HC Deb 25 February 1859 vol 152 cc858-9

said, he wished to know whether it was the intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, following the precedent of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London in introducing his Reform Bill, to make a general statement with regard to his proposal for amending the laws relating to the representation of the people in Scotland and Ireland, as well as in England and Wales; and, also, whether he would undertake that the Scotch and Irish Bills should be introduced before the House was asked to read the English Bill a second time. If he received a satisfactory answer to this question, he should not proceed with the Motion of which he had given notice on this subject.


Sir, the hon. Gentleman has not given me notice of his intention to put this question. I do not, however, complain of him for not having done so, but I merely mention it as not being in accordance with a custom which has been found conducive to the general convenience of the House. In regard to the question itself of the hon. Gentleman, I wish to treat the House with candour, and to err rather on the side of over-communicativeness than in anything like reserve. I, however, put it to the House whether, in the position in which I am now placed—being on the eve of introducing an important measure into Parliament—whether it is quite fair to put to me such questions as those of the hon. Member. I confess I do not think I could give a satisfactory answer to him without entering into details upon which at this moment I do not think it would be convenient I should enter; but I will undertake that the lion. Gentleman shall not suffer by the reserve which I feel I am justified in now keeping; because he shall have opportunities before the House is called upon to assent to the second reading of my Bill—if I shall be permitted to reach that stage—of making the statement he appears so desirous of communicating. The House will, at all events, before the second reading of the Bill, go more than once into Committee of Supply, when the hon. Gentleman will be in as good a position as at this moment for bringing forward his Question.

On the Motion that the House at its rising do adjourn to Monday next,