HC Deb 13 June 1834 vol 24 cc425-7
Lord Althorp,

before he moved the Order of the Day for the Committee on the Poor-laws' Amendment Bill, begged to call the attention of hon. Members to a proposition he desired to make connected with the business of the House. Though it had been settled that the mornings of Tuesday and Thursday should be set apart for the Committee on the Poor-laws' Amendment Bill, it did not appear to him that any very great progress had been made in the Bill during the morning sittings. It had also been determined that, during the present Session, Orders of the Day should on Wednesday take precedence in the order in which they stood on the paper; and as yet no request had been made to any hon. Member to postpone the consideration of any order fixed for Wednesdays, for the purpose of allowing the Government business to be brought on. Under these circumstances, he was induced to propose, that Government orders should in future have precedence on Wednesdays, as they had on Mondays and Fridays, with the understanding, that henceforth Government would not ask for precedence on the mornings of Tuesday and Thursday.

Sir Robert Peel

had no objection to allowing the Government to take precedence on Wednesday; but he wished to impress upon the noble Lord the absolute necessity of fixing some immediate day for the discussion of those measures which were of the most pressing public importance. The right hon. Gentleman opposite, on the 20th of February last, called the attention of the House to that part of his Majesty's Speech which referred to tithes in Ireland; and, though it was now the 13th of June, being a lapse of no less than four months, nothing definite had been done, notwithstanding the great public anxiety which existed on that subject. He therefore did hope that, whatever arrangement might be made with respect to the Poor-laws' Amendment Bill, the noble Lord would fix some early day in the course of next week on which the discussion on that question should come on. Another very important measure, relating to the admission of Dissenters into the Universities, stood on the paper for Monday next, and the general impression was, that the discussion on that Bill would then come on.

Colonel Davies

said, that the discussion of the principle of any measure must necessarily, by consuming the time of the House, interrupt the proceedings of the Committee on the Poor-laws' Amendment Bill. He, therefore, thought it desirable to finish the Committee on that Bill before any new business was taken up.

Sir Edward Knatchbull

said, that if it was the general understanding that Government Orders should take precedence on Wednesdays, no other measures but those introduced by Government would have any chance of being discussed.

Mr. George

Wood said, he should be prepared to bring forward the Bill for the admission of Dissenters into the Universities in the morning sitting of Tuesday next.

Mr. Goulburn

objected to bringing forward so important a Bill as that mentioned by the hon. Member in a morning sitting. It was not to be expected that public business could commence before one o'clock, and at three o'clock the sitting must necessarily terminate.

Sir James Scarlett

said, that if those who had the control of that House wished to exclude professional men, they would proceed with public business in the morning. He did not think the plan of doing business in the morning any improvement on the old practice.

Mr. O'Connell

thought the House was already sufficiently pestered with lawyers, not to postpone the public convenience for their accommodation. It was extraordinary, that any set of gentlemen, however respectable they might be, should think that the House ought to prefer their particular interests to the public business. They ought to recollect, that many hon. Gentlemen in that House were obliged to come from the remote parts of Ireland and Scotland to attend their duties there. In his opinion, the House would never properly perform the business of legislation until it sat by day instead of by night.

Sir James Scarlett

was sure, that if the hon. and learned Gentleman's proposition of sitting in the morning were agreed to, the House would not be less pestered than at present with lawyers; but then they would be exclusively Irish lawyers.

Mr. Robinson

admitted, that the noble Lord was entitled to every indulgence for carrying on the business of the Government; but he thought that some means should be adopted to prevent so large a mass of business from being thrown into the arena for discussion on every evening. It was a common thing to see twenty Orders of the Day and as many notices of motion fixed for one evening, and for a succession of evenings, though it was well known that a twentieth part of them could not be gone through. It was shameful to have the business of any deliberative assembly carried on in that manner. Much of the inconvenience would be obviated, if Ministers would bring on the public business at an earlier period of the Session.

Lord Althorp

did not see that Ministers were to blame. The estimates were brought forward at an early period, and occupied the House nearly the whole of the time, or at least a considerable portion of it, until Easter; and the other business of the Government was brought forward as soon as possible after.

Lord Morpeth

thought, that these complaints were rather hard on the Government, one party complaining that the Government did nothing, and another section objecting that it did too much. No arrangement to save the time of the House and advance the despatch of business would be of any avail, unless hon. Gentlemen agreed to a curtailment of their frequent addresses to the House.