HC Deb 27 March 1876 vol 228 cc623-5

In explanation of the Question I wish to put, the House will perhaps allow me to point out that the Supplementary Estimate for the expenses of Mr. Cave's mission to Egypt was postponed pending the publication of his Report; and, as we now understand that the Report is not to be laid on the Table, I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will fix a day for taking a Vote for the Expenses of Mr. Cave's Mission; and whether he will undertake that it shall be brought on at a convenient hour?


I shall, of course, Sir, be anxious to meet the convenience of the noble Lord. Apparently he asks me to give him a day. Now, I will put before the noble Lord and before the House exactly how we are situated, and the noble Lord may then judge for himself as to the decision at which we can arrive. The Government have at their disposal before Easter only five days. One must be allotted to the Budget. One must be allotted to the Navy Estimates, because the House will recollect that, though we have obtained the Vote for Men, we have not obtained the Vote for Wages. Two nights, therefore, must go. I had hoped to devote the other three nights to the Merchant Shipping Bill, because, unless we do so, we shall not be able, as I had hoped, to proceed immediately after Easter with the Education Bill. At the same time, this arrangement of Business depends entirely upon the animus of the noble Lord respecting the Report of Mr. Cave. If, for instance, the noble Lord wishes to propose any Vote of Censure upon the Government with reference to that Report, all our arrangements shall be thrown over instantly, and I will give the noble Lord the first day at our disposal. If, however, he only wants perhaps a preliminary and reconnoitring discussion upon the subject of Mr. Cave's Report, I think the noble Lord will agree with me that, as Tuesdays and Fridays are in the hands of independent Members, considering the great influence which he must possess with his friends, and some influence which I may possess with the House, may be properly used in giving him on a Friday or a Tuesday the opportunity which he seeks. Next Friday there are several Motions on the Paper. I cannot say how they are distributed between the two sides of the House. [An hon. MEMBER: They all proceed from the Opposition.] I understand they are all on the side of the noble Lord. That being so, I shall immediately attend to any suggestion made by the noble Lord. There is a Motion on Friday by the hon. Member for the Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir George Campbell) upon this subject. I do not think the Motion one which, in the present state of affairs, the noble Lord will commit himself by supporting; but if he can arrange with his Friends for Friday, I will in Committee of Supply on that day have the Vote proposed which he wishes to discuss. I hope this arrange- ment will meet the views of the noble Lord.