§ MR. COLLINS
, in rising to move—That no fresh Opposed Business be proceeded with after half past Twelve of the clock, ante meridiem,said, he had great satisfaction in doing so as it partook in no shape or form of a party character, and he hoped it would be passed unanimously. The Resolution which proposed that after half-past 12 86 o'clock no Opposed Business should be taken was the only one which met with the unanimous approbation of the Committee of last year. The only matter for surprise, therefore, would be that this Resolution was not moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was Chairman of that Committee, but that it had devolved upon himself to bring it forward. He also regretted that it had not fallen to his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) to make this Motion, but it was in the absence of that right hon. Gentleman in Scotland that he (Mr. Collins) had given Notice of it. When he said that the Committee had passed the Resolution unanimously, he meant that there was no division in the Committee on the question, whether or no there ought to be some limit to the time of bringing forward fresh Opposed Business; but there was a division on the question whether that time should be half-past 12 or 1 o'clock. Upon that question 4 voted for 1 o'clock, and 15 for half-past 12; and when, afterwards, the main question was put, the whole Committee were unanimous, so that 19 out of 23 Members—the other 4 being absent—voted for the proposal. Sir Erskine May, in his evidence, said that the intention of the Rules of Parliament was to secure as much certainty and regularity in the despatch of Business as was possible in a deliberative Assembly. The late Speaker, who was the only other witness examined, also said it was of great importance to secure some certainty as to the Business which was to occur on any particular night. But later in the Session there was no such certainty. Perhaps 40 Notices were on the Paper, and it was impossible to know which of these would come on. Sir Erskine May, alluding to a debate on this subject in a previous Session, said that forbearance was recommended, and the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government said, as far as Government was concerned, he was prepared to suggest that Opposed Business should not be proceeded with after half-past 12; but, as a matter of fact, there never were so many late nights, or so much Opposed Business brought on after half-past 12 o'clock as after this debate. No doubt the Government would again tell the House that they were substantially agreed upon this proposal; but there was the same understanding the year before last, 87 with the result mentioned by Sir Erskine May. Again, it was desirable that the country, as well as hon. Members themselves, should know what was going on within the walls of Parliament. In theory, Strangers were not supposed to be present; but in practice everybody knew that, through an efficient staff of reporters, debates in the two Houses were sown broadcast through the country. The newspapers, however, were published at an hour which made it impossible that they should report late proceedings in this House, and the country, therefore, had no information as to important Business transacted here between 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning. There was a system of sitting up till 3 or 4 in the morning perambulating the lobbies; but for himself he preferred to go home quietly to bed. Such a system had a bad effect upon the tone and temper of the House, and was inconsistent with the proper conduct of Public Business. Division followed division till both sides were heartily ashamed of themselves, and these questions invariably arose upon Motions for Adjournment, because Opposed Business was brought forward at a time when it ought not to be proposed. No doubt he should be told that if that Resolution was carried, it would be utterly impossible for them to transact the Business of the country. But the same rule prevailed on a Wednesday, even in an exaggerated form, and yet a large amount of Business was transacted on that day. He was not asking that no Business should go on after half-past 12, but only that no new Opposed Business should be brought forward; the question pending might go on until it was the pleasure of the House to dispose of it. The Government had Monday and Thursday, and their chance of Friday, and they would be able to bring on any Opposed Business before half-past 12, so as not to come under the operation of the Rule he proposed. It would hardly be treating the Committee with respect to shirk a Resolution at which they had unanimously arrived, and therefore, in consequence of that Resolution, which, as he before observed, they had passed unanimously, giving, as he believed, some slight chance that in future the Business of the House might be conducted in a more regular manner, he should move the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "no fresh Opposed Business be proceeded with after half-past Twelve of the clock, ante meridiem,"—(Mr. Collins,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
said, he was unable to support the Resolution, for he believed it would prevent much useful legislation. He would ask, what was meant by "Opposed Business?" No doubt questions on which the two great parties differed were in this category; but there were many useful measures, on which there was no substantial difference of opinion, which would be defeated by this proposal. Some previous question would be protracted until half-past 12 o'clock, and then it would be impossible to bring on Business which might be most important. No doubt the great measures of the Session would always be carried through; but measures relating to sanitary reform and similar subjects would be much hampered. It might be better that the House should not sit so late; but no remedy would be found in a hard-and-fast line to be observed throughout the Session. He would therefore suggest that Opposed Business should not be generally taken after 12 o'clock up to Easter, after 1 o'clock up to Whitsuntide, or after 2 o'clock up to the middle of July. After that date the arrears were so heavy that it was necessary for the House to sit to any hour to get through them. He would remind hon. Members that the Judicial Committee Bill was passed at 4 o'clock in the morning, and it was necessary for the House to sit until that hour of 4 in the morning in order to pass the measure.
