Hardinge Stanley Giffard, 1st Earl of Halsbury PC, QC (1823-1921)
During the crisis over the bill that became the Parliament Act of 1911, Lord Halsbury was one of the principal leaders if not the principal leader of the rebel faction of Tory peers that resolved on all out opposition to the government's bill.
Lord Halsbury is known to have said at a meeting of Conservative peers on the 21 July 1911: "I will divide even if I am alone."
On August 8th of that year, the House of Lords resolved:
That in the opinion of this House, the advice given to His Majesty by His Majesty’s Ministers, whereby they obtained from His Majesty a pledge that a sufficient number of Peers would be created to pass The Parliament Bill in the shape in which it left the House of Commons, is a gross violation of constitutional liberty, whereby, among many other evil consequences, the people will be precluded from again pronouncing upon the policy of Home Rule.Two days later Their Lordships yielded with a dissentient, the dissentient having the following justification:
- Because it destroys the balance of the Constitution itself.
- Because it deals with the problem of Constitutional responsibility, but as a party measure.
- Because it is destructive and not constructive.
- Because it abrogates the authority of the House of Lords without substituting anything for it.
- Because it releases the House of Commons from all substantial control.
- Because it thus establishes in these realms, contrary to all the traditions of this country and the experience of all great Constitutional Powers, a Single-Chamber Government.
- Because it preserves this House in a nominal existence so as to obscure from the people of this country the absolute and unrestrained power of the House of Commons.
- Because it is avowedly brought forward as a means of carrying a further Constitutional measure of the first importance without referring that measure to the people of the United Kingdom, who have twice expressed their repugnance to it.
- Because the method of carrying it is almost as great a strain on the Constitution as the measure itself.
- Because the whole transaction tends to bring discredit on our country and its institutions.