HC Deb 06 August 1872 vol 213 cc558-60

moved that Government Orders of the Day have precedence on Wednesday. The Appropriation Bill would be taken first, and would be followed by the third reading of the Intoxicating Liquor (Licensing) Bill, in order that it might be sent back to the other House. In case the Indian Budget debate did not finish at this Sitting, it might also be concluded to-morrow.


was sensible of the anxiety of the House to wind up the Session, but he objected to business being hurried over, for such a practice led to blunders in the wording of their Bills such as had often occasioned just complaints by Judges of the impossibility of putting a judicial construction on Acts of Parliament. The Standing Order requiring notice to be given of new clauses introduced on the Report was adopted in 1854 on account of this inconvenience. It was true the Government had given Notice of their clauses; but hon. Members might wish, after seeing the Bill reprinted, to propose clauses, especially as the Bill affected important private interests, which they would be precluded from moving. The House was not justified in galloping over business in this way, the result being that Acts were passed in a most unsatisfactory manner. The Report might be taken to-morrow.


said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman might have waited till inconvenience had actually risen. He had heard no desire on the part of any Member to propose new clauses; but if any Member felt himself aggrieved by the loss of an opportunity of doing so, the Government would not press the matter unduly.


thought it would be admitted that he had not interfered with the progress of the Bill; but he did think it would be desirable, on the principle that "least haste is most speed," that an opportunity ought to be given to Members for considering the Bill in its amended form. It was a most important measure, and effected some very serious changes in the existing law. On the Saturday when this Bill was discussed, the wrangling and confusion which occurred was not creditable either to one side or the other. There were provisions in the Bill relating to publicans giving evidence themselves which might give rise to considerable difficulty. The clause allowing a publican to be examined should not be optional; but he should be compellable to be examined. He said this although he was opposed to legislation of a very penal character in such cases. If no one else proposed an Amendment of that kind, he should present one to the House; but he thought that the Bill, as a whole, ought not to be forced on at such short notice, when there had been no opportunity to go carefully through the clauses with the Amendments that had been introduced, to see what effect even verbal alterations might not have made. He protested against this undignified hurrying and scrambling with so important a piece of legislation.


said, the clause referred to was adopted two or three days ago, so that the hon. and learned Member had had ample time to frame an Amendment.

Ordered, That Government Orders of the Day have precedence To-morrow.—(Mr. Gladstone.)