§ COLONEL WILSON PATTEN
said, that as a Member of the Committee which had fully discussed the question, he approved of the Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. Collins), for he believed that this, in common with all their other Resolutions, was based on a desire that the House should get through its Business with greater expedition and in a more satisfactory manner. Some of their Resolutions offered facilities to the 89 Government, and others to private Members, while this particular Resolution was for the advantage of the whole House, the Committee thinking that, after the advantage given to the Government, the hours of sitting might be curtailed without any impediment to the transaction of Business. He had to complain of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for bringing forward only such of their Resolutions as suited the Government, for he believed that if carried out in their entirety they would prove very beneficial. The hon. Member for Penrhyn (Mr. R. N. Fowler) had selected a singular instance of the advantage of late sittings, for had he himself wished to cite an illustration of the disadvantage of discussing important measures at a late hour, he should have referred to the Judicial Committee Bill. This was the one Resolution upon which the Committee were unanimous, and if the Government would only carry it out they would give much greater facility for the transaction of Business. As a proof of that, some hon. Members would remember that Mr. Brotherton, when Member for Salford, used to move the Adjournment of the House every night when the clock struck 12. He carried his Motion almost invariably, and without in the least retarding Public Business. It might not be necessary to have an absolute rule on the subject; but there should be a general understanding that no Opposed Business should be taken after half-past 12 o'clock.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, he would support the Motion of the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins). The House would recollect what constantly occurred last year. When any hon. Member objected to going on with any new important Business after half-past 12 o'clock, and moved the Adjournment, the Main Question was then discussed on the Motion for Adjournment, and the House sat on debating till 2 or 3 in the morning, and after all the Business was adjourned. That was altogether wrong, and the practice of the House worked better 20 years ago, when Mr. Brotherton acquired a sort of despotism in that House. That hon. Gentleman was as good-natured a man as ever sat in that House, and was conciliatory in his manner and appearance. As soon as any hon. Member sat down after 12 o'clock, Mr. Brotherton 90 moved the Adjournment, and, on the Motion being deprecated, he said he would not persist with it, if Opposed Business was put off; and the result generally was, that an agreement to that effect was come to. He was confident that they could not carry ordinary Business through the House in the face of a minority without making some concessions; and the great impediment to the progress of Business during the last two or three years had been the strong determination on the part of those who had the charge of the Business of the House not to make concessions. That was not the way in which the Business of the House of Commons used to be worked. They must make reasonable concessions to those who had some objections to the details of measures; but if they insisted on passing every tittle and iota of a Bill which might not be of a very important character, they provoked opposition and created dissatisfaction and discontent. Not only that, but if the proposed Resolution were adopted it need not be established for all time, but they might try it as an experiment, and see how it worked. Lord Ossington and their able Clerk at the Table recommended this Resolution most strongly. Lord Ossington recommended two things. One was the Resolution with regard to Committees of Supply on Mondays, which the House had already agreed to, and the other was the Resolution now before the House. The Government adopted the first, which they thought was favourable to them, and left the present Resolution for the House to deal with. He repeated that they should try the experiment, and if it failed they could fall back on the old system. He believed that what was now proposed would be an improvement on their proceedings, and that it would cause Business to be better discussed, and with more good humour; and, if the House went to a Division, he should certainly vote for the Resolution as an experiment.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
