§ LORD FRANCIS HERVEY
asked the Vice President of the Council, If he could explain why, notwithstanding an assurance given by him to the contrary, the Second Reading of the Elementary Education Provisional Order Confirmation (London) Bill was taken on Friday last?
§ VISCOUNT SANDON,
in reply, said, that the mistake was owing simply to his accidental absence and that of his noble Friend from the House. He was very sorry the mistake should have occurred; but the Government would give his noble Friend every opportunity of 1179 opposing the Bill at a later stage if he thought fit.
§ LORD FRANCIS HERVEY
wished, as a matter of personal explanation, to say that he made no insinuation whatever against his noble Friend. He was aware that his noble Friend was not in the House at the time, and that was the reason he asked the Question. He himself was not in the House, because he went out to the Lobby to ask his noble Friend what his intention with regard to the Bill was, and his reply was, that it was much too late to take the Bill that night, and that he was going to leave the House. Satisfied with that assurance, he re-entered the House and discovered that the Bill had been read a second time. The question had important bearings in its Parliamentary aspect. The way in which important and Opposed Business was taken at times when amid the confusion of hon. Members leaving the House no one could tell what was going on, was not creditable to the House, and had a very injurious effect on Public Business. In order to put himself in Order, he begged to move the Adjournment of the House.
§ MR. DILLWYN
seconded the Motion, and appealed to the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair to say what might be the best mode of remedying the inconvenience complained of. Perhaps it might be done by means of a Standing Order.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Lord Francis Hervey.)
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, that as he was the Member of the Government responsible for the accident, he wished to explain how it had occurred. He was in charge of the Orders of the Day when the Ministers who had charge of Bills were not in their places. On Friday he noticed that his noble Friend (Lord Francis Hervey) was in his place just at the moment before the Order was reached. His noble Friend had two Notices on the Paper—one that the Bill should be read a second time that day three months; the other that it should be referred to a Select Committee. Having moved, as was his duty, that the Bill should be read a second time, he expected his noble Friend to rise and move either that it should be read a second time that day three months, or, 1180 having been read a second time, that it should be referred to a Select Committee. He was surprised, however, to find that his noble Friend was not present; and that he might not be placed at a disadvantage, he asked the Clerk to put down a Notice in his noble Friend's name, for the next stage that the Bill be committed that day three months. If he had had an idea that either his noble Friend or the Vice President of the Council desired that the Bill should be postponed, he would readily have postponed it. He thought it was the opinion of the House that a Bill, which the Standing Orders require to be referred to a Select Committee, ought not to be delayed in the absence either of the hon. Member in charge of the Bill, or of the hon. Member opposed to it.
§ SIR WILLIAM FRASER
suggested that it might be for the convenience of the House that a minute should be allowed to elapse between announcing the numbers of a division and the calling on of a fresh Order.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.