National Unionist Association of Conservative and.

The Constitutional year book online

. (page 52 of 77)
Online LibraryNational Unionist Association of Conservative andThe Constitutional year book → online text (page 52 of 77)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of the Factory Acts would not be altered. Bye-laws might be made to regulate
street trading by children under 16 and prohibiting it under 11, with the sanction of
the Home Office. — Read a first time. Mar. 4.

Mr. Akers-Douglas moved the 2nd R. of the Bill, which, he said, was intended to
protect the 150,CK)0 children engaged in employments to which the Mines Act and
the Factory Acts did not apply. — Agreed to after a short debate. — ^The Bill was then
referred to the Grand Committee on Trade. Mar. 24.

On return from the Grand Committee, Mr. Akers-Douglas proposed a new clause
to raise the age below which children are not to be employed in theatres, from 7 to
9 years. — Sir J. Gorst said that cheap child labour on the stage ought not to be
allowed. — After debate the clause, was carried by 139 to 116. — Mr. Broadhurst
then moved to raise the age to 12 years, and after debate it was agreed that the
minimum age should be fixed at 10 years. June 23.

On Report, Mr. Akers-Douglas moved to omit the provision inserted in Grand
Committee that no girl under 16 should be allowed to engage in street trading, and
to substitute directions to local authorities, when making bye-laws, to pay special
regard to the desirability of preventing such employment in places or under condi-
tions prejudicial to morality. — Sir J. Gorst and other members urged that street
trading by girls should be prohibited generally, with exceptions when expedient. —
The omission was carried by 178 to 98. — Other amendments were disposed of. July 3.

Mr. CoUings (L.U.) moved to enable the councils of small districts to make by-laws
for regulating the emplojrment of children. — ^Negatived by 190 to 36. July 22.

The Bill was subsequently read a 3rd time, and passed the ^d R. in the House
of Lords. Aug. 7.

L — In Committee, an amendment by the Archbishop of Canterbury generally to
prohibit street trading by girls under 16 was negatived by 46 to 14 ; and the Bill was
read a 3rd time and passed. Au^. 11.

See Statutes, 3 Edw. VII., cap. 45, post.

C — Coal Mines Regulation Bill. — Sir C. Dilke (L.) moved the 2nd R. of this
Bill, which, inter alia, established district boards to draw up special rules for the
prevention of dangerous accidents, prohibited the employment in mines of youths



Digitized by VjOOQIC



278 PARLIAMENTARY SUMMARY, 1903.

Q— Labour Qaestionfl — Coal Mimes Bboulation Bill — conUnusd,
under 18 for more than 8 hours a day, and employment below ground of any
persons below 18.-~Gol. Pilkington (C.) moved its rejection, as the changes proposed
would raise the price of coal very considerably. — ^Mr. J. Wilson (Durham) (L.) said
the miners of Durham and Northumberland could not support a Bill prohibiting the
employment of boys under 18. — ^Mr. Cochrane (L.TJ.), Under-Secv., stated that the
Govt, would treat the Bill as an open (question, but he considered its salient clauses
no improvement on the present practice. The restriction of boy labour was an
insidious attempt to sanction the principle of an eight hours day, which could not
be dealt with apart from other amendments. A proposal to make mines close
corporations could not be tolerated. — ^The Bill was rejected by 183 to 144. May 15.

pABUAiCBNTABY Bbpbbskntatign. — ^Mr. Crooks (Lab.) moved a resolution in favour
of payment of returning officers* oharses out of public funds, and of giving all
members a reasonable stipend. — Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman (L.) supported the
motion. — ^Lord Percy (C), for the Govt., said there was no general demand for paid
members, and that tne experience of the Colonies and of the United States was
not favourable to it. It would cost a quarter of a million, and might involve an
outlay of a miUion and a half. — ^The debate was adjourned. Mar. 31.

Penbhyn Quabbibs. — Mr. W. Jones (L.) moved the adjournment, to call atten-
tion to the dispute at the Penrhyn slate quarries and the failure of the Govt,
to apply the Conciliation Act. — ^Mr. Bryoe (L.) urged that the Act should be tried. —
Mr. G. Balfour (C), Pres. Bd. of Trade, said the Govt, intervention would not have
succeeded, and tnat Lord Penrhyn would have refused to accept the mediation of a
conciliator. The Act of 1896 was voluntary in its character, and could not be forced on
imwUling parties. — ^The motion was negatived by 157 to 127. Mar. 5.

