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than 1 per cent.; also that he was paying over 4.71. per cent. for the weekly renewal of Treasury bills against an average of 31. 78. Id. paid by the Labour Government when in office. Mr. Churchill replied to the charge the next day, putting quite a different construction on the facts. Dealing with the latter count first, he pointed out that the price paid for the renewal of the Treasury bills was no index to the national credit, as it depended chiefly on the state of trade and industry. In 1919 it had averaged 4 per cent., in 1920, 6 per cent. ; yet there was no deterioration of national credit in that year. As to the conversion of loans, he stated that the Government had so far during the year converted 133,000,000l. out of 178,000,000l. maturing, but every loan placed in the market in conversion had been so placed as to show a slight improvement in the Government position as a borrower over any previous loan. The only exception was the 3 per cent. War Loan, and the reason why a higher interest had had to be offered on this was that it had been raised at the very beginning of the war on terms which even then did not attract the general investor, and which had never since been attained by any Government issue.

Towards the end of October the Home Secretary appointed a Committee to inquire into the law and practice regarding solicitation, prostitution, and other offences against public decency, and to report what changes, if any, they considered desirable. The Committee owed its origin chiefly to the interest shown in the subject by members of Parliament, some of whom had recently drafted private Bills on the matter, and to the representations made to the Minister by a number of bodies interested in social reform. It so happened that just before the Committee met two cases had taken place in the police courts in which men of excellent character had been wrongfully convicted of misconduct in the streets on the uncorroborated evidence of the police. The quashing of the verdicts in a higher court caused public confidence in the police to be somewhat shaken, and the Home Secretary asked the Committee to inquire into cases of this kind also. The public outcry, however, caused magistrates immediately to be more careful in relying on the unsupported testimony of the police.

Shortly before Parliament met, the position in the Cabinet vacated by Lord Robert Cecil, in his dual capacity of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and British representative at the League of Nations, was filled by Mr. R. McNeill, the UnderSecretary to the Treasury, who at the same time was raised to the peerage with the title of Lord Cushendun. His place at the Treasury was taken by Mr. A. M. Samuel, from the Department of Overseas Trade. In spite of its announcement earlier in the year, the Government had not yet abolished this Department-nor indeed the two other threatened Ministries-and it now showed that it had no immediate intention of doing so by

filling the place vacated by Mr. Samuel with Captain D. Hacking, Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Home Office, whose place was in turn taken by Sir V. Henderson.

Shortly after his promotion (November 4), Mr. McNeill made a speech at Canterbury in which he defined his attitude towards the League of Nations. He said his new duties in connexion with the League, which were the most important of his office, would involve a heavy responsibility, but on the other hand they might enable him to contribute in however small a degree to banishing the menace of war and making peace more durable and secure the most useful and honourable work he could imagine. He was conscious of the difficulty of following Lord Cecil, of whom there was no more sincere admirer than himself. He believed, however, that the English people of all parties were quite as convinced as Lord Cecil himself of the necessity of the limitation of armaments by international agreement. He had, he said, not often spoken on the subject of the League of Nations for a definite reason-namely, that he held that the interests of the League and its work were not promoted by making them the theme of oratory at public meetings. There was no party in the country opposed to the League; public opinion had accepted and supported the League from the first and required no persuasion. On the other hand, there was a danger of reaction being caused by an excessive output of rhetorical eulogy. It would be his aim to the best of his ability to enhance the prestige of the League of Nations and increase its usefulness, but he would not forget that for a British Minister the first duty was to maintain British interests, though he did not believe that those interests ought ever to be at variance with the League of Nations, if they were supported in a reasonable and conciliatory spirit.

In his fifth consecutive speech at the annual Guildhall banquet on November 9, Mr. Baldwin gave an encouraging review of the international situation. He declared himself to be an optimist because he was a realist. When he compared the state of Europe to-day with what it was at the time of the fall of the Coalition, or at the time when he succeeded Mr. Bonar Law as Prime Minister, he noted a profound change for the better. In this work he claimed some share for his own country, but the greatest credit was due to the leaders in France and Germany who had rendered the rapprochement possible. He called on statesmen in the Balkans, in Central and Eastern Europe to follow the example of M. Briand and Herr Stresemann. Of Russia he could not speak so hopefully, but he could say that whenever the Russians were prepared to observe the ordinary decencies of international intercourse they would find England ready to meet them in that spirit of liberality and goodwill which inspired her whole foreign policy.

CHAPTER IV.

CLOSE OF THE SESSION.

PARLIAMENT reassembled on November 8 to take up the thread of legislation at the point at which it had been dropped more than three months earlier. The interval had produced no material change in the political situation. The resignation of Lord Cecil had forced the Government to define more clearly its attitude to disarmament, but had not produced any kind of Cabinet crisis. The National Farmers' Union had continued its sniping at the Government with ever-growing bitterness, but the revolt which was unquestionably commencing among Conservative agricultural voters had not, so far, spread to members of Parliament. The Economy Group within the Conservative Party had occasionally harried the Premier and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but on the whole had been satisfied with their assurances. In his speech at Edinburgh the Prime Minister had reviewed the position of the Government with his habitual complacency; and he had all the more justification for doing so as the seasonal rise in the unemployment figures which usually set in towards the end of August had so far not manifested itself.

