HC Deb 03 May 1855 vol 138 cc32-4

said, he was desirous of putting a question to the noble Lord at the head of the Government in reference to the present position of his (Sir J. Pakington's) Bill on the subject of education. He had been informed that the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies did not intend to proceed further with his Bill until the sense of the House had been taken upon that now partly discussed, and he (Sir J. Pakington) believed it was the intention of the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) to adopt the same course in reference to his Bill. He (Sir J. Pakington) was somewhat unwilling, after the great courtesy already shown him, to make any further appeal with regard to his Bill, but he thought the House would feel, after the extent to which public attention had been called to the subject, that it was desirable to resume the debate upon it as early as possible. He therefore hoped, upon public grounds, that the noble Lord would be good enough to fix an early day for resuming the adjourned debate.


said, he could assure the right hon. Baronet that the Government were fully impressed with the great importance of the subject to which the question of the right hon. Gentleman referred, and also of the importance of resuming the adjourned debate as early as was consistent with the pressing and urgent business of the House. But, having communicated with his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he feared that matters of urgency, in point of time, connected with the supplies of the year, rendered it impossible to accommodate the right, hon. Baronet with any Government day before Whitsuntide.


said, he would then beg to ask if the noble Lord could fix the first Government night after Whitsuntide for the adjourned debate?


said, he would give the right hon. Baronet the earliest possible day after Whitsuntide.

In answer to Mr. HADFIELD,


said, it would be very inconvenient, the House having gone at some length into the discussion of the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, to discuss any other Bills upon the subject before it was disposed of.


said, he would recommend that, unless some positive arrangement was made as to what should be done with the three Education Bills now before the House, they ought to be treated equally. Supposing that the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir J. Pakington) passed a second reading, the noble Lord and his right hon. Friend (Mr. M. Gibson) might be in a difficulty with regard to their Bills. He thought many Members would consent to the second reading of the Bill of the right hon. Baronet if it was to be referred to a Committee, who would vote against it if that arrangement were not made.


said, he would suggest whether the three Bills on this subject which were before the House might not be read a second time pro formâ, with the view of referring them to a Select Committee. The Report of the Select Committee might lead to the introduction of a measure founded upon all these Bills, and a general discussion might then take place on going into Committee of the whole House.


said, he considered that the House would scarcely consent that any of the three Bills to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred, affecting a question of so much importance, should be read a second time pro formâ, more especially after the discussion which had been commenced yesterday, and the necessity that he thought existed for affording the right hon. Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington) an opportunity of answering the very able speech of the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley). It was of course in the power of the House to read any of these Bills a second time or to reject them; but his own opinion was, that each of the three Bills should be read a second time, and that they should then be referred to a Select Committee. He considered that, whatever objections might exist to the passing of the Bills, it was desirable that a Select Committee should examine all their details before the subject was brought under discussion in a Committee of the whole House.


said, he felt bound to state that, sensible as he was of the great importance and difficulty of the question, it had always been his intention to suggest that the Bill he had submitted to the House should be referred to a Select Committee. He had had some private communications with the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) on the subject, and he concurred in the opinion the noble Lord had just expressed; and so far as he was concerned, he was ready to agree that his Bill, with those of the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. M. Gibson), should be referred to a Select Committee, by whom their details might be fully considered.


said, he objected to these Bills being referred to a Select Committee until the House had come to some I decision as to the principle on which they were founded. He knew that many hon. Gentlemen were anxious to express their opinions on this important subject, and if the Bills were referred to a Select Committee they would be prevented from doing so.


said, he wished to ask the noble Lord whether it would not be possible to afford an opportunity for the discussion of these Bills before Whitsuntide? The matter was so urgent, and public attention was so anxiously directed to the subject, that he hoped the noble Lord would make some arrangement for the early discussion of the Bills, even at the expense of a morning sitting.