trusted that the House would consider well the consequences likely to ensue from the working of the Resolution before they adopted it. Few persons would be more glad than himself in a selfish point of view to see it passed, for he was sometimes pretty well tired of work by half-past 12 o'clock; but it must be borne in mind that they had a great deal of work 91 to go through, and it would he a serious matter to cut short their power of doing it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) spoke of this matter as if it was in the peculiar interest of the Government; but he (Mr. W. E. Forster) demurred to that statement. The fact was, that they wanted to satisfy the demands of the House, and the demands made on them from both sides of the House; and a great deal of blame was cast on them if the desired legislation was not effected. For the great measures in which the country was deeply interested, every Government, for their own credit, were obliged to see that sufficient time was provided; but there were now demands made on the time of the House for matters which, though not of very great importance, were of special interest to the country, and he could not help thinking that things had changed since the good-natured despot referred to by the right hon. Gentleman ruled in that House, and they had now more of those measures than before. It would be felt as a great inconvenience if those measures were not brought forward, and the result of passing the Resolution, or any hard-and-fast Resolution of its character, would be simply to create a block, and more "Innocents" would have to be sacrificed in the course of the year. Then, again, "Opposed Business" was a vague term, because the adoption of such a Resolution would enable one hon. Member, by placing the letter (A) before any Order to prevent its progress after 12 o'clock, no matter however useful and necessary the measure might be. The result would be that the Government and the House would be blamed by the constituencies; and it would be in the power of the smallest possible minority to prevent the passing of the sort of measures which he had just referred to. The right hon. Gentleman further said that measures should not be attempted to be passed by overriding the minority. That was true; but there were some hon. Members who could not be turned from their course by any circumstances, and he did not think that it should be put in their power, by a regulation of the House, to stop the business. There was one way of meeting the difficulty, and that was that the House should continue to sit for any length of time in the year which might be necessary to get through all the Business 92 before Parliament; but he did not think that the House would like to adopt that remedy, and, though hon. Members might wish to go to bed as soon after half-past 12 o'clock as possible, it would be better to trust to the Government not bringing forward Business at a late hour than to limit their own power, which was small enough at present for legislation.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, that if the House adopted a Resolution that would cripple its daily working power, the result would be that the duration of the Session must be protracted. There was a great desire for holidays, short Sittings, and an early termination of the Session; but it was impossible to attain such objects and at the same time accomplish the necessary work of the Session.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, that the last two or three years they had had to sit into the early hours of the morning without its having had any effect on the early termination of the Session. The time, therefore, had now come when they might fairly try this recommendation of the Select Committee. It was possible so to regulate their debates as to arrive at a better method of transacting legislation without increasing the length of the Session. The recommendation of the Committee did not deal with Unopposed Business, and with regard to Opposed Business they all knew what happened. If it was opposed in a manner with which they had of late become familiar, hours were spent in taking divisions on the Adjournment of the House, the Adjournment of the Debate, and so on; and could any hon. Member who had witnessed the scenes that had taken place lately in that House after 12 o'clock say that the present system of conducting Business was the proper mode to be adopted with regard to the progress of Opposed Business after 12 o'clock at night? When the Business was carried on to late hours it was slurred over in a most perfunctory manner, and in the following Session the legislation had to be amended, or the work to be done over again. On these grounds he hoped that the Government would consent to give a trial to the recommendation of the Select Committee, for he was sure they would find that the dignity, order, good humour, and business abilities of the House as a legislative machine would be greatly promoted by its adoption.
§ MR. CLAY
observed, that the Motion was altogether different from that which the late Mr. Brotherton used to make immediately after 12 o'clock. That hon. Gentleman, in his own quiet manner, usually moved the Adjournment; but this Motion only pledged, the House not to enter upon new and Opposed Business after half-past 12. If the Motion was adopted, they would gain, at least, all that time which was now lost in discussing and dividing whether they should go on with Opposed Business or not. No doubt it was quite right to consult the very strong opinion of the Committee which had been so unanimous in their recommendation of the proposed Resolution. They were told they ought to trust to the good opinion of the House and the Government in a matter of the kind. Well, the good feeling of the House had shown itself very much in favour of the proposition; and as to the good feeling of the Government, he must say, without any disrespect to them, he could not help recollecting that their conduct of Business last Session did not lead him to place entire reliance on them. He trusted that the Government would yield to the feeling of the House on the subject, and accept the Motion of the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins).
