25 JUNE 1948, Page 5


THE House of Commons, which sees Mr. Churchill in varying aspects, saw and heard him at the top of his form in the debate on the Third Reading of the Representation of the People Bill on Wednesday. His speech might be described as rollicking, but for the solidity of its argument and the cogency of its logic. His obiter dicta drew roars of laughter from the Labour benches as well as his own. Of Mr. Morrison's conscience: " it reminded him of those road vehicles which bore a warning 'No load above five tons ' " ; of Mr. Ede's conscience: " Oscar Wilde once said he could resist every- thing except temptation " ; of the Scottish Universities by-election: " Out of five candidates all but one lost their deposits ; the indepen- dent' (pause) was Dr. Joad " (a voice: He lost his ticket, too) ; of Mr. Dalton: " there are some persons who welcome his return to

1 the Treasury Bench—to overstate the case " ; of the Secretary for Scotland: " I observe that the right hon. gentleman is not in his place ; no doubt special precautions were taken to keep him away." With it all Mr. Churchill argued convincingly and unanswerably that the recommendations of the Speaker's Conference, on the retention of university seats as on all other matters, were in honour binding on the Government and that they had been departed from only as a mean and shabby party manoeuvre. The pledge which the leader of the Opposition gave that if and when the Conservatives are restored to power they will immediately restore the university seats will undoubtedly decide the votes of many thousands of graduates at the next election. That may well lose the Government more seats than the twelve they are abolishing.

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