HC Deb 12 May 1853 vol 127 cc216-8

said, he was anxious to know what course the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer intended to pursue with respect to this Bill?


said, that the Resolution relating to the Excise duties had been passed by the House in the usual manner, for the purpose of enabling the duties to be charged, and also for the purpose of preventing any confusion that might take place with reference to the transaction upon the part of the producer and of the consumer. It was understood, however, that the final judgment of the House in regard to those duties would remain entirely unaffected by that Resolution. The next question which arose was, whether that judgment should be given upon the second reading of the Bill, or when the House went into Committee upon it? The hon. and gallant Member for Londonderry (Captain Jones) had stated his intention of taking the sense of the House upon that part of the measure which had reference to Ireland, but had omitted to mention at what stage of the proceedings he would do so. His (the Chancellor of the Exchequer's) duty would be, if the hon. and gallant Gentleman should decide upon taking the sense of the House upon going into Committee upon the Bill, to move that the second reading should take place that evening. If, however, the hon. Member should prefer entering upon the discussion when the Bill was being read a second time, of course the second reading must be postponed, and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would make such arrangements as would secure a full opportunity for its being canvassed. He was of opinion, nevertheless, tha6 it would greatly facilitate the progress of public business if hon. Members would allow the Bill to be read a second time. Its provisions could afterwards be fully discussed upon the occasion of going into Committee upon it. He wished, however, to pursue that course with respect to the measure which would best suit the convenience of the House. He should take that opportunity of giving a notice relating to another subject which was before the House, namely, the Resolutions respecting the assessed taxes. It appeared to him that it would be for the convenience of the House, as well as greatly for the convenience of parties out of doors, if there was a general disposition in the House to pass those Resolutions pro formâ,—he meant in the same way as had been done with regard to the spirit duties, without any one being considered committed to the plan, so that he might be allowed at once to introduce the Bill and take the discussion afterwards. The reason why he made this suggestion to the House was this—that the whole question in this case turned on the amount and nature of the exemptions which the House might be disposed to introduce. If the House was disposed to introduce a very great number of exemptions, then it might become questionable whether the measure ought to be proceeded with. The measure proceeded on the principle of reducing, simplifying, abolishing, and restricting exemptions; but it would be impossible, and quite contrary to rule, to proceed to specify the exemptions in the Resolutions themselves; and therefore the House would not be in a position to discuss the subject fairly and fully on the Resolutions. On that ground he suggested, as the most advisable course to pursue, that he should be allowed, without committing any one, to have those Resolutions passed and reported, and a Bill introduced on the subject. This would enable him to give a long notice before proceeding to discuss the Bill at all, and all parties would be aware of the intentions of the Government as they stood, and would have ample time to make any requests they might have to make. This was the course which he should pursue, if no hon. Member objected to it, but of course he should not press it unless it was generally considered for the convenience of the House.


said, it appeared to him that the course proposed was a reasonable one, but the House would expect that the right hon. Gentleman should redeem his promise, and secure a proper time in order to consider the provisions of the Bill; and that they should not be put in the same position as they were put in with respect to the financial Resolutions, which were never discussed on those stages in which it was generally understood the principles of measures should be discussed.


said, he should take care that ample time was given.


said, he thought the discussion with respect to this Bill had assumed such a form, that it would be impossible for him to take the sense of the House upon it upon the second reading, and that he would do so when the Bill went into Committee.


said, he should consult the convenience of the House, therefore, as far as possible in the matter.

In reply to a question from Mr. CRAUFURD,


said, he should propose the second reading of the Bill after the Resolutions upon the subject of the legacy duties should have been disposed of.