HC Deb 02 July 1863 vol 172 cc73-4

thought it would be for the convenience of the House if hon. Members having Amendments on the business paper to the Motion of Supply, would not press them, but allow the House to go into Committee of Supply at once, so that a decision might be come to relative to the purchase of the Great Exhibition Building.


, who had a notice on the paper on the subject of the depressed condition of Ireland, expressed his determination to persevere with it; but ultimately postponed his notice on being informed that Supply would be again moved by the Government both to-morrow and on Monday.


said, that the entire amount of the expenditure necessary in connection with the purchase of the Great Exhibition Building was £484,000. On a previous occasion an Estimate to the amount of £172,000 in respect to one item was laid before the House; but the noble Lord at the head of the Government suddenly, and without notice, proposed to take merely the sum of £67,000. He had called the attention of the Chairman of the Committee to that course of proceeding, but the Chairman said that it was in order. He, however, wished to submit to the House that it was not in order that the House should be deprived of the opportunity of giving an opinion on the whole item; and he therefore now asked whether it was competent for the Government to place on the table an Estimate for £172,000, and then suddenly, and without a single word of notice, take a Vote on a smaller sum. The consequence was, that the House was deprived of the full and fair opportunity of giving a Vote on the question to which it was entitled. He had searched the Journals, and believed that the case was quite unparalleled. The Government ought to be bound by the Estimates which they submit to the House, and ought not to shift their ground. He wished, therefore, to ask the Speaker, whether it was competent for a Minister, having given notice of a Vote for £172,000, consisting of no matter how many items, to take a Vote on a particular item, and to postpone the rest.


In my judgment, there is nothing contrary to the rules and orders of the House in the course pursued by the Government. I am confirmed in that view by the circumstance that on the occasion when the question arose, the Chairman of the Committees of Supply expressed the same opinion. An opportunity of questioning the proceeding was afforded on the Report of Supply, but no objection was made, and the House confirmed the Vote. In my opinion, therefore, there is nothing irregular in what has been done.

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