Petitions Presented.

McKENNA IMPORT DUTIES. – in the House of Commons at on 13 May 1924.

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Photo of Captain Reginald Terrell Captain Reginald Terrell , Henley

I desire to present a petition on behalf of the electors of the Henley Parliamentary Division as fol- lows: "To the honourable Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled: The humble petition of the inhabitants of the village of Cowley, Oxfordshire, showeth: that the removal of the duties imposed by the Finance Act, 1915, on the importation of motor-cars, commonly known as the McKenna Duties, will cause much distress amongst the said inhabitants by reason of loss of work, loss to tradesmen, and also loss to persons who let lodgings. Therefore, your petitioners pray that the duties be not abolished, so rendering groundless their fears, and your petitioners will ever pray.

The people who have signed this petition are the inhabitants of Cowley, Oxfordshire, in which place is situated the works of the Morris Motor Company, Limited. Practically every resident has signed, all classes being represented. The material allegation contained in the petition is that if the McKenna Duties are repealed, much distress and loss will result to the inhabitants."

The second petition reads as follows: "To the honourable Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled: The humble petition of the widows and girls resident in Cowley and district sheweth: that the removal of the duties imposed by the Finance Act, 1915, on the importation of motor cars, commonly known as the McKenna Duties, would have the effect, by diminished output and employment, of destroying the livelihood of your petitioners, who are chiefly engaged in letting lodgings to the motor workers, who are already being discharged in large numbers from the Cowley Motor Works. Therefore your petitioners pray that the duties be not abolished, so rendering groundless their fears of loss of livelihood, and your petitioners will ever pray. The material allegation of this petition is that if the McKenna Duties are repealed the effect will be to destroy the livelihood of the petitioners."

The third petition is signed by 99 per cent. of the employés of the Morris Motor Company, Limited, at Cowley, Oxfordshire. The material allegation is that, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer repeals the McKenna Duties that he will inflict much injury upon the industries affected and bring about a great increase in unemployment. This petition has been voluntarily signed, and is not in any way part and parcel of the so-called ramping, raging propaganda referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That lie we want to nail down—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is now going beyond his rights in presenting his petitions; he must not do so.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

On a point of Order. Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman entitled to say that the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a "lie"?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I have already pointed out that the hon. and gallant Member must not make remarks, but must confine himself to presenting the petition, and describing its object.

Photo of Mr Isaac Foot Mr Isaac Foot , Bodmin

Seeing an accusation has been made, will the hon. and gallant Gentleman be asked to withdraw, seeing that there is no opportunity of reply?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman ought to withdraw. It is quite incorrect to make any statement in presenting a petition.

Photo of Captain Reginald Terrell Captain Reginald Terrell , Henley

I regret that I made use of any unparliamentary expression. Perhaps the word "lie" rather offends some people, and I apologise, but, after all—[HON. MEMBEES: "Withdraw!"]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. and gallant Gentleman ought to content himself with withdrawing the words. The statement ought not to have been made. I have given him his full rights in presenting his petitions, and he ought not to go beyond those rights.

Photo of Captain Reginald Terrell Captain Reginald Terrell , Henley

I withdraw the words, and will substitute for them "the very inaccurate statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer." [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!" and "Withdraw!"]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. and gallant Member is again going beyond his rights. If he does not confine himself to the presentation of the petition, I cannot allow him to proceed.

The third petition reads as follows: To the Honourable Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled: The humble petition of the employees engaged in the manufacture of motorcars at the Morris Motor Works, Cowley, Oxfordshire, sheweth that it is inexpedient, in the midst of the present distresses, to remove the duties imposed by the Finance Act, 1915, on the importation of motor-cars, musical instruments, clocks and watches, and similar goods, commonly known as the McKenna. Duties, since they have enabled industries to be re-established after the War, giving increased and regular employment to large numbers, and their removal would adversely affect the growing industries, enlarge considerably the existing volume of unemployment, and inflict much injury upon the industries incidental to those protected by the duties. Wherefore your petitioners pray that the duties be not abolished, so rendering groundless their fears of unemployment, and your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray," etc.