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
believed that the hours spent after half-past 12 o'clock in that House were very often thrown away, simply resulting in contention whether they should proceed with Opposed Business. With regard to Government Business, a measure of importance was hardly ever pressed after that hour; therefore, the Motion would not, in that respect, be of any material inconvenience to the Government. Indeed, he felt assured that the Business of the House would not be conducted with less advantage to the country if the hours were shortened. Practically last Session, by the common consent of the House, no important Business was initiated after half-past 12. The discussion which took place at the early part of the evening on private legislation furnished a strong argument in favour of this Motion, when it was shown that the late hours seriously interfered with the business of Committees upstairs. The only objection to the Motion was, that it might give rise to some attempt to carry out a sort of Wednesday's performance of the work; but he thought 94 that the good sense of the House would prevent an occurrence of that kind, and that the experiment proposed in the Motion might be safely tried.
said, he must congratulate his hon. Friend the Member for Boston (Mr. Collins) on the almost unanimous feeling he had elicited in the House in favour of his proposal; and he ventured to hope that the Government, seeing the strong feeling which prevailed, would not allow the opinion expressed by his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council to be considered final. His right hon. Friend really seemed to think that all the great legislation of the country was initiated after half-past 12 o'clock, and that it was essential to Government Business that it should be proceeded with after that hour. The Motion, however, did not prevent them from continuing their discussion of any measure as long after half-past 12 as they pleased, and only declared that new Opposed Business should not be proceeded with. There was no Legislative Assembly in the world that conducted its Business as they did in that House, sitting all through the night. The American Assembly, which was often held up as an example, commenced to sit at noon, and generally adjourned at 5 o'clock. The only exception to that rule was when they resolved themselves into Committee on the state of the Union, and when—the question being a very broad one—all sorts of Motions were in Order, and the Sitting might be prolonged for 24 or 26 hours. That, surely, was not conduct to be imitated. In that House they wished to transact Business with the utmost despatch, but they had also to look to the quality of the Business; and, in both respects, he believed the adoption of the Motion would lead to an improvement. The House was also bound to consider the convenience of the Chair; for it was well-known that after the ordinary Business had been disposed of, a good deal remained for the Speaker to do before he could leave the Chair.
, before touching the merits of the Motion, wished to refer to two points which had been incidentally alluded to in the course of the discussion. The hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins) referred to the discussion which arose in 1870, when he said he (Mr. Gladstone) intimated that on the 95 part of the Government, as a general rule, no opposed matter would be brought forward after half-past 12 o'clock. The hon. Gentleman appeared to think that pledge had not been redeemed; but if he examined in detail his (Mr. Gladstone's) statement, he would find, he thought, without exception, that the Government had deferred to the wish of any considerable number of the House, and forebore the introduction of any new subject after that hour. That was the rule on which they had acted. The other point was one on which his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock was in error. He quoted very high authority at this Table, and stated that Lord Ossington and Sir Erskine May had recommended this proposal. There was no doubt as to the opinion of Lord Ossington; but if the matter had been discussed some 10 or 15 years earlier, when the pressure of the labours against which he had so gallantly struggled was not so severe, he doubted whether his noble Friend would have given the same opinion. With respect to Sir Erskine May, however, as he understood the matter, he did not recommend the proposal, the fact being that that gentleman was opposed to the Resolution. Some reference had been made to the time of Mr. Brotherton, and he must go back to that period. His rule was administered with great gentleness, particularly so far as the Government were concerned. The main thing, however, to be borne in mind in comparing that period with the present time, was that the demands of the Government had greatly increased, while the time at their disposal was greatly diminished. The usual rule formerly in the case of the Government when they had a very important Bill at the stage of Committee, was to proceed with it de die in diem; but at present the idea of giving way to those important measures was entirely a thing of the past, and the Government were obliged to rely on their two days a-week. In point of fact, had it not been for the invention of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), fixing Morning Sittings at 2 o'clock, it