HC Deb 08 June 1874 vol 219 cc1164-8

, in moving, That the Orders of the Day subsequent to the Intoxicating Liquors Bill be postponed till after the Notice of Motion of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer relating to Friendly Societies, said: The House, Sir, will perhaps think it convenient that I should at the same time answer in detail the Question of the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex respecting the course of Public Business, and perhaps the best way I can do so is to lay before them a general view of the Business which probably will occupy the attention of the House during the Session. I mentioned the other day casually, but not with precision, that there were at least seven Bills of considerable importance which would be likely to engage the attention of the House for some time. The Bills I alluded to then were the Licensing Bill, the Friendly Societies Bill, which, if I succeed in the Motion I am about to make now, will be introduced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Factories (Health of Women, &c.) Bill, the Land Titles and Transfer Bill, the Judicature Bill, the Eating and Valuation Bill, and the Scotch Church Patronage Bill. Those are the measures which I had in my mind at the moment when an impression seemed to prevail that there was not much Business before Parliament; but on examining the matter more accurately, in order to address the House on the subject, I find that I understated the case, because, besides those seven Bills, there are three others certainly which may be considered of equal importance. I allude to the Land Transfer (Scotland) Bill, the Police (England) Bill, and the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, on which we should wish to legislate, if the Committee report. Therefore, there are 10 Bills of considerable importance which probably may engage our attention. Besides these, there are Bills of great interest which I am indisposed to describe—although I must do so for the sake of convenience—as Bills of the second class. Three of these are in progress—namely, the Public Health (Ireland) Bill, the Registration of Births, &c. (England) Bill, and the Irish Licensing Bill. There are four others not in progress which may be classed under this head—namely, the Noxious Businesses Bill, the Shannon Improvement Bill, the Irish Constabulary Bill, and the Endowed Schools Bill. That would make 17 Bills, all upon subjects which engage public attention, and which deserve the grave consideration of the House. But, at the same time, I must remind hon. Members that there are occasions upon which considerable debate may be expected on subjects of general and, indeed, commanding interest, which will not solicit the attention of the House in the shape of Bills, but will in that of Supplementary and other Votes. Notably, for instance, there is the Education Vote; also the Supplementary Vote on a subject which was referred to this evening by my hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Mr. Hanbury)—namely, the new constitution of the Gold Coast; and under this head I may also put the Vote for the Post Office and Telegraphs, which, I am told, is likely to lead to considerable discussion. We have, therefore, 17 Bills of interest and import, and three occasions on which considerable expression of Parliamentary opinion is not only expected, but will undoubtedly be given. Besides that, looking to the general course and conduct of the Business of the Session, it is impossible to shut our eyes to the fact—with which we are, I believe, officially acquainted—of the introduction into the other House of Parliament, of a Bill which is not a Government measure, but which is one of commanding interest, brought forward by a high authority—namely; the Bill introduced by the Archbishop of Canterbury affecting the Church. It is not, as I have said, a Government measure, but there seems, so far as I can form an opinion, a prospect of its passing, and not with any great delay, the other House, and if introduced into this House, every Gentleman of experience of the House of Commons must feel that a Bill of that character makes its weight felt in the arrangement and disposition of the Public Business, and often exercises a considerable influence upon the time and length of the Session. I believe I have now placed before the House the general view we take of the matters and occasions on which our attention will be solicited, and I think the House will agree with me that, under the circumstances, and remembering that this is the 8th of June, we should husband our resources to the utmost, and that every effort should be made at both sides of the House not unnecessarily to waste that precious possession of time, which is not sufficiently appreciated, I believe, by the House of Commons until the month of June commences. I hope, then, the House will not be surprised—but that, on the contrary, it will be ready to aid me—if I should take an early opportunity of asking them to grant that Government Orders of the Day should have precedence of the other Orders on Tuesdays, which are now the privilege of hon. Gentlemen generally. I always with great reluctance interfere with the exercise of the privileges of independent Members of this House; but it has been the custom at the period of the year at which we have now arrived, with the general or very general consent of the House, that such an appeal should be made by the Minister, and usually it has been favourably received. I propose to do this also because I am anxious to postpone as long as I can having recourse to Morning Sittings. Certainly, with the co-operation of both sides of the House and tolerable skilfulness in the general management of the Business, we may perhaps postpone for a considerable time having recourse to Morning Sittings; and therefore, I trust that when in a few days I ask for the Tuesdays, the House will, after the statement I have made as to the number and importance of the Bills which are and will be before us, accede to the request. I will now give my hon. and gallant Friend and the House, so far as I am able to do so, a general view of the Public Business for the next 10 days, for it is impossible to arrange it further in advance. To-night we shall, I hope, got through the Committee on the Licensing Bill in sufficient time to enable my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to introduce the Friendly Societies Bill, which the House, I think, regards as a measure of very great interest. The second reading of the Factories (Health of Women, &c.) Bill we have arranged for Thursday next. On Friday we propose to take the Post Office and Telegraph Estimates; on Monday, the 15th, the Education Estimates; on Tuesday, the Report of the Licensing Bill; and we hope it may be read a third time on Thursday, the 18th. I shall not press the House to read it on that day if there be any general objection to doing so; but it seems to me the Bill has been so fully debated and considered that probably such a course will not, in the present state of Public Business, be objected to. If it should be, of course I must make some other arrangement; but I hope we may do not only what I propose, but that we also be able to take the Land Transfer Bill on that day, and the second reading of the Friendly Societies Bill on Monday the 22nd. That is the programme I have sketched out, and I have now placed before the House our general view of the Business of the Session, and the arrangements we propose for its despatch, as I said before, for the next 10 days. It is impossible not to perceive that at this period of the year there is before us much to do, if we wish to close the Session at the usual time; but I depend greatly upon the co-operation of hon. Members at both sides of the House, and I flatter myself that if there is that hearty co-operation, we may be able to fulfil this not inconsiderable programme, or an important portion of it, and yet, perhaps, to close our labours at a not unreasonable period of the year. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Resolution.


asked whether the Licensing Bill would be reprinted before the Report, as at present many hon. Members did not know what had been done?


It will be reprinted before the Report.


said, he had a Notice on the Paper for Tuesday, the 16th, and if the right hon. Gentleman wished private Members to give way to the Report of the Licensing Bill, he would not press his Motion on that day.


I wish that all hon. Members may be equally generous with the hon. Member for South Durham. I certainly shall be much gratified if they make way for the Business of the Government.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered, That the Orders of the Day subsequent to the Intoxicating Liquors Bill be postponed till after the Notice of Motion of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer relating to Friendly Societies.—(Mr. Disraeli.)