Mr. Asquith (L.) moved a resolution condemning the inaction of the Govt, in
not intervening in the industrial dispute at Bethesda, and urging prompt action to
obtain a just and effectual settlement. He contended that this wasteful strugele
was a matter of national concern, and that the powers of the Board of Trade ou^t
to be used under the Conciliation Act of 1896. — ^Mr. G. Balfour asserted
that the dispute was local and did not affect the entire industry of the
country. The Board of Trade could not have intervened with success, being
unable to bring compulsion to bear upon the parties. Lord Penrhyn would not
receive an official conciliator, and the quarrymen did not apply for mediation until
their resources were getting low. The Act ^ave the Board' discretion in the matter,
and they could not force consent to conciliation on Lord Penrhyn. — Mr. Burt (L.)
said that Lord Penrhyn's refusal did not justify the Board's abstention from inter-
ference. — ^Mr. J. Lowther (C.) vindicated the action of Lord Penrhyn as that of a
generous man who was anxious to do justice; and Mr. Bromley-Davenport (C.) said
chat he insisted on the ri&^ht of every workman to address comphtints to the
manager, and on his own rignt to manage his quarries, which were open to unionists
and non-unionists alike. — Sir J. Qont (C.) said the Act of 1896 was a sham, and a
new Act should be passed ^ving the Board of Trade power to hear evidence on
oath and to report to the House. — Sir H. C. Bannerman said the object of the
motion was to expose the Board of Trade's avoidance of duty. Even if an attempt to
bring the parties together should fail, no harm could be done. Inquiry was wanted
in order that the facts might be ascertained. — Mr. A. Balfour said he did not
believe that anv effort made by the Board would have brought the parties together.
No one desired compulsory arbitration, and the Act had been useful in settling
96 disputes. Lord Penrhyn claimed that if there was to be a committee representing
the men, it must be drawn from all classes of workmen, and he could not be forced
to find employment for the strikers by dismissinff men who had remained in his

«mploy. Controversies of this kind were unsuitable to the House of Commons.

The motion was rejected by 316 to 182— majority 134. ^p/, 27

Railways. — Mr. Caldwell (L.) moved a resolution censuring the Board of Trade
for not having exercised adequately its powers under the Hours of Railway Servants
Act and the Railwajrs (Prevention of Accidents) Act.— Mr. G. Balfour denied that
the censure was justified, and stated that there had been a marked diminution of
accidents in recent years. Additional inspectors would be appointed when required
—The motion was negatived by 161 to 126. ^^^ g*

Shop Hottbs. — Mr. Price (L.) moved a resolution in favour of giving powers to
local authorities to regulate the closing of shops and to limit the hours of shoo
labour. — Mr. Akers-Douglas (C.) agreed to the resolution, which was passed. Mar 4.

L — Lord Bibblesdale (L.) moved the 2nd R. of a Bill dealing with the closing hours
of shops. — ^The Lord Chancellor moved the adjournment of the debate, which -was
carried by 35 to 33. — Lord Avebury (L.U.) then moved the 2nd R. of his Bill on the
subject^ which proposed to empower the local authority, on a memorial from the
shopkeepers, to close shops, with one or two exceptions, at a named hour ; and also
to fix a half-holiday. — After a short debate the 2nd R. was agreed to. '/ Mar 12

A motion by Lord Wemyss (C.) to adjourn on going into Committee was
negatived without a division. — ^In Committee, on CI. 1, an amendt. / by Lonl
Ribblesdale to omit the requirement of a two-thirds majority of tr^aders^ir
negatived by 57 to 21.— The Bill passed through Committee. XMar ^?

Digitized by VjOOJ ^IC



PABLIAMENTART SUMMABT, 1903. 279

L— labour Qaestions— Shop Hours — continued.

On the 5rd B., Lord Wemyss (G.) moyed an amendt. against interference with
freedom of contract and the liberty of labour of full-grown persons. — Negatived by
43 to 19, and the Bill was read a 3rd time and passed. Apl. 28.