would for the last few years have been found impossible to carry on the Business of the country. He now came to the Motion before the House, with which it was evident many hon. Members were disposed to agree, and 96 no persons ought to have a greater bias in its favour than the Members of the Government. The remaining in the House until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning was certainly not the most fascinating of occupations, and the Members of the Government were not so dead to the ordinary feelings of humanity as to have a depraved taste for proceeding with Business during the post-midnight hours. They had, however, to consider the state of Public Business and the expectations of the country. He was, he might add, sorry to be obliged to repel the charge which had been made by his right hon. Friend the Member for North Lancashire (Colonel Wilson Patten), who found fault with the Government for having adopted the particular Resolution which suited them and rejected the others. [Colonel WILSON PATTEN: Pardon me, I said Resolutions.] Then the fact was, that it was not true that the Government had selected Resolutions which only suited themselves, for where, he should like to know, was his right hon. Friend when the Government brought forward the Resolutions for which his right hon. Friend had voted in the Committee? When the Government were struggling in the interest of private Members to induce the House to adopt the Resolution with regard to not counting-out before a quarter after 9, his right hon. Friend was not in his place to support them, and the passing of that Resolution was prevented by a portion of the House. Nothing could, therefore, be more unjust than the charge against the Government which his right hon. Friend had made. Now, he should wish for a moment to call the attention of the House to the epithets which were used by the Committee. No "new Opposed" Business was to be brought on after half-past 12 o'clock. Well, what was "Opposed" Business? So long as the House was not fettered by a particular Resolution, it was open to every hon. Member to form his own opinion as to the nature of the Opposed Business; but if the Resolution were carried, what meaning would the word "Opposed" assume? It would then mean simply the will of any single Member of the House, and an absolute veto would be placed in the hands of anyone against the will of the whole House. Let hon. Members reflect, therefore, on the power they were asked to 97 create, and that at a moment when the country was looking to them for an increased discharge of Public Business. He would mention a case in point—the Local Government Bill of last year. That Bill it so happened was vehemently opposed, but only by a single hon. Member. Every other hon. Gentleman was anxious that it should pass, and his right hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire joined his right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board in desiring that it should become law. It was not possible, owing to pressure of other Business, to bring it forward at an early hour of the evening, and if the Resolution under discussion had been in force at the time, the Bill could not have been carried. If the Resolution were now agreed to, and a veto thus placed in the hands of one Member, the House must be prepared to see valuable Bills lost, or else a sensible addition must be made to the length of the Session. He now came to the word "new," and what he should like to know was its meaning? He, of course, understood that it included any new Order of the Day or Notice of Motion. But let him suppose the House to be in Committee of Supply, was the arrival of the hour of half-past 12 to be equivalent, under the operation of the Resolution, to a demand to report Progress if such a Motion were made at the desire of merely a single Member. ["No, no."] Well, how, was the matter to stand? Suppose a Vote of £50,000 were proposed in the Committee for any purpose, and that a Motion to reduce it by £10,000 were rejected, could it be taken at half-past 12, if another hon. Member moved its reduction by some other amount? Was the Resolution to be interpreted that no new question could be put, great or small, or no progress made with any Vote or Bill after the hour specified? It was open to doubt, also, whether new "Opposed Business" would apply to this, or only to the case of Notices of Motion and Orders of the Day. Those were points on which a distinct understanding ought to be arrived before the House gave its assent to the Motion of the hon. Member for Boston. But he wished to state to the House the view which the Government took on the question. It was not, in their opinion, wise to attempt such a limitation as was proposed, while they 98 had at the same time, in moderation, every disposition to give way as far as possible to what seemed to be a general wish. He would suggest, therefore, in order to get rid of an ambiguity, and to make the experiment within the safest limits, that the words "new Business" should be confined to new Notices of Motion and new Orders of the Day, and he also desired to place a limitation on the word opposed. He did not think the opposition ought to be merely that of the moment, but an opposition of which some hon. Member had given Notice. That, he thought, would considerably mitigate the inconvenience that would be likely to arise; but one