HC Deb 23 May 1867 vol 187 cc941-2

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the Reform Bill for Scotland would be proceeded with that evening?


Sir, the Government have no intention whatever, and there would be no prospect if they had the intention, of proceeding with the Scotch Reform Bill this evening. But perhaps it would be convenient to the House that I should now state what course we propose to take with regard to the Bill for the Representation of the People. On a former occasion I told the House that if possible I should place on the table this evening the procedure which we would recommend in consequence of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Hodgkinson.) We find that we can deal both with the Small Tenements Act and all other Private Rating Acts. I will place our proposal on the table, and it will be in the hands of hon. Members to-morrow. What I now propose is that, after the Committee passes the 4th clause, which relates to the county franchise, we should recur to the plan which I suggested some time ago, and which seemed to me to be agreeable to the House. Inasmuch as our propositions will take the shape of Amendments to the 34th clause, I suggest that we should postpone the clauses between the 4th and the 34th, in order that we should consider the Amendments on the latter; because I think it is desirable that the Committee should come to a decision upon them as soon as possible. I would also suggest that we should commence the morning sittings next week for the purpose of disposing of the Reform Bill, and that we should have those sittings on Tuesday and Friday. I would also wish the House to consider whether it is not in our power, by the redistribution of the hours, to render our morning sittings more efficient. I think that if we were to commence our morning sittings at two o'clock, with an interval from seven to nine o'clock, we should find it greatly to our advantage. I have always found that from seven till nine o'clock is a period when hon. Members are least anxious to be present. The House appears to be favourable to my plan, and in order to allow hon. Members an opportunity of making up their minds, we can at least try the experiment for a week. It appears to me that if the plan I propose is assented to we shall do more work and in a more agreeable manner. As my proposition does not appear, generally speaking, to be unacceptable, we will on Tuesday have a morning sitting at two o'clock.


said, he hoped that some other business than the Reform Bill would be taken at the morning sittings. There were many hon. Members who might not be able to attend the day sittings.


said, that it would be necessary to make an alteration in the Standing Orders if the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was to be carried into effect.


said, he would give notice to-day, and propose the alteration on Monday.