C— Trade Dispxttes Bill. — ^Mr. Shaokleton (Lab.) moved the 2nd B. of this Bill, which
proposed to legalize peaceful picketing for obtaining or conomunicating information
during trade disputes, or persuading any person to work or abstain from working,
and to free the unions from civil liability for aots which a single individual oonld
commit with impunity. — ^Mr. Galloway (C.) moved the rejection of the Bill on the
ground that it dealt only with a few of the points affecting trade disputes, and
advocated an inquiry into the whole subject by Boyal Commission or other-
wise. — ^Mr. Akeiis-Douglas (C), Home Secy., said the Grovt. could not support the
Bill, because it would make much greater changes than it purported, it would
protect pickets against proceedings for nuisance under the common law, and strikers
collecting a crowd and obstructing peaceful individuals, or calling at houses in
excessive numbers, could not be proceeded against. Individual liberty and
public order were thus endangered in favour of one particular dan. The Govt,
oefore agreeing to any fresh legislation on trade disputes, held that there should
be a fuU inquiry, and one not by a committee of the House, but a tribunal above
political considerations. — ^Mr. Asquith (L.) said this was an attempt to shelve the
question. He recognized that a general investigation of the law was desirable, and
tnat a preliminary one by experts might be useful, but in the meantime the House
ahould deal with grievances as they arose. The Bill did too little rather than too
much. He did not agree that it would legalise any picketing which could be
regarded as a nuisance. The right of combination had oeen largely curtailed by
decisions, but its exercise was the only alternative to industrial anarchy. The BiU
would meet admitted defects. — ^Mr. Haldane (L.) said he should approve of an
inquiry by experts, but not of a roving inquiry.— Mr. A. Balfour said tnat the Law
officers held that the Bill would effect a very injurious change in the law, ai^d would
legalise intimidation. The question presenteid many difficulties. The classes requiring
protection were the small employers and the unorganized labourers. Theee eonditioni,
which did not exist 30 years ago, justified inquiry. The Bill only dealt with a fragment
•of the question, and if it passed the 2nd K. would make no further progress. — ^The
amendt. was carried by 246 to 226. May 8.

Trade Unions. — Mr. Pemberton (C.) moved for the appointment of a Com-
mittee to inquire into the law regulating trade unions. — A i^ort and inconclusive debate
took place, and the motion was withdrawn. Mar. 4.

The XJnemploted. — ^In the debate on the Address, Mr. K.. Hardie (Soc.) moved
an amendt. censuring the Govt, for not promisin|^ legislation empowering local
authorities to acouire land and embark in undertakmgs on which the unemployed
might be profitably set to work. Feb. 18.

Mr. Colhngs (L.U.) advocated the application of the Small Holdings Act, which he
showed had been, in Worcestershire, most successful. — Sir J. Gorst (C.) spoke
in favour of labour bureaux, and the employment of wastrels on farms managed by
local authorities. — ^Mr. Long (C), Pres. Local Grovt. Bd., said that there was no
evidence of general destitution such as to justify the Govt, in taking extreme
measures. There was serious want of employment, but its extent was exaggerated.
Large numbers of men were quite unfit for labour on farms. Labour bureaux had
not succeeded to any large extent. Men who were accustomed to one class of work
oould not be employed on the land in occupations' which would be quite new to
them. He believed that local authorities were fully alive to the situation, and he
knew of no new powers which it might be desirable to give them. His department
would continue to watch the conditions of labour in the country very closely. — ^The
amendt. was rejected by 201 to 161. Feb. 19.

Workmen's Compensation Act. — Mr. W. Jones (L.) moved a resolution in favour
of extending and amending the Workmen's Compensation Act. — ^Mr. Akers-Douglas
<C.), Home Secy., said that the benefits of the Act were now universally recog-
nized, and the insurance rates had been extensively reduced. The Govt, would
next Session be prepared both to extend and amend the Act. Compensation should
date from the occurrence or the accident, and the Act might be extended so as to
include all industrial employments. — ^Mr. Asquith said these assurances were very
satisfactory. All classes of workmen should be given the benefits of the Act, and
all restrictions should be swept away. — ^Motion agreed to. May 13.

Land Qneflrtions. — Land Yalxtbs Assessment and Rating Bill. — ^Dr. Macnamar
(L.) moved the 2nd B. of the Land Values Assessment and Bating Bill, to provide
local authorities in urban areas with a new source of revenue by giving them power
to levy a rate on the capital value of all land, whether occupied or not, as distinct
from the value of buildings. — ^Mr. Boscawen (C.) moved its rejection on the ground
that these values were rated already, and that it would be unjust to impose further
'burdens on them. — Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman said the principle of tne Bill was
warmly approved in the country. Land which was increased!^ in value through
municipal expenditure ought to pay a special oontribution. Land ought not to be



