§ Standing Orders [19th July 1854 and 21st July 1856] relative to Morning Sittings read, and suspended.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, unless the House shall otherwise order, the House will meet on Tuesday and Friday, during the present Session, at Two o'clock, and proceed with private Business, Petitions, Motions for unopposed Returns, and leave of absence to Members, giving Notices of Motions, Questions to Ministers, and such Orders of the Day as shall have been appointed for the Morning Sitting."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, he did not wish to oppose the right hon. Gentleman, because he thought the urgency of the case was great. The House ought to give all the time in their power to the great measure which the right hon. Gentleman had in hand. At the same time, the House must bear in mind that this proposal of the Government was a perfect extinguisher on independent Members. It was very well for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say in a good-humoured way that the private Members would not be interfered with, and that they could bring forward their business on Tuesdays at nine o'clock. But the right hon. Gentleman gave no assurance that he would bring a House together at that time, after hon. Gentlemen had departed for those other attractions and occupations which they would be in search of after seven o'clock. At all events, private Members would not have the hours between six and nine to carry on debates of great importance. There was, for example, the notice of the hon. Member for Galway with regard to the Tornado, a matter the discussion of which would probably occupy a good many hours. A discussion of three or four hours would probably not exhaust the subject, and in consequence of the debate being adjourned it would further an Order of the Day, and still become incumber the Order Paper. The proposal he had to suggest was that the 1133 right hon. Gentleman should make this Resolution a temporary one, that they might see whether the Government business and the business of private Members vent on satisfactorily under the proposed arrangement. He would move the omission of the words "during the present Session" in order to substitute in their place the words "until the end of June." If the arrangement worked satisfactorily the right hon. Gentleman might then propose the renewal of it. On the other hand, hon. Members would, if they felt dissatisfied with the working of the new scheme, have an opportunity of bringing forward their objections to it. It should be borne in mind that for independent Members to propose to repeal what would then have become a Standing Order was a very different thing from their asking the Leader of the House again to come forward and propose to convert a temporary arrangement into a Standing Order. His proposal was a fair one, and he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would offer no opposition to it. He would move that the words "during the present Session" be omitted, in order to insert the words "till the end of June."
To leave out the words "during the present Session," in order to add the words "until the end of June,"—(Mr. Bouverie,)
§ MR. DENMAN
said, he presumed that Bills in the hands of private Members would come on at nine o'clock in the order in which they stood on the Paper. He should be glad to know whether the Government intended to claim any right to give their Notices priority over private Bills.
§ COLONEL FRENCH
said, of course the House reserved to itself the right of reverting to the present practice. This was an important matter, as there was a lingering hope that all the Amendments on the Reform Bill would be got through by the end of June.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I should be sorry to oppose the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie). I recollect I first suggested the proposed arrangement as an experiment, and therefore I 1134 am bound to regard it as such. My Motion is drawn up in language which implies that, for the words "until the House shall otherwise order" are used, which empower the House to change the system in a week's time if it liked. I am satisfied with that. But if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to insert "until the end of June," I will not oppose it. I do not think it will be convenient to exchange Thursday for Friday. I do not coincide in the view that the privileges of private Members will be reduced by this change. If a good debate commences at nine o'clock on an interesting subject, the House will have no objection to debate it until two o'clock. Independent Members will therefore have a great advantage. We shall not interfere with the Bills of private Members. We do not wish to change the position private Members hold. We merely ask the House to meet at the altered time.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
- 1. Resolved, That, unless the House shall otherwise order, the House will meet on Tuesday and Friday, until the end of June, at Two o'clock, and proceed with Private Business, Petitions, Motions for unopposed Returns, and leave of absence to Members, giving Notices of Motions, Questions to Ministers, and such Orders of the Day as shall have been appointed for the Morning Sitting."
- 2. Resolved, That on such days, if the business be not sooner disposed of, the House will suspend its sitting at Seven o'clock; and at ten minutes before Seven o'clock, unless the House shall otherwise order, Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the Debate on any business then under discussion, or the Chairman shall report Progress, as the case may be, and no opposed business shall then be proceeded with.
- 3. Resolved, That when such business has not been disposed of at Seven o'clock, unless the House shall otherwise order, Mr. Speaker (or the Chairman, in case the House shall be in Committee,) do leave the Chair, and the House will resume its sitting at Nine o'clock, when the Orders of the Day not disposed of at the Morning Sitting, and any Motion which was under discussion at Ten minutes to Seven o'clock, shall be set down in the Order Book after the other Orders of the Day.
- 4. Resolved, That whenever the House shall be in Committee at Seven o'clock, the Chairman do report Progress when the House resumes its sitting.—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)