HC Deb 07 August 1860 vol 160 cc893-5

On Order of the Day for the House to be put into a Committee on the Offences Against the Person Bill,


rose to move the discharge of the Order for going into Committee on the group of measures of which this was one. They had been prepared with great care and deliberation; they were in themselves unobjectionable, and would effect a considerable improvement in our criminal law. At the same time the period of the Session at which these Bills were received from the other House, and the state of public business: rendered it impossible to proceed with them. It would be undesirable to pass one or two of these Bills, and it was quite obvious that to attempt to consider them all in Committee would be an inexcusable consumption of valuable time. It was the intention of the Government to bring them forward early in the ensuing Session in this House, and it would then be for the House to determine whether they should receive consideration in Committee of the Whole House or in a Select Committee. He therefore moved that the Order for going into Committee be discharged.


expressed his astonishment at the statement of the Solicitor General after the statement yesterday by the Attorney General of the intention of the Government to proceed with these Bills in the present Session. Thousands of pounds had been expended on the Statute Law Commission, and it would be a disappointment to the public to find that the announcement in Her Majesty's Speech, that the criminal law would be amended, would not be realized.


also expressed his disappointment and regret at hearing that those Bills were to be abandoned this Session. he, however, hoped that they would be re-introduced early next Session, for he looked upon them as calculated to make a great improvement in the criminal law.


likewise expressed his sorrow at the necessity which existed for the withdrawal of those Bills. He trusted that they would not have the same farce enacted in regard to those Bills next Session as had been performed this Session. They had involved an immense expense of money and time, and it was not creditable to the Government to keep them so long on the Paper, if they did not see something like a certainty of passing them into a law. He thought it would be desirable to refer the Bills to a Select Committee up stairs.


said, that it was with great regret the Government had concurred in the Motion which had just been made. He was in hopes until very lately that the House would be induced to take these Bills, trusting to the labours of the Lords' Committee and the Statute Law Commission. But there did not appear to be any inclination to adopt that course. On looking more attentively to the Bills he found that, although generally they were Consolidation Bills, there were alerations in the law proposed which would require separate consideration. It was obvious that at that period of the Session Bills of this length could not be got through in a satisfactory manner, and there appeared to be no alternative but to postpone them until the next Session of Parliament. Whether they should be referred to a Select Committee to perform the same functions which had been performed by the Lords' Committee, or whether the House would find time to dispose of them in Committee of the Whole House, remained to be considered, but the Government had no intention of abandoning the principle of consolidation. He thought it of the utmost importance that a matter upon which a great amount of money, time, and labour had been expended should be brought to some result, but, having determined to withdraw the Bills, he thought the Government had done right to announce their decision as soon as possible to the House.


thought it would be advisable for the Government to take up such measures at the earliest possible period of the Session in order to give them a fair chance of being passed into a law.

Order discharged.

Bill withdrawn.

House adjourned at a Quarter after One o'clock.