The programme for the session was a heavy one, as it included the new Unemployment Bill in all its stages and the report and third reading of the Films Bill, the Landlord and Tenant Bill, and the Local Authorities Bill-all measures which might be expected. to give rise to much controversy. At the beginning of the proceedings Mr. Baldwin, in accordance with the usual custom, moved a resolution claiming practically the whole time of the House for Government business. The Opposition leaders demurred to this; Mr. MacDonald said that the Labour Party was anxious to raise debates on unemployment, the coal position, foreign policy, and the Washington Eight Hours Convention, and Mr. Lloyd George added agriculture as a subject that urgently required to be discussed. The Prime Minister admitted that these subjects merited discussion, but could only promise that the Government would do its best to find time for them; and the motion was then carried by a large majority.

The legislative work of the session was preceded by an announcement of the first importance from the Imperial point of view. At question time the Prime Minister informed the House that, for reasons which he would not then specify, the Government had decided to anticipate the provision of the Indian Reforms Act of 1919 which required, at the expiration of ten years from the passing of the Act, the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into its working, and to appoint the Commission forthwith, some eighteen months before the statutory date.

gave the names of the members of the proposed Commission. The announcement lacked the charm of novelty, as the Government's intentions, much to its own annoyance and that of Parliament, had already leaked out and been published in the Press. As the Secretary for India said, however, in his statement in the House of Lords, the leakage, though regrettable, was not calamitous.

As the ante-dating of the Commission involved an amendment to the Indian Reforms Act, a Bill to that end was introduced immediately, and members reserved their comments till its second reading. This was first taken in the House of Lords on November 15. Lord Birkenhead, in moving that the Act be amended so as to allow of the appointment forthwith of a Commission to study the Indian Constitution, informed the House that since his accession to office three years before, he had been often pressed from many quarters to accelerate the appointment of the Commission before the expiration of the statutory period of ten yearsa period which was not at all sacrosanct. He had so far resisted the appeals, as the atmosphere had not hitherto appeared favourable, but he had noticed a distinct, if slight change of tone and temper in India in the last two or three years, and he thought that the hour had come when the appointment of the Commission might properly and without danger to the public be made. Lord Birkenhead was preaching to the converted, as all parties were agreed that the Commission should be set up without delay; Lord Reading, in fact, urged him to press all the stages of the Bill through the House with the utmost speed, in order that they might get, as soon as possible, to the general debate on Indian policy which, in his opinion, was urgently required to enlighten Indian public opinion on the true nature and purpose of the Commission, and counteract the prejudice which was being created in India against that body.

After passing through the House of Lords without further discussion, the Bill came before the Commons on November 21. Some opposition was offered to it by certain extremists on the Labour benches, led by the Indian member, Mr. Saklatvala, but the Opposition leaders supported it, and it soon became law.

It remained for Parliament to approve the personnel and scope of the Commission, as fixed by the Government. It was proposed by the latter that the Commission should consist of seven members drawn from both Houses of Parliament, including Sir John Simon as Chairman. A great outcry had already been raised in India against the omission of Indians from the Commission, and this fact lent a peculiar importance to the debates in Parliament on its appointment. The Secretary for India made his promised statement on the subject on November 24. It was the object of the Government, he said, to obtain an impartial report on the working of the Indian Constitution, and it seemed to them that

a Parliamentary committee consisting of members without any preconceived prejudices on the subject was the best body for the purpose. Theoretically, no doubt, it would be advisable to have Indians on the Commission, but there were overwhelming difficulties in the way of such a course, partly on account of the fact that nearly all prominent Indians had already committed themselves to definite views on the subject, partly on account of the great number of sections of Indian opinion, each of which would want to be represented; and this could not be done without making the Commission unwieldy. It was intended that the Commission, when it visited India, should establish contact with a committee established by the Central Legislature there to confer with the Commission. The latter would in due course report to Parliament, but they would take no step which would lead to the risk of their having two reports proceeding from two Commissions. After a brief debate, in which Lord Reading expressed regret that the Minister's speech had not been made earlier to allay feeling in India, the House gave its unanimous approval to the appointment of the Commission.

The debate in the House of Commons on the appointment of the Commission took place on the next day (November 25), and like that in the House of Lords was marked by appeals from all sides to Indian opinion not to boycott the Commission. The Under-Secretary of India, in introducing the resolution, laid stress on the fact that the Commission for India would have a free hand, and said that its composition warranted the belief that it would meet the Indian Committee in a highly sympathetic spirit. In order further to placate Indian opinion, he pointed out that the Indian Central Legislature would be given an opportunity, after the Commission had presented its report, to send a deputation to England to discuss matters with the Parliamentary Committee which was to draw up a scheme of reform. Mr. MacDonald, on behalf of the Labour Party, supported the resolution, but expressed regret that there had not been more previous consultation between the Government and representative Indians for the purpose of clearing away misunderstandings; in this respect the mistake of the Geneva Naval Conference had been repeated. He urged the Commission with the utmost solemnity to treat the Indian Committee on a footing of perfect equality, as being like itself the representative of a national Parliament. Constitutionally and historically, he admitted, there could be no doubt that, as the Under-Secretary for India had pointed out, the sole responsibility for deciding upon the issues to be raised by the inquiry rested upon Great Britain; but he thought the less that aspect of the case was emphasised the better. What should be emphasised was the fact that this Parliament was sincerely determined that there should be no sense of inferiority and no relationship of inferiority imposed upon the Indian Committee. The

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