Digitized by VjOOQIC



280 PARLIAMENTARY SUMMARY, 1903.

Q — jLand Qnestions — Land Values Assessment and Rating Bill — continued.
thus kept out of the building market, and the development of prosperous com-
munities discouraged. — Mr. G. Lawson (C), for the Govt., said the grievance of the
ratepayers was that only one form of property was assessed for local burdens, and
this would be aggravated .by the Bill, which also would encourage extravagance.
Occupied houses and land were already fully rated, and to rate unoccupied
hereditamehjis was unjust, and would check building. Land in or near towns was
not held back by owners without good reasons, and they ought not to be forced by
special taxation to sell at low value. — ^The 2nd R. was rejected by 183 to 170. Mar. 27.
C — ^Licensingr. — Compensation. — Mr. Butcher (C.) moved the 2nd R. of a Bill
ij provide compensation when licences are suppressed for reasons other than
misconduct, the amount to represent the fair value of licence and goodwill, and to
be provided by the trade, the number of licences suppressed being limited m pro-
portion to the amount of compensation. — Mr. Whittaker (L.) moved the rejection of
the Bill, which he described as an imposture, and as seriously limiting the justices'
powers. — Dr. Hutchinson (L.) said he was pledged to vote for compensation, but
could not support the provisions of this Bill. — Mr. Long (C), Pres. Local Govt.
Bd., said the magistrates had a strict legal right to refuse to renew licences even
where there had been no misconduct, but the renewal was customary, and in
course of years had approximated to positive law. In 1890 only 43 licences
were so refused, but in 1902 the number rose to 241. This fact accounted
for the introduction of the Bill. Its supporters advocated compensation because
beneficent temperance reform would not be promoted by unjust methods. The
machinery of the Bill was faulty, but the Govt, would support its principle. —
Mr. Asquith (L.) said it would practically annihilate the discretion which the law
gave to magistrates, and its machinery was unworkable. He argued that reduction
of licences might be facilitated by some form of solatium payable to the trade by
t.ie trade ; but any scheme ought to leave the magistrates' discretion quite free. —
Mr. A. Balfour said this discretion must always be fettered unless an unlimited
fund were provided for compensation. The question before the House was whether
or not something ought to be done for those who were deprived of an interest,
which, if not property, was taxed, rated, bought, and sold, as property. — Sir H.
Campbell-Bannerman (L.) said the Govt, ought to deal with the question, and not
ask the House to support a Bill admittedly very faulty. — Mr. J. Chamberlain
said that the opponents of compensation in any form were justified in voting against
the Bill, and that those who approved of compensation were bound to vote for it.
Members who favoured a solatium and yet voted against the measure, were wanting
in logic— The 2nd R. was carried by 266 to 133. Apl. 24,

L — In reply to a question by Lord Burton (L.U.), Lord Halsbury (C), Ld.
Chancellor, said he deprecated any resolution by magistrates as to refusing renewals
of licences in pursuance of a pre-arranged policy. Magistrates were bound to be
guided by the state of facts established before them in each case, and their dis-
cretion should be exercised judicially, and with reference to the real needs of the
district. Mar. 16.

C — On the motion for the Ealster adjournment, Mr. LI. George (L.) called attention
to a speech by Mr. Balfour on the refusal of magistrates to renew public-house
licences in cases involving no misconduct. He said it was an attempt to interfere
with the administration of the law and a dangerous precedent. — Mr. Balfour said he
had always maintained that the withdrawal of licences should be accompanied with
compensation, where no offence had been committed. Licensing magistrates did not
sit as a Court, and he deplored the policy which they had pursued. — Sir H. Campbell-
Bannerman protested against the speech as improper in an Executive officer. Apl. 8.

I.'^NKEEPERs' Liability Bill. — Sir B. Gurdon (L.) moved the 2nd R. of a
Bill to enforce on innkeepers the liability to supply the reasonable demands of
travellers for board, lodging, and refreshment. The Bill was stated to be in the
interests of cyclists and others requiring food and non-alcoholic drinks. — ^The 2nd R.
was carried by 120 to 16, and referred to the Standing Committee on Trade (118 to
13). Mar. 6.

Licensing. — See also under Ireland and Scotland. •

Lighthouses Bell. — See under Shipping.

Locomotives on Highways Bill. — See under Motor Cars Bill.

