HC Deb 14 August 1879 vol 249 cc987-8

rose to a point of Order. When the third reading of the Blind and Deaf-Mute Children (Education) Bill was called last night, attention was drawn to the fact that 40 Members were not present, and the House was counted out. That morning, however, he found that by some extraordinary means the Bill had found its way to the House of Lords, had been read a first time, and had that morning been circulated among the Peers. He had obtained two copies of the Bill, one of which he had handed to the Speaker, and the other he held in his hand. He wished to know whether, by this proceeding, the Privileges of the House had not been viclated?


In answer to the Question of the hon. Member, I can only say that the Bill in question was put for third reading yesterday, and that the House having been counted out, the Bill became a dropped Order. It is, therefore, quite impossible that this Bill can have been read a first time in the other House, because it had not yet been sent to the House of Lords. It has become a dropped Order.


, who had charge of the Bill, said, that he had not the slightest knowledge that the Bill had been circulated among the Peers, or had been taken to the House of Lords. What had happened was this. Yesterday afternoon, believing that the Bill would be read a third time, and following the example which had often been adopted before, and which, indeed, he believed to be necessary, he had asked a noble Earl to take charge of the Bill in the Upper House. This the noble Earl had consented to do; and in consequence of its being so late in the Session, and so that there might be no unnecessary delay in the progress of the Bill, was most probably the reason why it had been printed. Beyond that he personally knew nothing, though it was abundantly clear that the Bill could not yet have been read a first time in the other House. If any copies had been circulated he felt sure it must have been by some mistake; and, so far as he was concerned, he could only express his regret if he had accidentally done anything to contribute to it. No one who knew him would suppose that he would dream of doing anything which was not perfectly honourable and in accordance with the Rules and Privileges of the House.