§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed,
§ "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Gathorne Hardy.)
§ MR. P. A. TAYLOR
moved that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Bill that day month. He appealed to the Government not to go on with the Bill at that late hour, as there was a strong feeling in the House and the country unfavourable to the mode in which the Mutiny Bill was generally shuffled through the House, and especially because he had been promised more time for the consideration of its provisions.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words" this House will, upon this day six months, resolve itself into the said Committee,"—(Mr. P. A. Taylor,)—instead thereof.
§ MR. STEPHEN CAVE
said, there was no reason for asking for the postponement of the Committee. He would not think of stealing a march upon the House in regard to the Bill, and in this instance he had followed the usual course. So far as he could ascertain it had never been the custom to print this Bill before the second reading. This year it was read a second time on the 10th of March and was in the Bill Office on, the 15th. On the 16th the Government Amendments were placed on the Paper, so that hon. Gentleman had the last two days to propose any Amendment they thought desirable. The Government Amendments this year were purely of a formal character, and the old Act which had been an entire year in their hands, was the matter which they really intended to discuss. The usual time between the second reading and the Committee had not for years with one exception exceeded two days, and had often been much less, whereas he had given eight. It was his duty to take every opportunity of making progress with the Bill.
§ CAPTAIN NOLAN
objected to their discussing at that late hour the details of a measure which affected the non-commissioned officers and privates as much as the Bill they had just passed affected the commissioned officers.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
understood the Judge Advocate had promised the hon. Member for Leicester a fair time for the discussion of his objections, which could not take place at that late hour.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
explained that with the exception of one clause this Bill usually passed without comment; but if any point was raised in Committee it would not be carried further at present.
§ MR. STANSFELD
said, there was a growing disposition to scrutinize the clauses of this Bill, and although there might be little change in it, it was usual for Members to wait until a Bill was printed before examining it.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, they could go into Committee, and when they arrived at any point that provoked serious discussion they could report Progress. The Mutiny Act was never changed; everybody was familiar with it; and the objections of the hon. Member for Leicester and of all other Members would be fully met by proceeding until they arrived at a debatable point, and then reporting Progress.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ Clause 1.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
supported the Motion, on the ground that Amendments and alterations had been made in the Bill, which could not be distinguished in the text.
§ MR. STEPHEN CAVE
said, that the alterations touched no question of principle. They were merely matters of convenience, and most of them were merely formal. He had followed in every respect the precedent of the previous Government.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.70
§ Clauses 2 to 25, inclusive, agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.