18 MAY 1912, Page 1

The debate on the second reading of the Welsh Disesta.

blishment Bill was opened in the Commons by Mr. F. E. Smith. He met the argument of the practical unanimity of the Welsh Parliamentary demand by pointing out that on the basis of proportional representation the Liberal majority in Wales would be reduced to ten. At the last election many voters were moved by other issues, and in industrial South Wales the question was .absolutely dead. The first reading was carried by the aid of the Nationalists, whose votes would not be at the disposal of the Government under any Federal system in the world, and who were not governed by any man- date from their constituents. There was no genuine desire for Disestablishment. Members opposite only cared for Disen- dowment. But if the Government held that endowment was a danger to a Church, what view did they take of the de- sperate efforts of the Calvinistic Methodists and the Baptists to obtain endowments P On behalf of his party and the Church he flung back the Government's concessions : "If you offer us 19s. lid. in the pound we will refuse it. You may take this money if you dare and if you can, but you shall take it all ; you shall never say in extenuation that under duress we consented to your taking it or any portion of it."