difficulty he still saw, and that was in references to Notices which might have been given only the day before. Another exception ought to be made in the case of Money Bills, which were not usually debated at all, but were often passed through their different stages from day to day at periods of the year when the conditions of the public service and the provisions of the law absolutely required that they should be pressed forward. He therefore proposed to except Money Bills from the operation of the Resolution which he begged to submit to the consideration of the hon. Member (Mr. Collins), and which he had written down in the following terms:—That, except for a Money Bill, no Order of the Day or Notice of Motion be taken after half-past Twelve of the clock at night, with respect to which Order or Notice of Motion a Notice of Opposition or Amendment shall have been printed on the Notice Paper, or if such Notice of Motion shall only have been given on the next previous day of sitting, and objection shall be taken when the Notice is called.He hoped the hon. Gentleman would feel inclined to adopt this Resolution, which he admitted he did not conscientiously hold to be a very safe attempt, although it was, at any rate, clear in its meaning and limited within certain bounds, so that it would allow of an experiment being fairly made. It would be desirable not to pass the Resolution now, but to reserve it to a future day, in order that it might be carefully considered.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
, while approving some portions of the proposal, objected to the particular part to which the right hon. Gentleman had lastly referred. The right hon. Gentleman 99 had alleged that things had changed very much since Mr. Brotherton's time, and that the time at the disposal of the Government had been diminished; but he could not admit the correctness of this assertion, especially as during the present Session they had gained a great deal by carrying the Resolution by which they gained Monday nights for Supply. He could not help taking notice of what the noble Lord below the gangway had said about the pressure put upon the Speaker. The late Speaker (Lord Ossington) who was broken down by the late hours of the House, used the strongest language on this subject, stating that the practice of sitting so late turned what ought to be a most honourable service into almost intolerable slavery, and he added that he did not think this self-sacrifice on the part of the House was at all received with approbation by the country. Sir Erskine May also said these late Sittings occasioned great pressure and exhaustion to hon. Members of the House and caused the Business of the country to be transacted in undue haste. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) had spoken of the case of a Bill to which opposition was offered by only one hon. Member; but if the Bill in question had been put down for an early period of the evening that one hon. Member would have had his say, the measure would have been carried, the rest of the Business would have been taken, and no fresh opposed Bill need have been taken after 12.30 a.m. Business was not conducted either well or creditably at a late hour. Bills were not then discussed in a proper manner, and eventually they were passed with Amendments in them to which sufficient attention had not been given. He admitted that the discussion of a particular Vote in Committee of Supply ought not to be stopped at half-past 12, but fresh Opposed Business ought not, in his opinion, to be commenced after that hour. In consideration for the Chairman and Mr. Speaker, the time had come when some limit should be placed upon the hour for beginning fresh Business.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
thought the original proposal of the Committee ought to be carried out, and said, he must congratulate the House on being about to act on the Resolution of a Select Committee in their own interests.
§ MR. COLLINS
said, that, as half-a-loaf was better than no bread, he would withdraw his Amendment, and substitute for it the words suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. He must, however, have it passed to-night.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "except for a Money Bill, no Order of the Day or Notice of Motion be taken after half-past Twelve of the clock at night, with respect to which Order or Notice of Motion a Notice of Opposition or Amendment shall have been printed on the Notice Paper, or if such Notice of Motion shall only have been given the next previous day of sitting, and objection shall be taken when the Notice is called,"—(Mr. Collins,)
§ COLONEL WILSON-PATTEN
thought his hon. Friend had given up his whole case. For his own part, he strongly objected to the latter part of the proposal made by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. He should suggest the omission of the words requiring a Notice to be put on the Paper which would destroy the whole object of the Motion.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
also thought that the words requiring Notice of Opposition to be given should be omitted, as they would lead to Notice of Opposition being given on almost every occasion by some wide-awake Member who wished to obstruct the progress of any particular measure. Such a rule would, he believed, increase the difficulty of transacting Business.
