HC Deb 26 June 1873 vol 216 cc1421-2
MR. BRUCE (for the Prime Minister)

moved— That the twenty-seven Orders of the Day following next to the Order for the Committee on the Rating (Liability and Value) Bill be deferred till after the Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on the nomination of the Select Committee on the Cape of Good Hope and Zanzibar Mail Contract.


What is the latest hour at which it will be taken?


It will be taken at a reasonable hour.


That is very unsatisfactory. After what hour will it not be taken?


The words "reasonable hour" have never received an exact definition in this House, and, with reference to the importance of the subject, the Government will take the most convenient opportunity for allowing the Order to come on.


What is the most convenient opportunity?


said, he did not understand the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) to complain of the course he took the other night as to the nomination of the Committee; but he felt that some explanation was due to the House. It was not till he entered the House on Monday that he ascertained there was a general feeling that the Committee as proposed by his right hon. Friend consisted of too many Members, and that it should be appointed by the Committee of Selection. Entertaining those views himself, and having regard to the hour at which the Motion was brought on, the only course open to him was to move the Adjournment of the Debate. Finding when he came down to the House yesterday that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt) had placed a Notice on the Paper with reference to the question, he considered that no further action was necessary on his part.


said, he must appeal to the Home Secretary to state distinctly at what hour he intended the Debate to come on.


said, it was extremely inconvenient to fix the hour exactly; because if by any accident the discussion on the Rating (Liability and Value) Bill were protracted five minutes beyond the hour named the Government might be charged with breach of faith in going on with the debate on the nomination of the Zanzibar Committee.


I confess that I am not satisfied.


I may state that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government assured me he intended to give an opportunity for this question to come on at a fair hour of the evening. I understood before 12 o'clock.

Motion agreed to.