtedly took a leading part, but. I have no speech of his and am not going to quote him in regard to a matter in which I have no evidence to convict him. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies took part in these Debates, and he was one of the supporters of this doctrine also.
I know the hon. Gentleman took part in the Debate, but I do not want to enter into details. I am merely dealing with hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who are now Ministers of the Crown, and who took sides on behalf of the men who refused to obey orders. The hon. and gallant Gentleman shakes his head and if he asserts that he did not associate himself I will at once accept the disavowal. I have not read the text of his speech and therefore I do not wish to suggest that he went further than he actually did. I have selected, as I pointed out, the Prime Minister because after all he is the most important. He is the head of the Government in a special sense because where would the Government be if he was not there? During a period of temporary incapacity we have seen to what straits the Government has been reduced and consequently he assumes a position of peculiar authority and responsibility in regard to the present Government. That is why his statement on this matter has a special importance and significance. That is why in my view so long as this statement in regard to officers is not disavowed the Committee is entitled to claim the same privilege for private soldiers.
I do not know whether any hon. Gentleman has had the opportunity of consulting him upon this Amendment. They have probably forgotten the indiscretion of March, 1914. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty is here; possibly he is a changed man now. We should be very glad to hear if he is. If he is not, of course, then we can claim that we must go into the Lobby in favour of this Amendment. We admire the consistency of the right hon. Gentleman. He has always been consistent. He has never flinched and as he never flinched I am quite sure that he would even at the expense of his present Ministerial position go into the Lobby in support of his convictions. Before coming to a decision on this particular Amendment we should know where the Prime Minister stands. If the Government will undertake to get an assurance on this matter from the Prime Minister then I think we ought to move to report Progress so that we may have that assurance before the Committee comes to a decision. I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
|Division No. 88.]||AYES.||[5.14 a.m.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Pease, William Edwin|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Forestier-Walker, L.||Pennetather, De Fonblanque|
|Amery, Rt. Hen. Leopold C M.S.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Penny, Frederick George|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Furness, G. J.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Garland, C. S.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Philipson. Hilton|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Goff, Sir R. Park||Pielou, D. P.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Pownall, Lleut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Banks, Mitchell||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Privett, F. J.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Raine, W.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Becker, Harry||G wynne, Rupert S.||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Berry, Sir George||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Rees. Sir Beddoe|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Halstead, Major D.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Remer, J. R.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Harrison, F. C.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Harvey, Major S. E.||Reynolds, W. G. W.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir p. (Chertsey)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Robertson, J. D (Islington, W.)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Briggs, Harold||Hiley, Sir Ernest||Ruggies-Brise, Major E.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hood, Sir Joseph||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hopkins, John W. W.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Houfton, John Plowright||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Button, H. S.||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Hudson, Capt. A.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Campion, Lleut.-Colonel W, R.||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Stanley, Lord|
|Clayton, G. C.||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Cobb. Sir Cyril||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Cope, Major William||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Sutcliffe, T.|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Terrell. Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Lorimer, H. D.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||Lumley, L. R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Manvlile, Edward||Tubbs. S. W.|
|Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)||Margesson, H. D. R.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Mercer, Colonel H.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Wells, S. R.|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Morrison-Bell, Major A.C.(Honlton)||Willey, Arthur|
|Ednam, Viscount||Murchlson, C. K.||Winterton, Earl|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Nail, Major Joseph||Wise, Frederick|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Newman, Colonel J. R. p. (Finchley)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Nield. Sir Herbert||Yerburgh, H. D. T.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Gadfray||Paget, T. G.||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Fawkes, Major F. H.||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Gibbs.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Batey, Joseph||Bonwick, A.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Aburtillery)||Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Bowdler, W. A.|
|Barnes, A.||Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Broad, F. A.|
|Bromfield, William||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Brotherton, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Saklatvala, S.|
|Buchanan, G.||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Buckie, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Sllvertown)||Sexton, James|
|Burgess, S.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Cairns, John||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Darblshire, C. W.||Kenworthy, Lleut.-Commander J. M.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lansbury, George||Snell, Harry|
|Dudgeon, Major C, R.||Lawson, John James||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Leach, W.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dunnico, H.||Lee, F.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Linfield, F. C.||Sullivan, J.|
|Enwistle, Major C. F.||Lowth, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Foot, Isaac||M'Entee, v. L.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, plalstow)|