§ MR. HUNT
said, the hon. Member who had proposed the Resolution had now accepted, on the spur of the moment, an Amendment of a very specious kind suggested by the Prime Minister. He did not think they ought to pass a Resolution of that sort without due consideration. He dissented from the suggestion of the Prime Minister, and believed that when they saw it in print next morning it would be far from being so Lucid as they imagined. He saw no reason for excepting Money Bills, because there were occasions when Money Bills must go forward. With regard to putting Notices on the Paper, he quite 101 agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock that the Notice Paper would be encumbered with Notices. He thought his hon. Friend, by accepting the suggested Amendment, would obtain nothing by it, and it seemed to him to be far better that they should vote for going into Committee of Supply, and let his hon. Friend bring up a Motion which would more fully carry out his intention than that which had been so ingeniously concocted by the right hon. Gentleman opposite.
§ MR. SPEAKER
reminded the noble Lord that the Question before the House was that Mr. Speaker should leave the Chair, on which an Amendment had been proposed by the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins). The noble Lord was entitled to speak to the Amendment.
thought the latter part of the Resolution should be omitted, which rendered the giving of Notice necessary.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
thought the original Resolution was preferable to the new Resolution. If they negatived this Resolution it could not be again proposed; but if they adopted the Resolution of the Prime Minister, it was competent to move for a further modification of the Rule. He therefore advised the House to accept the Prime Minister's proposal, reserving to itself, however, the right of subsequently amending it if necessary.
§ MR. DENISON
said, the Resolution drawn up by the Prime Minister was not clearly understood in his part of the House, and ought not to be adopted without more deliberation. He would suggest that the Government should draw up the Resolution and have it printed.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
thought the House was in some danger of falling between two stools, and hoped they would adopt the proposal of the Government, which was a most fair one.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.102
Question proposed, "That the words
'Except for a Money Bill, no Order of the Day or Notice of Motion be taken after half-past Twelve of the clock at night, with respect to which Order or Notice of Motion a Notice of Opposition or Amendment shall have been printed on the Notice Paper, or if such Notice of Motion shall only have been given the next previous day of sitting, and objection shall be taken when the Notice is called,'
be added, instead thereof."
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, he was convinced, that if Notice of Opposition was to be given, the power would be liable to great abuse. He would therefore move, that the Motion be amended by the insertion of words which would prevent any measure except Money Bills being taken after half-past 12, to which objection might be taken at the time without Notice.
Amendment proposed to the said proposed Amendment,
By leaving out the words "with respect to which Order or Notice of Motion a Notice of Opposition or Amendment shall have been printed on the Notice Paper, or if such Notice of Motion shall only have been given the next previous day of sitting, and objection shall be taken when the Notice is called," in order to insert the words "if objection be then taken to proceed with the same,"—(Mr. Bouverie,)
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
thought sufficient had been conceded to the Government by allowing Money Bills to proceed.
§ MR. FAWCETT
preferred the Government proposal to that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie). He understood that if any Notice appeared on the Paper opposed to any Bill, that would be accepted by the Government as sufficient to prevent its being proceeded with after half-past 12. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] That being so, hon. Members might leave the House at half-past 12 perfectly assured that such measures would not be proceeded with. The Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie), however, would enable any hon. Member to stop a Bill without Notice; and hon. Members would have to remain until 2 o'clock in a state of uncertainty as to whether unexpected opposition would be raised to a measure or not.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the said proposed Amendment," put, and agreed to.
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Resolved, That, except for a Money Bill, no Order of the Day or Notice of Motion be taken after half-past Twelve of the clock at night, with respect to which Order or Notice of Motion a Notice of Opposition or Amendment shall have been printed on the Notice Paper, or if such Notice of Motion shall only have been given the next previous day of sitting, and objection shall be taken when the Notice is called.