• U.S.

BRITISH EMPIRE: Parliament’s Week: Apr. 13, 1925

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House of Commons: ¶E. Thurtle (Labor) hurtled an amendment to the Army estimates through the stiff air of the House. He wanted the death sentence in the Army abolished. After a mild debate, in which invidious comparisons were made between Home and Dominion soldiers, the House voted “No” by 320 to 156 votes. ¶Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill was asked why he had permitted the Government’s de-cision to issue a new conversion loan of $150,000,000 to leak into the City. Mr. Churchill cleared himself by stating that a permanent and non-partisan Treasury official had investigated the leak, found nothing. The House was mollified. ¶A Conservative, name omitted in cable despatches, asked Foreign Secretary Austen Chamberlain if any attempt had been made to collect the British debts repudiated by the Southern states of the U. S. after the Civil War.* CHAMBERLAIN : “No.”

LADY ASTOR, Conservative: “Now that those states have gone prohibitionist, is it not very likely they will have more money to pay their debts?”

CHAMBERLAIN : “I hope my noble friend will apply her persuasive argu-ments to the Legislatures and Governors of those states. It is a fact, I see no prospect of making representations with any chance of success. The Government of the United States has no control over those states.”

¶A private bill was introduced to provide one week’s annual holiday with pay for all employed persons. The introducer pointed out that some firms granted annual holidays without pay, others with pay, still others no holidays at all. House of Lords:

¶Reform of the House of Lords moved another step when Lord Birkenhead, Secretary of State for India, proposed that membership of the House be reduced from 700 to 300. The chief features of his proposal, which received considerable support:

1) 130 Peers to be chosen among themselves.

2) 120 Peers to be selected automatically (method not indicated) for their high “political, administrative or military” ability.

3) 50 Peers or Commoners to be nominated by the Prime Minister of the day to be called the “Lords of Parliament.” They would have no hereditary rank unless they were peers of the realm.

4) The reform to be effected within the scope of the 1911 Parliament Act.

5) A committee of six, comprised of an equal number from each House and chairmaned by a Speaker of either House, to certify a money bill.* 6) Ministers of the Crown to be entitled to speak in either House. (This would enable peers again to become Premiers, which is now contrary to practice.)

The noble Lord went on to say that, in the advent of a Labor Cabinet, it would have representation in the Upper House.

¶Lords Banbury and Lambourne sought to introduce a bill to prevent vivisection of living dogs. The bill was defeated by 77 votes to 8 on the ground that vivisection experiments were of the greatest value to science and therefore to the human race.

*The 14th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, Sec. iv, says: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection and rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.” — The House of Lords has no effective power over money bills so certified by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

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