HC Deb 26 June 1855 vol 139 cc158-60

said, he wished to ask a question of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Sunday Trading Bill. He might state, that there had been a considerable manifestation of feeling out of doors, in consequence of the progress of the Bill, and he had last night asked the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) whether it was his intention to use his influence, in order to prevent the noble Lord who introduced the Bill from proceeding with it; and the noble Viscount stated in reply, that it was not the intention of the Government to interfere with the measure, but that they should leave it to the House to deal with it as they might think fit. He wished now to ask the right hon. Baronet, because the provisions of the Bill would materially concern him in his capacity as Secretary for the Home Department, whether the Bill had received his sanction, and whether, in case it was proceeded with, it was his intention to support or oppose its further progress?


said, it was not his intention, if his noble Friend (Lord R. Grosvenor) should persevere with the Bill, to offer any opposition to the House going into Committee upon it; but when it was in Committee he should state his opinion, as he had already done, in reference to any Amendments that might be proposed.


said, he would beg to ask the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, whether the House were distinctly to understand that the Government assumed no responsibility whatever with respect to this measure?


said, the Bill was not a Government measure, but it had been introduced by the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Lord R. Grosvenor), and supported, he believed, by almost all the metropolitan Members. [Cries of "No, no!"] The Government were not at all responsible for it, but he had already expressed his opinion upon many of its details, and he should be prepared to do so with regard to any other question that might be brought before the House.


said, he wished to inquire whether the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex intended to persevere with the Bill?


said, he had no objection to reply to the hon. Gentleman's question, but he hoped the House would indulge him by allowing him to do so at some length. He supposed that the hon. Gentleman had put the question in consequence of what had passed in Hyde Park last Sunday. He begged to inform the House that since that meeting took place he had received several letters from working men in which they spoke of the persons there assembled in no very complimentary language. ["Hear, hear."] He did not intend to speak in uncourteous terms of those persons, for he thought an expression of opinion on the part of the very humblest classes of society ought not to be treated with indifference or contempt, provided always that such opinion was expressed in a proper manner.

MR. ROEBUCK rose to order. He wished to know whether an hon. Member, in replying to a question, was allowed to make use of arguments which ought to be answered at the time they were used.


said, the noble Lord was certainly not in order, but he had appealed in commencing his reply, to the indulgence of the House. An hon. Member, however, having taken an objection to the noble Lord's proceedings, who was not strictly in order, he should suggest to the noble Lord to postpone his observations till the Bill came before the House.


, in reply to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Massey), said the responsibility of the Bill did not rest with him, but with the House, and he did intend to press it.