HC Deb 05 August 1857 vol 147 cc1083-5

said, he wished to call the attention of the House and of the Home Secretary to the deviation from the constant practice and acknowledged rule of the House, that on Wednesdays all measures brought on by private Members should be disposed of before any Government Order was taken. He did not wish to throw any obstacle in the way of going into Supply, but thought it right to point out that such a practice as was now attempted to be pursued was fraught with evil, and might, in fact, enable the Ministers of the day to stop any measure, however important it might be, which was brought in by an independent Member. Seeing that they had the command of all the other days of the week, they could, if priority of Orders on Wednesday were given them, use that power to stifle such Bills as they were opposed to. Wednesday had always been considered a day upon which private Members could bring forward their Bills, and, although an attempt of this kind was made a few years ago, the Secretary of State on that occasion had the good sense to see the impropriety of persisting in it. To-day there were two important measures on the paper, the Election Petitions Bill, and the Leases and Sales of Settled Estates Bill, which, if not brought on, could not be passed at all this Session. In the absence of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside), who had charge of the latter Bill, he would move as an Amendment that the House proceed to Order No. 12 on the paper.

Amendment proposed,— To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "the Order of the Day for the Committee of Supply, and the seven succeeding Orders, be postponed until after the Order of the Day for the Third Reading of the Election Petitions Bill," instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he agreed with the hon. Member for North Warwickshire that the practice of taking supply on a Wednesday ought not to be countenanced. The Government were not treating the House with due deference. They had seized upon every day in the week, both at the morning and evening sittings, except Wednesday, and now, for the first time, they were attempting to take away that day, and thus deprive private Members of the opportunity of bringing forward their Bills. He should second the Amendment.


replied, that the instance referred to by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire in which the Government had deferred to the House, and had not persevered in taking precedence on Wednesday, occurred much earlier in the Session than the present time. There was no rule of the House which gave precedence to private Members on Wednesdays, and it was usual, in the month of August, to take the orders of the Government in that order in which they were set down in the paper. [Mr. SPOONER: It was never done before.] It was done on the 2nd of August, 1854. However, it was desirable that no discussion should take place on the subject, which would end in the day being wasted without anything at all being done, and he had therefore no objection that the Supply, which would probably last all day, should be postponed till all the Orders had been gone through.


said, he hoped that the late period of the Session, now so often alluded to, would operate upon the Government and prevent them from pressing forward important Measures, some of which had not even been read a first time.


said, he had no objection to the arrangement proposed by the right hon. Baronet, but still protested against the principle of giving precedence to Government Orders on Wednesdays. Under the circumstances he should withdraw his Motion.

Amendment and Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Resolved, That the House will, after the other Orders of the day, resolve itself into the said Committee.