§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, he wished to remonstrate with his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government as to the conduct of Business on Friday upon an important measure—the Bishops Resignation Bill. That Bill stood for Committee on Thursday, and was then materially altered, being made a temporary instead of a permanent measure, the Bill becoming thus open to a large class of objections which the House ought to have had an opportunity of stating and discussing. The Bill was put down for a Morning Sitting on Friday for consideration on the Report, and came on just before the Adjournment, at 10 minutes to 7, in the time usually devoted to unopposed Business. The Report was considered; but, instead of putting down the third reading 106 for a subsequent day, thereby affording an opportunity for discussion, the Bill was at once read a third time and sent up to the House of Lords; so that there was now no further opportunity of considering it. He was speaking more in sorrow than in anger, but the same course had been taken with another of the same class of Bills, in which his right hon. Friend took a special interest—the Act of Uniformity Amendment Bill—which was galloped rapidly through this House. He then asked for time to consider it; but his right hon. Friend stood firmly on the forms of the House, and he (Mr. Bouverie) did not then complain, because the forms of the House justified the course then taken. On this occasion, however, his right hon. Friend had overruled the forms of the House to smuggle the Bill through an important stage. He (Mr. Bouverie) came down to the House on Friday night in due time, as he supposed, to give Notice of an Amendment upon the third reading of the Bishops Resignation Bill, but, to his extreme astonishment, he found that the two stages had been taken together, and that he should have no opportunity of discussing it. With regard to unimportant measures which excited no controversy, the practice had lately been to take the third reading at the same time with the consideration of Amendments on the Report, but he was not aware that this course had been followed upon any Bill which had excited opposition. He hardly thought his right hon. Friend would have taken what he might almost call so audacious a step if he had known there was a bonâ fide opposition to the third reading; and he should like to have an assurance that the same course would not again be followed with regard to important measures, because the result must be to delay instead of advance the Business of the House.
said, his right hon. Friend might have intended to speak with mildness, but had been unable to refrain from hard words, for he thought it was rather a hard word to apply to Ministers to accuse them of smuggling a Bill through two important stages at once; but as he wished to give his right hon. Friend every satisfaction, he would take no further notice of the expression. The Bill had been made temporary, because being of an experi- 107 mental character, it was thought wise that it should again be brought under the notice of the House before taking its place permanently on the statute book; and he was extremely sorry for what had happened, not having had the smallest conception that any Member wished to raise further objection. One question had been raised respecting the duration of the Bill; he was able to meet that wish and convert the Bill into a temporary measure; no notice of Amendments had been given; and nothing had been stated at previous stages of the Bill by his right hon. Friend, his hon. Friend (Mr. Kinnaird), or any other hon. Member, which conveyed to his mind that there would be opposition to any future stage. When the Bill was reported, he either asked, or it was signified to him, that it might be read a third time; and it was certainly convenient to remove from the Orders Bills as to which the Business was really over. He would see whether, if his right hon. Friend desired to raise any question upon the Bill, his views might not be met by dropping the Bill as it stood and introducing it in the Continuance Bill at the end of the Session.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he was glad that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie) had brought under the notice of the House the way in which the Bill had been passed.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock has addressed the House on a point of Order, and has received an explanation from the First Lord of the Treasury, with regard to the proceedings on the Bill adverted to. Further discussion upon the merits of the Bill itself, or upon the debates in this House regarding it, will now be irregular.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
, in explanation, said, he only wished to say that he had himself expressed to the First Lord of the Treasury his hope that there would be another opportunity of discussing the measure.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, he was perfectly satisfied with the full and frank assurance of his right hon. Friend, and must declare that he did not intend to use the words the right hon. Gentleman had mentioned in an offensive sense.