HC Deb 30 May 1878 vol 240 cc930-2

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having regard to the forthcoming debate on University Education in Ireland, Whether the Government intend to hold a Morning Sitting on Friday?


I think this Question might have been left to be put by myself or the hon. Member for Roscommon, who has charge of the Motion. I would appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to interfere with the ordinary Sitting to-morrow. My hon. Friend has been good enough in my absence to submit this subject to the House. It is a subject exciting a great deal of attention in Ireland, and a full discussion of it is very desirable. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had admitted to a deputation that waited upon him the importance of the subject, and I would press upon him that the discussion should be allowed to go on to-morrow. No one knows, better than I do the difficulties which have been thrown in the way of the right hon. Gentleman. Still I trust to receive an assurance that to-morrow's Sitting will not be interfered with.


Sir, I can assure the House and both the hon. Members who have just addressed me, that I am fully conscious of the importance attached to the question of Irish University education, and I should be most desirous, so far as I could, to provide an opportunity for the discussion of the question. I am, therefore, most anxious that I may not be driven to the necessity of asking the House to meet here to-morrow morning. I wish, however, to state candidly to the House, what the position of Her Majesty's Government is in respect to the progress of Public Business. We have already had six nights' discussion of the Civil Service Estimates, and have been able to get through only 33 Votes. There are up wards of 100 Votes still remaining, and if we proceed with them with similar progress, we should require 18 nights to complete them. There are only 18 Mondays and Thursdays between this and the 1st of August inclusive, and if we obtain no other days than those for discussion of these Estimates, progressing in the same degree, we should find the whole time of the Government taken up upon the consideration of these Votes alone, making no allowance for the discussion of questions relating to the Army and Navy, to our foreign affairs, and to the various other subjects of legislation which must necessarily engage the attention of the Government. I hope, then, that the House will see that it is not owing to any grudging spirit on our part that we feel ourselves obliged to make stipulations for being afforded further facilities for the progress of the Government Business. I repeat, then, what I have already said, that if we can make sufficient progress to-night in the Estimates, I shall not ask for a Morning Sitting to-morrow. I am fully aware the Irish Members take particular interest in the issue of the discussion upon the Irish University question and the Queen's Colleges in Ireland, and that we must be prepared for a considerable amount of discussion upon that question. I have, therefore, so arranged this evening that, although I shall ask for a Vote on account—a course I hoped to have avoided—the Government will not include in that Vote any item relating to the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. I will, however, fix Supply for Monday next again, and then take the main Vote for them. I hope hon. Members interested in the subject will see that they will thus be afforded a sufficient opportunity of discussing that Vote. I propose to take a Vote on account this evening for all the Services exclusive of the Queen's Colleges, and then to proceed with Class III., which relates to Law and Justice, the earlier Votes in which do not particularly affect Ireland, so that it is not likely they will render necessary any full discussion on the part of the Irish Members especially. That is the position in which we stand. If we find to-night that we are able to make a reasonable progress in our Estimates, we shall not have a Morning Sitting to-morrow. If not, I shall certainly be under the necessity of asking the House to grant us a Morning Sitting to-morrow.


Does the hon. Member for Roscommon intend to proceed with the Sunday Closing Bill to-night?


It is my intention to proceed with it to-night.


asked Mr. Attorney General, When he intends to proceed with the Bar Education and Discipline Bill.


in reply, said, he intended to proceed with this Bill at the earliest opportunity he could obtain, which, he feared would not be until after Whitsuntide.