Clause 13. — (Income tax and Super-tax, 1928–29.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill. – in the House of Commons on 26th June 1928.

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Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

I noticed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not looking so well as he usually looks. He is not just up to normal health during this night, and, while I am prepared to consider things like that, had the right hon. Gentleman found it necessary to go away he could have left his Bill in security in charge of his assistant and the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. We might have kept the sequence in the Bill. I think, if we look a little more closely at the Clause, we shall see the reason for the postponement. You notice it in the point of the first £500. Had this been something dealing with the man on 30s. a week, there would have been no postponement until the friends of the 30s. a week man were in the House to put forward Amendments. It is a malicious thing to do. Surely, if it is wrong to discuss this part of the Bill at this hour of the morning, it is wrong to discuss any other part, because a properly balanced Finance Bill must have all its parts balanced. If a part is out of balance, you cannot get anything to swing. I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer was never more out of his balance than he is now. The ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer gave him a little bit of a thrashing yesterday, but he should not take it out of us who are not responsible. I would not mind if it was coming to me for something I had done.

6.0 a.m.

The suggestion is that we should pass on; the right hon. Gentleman would like to see us get down to Clause 17. That is just the point. The excuse he made was that we were not fit mentally to give due consideration to the Income Tax Clause, and yet we are supposed to have the mental capacity to deal with what he proposes. If we are in a fit condition to do that, we are in a fit position to deal with any other part of the Bill. There has been a relay system going on all night, and, while other Ministers were acting as reliefs, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was no doubt trying to sleep. That is an unfair thing. The Attorney-General is now sleeping, and I am sorry for him also. We are not going to allow the Chancellor of the Exchequer to pick out certain bits of his Bill in order to suit the convenience of his Friends. We are going on, as we have always gone on, but we are going to demand the sequence of the Bill. The hour is now 6 o'clock, and some of us have been on these premises since 10 o'clock yesterday morning. We are not complaining; we are explaining. When we take that into consideration, it seems to me that nothing but insult is meant by asking the Committee to meet his convenience. We are not here to obey the dictates of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; we are here to obey the best methods of business. We are not here to have it thrown at us that we are in the position mentally that we are not capable of considering this Clause. The Chancellor of the Exchequer may be speaking for the Members on his side, but if he is the sportsman that he is advertised to be, he will take this Clause now and let us fight it out fairly and squarely.