|Gosling, Harry||McLaren, Andrew||Turner, Ben|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Greenall, T.||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, E.)||Warne, G. H.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Maxton, James||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Middleton, G.||Weir, L. M.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Groves, T.||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Westwood J.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Newbold, J. T. W.||Wheatley, J.|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Oliver, Goorge Harold||Whiteley, W.|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hardie, George D.||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Phillipps, Vivian||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Potts, John S.||Wright, W.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon A. (N'castle, E.)||Pringle, W. M. R.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Herriotts, J.||Riley, Ben||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hirst, G. H.||Ritson, J.||Mr. Lunn and Mr. Ammon.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwicn)|
|Division No. 89.]||AYES.||[5.22 a.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Herriotts, J.||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, G. H.||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothweil)|
|Barnes, A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Saklatvala, S.|
|Batey, Joseph||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Sexton, James|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Bromfield, William||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Brotherton, J.||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Buckie, J.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Burgess, S.||Kenworthy, Lleut.-Commander J. M.||Snell, Harry|
|Cairns, John||Kirkwood, D.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lansbury, George||Stephen, Campbell|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawson, John James||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Leach, W.||Sullivan, J.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lee. F.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Linfield, F. C.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)|
|Dunnico, H.||Lowth, T.||Turner, Ben|
|Ede, James Chuter||M Entee, V. L.||Wallhead, Richard C,|
|Foot, Isaac||McLaren, Andrew||Warne, G. H.|
|Gosling, Harry||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Greenall, T.||Maxton, James||Weir, L. M.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Middleton, G.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N )||Westwood, J.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Wheatley. J.|
|Groves, T.||Newbold, J. T. W.||Whiteley, w.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Paling, w.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Phillipps, Vivian||Wright, W.|
|Hardie, George D.||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster. Newton)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Riley, Ben||Mr. Ammon and Mr. Lunn.|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Ritson, J.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Balfour, George (Hampstead)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Astor. J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Banks, Mitchell|
|Barnett, Major Richard w.||Garland, C. S.||Pease, William Edwin|
|Barnston, Major Harry||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Becker, Harry||Goff, Sir R. Park||Penny, Frederick George|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Berry, Sir George||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Perkins, Colonel E. K|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Greene, Lt.-Col- Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Philipson, Hilton|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Pielou, D. P.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Bonwick, A.||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Privett, F. J.|
|Bowdler, W. A.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Raine, W.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Halstead, Major D.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Harrison, F. C.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Harvey, Major S. E.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Remer, J. R.|
|Briggs, Harold||Henn, Sir Sydney H||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hennessy. Major J. R. G.||Reynolds, W. G. W.|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Hlley, Sir Ernest||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonol A.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hood, Sir Joseph||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Button, H. S.||Hopkins, John W. W.||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Houfton. John Plowright||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W, R.||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Cayzer, sir C. (Chester, City)||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hudson, Capt. A.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Clayton, G. C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Cope, Major William||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stanley, Lord|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Curzon, Captain viscount||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Lorimer, H. D.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Sutcliffe, T.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Lumley, L. R.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Manville, Edward||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Margesson, H. D. R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, E.)||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Mercer, Colonel H.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Waring, Major Walter|
|Ednam, Viscount||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Wells, S. R.|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Entwistle. Major C. F.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Murchison, C. K.||Willey, Arthur|
|Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Nail, Major Joseph||Winterton, Earl|
|Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.)||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Wise, Frederick|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M,||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J.(Westminster)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Nield, Sir Herbert||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Fawkes. Major F. H.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Paget, T. G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Furness, G. J,||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Gibbs.|
We are desirous of endeavouring to meet your wishes. It has obvious advantages. I gather by your suggestion that the Debate would take a wider range. According to your suggestion the Amendments would not be debated separately. In return for that, perhaps the Government would give us some undertaking that reasonable time will be given and that we will not be closured.