§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
remarked that this was a subject in regard to which the House ought to be particularly careful. If the discussion of the Estimates were left till a quarter to 1 o'clock in the morning late in the Session the House would be giving up its greatest constitutional privilege—namely, the control of the public expenditure of the country. It was great negligence on the part of the Government to postpone Supply until so late in the Session, and he strongly protested against the granting of any further Votes on Account. The present Government, when in Opposition, took the ground he was now taking; but the measures advocated by hon. Gentlemen in Opposition were forgotten now that they were on the Treasury Bench.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Meldon.)
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he hoped the House would consent to go into Committee and take a Vote on Account, as there were several branches of the public service which must otherwise come to a speedy standstill. The Government were most anxious to go into Committee, and get the Supply completed. They hoped to get the Civil Service Votes at that evening's sitting, and they would endeavour to proceed with the Education Votes next Thursday evening.
§ MR. DODSON
complained that Supply was unprecedentedly late this Session, and that the Government had made but feeble attempts to get on with the business.
§ MR. SANDFORD
said, he thought the explanation of the Chancellor of the 528 Exchequer was not quite satisfactory. Why was not Supply taken at an earlier period of the evening? Unless the Government gave a distinct pledge to get on with the business of Supply at the earliest possible moment, he should vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon).
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, he thought that no one had condemned the conduct of general business so much as the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. Supply was more important than the progress of a number of Bills which the country had not demanded.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, that for a long time past it had been exceptional to take Supply on Friday. He protested against private Members being deprived of their privileges.
§ MR. HUNT
agreed that the practice of taking Votes on Account was more honoured in the breach than the observance; but the circumstances of the Session had been peculiar, in consequence of the persistent opposition offered to the Peace Preservation (Ireland) Bill—an opposition which had helped to prevent the Government taking Supply as often as they could have wished.
maintained that the real reason why Supply was so backward was because the Government had overcrowded the Order Book with unnecessary Bills.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
held that the Government had brought this difficulty upon themselves. It was utterly impossible for the Government to expect to carry all the Bills which were before the House. He thought it was the duty of the Government to state frankly what Bills it intended to pass, and what Bills it was willing to abandon. He thought the Government might postpone these Votes on Account till next Thursday.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
maintained that the Government had been partly brought into its present position with respect to Supply because it had not followed the example of the last Government in abrogating the rule which enabled private Members to move their Resolutions on Monday nights upon the Motion for going into Supply. The right hon. Gentleman must know that if the Education Vote was put down for Thursday next, no other Votes could be taken.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 58; Noes 118: Majority 60. Original Question again proposed.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Macgregor.)
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHE-QUER
said, it was useless to resist Motions of this kind at so late an hour; but he pointed out that unless the Government obtained money before the 30th of June it would be placed in a position of embarrassment, and therefore he expressed a hope that the Motion for the Adjournment of the House would not be pressed.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Motion withdrawn.
§ Committee deferred till To-morrow.