HC Deb 01 August 1874 vol 221 cc1105-7

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be read a second time upon Monday next."—(Mr. Attorney General.)


complained of the arrangement. Last night the Bill was fixed for to-day, and many hon. Members who were interested in it had remained in town in order to take part in the discussion. Now they were told that the Bill was to be deferred. He thought hon. Members had been hardly used, and he complained that a Bill of such importance had been brought forward at so late a period. He knew the Government had a majority which would enable them to do anything—they might put the Speaker into the stocks if they thought it necessary. He spoke to the Home Secretary about it, and that right hon. Gentleman knew nothing of the Bill. He then went to the Attorney General, who had never heard of it. He had, therefore, a suspicion that it came from a Scotch draper, assisted by some over busy clerk at the Treasury. He had been told that Lord Cairns was the author of the Bill; but he did not believe that so distinguished a lawyer could have had anything to do with it. He moved an Amendment that the Order be discharged.


, in seconding the Motion, said, he was somewhat pleased when he found that the Bill was to be discussed to-day, because the state of his health would not permit him to remain late at night. Under the proposed arrangement, however, the Bill would not come on until midnight. He wanted to know from the Attorney General why the Bill was to be postponed. They had assembled for the purpose of discussing the Bill, and now suddenly they were told it was to be deferred. He wanted to know the reason why.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the words "That the" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "said Order be discharged,"—(Mr. Bass,)—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


would explain the reason. The Solicitor General had charge of the Bill, and within the last few minutes he had received a communication from him stating that he must unavoidably be absent. Another reason was that before the meeting of the House the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) took the opportunity of saying a few words to him upon the matter, and had made suggestions which he considered to be very valuable, and such as might lead to the removal of any further opposition to the Bill. These suggestions, if adopted, might be dealt with in Committee, and as it was probable that by Monday the Government would be able to consider and adopt them, it was not unlikely that a saving of time would be effected.


said, he was glad the Bill was put off till Monday, and he should be still better pleased if it was put off till next Session. There were a largo number of persons interested in the question, and it was not quite fair to bring the Bill forward at a time when a large number of hon. and learned Members were absent, who really were the best qualified to discuss the subject. He asked the Government to consider this point before the Bill came on Monday.


said, that this was a most important Bill; and it was by no moans understood, either by the House or the country, how immense an effect it would have on the poorer classes. If, however, it had not involved matters of imprisonment, he should have said less about it; but, as it greatly added to the powers of County Court Judges to inflict imprisonment, he pressed the Government to postpone the Bill to next Session.


suggested that the Bill should be taken early on Thursday, and remarked that it had already been six or seven times on the Orders.


said, that as there had been a Notice of Amendment to the Bill, it could not be taken after half-past 12, which was the reason it had been so often on the Orders.


said, he hoped the hon. Member (Mr. Bass) would go to a division, and considered that the Government ought not to attempt to smuggle a Bill of this kind through the House when a large number of the Members had left.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 50; Noes 31: Majority 19.

Main Question put, and agreed to. Second Reading deferred till Monday.