HC Deb 29 March 1860 vol 157 cc1497-500

said, he rose to move that the notices of Motions be postponed until after the Orders of the Day for the consideration of the Income Tax Bill as amended, and the Committee on the Stamp Duties. It was material with regard to the arrangements made in "another place" for the Easter vacation, that the two Bills alluded to should be taken that evening. He was under the impression that it was not the desire of the House to renew, in any extended form, the general debate upon the Income Tax Bill. If there were any such desire he at once admitted that it would not be fair to displace the ordinary business, but it would be certainly most convenient that the Bills to which he referred should be taken at once.

Motion made, and Question proposed,— That the Notices of Motions be postponed until after the Orders of the Day for the consideration of the Income Tax Bill, as amended, and the Committee on the Stamp Duties Bill.


said, he had a Motion on the paper referring to what he conceived to be a very important subject. He had had a similar Motion on the paper when the Treaty of Commerce was under discussion, and the Government then appealed to him to withdraw it, giving him a distinct pledge that they would grant a day to bring it forward in a distinct form. He saw however, from the great pressure of public business that it would be utterly impossible for the Government to redeem that pledge, and he, therefore, considered it was his duty to go to the noble Viscount (Viscount Palmerston) and state that, however important he considered his own Motion, yet the exigences of the public business appeared so great that he could not keep the Government to their pledge regarding it. He, therefore, took his chance, and balloted for a day. He got that day, his Motion stood second on the paper, and there was, therefore, a good prospect of having it brought on. Now, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Motion were carried there would be but little chance of its coming on that night, and, consequently, of its coming on before the Easter holidays. He felt, therefore, reluctantly compelled to oppose the Motion.


said, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that there was no intention on the part of the Government to offer any opposition to his Motion. On the contrary, he thought it would be a lit resolution for the House to adopt, and therefore, so far as that circumstance might guide him with regard to the question of time, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that so far as the Government were concerned they had no objection whatever to his Motion being acceded to at once. Whatever hon. Members might determine as to the right of precedence, he trusted that even if the Motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer should not be aceeded to, the two Bills to which it referred might be proceeded with at a somewhat early hour in order that hon. Members, who were anxious to express their opinions with regard to them might have an opportunity of doing so.


said, that this was the fourth Thursday that private Members had been called upon to relinquish their right of proceeding with the business on the paper in its regular order by giving the Government precedence. He considered that they ought not to be called upon to give up their privileges, unless in case of urgent necessity. He was not prepared at all to assent to the assumption of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there would be no further discussion upon the Income Tax Bill, or even upon the other financial measures. He rather apprehended that there would be a somewhat long discussion. He should himself consider the question very much in reference to the course the Government proposed to take with regard to the duty on paper; and he hoped some communication would be made to the House as to the position in which they were placed on that subject as regarded the duty on the export of rags. That was a subject which very much interested the public at present, and he hoped it might be in the power of the Government to make some satisfactory statement in reference to it. He was at a loss to understand why the Government could not proceed with the financial measures to-morrow.


said, he hoped the House would not agree to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's demand. The whole business of the House was getting topsy-turvy. They were making Friday a Notice day, and now the Government proposed not to take the Orders of the Day in precedence of Notices of Motion, but to run down the list of Orders, and take two particular Orders, 10 and 11, in precedence of everything else. What was the use of their instituting particular rules for their guidance and information as to when business was to come on, if they were systematically infringed. What was to become of the Orders which stood first on the list, and over which the Government had no control? Both the hon. Members for Liverpool and Guildford had Bills of considerable importance which stood before the Income Tax and Paper Duty Bills.


said, the right hon. Gentleman need not be so anxious as to the necessity for resisting the demands of Government, because that was one of those demands which it was not in the slightest degree the intention of the Government to force upon a reluctant House. Unless with general acquiescence such a Motion ought not to be carried—it ought not to be forced forward with a limited majority, amid discontent and dissatisfaction. He would therefore withdraw it. All he could venture to say was that he hoped that the Government would be permitted to take the Bills at a later hour than otherwise would have been usual. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) had referred to a point of importance which he said was much connected with the progress of the Bills. He had no difficulty in giving an explanation upon it. He should have been very desirous to bring forward the Paper Duty Bill that evening if the state of public business had permitted it, but he did not think in the present position of the business it would be possible to proceed further before Easter. So far as regarded the duties to be imposed, or not to be imposed, on foreign paper, that was in no respect an urgent question, and there was no necessity whatever for asking the attention of the House until a convenient period after Easter. He begged leave to withdraw the Motion which he had proposed.


said, he was very glad the Motion had been withdrawn, and he was also glad to hear the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) say that there would be no opposition on the part of the Government to the Motion of the hon. Member for Sunderland. That discussion would probably, therefore, be short, and would give an opportunity to the Chief Secretary for Ireland and the Attorney General for Ireland to bring forward a question of very great, indeed of almost vital importance, to the people of Ireland. The notices of those Bills had been kept upon the paper for the last two months, and he hoped that the right hon. Gentlemen would, therefore, avail themselves of that night's opportunity to make such explanations as might be necessary in reference to them. He would even go further and say, that if the opportunity should come at a late period of the night, the Irish Members would be satisfied to have the Bills laid upon the table, without explanation, in order to give an opportunity for their discussion on an early day.


said, he thought that the imposition of an income tax of ten millions sterling upon the people was of more importance than the Motions of private Members. The Bill had yet proceeded without a single debate. It was read a first time after midnight, read a second time after one o'clock, and went through Committee on Wednesday, a few minutes before the adjournment of the House. He asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give a pledge that he would not proceed with the Bill after nine that evening, or ten at latest.


said, he concurred with the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire), in the hope that the Chief Secretary for Ireland would be prepared, when his turn came, to proceed with the Bill which stood in his name.


said, he certainly was prepared and desirous to avail himself of the opportunity.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.