HC Deb 25 February 1868 vol 190 cc1097-9

Sir, I have to announce to the House—and I do it with deep regret—that Lord Derby, in consequence of the state of his health, which, although improving, is still such as to render absolute repose from business necessary for a considerable time to come, has felt it his duty to tender to Her Majesty his resignation of the office which he holds; and Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to accept the resignation so tendered. I have further to state that, by Her Majesty's command, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is at present engaged in the formation of a Ministry. Under these circumstances, I am only following that which is the usual, and, I believe, has been the invariable, custom, if, upon the part of my right hon. Friend, I venture to suggest to the House the expediency of an adjournment until such time as the necessary arrangements shall have been completed. I much regret—and I am sure my right hon. Friend concurs with me in that regret—to have to interpose any obstacle in the way of the debate on a subject which is, perhaps, at this moment, the most important that can engage the attention of the House. But I think the House will feel that the circumstances are such as to leave us no option. If the proposition I have to make should meet with the general approval of the House, I will propose that we adjourn until Friday next.


I should like to ask whether Committees are to sit in the meantime? ["Order, order!"]


I move that this House do now adjourn until Friday next.


So far as regards the Motion for Adjournment, under present circumstances, I should not have thought that it called for a single word from myself, so obviously is it dictated by the propriety of the case. But, with reference to the special cause, which the noble Lord has, by a singular destiny, been called upon to be the person to announce to this House, I cannot help expressing for myself a regret, which I am sure will be the universal sentiment, that a career so long, so active, and in so many respects so distinguished and remarkable as that of his father, should have been brought to a close by the failure of his bodily health and strength.


As no other person rises, I wish to say that, as a matter of course, I concur with the general sentiment of the House; but as the noble Lord admits the importance of the debate that I was about to initiate, I wish to know from him what Government day the noble Lord will give me for bringing forward my Motion? ["Oh!"] If the noble Lord wishes it, I will defer my question until Friday; but I simply wish now to express my opinion—which is shared by many Members of the House—that I have a right to some indulgence from the Government.


All I can say now is, that I am quite sure those who sit on this Bench are not less anxious than the rest of the House that the great subject which the hon. Member proposes to bring forward, and which no doubt he will bring forward with great ability, should be fully and speedily discussed.

Motion agreed to; House at rising to adjourn till Friday.

House adjourned at a quarter before Five o'clock, till Friday next.