HC Deb 28 July 1875 vol 226 cc126-8

said, he desired to ask a Question of the Speaker with reference to certain proceedings in that House when an important Motion which was put down on the Paper for the Evening Sitting, in reference to the Government taking Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the remainder of the Session, was allowed to be put and carried at the Morning Sitting. As he desired to made a short statement on the subject, he would conclude by moving the adjournment of the House. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) had for some time an important Motion on the Paper for the 3rd of August, calling attention to the unsatisfactory mode in which Irish Business had been dealt with this Session, and which, doubtless, would have led to an important as well as interesting debate. The Prime Minister some time ago, however, announced his intention to propose that Tuesdays and Wednesdays, including Tuesday, the 3rd August, be devoted to Government Business in the first place. On becoming acquainted with it, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick announced that he would give a decided opposition to the proposal, but he was obliged to leave London for a day or two on business. Yesterday the Secretary to the Treasury moved the Resolution at the Morning Sitting, in the absence of several hon. Members, who had no Notice that it would then be brought on, but, on the contrary, were left under the impression by a Notice on the Paper that it would be made at the Evening Sitting. Now, the Question he wished to ask was, Whether it was for the future to be understood that Motions or Orders put down for an Evening Sitting could be taken at a Morning Sitting, or interchangeably, and without previous Notice—whether the privilege claimed by Government was open to private Members? He begged to move the adjournment of the House.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Mitchell Henry.)


With reference to the Question which the hon. Member for Galway has put to me on the subject of the Motion made yesterday with regard to the conduct of Business, I have to state that when that Motion was made I said, as will be in the recollection of the House, that to take the Motion in that manner, out of its turn, was most unusual; but that, as it related to the Business of the House, it could, with the general assent of the House, be taken out of its turn, at the Morning Sitting. Having stated that that could not be done without the general assent of the House, I then put the Question—"Is it the pleasure of the House that the Question be now put?" There was no dissentient voice to that appeal, and the Question was therefore put from the Chair; but if there had been a single dissentient voice, I should have submitted to the House that such a Question could not be put. In answer to the hon. Member, I have to say that it would be quite irregular to take a Motion out of its turn, except with the general assent of the House, and on a question relating solely to the conduct of the Business of the House.


Do I understand you to mean, Sir, by "general assent" universal assent?


Yes, the universal assent of the House; if there had been a single "No" in answer to my appeal as to the pleasure of the House, it would have been my duty to decline to put the Question.


considered it was clear that a Motion should not be taken out of its turn. He hoped the hon. Member would withdraw his Motion, and that Tuesday's proceeding would not be taken as a precedent.


said, that the rule just laid down by the Speaker was the same as he understood was stated yesterday. He thought that hon. Members had yesterday agreed to waive their right, for though the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) spoke against it, when the Question was put there was no negative. He trusted what had occurred would induce the Government to be more regular in their proceedings. There were many Members like himself who considered it their duty to remain night after night until the rising of the House, in order to keep a check on this tendency to irregularity on the part of the Government. He believed that in the present case a hundred Members had stayed away in the morning under the impression that the Motion of the Secretary to the Treasury would be preferred at the Evening Sitting.


said, that after eliciting such a satisfactory answer from the Speaker, he would be happy to withdraw his Motion. Though hon. Members who were present did not object, it was absent Members who were interested.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.