HC Deb 24 June 1873 vol 216 cc1311-3

said, it would be in the recollection of the House that at an early hour that morning the Prime Minister stated that although the General Valuation (Ireland) Bill would be placed upon the Orders of the Day at the 2 o'clock Sitting, yet that the Canada Loan Guarantee Bill would be the first Order taken. He, in common with a great many other Members, was surprised, therefore, on reading the Papers delivered to Members that morning, to find that the Canada Loan Bill was set down as the ninth Order, and the Valuation (Ireland) Bill as the first Order. On coming down to the House he found that this Order of Business had been altered, and that the Canada Loan Guarantee Bill, which was put down on the blue Notice Paper as the ninth Order, was placed on the white Notice Paper as the First Order of the Day. This had caused very great inconvenience to many hon. Members, and some explanation respecting the discrepancy was due from the Government to the House.


said, it would also be in the recollection of the House that in the course of the discussion which took place at an early hour that morning, all the Irish Members present expressed a wish that the General Valuation (Ireland) Bill should be postponed to Thursday, in order that the attendance of a respectable number of Irish Members might be secured for its discussion. But the Prime Minister with scant courtesy to his supporters on that—the Liberal—side of the House—


I beg to ask, Sir, whether the hon. Gentleman is justified in the statement he is making.


The hon. Member is in Order in putting any Question to the Government supplementary to that raised by the right hon. Gentleman (Colonel Taylor); but he is not entitled to raise a debate.


said, as the First Lord of the Treasury objected to the phrase he had used, he would endeavour to put his Question in words more Parliamentary. He would, therefore, ask the Prime Minister whether he thought it was respectful or just towards Ireland to place upon the Paper for the consideration of the House a measure of such importance as the General Valuation (Ireland) Bill at a time when it was probable that not one Irish Member would be present to take part in the discussion, or whether the right hon. Gentleman thought that that course of proceeding was calculated to reconcile to his policy the Irish Members who had for so long a time supported the present Government?


wanted to know why the Prime Minister had paid less consideration to the wishes of the large body of Irish Members on this matter than he had shown in acceding to a request preferred by a single Gentleman on the opposite side of the House?


These Questions appear to me to have in a great degree the merit of originality, because they appear to be speeches with notes of interrogation at the end of them, and I do not know whether it is possible for me to answer them except in a speech. They refer to matters of opinion, and all I can say is that we have endeavoured to proceed with as much consideration as we could to the general arrangement of Business, which we know entails inconvenience. We deeply regret the inconvenience that may be felt, and that is all I can say upon these questions. With respect to the Question of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Colonel Taylor), that refers to matters of fact, and he is entitled to some explanation from us. We have no explanation to render as far as regards our own proceedings; but we have endeavoured to inform ourselves upon the matter. The right hon. Gentleman has said truly that it was stated at an early hour this morning that the Canada Loan Guarantee Bill would stand as the first Order of the Day; and I may add that that was also stated at the commencement of Business yesterday and on Friday last. I have no doubt, therefore, that the House fully expected to see it in that position on the Paper this morning. As far as the Government is concerned, I need not say there was no change of intention on their part, which, indeed, would have involved great disrespect to the House and the greatest want of courtesy to hon. Members. The Secretary of the Treasury, as far as he is concerned in the dissemination of information, is perfectly without reproach, and, as might have been expected, there has been no failure or omission of duty on the part of the officers of the House. It appears that the discrepancy has been a pure error of the printer; and it is only fair, in throwing the responsibility upon the printer, that I should render my testimony to the extraordinary accuracy with which the proceedings of the House, often of a hurried and complicated character, taken during late hours of the night, are produced in the printed Papers next morning, and circulated among Members all over London.