London and G-lobe Finance Corporation.— In the debate on the
Address, Mr. G. Lambert (L.) moved an amendt. expressing regret that a pr(i%-
cution had not been instituted against the directors of the London and G.( ns
Finance Corporation, who were charged, by the Official Receiver in Bankruptcy,
With fraud. — Sir R. Finlay (L.U.), Atty.-Gen., denied that the absence of action by
the Public Prosecutor was due to the connection of exalted personages with the
case. No one could defend the transactions referred to, and they ought to be
probed to the bottom. Although he had decided not to apply the criminal law, it
was open to anybody else to do so, and a fund was being raised for the purpose.
He could not, therefore, make a detailed statement, lest it should prejudice the



Digitized by VjOOQIC



PARLIAMENTARY SUMMARY^ 1903. 281

Q— ]London and G-lobe Finance CorportitiojL— continued.
case, but at the proper time he would state fully the reasons for his action, which
had been based on the best advice he could obtain. — Sir B. Beid (L.) said the House
ought not to overrule the decision of the Atty.-Gen., whose honour nobody ques-
tioned. — Sir F. Banbury (C.) and others urged that there should be a public
prosecution for the issue of a fraudulent balance-sheet. — Sir E. Carson (C), Soh.-
Gen., said the legal question was by no means simple, and a suqpessful prosecution
was not certain. — Mr. A. Balfour added that the state of the law was defective, and
that the Govt, would bring a Bill to amend it. — ^The amendt. vas negatived by
166 to 115. Feb. 19.

L— jLondon Questions. — ^Allotments Bill. — Lord Carrington (L.) moved the 2nd
R. of a Bill to facilitate the provision of allotments by the London County Council. —
Negatived by 50 to 11. July 7.

C — ^*Education Bill, London. — Sir W. Anson (L.U.), Secy. Board of Education,
introduced the Govt. Education Bill for London. He said the London boroughs
could not be put in the same position as county boroughs under the Act of
1902, but they could not be ignored. There must be one educational authority,
but the plan of the direct popular election was open to several objections, which he
stated. At the School Board elections the average percentage of those who voted
was only 25. The Bill would abolish the School Board, and link education with
municipal government. The London County Council would be placed nearly in the
position in which county councils were placed in 1902, and would have the rating
powers of a county borough under Part 2 of the Act. It would have funds for
extending technical instruction. The relation of voluntary schools to the local
authority would be the same as under the Act of 1902. The management of the
Council schools would be entrusted to the borough councils, subject to the general
direction of the education authority, which would have complete financial control.
The former would appoint and dismiss teachers, take care of the buildings, and
select the sites for new schools, exercising the management through committees
consisting, wholly or partly, of persons selected from outside. In cases of dispute
the Board of Education would decide, and if a borough council neglected its duties
the local authority could assume the management. A committee of the County
Council would be formed, to which the City, and Westminster, would each send two
members, and each borough one member. Upon this Committee women would sit,
and the voluntary schools, the University of London, technical institutions, and
other bodies would be represented, by 25 members in all. Provision was also made
for experts and for five members of the existing School Board. The County Council
would have 36 members, the total being 97. May 1, 1904, was named for the com-
mencement of the Act.— -Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman at once condemned the proposals
in the Bill, and charged the Govt, with attempting to " de-democratize " every institu-
tion. No demand for the abolition of the School Board had come from the ratepayers or
parents. The Grovt. were not municipalizing control by constituting a committee ot
97 members, of whom only 36 represented the County Council directly. He ridiculed
the proposal to hand over the management of schools to the borough councils as
contrary to common sense and to the public interest. — Sir J. Gorst (C.) said the
County Council would exercise supreme control, as it had the power of the purse.
The Bill was distinctly democratic. — Dr. Macnamara (L.) declared that too great a
burden was being placed upon it. The borough councils moreover ought to have the
duty of selecting sites for Board Schools and appointing teachers. — Mr. W. F. Smith (C.)
said the County Council ought to have a clear majority on the Education Committee.
— Mr. Gray (C.) said the Bill ought to be withdrawn or materially modified. — Sir W.
Anson replied that the County Council would control the expenditure and the entire
educational policy of London. — ^The introduction of the Bill was agreed to by 150
to 77. Apt. 7.

On the 2nd R. of the Bill, Mr. Buxton (L.) moved its rejection, chiefly criticising the
proposal to give the borough councils a large representation on the education
committee. The London Council ought to be the supreme authority, and the boroughs
ought not to have the enormous power of appointing and dismissing teachers. —
Dr. Macnamara (L.) seconded the amendt. — Mr. A. Balfour said the object of the
Bill was merely to apply the principles of the Act of 1902 to London. There must
be one rating authority for London, but that authority could not deal with the
principles of education as well as details, and delegation to the boroughs was
necessary. The borough representatives would be members of the statutory com-
mittee, which was not, however, the rating authority. Was there to be an ad hoc
authority to discharge every new duty that might fall on London? The principles



Online LibraryNational Unionist Association of Conservative andThe Constitutional year book → online text (page 52 of 77)